I will be graduating from college in about a month (!!!!!) and I have been delegated the responsibility of making reservations for what I hope to be an intimate and memorable family dinner on the evening before the ceremony. My grandparents are flying in from Alabama to join me, my mother, and my boyfriend for the Friday night dinner. I am looking for a restaurant in south Austin or the downtown area that has exceptional service. The five of us are all fairly adventurous with our tastes (my boyfriend being the least), and my mother has graciously informed me that price is not an issue. We enjoy upscale restaurants, not necessarily because of the food, but mostly for the atmosphere and attentive service. None of us are serious drinkers, so wine selection is of little importance. I would like to make 6 o'clock reservations and would prefer the meal not carry on much longer than 2- 2.5 hours, as my mother and grandparents are of the "early to bed and early to rise" sort.
Above all, I am looking for a cozy restaurant that will not only provide us with a great meal, but with a relaxing experience to make my grandparents feel very comfortable. That reminds me! I know it's probably ridiculous to specify clientele preferences, but I would like to mention that we are not particularly looking for a trendy restaurant with trendy patrons (though quite possibly unavoidable in southern and downtown Austin). Also, we must be able to speak to each other without raised voices or having to strain to understand one another, so live music is undesirable.
I know this is a somewhat unexciting request, but I would greatly appreciate any recommendations from you seasoned 'hounds--no pun intended--who might have favorite "special occasion" spots in the areas I specified. Thank you, thank you, thank you in advance!