Dinner in Midtown west
I feel slightly moronic posting this since I used to work right in this area, but...
I have a birthday party to go to on Saturday night at an Irish pub on 44th st. b/w 8th & 9th Avenues. Two friends and I plan on having dinner (around 9'ish) first. I am a totally food person, but slightly on the starving artist end. One of the other girl's is NOT a foodie, but is loaded and loves chic places. So....I need to find a happy medium. I worked in the area for three years, and so I'd like to avoid the standbys is possible (West Bank, Chez Jo, HK, Markt, etc). American/Italian preferred. Entrees no more than $20.
You don't say when you worked in the area but if it was before the last year and a half and you are avoiding the West Bank Cafe because you didn't like the food, there has been a change of chefs, and the New American cuisine he is serving is excellent. Have a look at the menu on their website. However, while I liked the ambiance, I'd have to admit that "chic" would not be exactly the word I'd use to describe it.
How about Esca? While my one experience there was disappointing, it does have lots of fans. It has a sleek (chic?) feel to it and, though it can be expensive, there are a few pasta dishes with prices around $20.
RGR is right, Esca is good, is scene-y enough. There's another Italian Restaurant down Ninth a bit (around 38th St.), Osteria Gelsi (I think I've got that right...relying on memory, here). Not as much of a scene, but good food for a bit less than Esca, and I'm sure Osteria would be easier to get into.....
re: 280 Ninth
You're right about the name. Here's their website:
Every time I think I know pretty much all the restaurants in the Theater District, a Hound comes up with a new one. lol But now that I think about it, I recall passing by it last weekend, and it looked very nice though it's more trattoria-style than chic.