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Birthday Dinner for a Ten-Year Old


DCA
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My daughter is turning 10 at the end of the month and has said she wants a low-key, family-only celebration. To make this milestone birthday a little special, I thought it might be nice to take her out to a "special" restaurant, someplace where she can wear her nicest dress and feel grown-up. She's been going to restaurants since infancy and has even taken a dining etiquette class(!).

What would you all suggest as a nice place to go without going too extravagent? She has a tiny appetite and would probably be satisfied with an appetizer and dessert. Dad & I have been to the Tasting Room at Eve and wonder if the Bistro there would be appropriate. Thanks in advance!

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Ray's the Classics has been the special occasion restaurant for my kids - they're 11 and 8. We do the dining room sometimes, but usually the bar tables, and they share the 3-course special. Every single time, the appetizer and entree have come out from the kitchen split on two plates, and the Shirley Temples from the bar have as many cherries as they want. And one dessert is definitely enough for 2 to share!

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Thanks, but I'm looking for for something fancy--tablecloths, full place settings, the works. Naturally we want good food, but I also want her to remember this evening for a long time as the first time she went to a special-occasion restaurant. When I was very young, my mother took me to the Crown Room at the top of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. The maitre d' was very attentive to a shy little girl, and I have remembered that day as my entry into the "real" restaurant world.

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Thanks, but I'm looking for for something fancy--tablecloths, full place settings, the works. Naturally we want good food, but I also want her to remember this evening for a long time as the first time she went to a special-occasion restaurant. When I was very young, my mother took me to the Crown Room at the top of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. The maitre d' was very attentive to a shy little girl, and I have remembered that day as my entry into the "real" restaurant world.

I would still say that the RTC dining room fits this bill, but if you want even fancier than that, are you really ready to drop that $$$ for your kids meal, and will they really sit for a 2-3 hour dinner?

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Thanks, but I'm looking for for something fancy--tablecloths, full place settings, the works. Naturally we want good food, but I also want her to remember this evening for a long time as the first time she went to a special-occasion restaurant. When I was very young, my mother took me to the Crown Room at the top of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. The maitre d' was very attentive to a shy little girl, and I have remembered that day as my entry into the "real" restaurant world.
I haven't been in a million years, and I could see this recommendation catching some flack. L'Auberge Chez Francois.

Yes the food isn't what it was, but I remember at 10 or 11 that L'Auberge Chez Francois felt super special. Apparently they have a "family dinner" which is different from their prix fixe. But I think what you're going for is something super old school fancy, which is what Francois has in spades.

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My daughter is turning 10 at the end of the month and has said she wants a low-key, family-only celebration. To make this milestone birthday a little special, I thought it might be nice to take her out to a "special" restaurant, someplace where she can wear her nicest dress and feel grown-up. She's been going to restaurants since infancy and has even taken a dining etiquette class(!).

What would you all suggest as a nice place to go without going too extravagent? She has a tiny appetite and would probably be satisfied with an appetizer and dessert. Dad & I have been to the Tasting Room at Eve and wonder if the Bistro there would be appropriate. Thanks in advance!

I took Matt (my son) to Central for his 10th birthday, and he loved it. We've also been to the Bistro at Eve several times together, and he loves it there, too. The staff is fantastic with well-behaved children (and don't forget the birthday cake on the menu), but I think the atmosphere and menu tend to be a bit "adult-like."

Having been to nearly every restaurant in town with Matt, here are a few suggestions that come to mind (I know I'm leaving out a bunch, but this should get you started):

Westend Bistro

Dino

Nage

Kinkead's

Fogo de Chao

Corduroy

Zaytinya

The Majestic

Ray's The Classics

Peking Gourmet Inn

Cheers,

Rocks.

---

ETA: Oops, I just read your subsequent post. If it's something fancy you're after, consider a few of the above, plus the lounge at Citronelle, Farrah Olivia, Mendocino Grille, the lounge at Marcel's (if you can get that big round table in front), Blue Duck Tavern, La Chaumiere, Bistrot Lepic, Palena, New Heights, Tosca, Spezie, Teatro Goldoni, Proof, Poste, and Vidalia.

Edited by DonRocks
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These are great suggestions. Sorry, DanielK--when you wrote RTC, I thought RTS. That's why I thought it wasn't fancy enough. We live in Arlington, so a Maryland place is kind of out of the way. All the suggestions so far are great. I'd forgot that Eve Bistro had birthday cake. That's definitely a point in their favor.

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I would still say that the RTC dining room fits this bill, but if you want even fancier than that, are you really ready to drop that $$$ for your kids meal, and will they really sit for a 2-3 hour dinner?

How would RTC be for a toddler (15 mos)? Are high chairs available? Asking about the lounge/bar specifically. I'd really like to get there for a burger one evening. In the area, we've been limiting ourselves to Baja Fresh and Potbelly. I could really use a break.... I guess the key issues are noise level, speed of service, and room to walk around (supervised) while one adult finishes a meal.

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I haven't been in a million years, and I could see this recommendation catching some flack. L'Auberge Chez Francois.

Yes the food isn't what it was, but I remember at 10 or 11 that L'Auberge Chez Francois felt super special. Apparently they have a "family dinner" which is different from their prix fixe. But I think what you're going for is something super old school fancy, which is what Francois has in spades.

I would heartily second this. It's not about food or tasting menus, but old-school service and "fanciness."

My grandmother took me to the Dolder Grand hotel for dinner when I was sixteen. I have never forgotten how elegant it was.

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I would heartily second this. It's not about food or tasting menus, but old-school service and "fanciness."
Me three. My only thought is to choose a time when the staff is not-so-busy, so that the experience may be savored or cherished more if the staff can spend more time, knowing the occasion.

ETA: I think you're wonderful for providing and planning such a special experience.

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You wisely understand that it isn't only about the food--it is the entire experience. When I was that age, my birthday dinner request was usually to have dinner at Café de Paris in Hollywood, CA, which had tablecloths, waiters in tuxedos and traditional French food. For a "sophisticated" girl from a very middle class home like me, it was heaven. I would wear my prettiest party dress, and I could order a Shirley Temple while my parents had whiskey sours. Everyone was served calf brains in mustard sauce as an appetizer. Yum! I was allowed to order filet mignon medium rare, an unthinkable extravagance at any other time of year. And dessert was always dramatically flambeed at the table--either crepes Suzette or Cherries Jubilee. (A birthday cake was saved for my birthday party with friends.) Even if you take most of her food home in a doggie bag, by all means take her to the Auberge! And order a flambeed dessert, if you can.

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Thank you all for great suggestions. We went to the Bistro at Restaurant Eve last night, and she loved it. Everyone was very nice and hostess and server wished her "Happy Birthday." She especially loved the nonalcoholic Eamonn's Cocktail with all the froth on top. At the end, she declared that when she's grown up and has a child, she'd like to take her to this restaurant for her 10th birthday!

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