You can do better than this for your next big birthday.

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There is nothing like a milestone birthday—an occasion to mark the start of a new era, so to speak. Whether it's turning 16 and getting the keys to your newfound freedom or turning 21 and finally being able to celebrate with a cocktail, it's those special birthdays that we use as mile markers on our journey through life. For the foodies in us, it's fun to choose a restaurant in which to celebrate milestone birthday dinners that truly represents who we are as individuals. Some of us prefer a lively bar scene, some an exotic food menu, and some like to stick with the Houston staples which are proven tried and true.

30th birthday

Pax Americana
4319 Montrose Blvd.
713-239-0228
paxamericanahtx.com

For someone who still feels like a teenager at heart, I thought turning 30 was the beginning of the end. How wrong I was. The best part about this milestone birthday, especially in this day and age, is that 30 is when you really start to figure things out. At some point or another, our generation decided to use our 20s to experiment with school, jobs, hobbies, relationships and everything else. Turning 30 is a great time to reevaluate and use everything you learned in the next phase of your life.

Pax Americana is an ideal destination for saying good-bye to your 20s.

Image: Megha Tejpal

For the anxious 29-year-old fearing this milestone birthday, I recommend a celebration dinner at Pax Americana. One of the most exciting Montrose openings of 2014, the trendy eatery features farm-fresh options, a dynamic drink menu, and bread from the equally hip Common Bond bakery, and has been a favorite among young Houstonians since opening last summer. While not technically considered "fine dining," Pax Americana offers a stylish dining experience fit for groups in the celebrating mood. The exciting cocktail list and bustling bar and patio offer an energy that 20- and 30-somethings tend to gravitate towards.

Appetizers and entrees are both very shareable here and an excellent way to sample the ever-changing menu. If steak is what your group fancies, Pax Americana offers a wagyu beef ribeye priced at $90 and big enough for four people to split. It screams special occasion and is definitely the way to go if you want to "celebrate out of the box" with a unique dish. Though the team at Pax Americana is serious about food, they keep things on the humorous side offering a daily passport to each table at the end of your meal where you can draw pictures, write comments, etc. As a 32-year-old foodie who has accumulated a few stamps in the daily passport at Pax Am, I can tell you with great certainty that 30 is a fantastic destination.

40th birthday

Kuu
947 Gessner Rd.
713-461-1688
kuurestaurant.com

While there's much to be said about the restaurant scene inside the Loop, the up-and-coming Gateway at Memorial City is becoming a hub for trendy new cafes and restaurants. Kuu has impressed Houstonians since opening early last year, some of whom are so bold as to say it compares to the untouchable Uchi. Not wanting to start a great debate, I will leave that up to you to decide—however Kuu is a sophisticated choice for a milestone birthday dinner.

Kuu's elegant sushi and sashimi will help you ring in your 40th in style.

Image: Megha Tejpal

For the 39-year-old looking to spice things up on their way "over the hill," Kuu is the place to go for fresh seafood dishes, craft cocktails and a classy but fun vibe. The chic restaurant provides a sexy backdrop for a 40th birthday dinner, as the captivating dining room, bar and sprawling patio welcome guests at Gateway Memorial. Bold menu items include yellowtail sashimi served with Parmesan cheese and grapes and a truffled suzuki roll made with yellowtail, fresh jalapeño and striped bass, topped with a truffle vinaigrette.

With expert service catering to large groups and parties, Kuu is an excellent choice for that birthday which you don't want to waste time on inconveniences. You will find a polished crowd at Kuu with a hunger for the finer foods. While I have a few years before "this is 40," my mature side can guarantee you a fine time at Kuu.

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