Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater New York where the site’s editors, reporters, and critics answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers and friends. A new question and answer will run every Thursday. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.
I’m looking for a place for dinner for my parent’s anniversary, seafood or French preferably. I want it to be upscale but still chic — and affordable enough, like $70 to $100 per person, including drinks. Manhattan below 60th Street is preferred. My dad likes to order the weirdest thing on the menu wherever we go, so places with unique dishes would be appreciated, and my mom loves ahi tuna.
It is too obvious to say Balthazar? Maybe, but I’m saying it anyway. The iconic Soho brasserie is just as bustling as it’s always been, and it fits many of your criteria. It’s French and is famous for its raw bar and stunning seafood tower. It’s definitely chic, and you should be able to find dishes that will fit your budget.
The menu leans a little too classic for “weirdest thing on the menu” dad, though it’s certainly not boring. Dishes like escargot and octopus carpaccio probably don’t qualify as “weird” to the modern, in-the-know NYC diner anymore, but maybe your father can take solace in knowing that many people still squirm at the idea of eating a snail. And if seafood is y’all’s jam, perhaps a little tasting of different kinds of oysters would be a fun experience, too.
Most important, Balthazar will feel like a celebration. It’s more than 20 years running and still as lively as ever — maybe just like your parents’ marriage? Wink wink.