Thanks so much for all the suggestions everyone! Now I'm even more undecided!
So my current thoughts are:
Bouley - really unsure, because the menu looks amazing and as you say dzop and ellenost, there are some great recent reviews. But I've also read some really negative ones, so is it too big a risk to take for a birthday meal? Also I should mention we're coming from the UK for a long-weekend so it really is special!
Gramercy Tavern - I'm suprised about the lack of enthusiasm because I gathered from this forum that it was verrrrrry good and popular.
Jean-George - As people have said, it's obviously a wonderfully rated restaurant and the lunch is a steal.
EMP - again amazing reviews. But the only worry I have (with JG too maybe?) is the atmosphere - I suppose I'm looking for special but not too formal, and we are a young couple (early 20s) so I don't know if that affects which restaurant is recommended?
Sorry if this is at all confusing!
I'm trying to decide on a place to celebrate my birthday with my boyfriend, with a 5 course tasting meal - which we've never done before! It will be a weekday lunch-time in Feb, and at the moment I'm between Gramercy Tavern and Bouley - both have great menus at a very reasonable price ($50 ish). Other suggestions are welcome though, around that price range, and anywhere in Manhattan is fine. We're not major foodies, but we do want something really special.
We're also looking for somewhere for a nice brunch on a Sunday - has anyone had good experiences at Cibo? We'd be looking at Midtown/ East 60s for the brunch, and around $30 a head or less.
Thanks for any help!