Mom hasn't been to NY since the early 70's and I'm surprising her with a trip to Manhattan for a week over Thanksgiving. I'm looking for a special place to take her to dinner on the Monday night, price and location are no matter.
Some insight into mom: 1) Other than sushi/Japanese, all cuisines are welcome (eg Spanish, Mexican, Indian, Lebanese etc); 2) given the choice, she'd wait for a table in a casual, lively restaurant any day, over sitting down at a structured, stuffy, formal dinner; 3) she doesn't like to be rushed and loves the idea of nibbling at several dishes, rather than sitting down with one large plate to herself.
While I'm happy to keep things on the casual side (or not so casual depending on the suggestions) I'd really like to treat her to something memorable and special. My definition of something special would be a lively (but not clubby) restaurant that is friendly, quintessentially New York, and combines fantastic food with friendly service.
The more suggestions the merrier, as we'll be in town for a week and we will likely try a number of places.
Many thanks in advance for your help!