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Oct 11, 2006 01:36 AM

Help! Last-minute help for birthday dinner & drinks downtown-ish... tomorrow!

Birthday dinner recommendations requested for tomorrow night...

Somewhere fun, new-ish or under-the-radar would be a bonus, good food (not Mexican, Indian, or Italian preferably)... and not too expensive.

South of 14th St would be ideal, though a little further north would work.

(Any drinks recs nearby would be fantastic as well!)


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  1. Maybe 'Inoteca in the lower east side? I was able to make reservations for 10 for a last minute birthday idea, and it turned out well.

    1. Thanks Melanie - great idea, but the birthday girl has been there...

      Anyone have thoughts on any of the following?
      - Cafe Fuego
      - Zerza
      - O.G.
      - Ivo & Lulu
      - Azul
      - Extra Virgin
      - Havana Alma de Cuba
      - Euzkadi
      - and... i can't believe i'm asking about this one... Lips

      1 Reply
      1. re: saregamany

        I've definitely been in your shoes. The last minute birthday reservation panic...triangulating btw chowhound, menupages, citysearch, whathaveyou....phew.

        Some thoughts on your list:

        Ivo and Lulu. Good food, charming owner/chef...but unless you can reserve the whole place - and I'm not sure he does that - you won't be able to accomodate that many people (ie. 4 people will have to wait, 2 people at peak dining times will have a wait too). The place is SMALL and usually first come, first serve.

        Zerza. This would be my pic in your choice list. Pros: atmospheric, good-sized space upstairs for a bigger group, and the food's definitely decent (good tagines, etc). Cons: Well, it's also not chi-chi trendy, if you're looking for that. My take is that it's a solid choice for a bigger group that wants to generate its own fun.

        Extra Virgin: good food, but the bill will run you more than the last 2 choices. It can also be a little cramped and loud on busy nights.

        Euzkadi: heard it's gone downhill.

        Havana Alma de Cuba: My second choice on your list. It's got that small West Village vibe going on that some find charming. The food is pleasant (skip the fried fish though.) Pro over Zerza: it might be a little busier so it'll feel slightly more festive. Con: it's expensive for Cuban food but has average price ($15-20/dish) for Manhattan otherwise.

        And if you hear anything about Lips, do let me know! Always wanted to see if that was a viable option...