I have a love-hate relationship with my birthday. I say I hate it because I always seem to be disappointed by it. My birthday falls on or around Labor Day weekend. Growing up it was the awkward period between Camp and School where there are no friends to come celebrate with you. Even now there’s this sense of “this has to be the best day ever because it’s my day” and then when it inevitably doesn’t live up to its potential I’m super bummed. That’s not saying I haven’t had awesome birthday parties in the past, including but not limited to, my Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball Birthday and my 48 hour 21st birthday extravaganza which involved four kegs and counting down till midnight. But a couple of years ago I gave up on my birthday all together, planned absolutely nothing, and for lack of a better word, it blowed. So last year, with the help of my most wonderful boyfriend, I planned one of the most epic birthday weeks of all time. Kicked off with a Bouncy Castle Pool Party with all my besties at my friend’s parent’s mansion on Long Island (Thanks again Mr. and Mrs. Treiber for giving us your house for the weekend!) Then continued on to a road trip to Detroit where I spent my actual Birth Day with my boyfriend, our puppy and our BFF Jonas drinking 40s on Belle Isle then sitting sixth row at a Detroit Tigers game! I wanted my birthday to live up to last years but I had neither the time, the money nor the energy to fund such extravagant celebrations.
After a couple weeks of debating, I decided all I really wanted was to be with my boyfriend, my friends and my puppy on my actual birthday. I didn’t need a weekend long celebration (though sometimes those are necessary), or an all out rager, I just wanted to have a good time. Then it came to me, almost like a dream, BENIHANA. Yes, you read right, a Benihana Birthday Party for a 26 year old that owns her own restaurant. I know it’s over priced, gimmicky and you leave smelling like Benihana but I can’t help it, it’s my absolute favorite restaurant. Here’s the back story: Benihana has been my favorite restaurant since my parents got divorced when I was 5 and they started buying my love. I used to tell my restaurateur father that his restaurant was only my second favorite after Benihana. We would go for all special occasions, including a few Christamas’. We went there so often we even had a private chef, Kareem, who called my father Papa, and made us a special sauce that he only made for Donald Trump. I am still a proud recipient of the Benihana Chef’s Table email alerts.
Some old school Benihana celebration photos – which I obviously attached to my party invite and many reminders:
I made a reservation for 16 (that max for two tables facing each other), invited 30 of my closest friends, knowing that my birthday fell on a Jewish holiday and fashion week so people would have plans, and let the rest work itself out! I also invited everyone to my bar (which is just a short walk from Benihana midtown) for free drinks before dinner for those that couldn’t make it to the latter dinner portion of the evening, or reasonably didn’t want to drop at least $50 for hibachi. Even though the guest list changed too many times to count and literally wasn’t confirmed till we sat down to dinner at 9:30 I didn’t let anything stress me out. After a wonderful day walking around, eating and shopping in Brooklyn I was the happiest I could be drinking with friends at my bar then moseying on over to Benihana. I accidentally ordered the most expensive bottle of Sake and proceded to drink it to the face, wore the children’s menu like a chef’s hat all night, overly reacted to pretty much every time a shrimp tale landed in someones pocket and of course sang along to “Japanese Happy Birthday” which is just “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”. The night could have ended there but we naturally went to one of the many Karaoke bars in midtown and sang the night away. A perfect ending to a low key, low maintenance but super fun birthday.
Splurge! Porcelain Buddha Dranks!
Double Mustard Sauce- the only way to go
I HEART Benihana
I have about ten other Karaoke photos that look just like this, you’ll just have to trust me that it was SUPER FUN
The only thing that could have made it more perfect was if my post birthday hangover hadn’t kept me in bed the entire next day….