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Where to eat when...my riff on Zagat's "10 Ideas for Special Dinners"

This morning, I read a post on Zagat's blog entitled, "Where to Eat When...10 Ideas for Special Dinners."  Go ahead, have a looksie for yourself...

Midway through the article, I literally blurted aloud, WTF?  Isn't Buddakan more "bachelorette party appropriate" than Locanda Verde?  It was at this very moment that I decided to create my own riff on Where to Eat When...10 Ideas for Special Dinners

After all, I can't keep an opinion, especially when it comes to NYC restaurants, to myself!

Gramercy Tavern: Great spot for a graduation dinner.


1)  Where to...take visiting friends

Zagat suggested Beauty & Essex

I'd suggest Rubirosa.  Why?  Because it offers delicious "red sauce" Italian food and kick ass pizza in a rustic, casual atmosphere that everyone will love.

I chose an Italian restaurant because, at least in my case, most of my "visiting friends" would be coming in from Texas.  And, while Texas makes the world's best BBQ, the state lacks legit Italian anything.  

2)  Birthday With A Large Group

Zagat suggested Buddakan

(Age 30 and under)  I'd suggest Beauty & Essex.  Why?  It has the space - the sexy atmosphere - and the bar "candy" necessary for a fun, memorable evening.  Plus, it's much newer to the dining scene than Buddakan.

(Age 30 and over)  I'd suggest The Breslin Bar & Dining Room.  Why?  Because it's mature, casually sophisticated, and your friends - both male and female - won't hate you.

3)  Birthday With A Small Group

Zagat suggested Gramercy Tavern

While I like that suggestion, I would prefer to host a small group for the "bo ssam" at Momofuku Ssam Bar.  Why?  Because this particular meal encourages sharing and interaction, which I find perfect for a birthday celebration.  Especially if, like me, you have friends from a variety of different cliques who may not all know one another. 

4)  Bachelorette Party

Zagat suggested Locanda Verde

I'd suggest The Hurricane Club.  Why?  Because the atmosphere is exotic and transporting - the cocktails are sweet and strong - and there are plenty of sharable plates.

5)  Bachelor Party

Zagat suggested Volare (...um, I've never even heard of that place)

I'd suggest Keens Steakhouse.  Why?  Steak.  Don't eat beef?  Order the mutton chop.  Need I say more?  The atmosphere is completely old-school and masculine, plus they have a killer selection of "dude liquor," like scotch and other fine browns.

6)  Where to Take Your Parents (They're Paying)

Zagat suggested Craft

I'd suggest BLT Fish.  Why?  Because, if your family hails from a land-locked locale, this restaurant will open their jaded eyes to just how incredibly delicious fresh fish/shellfish can taste.  Plus, you can't beat the fact that, for some odd reason, this joint remains somewhat of a "hidden gem."

7)  Where to Take Your Parents (You're Paying)

Zagat suggested Casa Nonna (...again, this is a place that I've never heard of)

I'd suggest Bridge Cafe.  Why?  Because it sits right across the street from the famous Brooklyn Bridge - oozes with history that dates back to 1794 - and serves some seriously solid food/drink.

8)  Graduation Dinner

Zagat suggested Saxon + Parole

I'd suggest Gramercy Tavern.  Why?  Because the food, while of the highest caliber and quality, is still familiar to everyone in the family.  There's nothing particularly "weird" or "exotic" that your waspy Grandma will shun. 

Great cocktails and a lovely, casually elegant atmosphere, to boot.

9)  An Affordable First Date

Zagat suggested Tertulia

I'd suggest Grape & Grain.  Why?  Because NO ONE in their right mind wants to go to dinner on a first date!  Can you say "awkward?"  Go to a place where, god forbid, you can run as fast as you can if shit doesn't work out.  And that means small plates, folks.  Not entrees

G&G is perfect:  It's cozy and intimate - the atmosphere is romantic enough to where you both look sexy under dim lighting, but not romantic enough to freak either of you out - and, most importantly, the food/drink is solid.

10)  Fancy First Date

Zagat suggested Brushstroke

I'd suggest Hudson Clearwater.  Why?  Because that's as "fancy" as it should get, fella's!  It's a first date, for god's sake!  Come on, dude, if you try too hard to impress her, don't even think, for a second, that you're not being blatantly obvious.  Desperation smells.  Like designer imposter cologne.

Hudson Clearwater has great seats at the bar where you two can enjoy delicious cocktails and plenty of "fancy-ish" sharable plates. 


So, what did you think of Zagat's "Where to Eat When...10 Ideas for Special Dinners?"  Did you agree with most of their recommendations?  Disagree?  How did you think my suggestions compared?  What restaurants would you add/take away?

Speaking of "Where to eat when...," those of you who have followed The Lunch Belle since inception may recall a lengthy list of scenarios I created, such as "Where to eat when...you wanna blow your diet with an ice cream binge," and many other quirky - yet essential - "Where to eat when's" for a slew of your major life dilemmas/celebrations.  But, for reasons that I can't recall, I stopped updating that list long ago.  And, to be frank, I couldn't tell you why, because they were so much fun to write and funny as hell to read, if I do say so myself... 

So, I've decided to re-create a list of "Where to eat when..." that will be bigger and better than ever!  After all, you know you could have used a couple of solid recommendations for where to run to/order from after that slimy douche-bag totally dumped you on your ass.  Am I right?   Thought so.

Stay tuned!


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

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