I've been confronted with a dining challenge daunting enough that after much research here (reviewing all the "special dinner," "40th birthday" and "must have" threads) I was compelled to finally sign up after many years and see if anyone can help out. I've probably erred on the side of too much information.... but I know the penalty for leaving anything out. ;)
My wife and I took my brother, his wife and my parents for their first Bo Ssam this past year. (It was our third time, and amazing as always.) My brother's 40th is arriving and my mother asked if there was some place else we could go that was 'really special that he'd enjoy, like Bo Ssam.'
Is there? Six people, a tab that could easily surpass $1000, is there a restaurant that can deliver a dining experience like Saam Bar?
Why this is challenging: First off, unlike me and my wife, he doesn't love dining out. Our family is pretty food-centric, we all cook, buy mostly organic and eat pretty well. This would disqualify a place like ABC Kitchen which I loved, but wouldn't wow him because it's not unique enough. He doesn't want to drive an hour from CT to experience a perfectly picked local garden carrot, you know what I mean?
Also he works in finance in the city, so he's been to most all the steak houses and expense-friendly confines (pre-recession at least) that would be natural 40th-Birthday-For-A-Guy options. This too means the experience of eating out at a special restaurant isn't foreign or compelling. Peter Luger, Keens and steakhouses are out.
Yasuda would have been a good suggestion, but his wife is pregnant, no sushi. He fishes. No seafood.
Finally he won't be interested 'fine dining' (he'll be 40 after all, not 60). No EMP for example, no Jean-Georges or Le Bernadin.
The Other Details: The actual date is not important, 30+ days OK. The price - short of Per Se, Masa levels - is not super important either, but certainly a consideration. Open to most all cuisines. Other than Bo Saam, we've also taken the group to Babbo for my father's 60th. Hardly fair to say, but both were huge hits. My first thought was Stone Barn, but my wife and I have been before, neither of us *loved* it and it kinda plays exactly to what he's familiar with, not really exciting.
My short list: Del Posto, 7 ways at Ma Peche, Maialino's suckling pig, Craft... but I'm just not conviced.
If it's any help, my wife and I have been to many of the destination restaurants in town and ruled out for various reasons: EMP, Scarpetta, Minetta Tavern, Hearth, Ko, Red Rooster, Colicchio and Sons, Degustation and ABC.
Anyways, any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks for your time.