My wife and I live in California. Her sister and brother-in-law are Upper East Side types, impossible to buy presents for. We like to send them out to dinner as a present. We like to pick somewhere they havn't been before and are unlikely to find or go to on their own, but still within their capacity to enjoy.
The Syrian restaurants on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklym that I used to love growing up would be *way* too much of a stretch. So would Eritrean food, which we are salivating over in Moira's column. Nor are they whimsical enough to appreciate the rediscovery of Horn & Hardart's beef pot pie, if such a thing were possible.
This year's choice had been Rao's. It was a perfect choice. First, reputedly excellent food. Second, a location that ensures they would not go on their own. Third, exclusivity. Fourth, a wide enough reputation so that *some* in their circle will surely have heard of it. And fifth, snob appeal - a list of patrons of the first water. Unfortunately, it will have to be considered as *next* year's choice, since it is booked a year in advance.
And now, here we are, with no second choice to even come close. I've picked Il Mulino, Babba, and Picholine off an admittedly cursory survey of this board. That is not indicative of a bias toward Italian in this selection, quite the opposite. Those three seemed the best suited to the task of the recent reccomendations. My apologies for the once over lightly, but stuff older than six months makes me nervous.
Does anyone care to take a crack at this? Thanks in advance to all who trouble to reply.