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If you had to choose between...


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If you had to choose between Nicholas, Serenade, or David Drake, which would you pick?

I can't decide and it's my foodie husband's 40th birthday dinner. All of them are a bit of a drive for us, so I want to choose well!

Your votes/comments are appreciated!

Lala

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If you had to choose between Nicholas, Serenade, or David Drake, which would you pick? 

I can't decide and it's my foodie husband's 40th birthday dinner.  All of them are a bit of a drive for us, so I want to choose well!

Your votes/comments are appreciated!

Lala

Having just returned from an excellent dinner at David Drake, I would tend to give it the nod. but...

I live accross the street from Serenade and have been there a bunch of times and have always enjoyed myself there. I went there for my first anniversary, my birthday and just for the dining experience. It's an incredible experience and I highly recommend it. I'd have to give Serenade the nod. But....

If you're driving a bit in any event, Restaurant Nicholas is the current pinacle of Jersey dining. I've never been but I'm DYING to go. The enormous amount of positive feedback and outright RAVE reviews are hard to ignore. For a dinner of a lifetime outside NYC, I'd have to give Nicholas the nod. But...

Ha Ha... I'm obviously of no help here although I'll say that with the choices you've narrowed yourself down to you CANNOT lose! Whichever restaurant you dine at is the winning move!

do you have a three-sided coin to flip? ;-)

btw- please let us know your choice and your experiences

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thanks...this is a tough one. 

would anyone say one is less 'stuffy' or pretentious than the other?  we don't really need that...

Nicholas is the epitome of stuffy and pretentious. The food has not really held up but the service is overblown and overwrought. They take themselves way too seriously...

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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I know I will get annoyed replies BUT here is my opinion....as a foodie, I would go to NYC. I have eaten at Seranade and found it overpriced and not great, have eaten at Nicholas a number of times, and(other than the always chewy and full of gristle beef entree) found the service pleasant and the food ok, but not in any way gourmet. I have not eaten at David Drake, but I have has his food at previous restaurants and do not find it special...sorry...I am totally disappointed with NJ restaurants that charge NY prices but do not deliver the goods...so sad....

So what would I do...The most special of all...if you can swing it, is Per Se...amazing food, unbelievable service....a totally amazing and memorable evening...and ask for a tour of the kitchen...the ultimate for a foodie (in my opinion)...Less expensive but wonderful with great service and pretty roomswould be The Gramercy Tavern, Tabla, Daniel, amazing food but not a beautiful room would be Jean George, Babbo...I just think turning 40 is really special...good luck :smile::smile:

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Shmily has a good point. I had a "big birthday" last year at Eleven Madison Park. I thought the food was a little scarce, but the service and atmosphere are remarkable. Another memorable experience was at Daniel for my wife's birthday. Transcendent in every way. We've been disappointed in some high end NYC restaurants, but generally they are among the best in the world.

Back to NJ, we had a reservation mixup at Nicholas this summer and they handled it with grace and skill. I think it is a very good restaurant. I prefer the room to the left as one walks in. We'll return when we are in the Shore area.

I had lunch at Serenade several years ago and I enjoyed it. Yet to go to D. Drake.

You have a world of possibilities. Have fun wherever you go.

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I agree...40 is a special one, so maybe I should reserve my NJ curiousities for a 'lesser' occasion. Hmmm...

Of those mentioned below in NYC, we haven't been to Jean Georges or Per Se...I think it's probably too late to get ressies at either, but I could try by phone. Opentable is shutting me out :wink:

Otherwise maybe I'll try for the chef's table at Nicholas. Didn't know there was one, so I appreciate the tip!

I know I will get annoyed replies BUT here  is my opinion....as a foodie, I would go to NYC.  I have eaten at Seranade and found it overpriced and not great, have eaten at Nicholas a number of times, and(other than the always chewy and full of gristle beef entree) found the service pleasant and the food ok, but not in any way gourmet.  I have not eaten at David Drake, but I have has his food at previous restaurants and do not find it special...sorry...I am totally disappointed with NJ restaurants that charge NY prices but do not deliver the goods...so sad....

  So what would I do...The most special of all...if you can swing it, is Per Se...amazing food, unbelievable service....a totally amazing and memorable evening...and ask for a tour of the kitchen...the ultimate for a foodie (in my opinion)...Less expensive but wonderful with great service and pretty roomswould be The Gramercy Tavern,  Tabla, Daniel, amazing food but not a beautiful room would be Jean George, Babbo...I just think turning 40 is really special...good luck    :smile:  :smile:

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Several ideas...Jean George has a reasonable lunch...in fact, it is considered a bargain...I have not eaten at it...IF you eat at Nicholas, skip their beef entree...every time we have eaten there, it has been tough and full of gristle...and others have reported the same thing...and it is very strange with reservations...last week I called Babbo to get reservations for a birthday dinner in January...they have always been the HARDEST number for me to get through to...well, they answered on the first ring....economy, anyone??!! so it is worth trying anyplace...please tell us what happens...and have a wonderful time.. :biggrin::biggrin:

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I work right across the street from David Drake. Although I've never eaten there, everyone that I know who has gives it rave reviews. Since it's a special occasion and a bit of a drive for you, let me suggest that you take a train. The restaurant is right under the train tracks.

On a personal note, let me say that I'm not a foodie although I love reading posts here about some of the finer restaurants. My favorite food is hot dogs. I've been to about 200 different establishments that serve them. I also frequent Jersey Diners. For my 40th birthday I went to a small neighberhood restaurant, brought some beer and enjoyed a double Italian Hot Dog, which is unique to a few counties in New Jersey.

My 50th birthday will be next year. I plan to do the exact same thing. For me, there is no better combination than a quality beer (Grolsch or Pilsner Urquell goes well) and a Newark Style Italian Hot Dog.

Be careful, though. Not everyone has the same taste as me. Pick the wrong restaurant, especially if it's a surprise, and you can get yourself into trouble.

A few years ago White Castle had a special promotion for Valentine's Day. Waitress service, menus, fancy set up, reservations, linen napkins, silverware, flowers on the table, etc. I told my wife I was taking her out for dinner, but didn't tell her where. Despite the unique experience, my wife wasn't too pleased. Our marriage almost ended in divorce! She ended up getting sick afterwards. Her friends all thought it was cute and romantic, but I have yet to live it down.

Have a nice night whatever you choose.

John the hot dog guy

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David Drake gets my vote.

The caveat is that I went to Seranade with a larger party and was not as focussed on the food, and the caveat is that I dislike the decor and ambiance of Nicholas enough to have it affect my meal.

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