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Special anniversary dinner without BREAKING THE BANK??

Hi Hounds,

We'll be in NYC late September during our anniversary. Any suggestions for a special meal without breaking the bank?

I've been considering:

Bar at The Modern (as opposed to The Modern) inside MoMa;

the tasting menu at Le Miu;

Landmarc (Tribeca), which I heard has a nice vibe and decent food

Any other suggestions?


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  1. Oh...and PEASANT was recommended. Don't know anything about that place.

    We're looking for a good-looking place, friendly service, good food... but definitely DOES NOT HAVE TO SCREAM "TRENDY" or anything like that.

    Much appreciated!

    1. You might want to consider Annisa. Very low-key and romantic, about 68 bucks for a 5 course tasting menu.

      1. Thanks, fascfoo: Been wanting to try Annisa for a long time...

        1. Raoul's @ 180 Prince Street. Great food, nice service and a real old school NYC joint. The upstairs is very romantic. Just make sure that the upstairs is open. They have a great wine list and you can impress there without breaking the bank. Have fun!

            1. Le Refuge or Gascogne for dinner or LeBernardin for lunch

              1. Thanks, fschil.

                Would also love to hear more about the Bar Room at the Modern. Is there a good time to go there and eat at the bar? What are their best dishes?

                1. When trying to impress, never settle for second best (Bar room). Looks cheap. Either settle for another first rate but less expensive or sit in the main dining room of The Modern. Since your spending already, you might as well. She will remember. Afterall, this is your anniversary.

                  1. I ate at Peasant recently and thought it was terrific and would be lovely for an anniversary. Here is a recent chowhound thread:


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                      Hi Trish,

                      I would definitely consider Peasant if it's genuinely Tuscan. I love Tuscan food! Wild boar, duck ragu, etc.

                      This is a harder decision than I thought it would be!

                      Someone else brought up SWIZZ for fondue, which sounds pretty cool and romantic.

                      CSW: I hear what you're saying. Both my husband and I are struggling artists, so we both acknowledge that we're broke at the present time...No worries about appearing cheap. Worse comes to worse: We'll pack a picnic lunch and head over to Central Park before sunset. Cheers!

                      1. re: Liquid Sky

                        Love it! That actually sounds even more romatic. You can pack a gourmet basket hehe.

                    2. I would hazard against Peasant, but that's based on a single trip and a single entree.

                      I would also disagree with poster above about looking "second best" at the Bar Room. In my opinion, it is more interesting to look at, more fun to eat in, and generally more worth the while, while the Main Room itself is a little dull and maybe even fussy. There's nothing second-rate about having good taste, even if you happen to be paying less.

                      If your anniversary is on a Sunday, you could also try to get a Fleur de Sel lunch but do look at the decor first and make sure it appeals to you. The qualification of day may also be personal, as I've never learned to appreciate a slow lunch on those other days of the week.

                      On the other hand if you're looking for the absolutely whitest tablecloth available, you should probably just shell out and go to Per Se.

                      1. zbs: Thanks for your advice! Have been to Fleur du Sel with family for lunch, and everyone was happy there. Per Se would require much more advance notice, I think.

                        I'll still consider Bar Room. It sounds like they don't rush you over there either. I'm also having a Tuscan craving and have heard great things about CANTINA TOSCANA.

                        1. If you are willing to wander over to the Outer Boroughs (Brooklyn or Queens, but a very short and easy trip) you can certainly get better deals out here without sacrificing any specialness of occasion.

                          Since you are on a budget (and frankly, people suggesting $68 tasting menus are doing you no favors!) there are a few great options out here:

                          If your anniversary happens to fall on a Tuesday or Wednesday, I highly recommend Chestnut in Carroll Gardens. It has a special $25 prix fixe, 3 full courses of almost any choice on their regular menu. By 'full' I mean they don't skimp on the portions. A modest but good wine list (the owner is a distributor). Everything on the menu is great, but especially the fig stuffed pork chops -- oh, the food is New American market menu.

                          You can also hit 360 in Red Hook or Ici in Fort Greene. Both are French/market style, 360 has a $25 prix fixe all week long. Both with great wine lists.

                          Also, Sripriphai which is an OB favorite. Thai in Queens right off the subway stop. Best in the city, and since the remodel the decor is nice enough for a special occasion.

                          As for your original list, strike off Le Miu. It's good and if you went I would recommend the $45 tasting menu, but the decor is just perfunctory and I think you can do better. Landmarc is great too, but once again I wouldn't send anyone on a tight budget there.

                          Check out menupages.com for samples of menus.

                          1. Pupster: I definitely would head out of Manhattan for good food, of course!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Liquid Sky

                              If you were married to Italian, the two names in Brooklyn to mention would be al di la and Tempo. Let me channel another hounder Steve R by saying that the food at al di la is fantastic but that due to its own popularity you may be rushed or the staff might be a bit frazzled. If that doesn't bother you by all means go. But Steve R would recommend Tempo instead. Not quite as great a reputation as al di la, but a more adult room and very gracious service. For an anniversary it would be a more appropriate choice.

                              (Sorry if I'm putting words in Steve's mouth but if you do a search, he's said about the same.)

                              1. re: Liquid Sky

                                If you'll leave Manhattan I totally agree on the Chestnut advice. It's excellent and only a few subway stops outside manhattan on the F, so very easy.

                                Also, in the same neighborhood is Saul, which is the only Michelin starred restaurant in brooklyn (or any of the outer boroughs for that matter). They also have an inexpensive prix fixe - I think its 30 dollars for 3 courses.

                              2. I agree that Peasant is a good idea, but it is (or has been) a "trendy" place to go. The wine bar downstairs could be a stop after dinner?? I would consider annisa highly, fantastic food worth the money! I love AOC Bedford. The wine list is interesting, the space is romantic and the prices are mid-range. Get the paella if you go. Also, Mas-a few steps away is wonderful, but it is more expensive. Bar Room at the modern is better for lunch-not an anniversary dinner. You should seek small and seductive-not expansive. Have a good time!

                                1. Thanks for the additional recs. Went to Saul a few years ago and really liked it. Will save Annisa for when we have a little more dough.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Liquid Sky

                                    i would suggest l'impero in tudor city. i have had many memorable meals there and their prix fixe (if you want to, you dont have to) is $65 or so and you can pick just about anythign off the menu for it. you could also get away with splittling an appetizer or pasta and then getting entrees. i did this a few weeks ago, 2 appetizers, one pasta, one entree, 2 glasses of wine and a dessert with tax and tip for under $150. food is incredible and won't break the bank, i dont think.