From New Orleans headed for New York!!!...
...whoa-hoah!!! I'm going to New York City and I want to impress my wife with my knowledge of downtown New York eateries - I want advice on hip, inexpensive to moderately expensive (i.e., I do not want to be sent to Le Cirque) places with interesting, adventurous and rich menus and interesting atmposheres and clientele. So far I have been referred to Blue Ribbon, Lupa and Po. Any other thoughts???
Blue Ribbon is excellent, as is one of its sister restaurants, Blue Ribbon Bakery.
I'd pick Lupa over Po (both owned by Mario Batali). Also good is his Esca, but you'd have to venture to Midtown for that.
People love Blue Hill, but you have to book there way in advance. If you're in the mood for a New York pizza pie, try Lombardi's.
I've always liked City Hall in Tribeca. Great dining room (very Old New York), a comprehensive American menu and reasonable prices (for an upscale restaurant). It would be a little more expensive, though, than the places mentioned earlier.