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 turning 40 this summer and I need help executing on the vision I have in my head for a beautiful, warm birthday dinner for a big group (about 30 people) with a breathtaking view of our sparkling city. I’ve recently made it through some scary health issues, and I want to celebrate being alive, thank my beautiful friends and family for their support and love, and have a night to remember in true New York style.
I want the dinner to be formal, with the kind of service that makes people feel fancy and well taken care of, but doesn’t intimidate anyone or make them feel like they don’t belong. The one thing that I want to do to treat *myself* is to have a stunning, jaw-dropping view. This could be a place in DUMBO that overlooks the bridges, water, and skyline; or a place up high that looks down on the city. I’m aiming to give my friends a “New York moment” in a non-touristy way.
I’m going to pay for this myself and don’t mind spending for the experience — something up to $100-$150 a person (all inclusive).
— Celebrating With Style
Hey there! Congratulations on being healthy, alive, and 40!
There are tons of New York restaurants with great food, and a myriad venues with great views, but looking for both narrows your options a bit. You don’t want to squander the brilliant cityscape on kobe pigs in a blanket at the Rainbow Room, or on overpriced buffalo wings at One World Trade. But you also don’t want to blow your savings and do a buyout of Per Se or Aviary with their stunning Central Park South views.
And alas, with 30 people, wherever you go, you will likely need a buyout — or a heck of a private room, which don’t tend to have floor to ceiling windows by their nature.
I’ll argue the venue you’re looking for is Perry St, a solid American restaurant by Jean-Georges and Cedric Vongerichten. It’s not quite as formal as you might like, but it has great food and views of the Hudson, by virtue of its location in a Richard Meier glass tower on West Street. Keep in mind that the restaurant’s white curtains, visible in most of the photos you’ll encounter, are semi-transparent, not opaque, and can likely be drawn up for better views during parties.
And of course if you’re still in doubt, drop by the restaurant yourself for a quick test drive by yourself and maybe one other friend. The rice-cracker crusted tuna is a modern classic; the fried chicken with scotch bonnet sauce (not too spicy) is pretty great too!
— Ryan Sutton