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Nov 24, 2006 07:36 PM

eating with a college budget

Im a college student with a college budget. I am taking my girlfriend to a nice restaurant and i want to spend more of less $125 (+ - 25) on the both of us. We are under 21, so there's no wine to worry about. I would prefer a steakhouse, but im open to other suggestions. What are my best options?

P.S i would appreciate if the dress code was included.

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  1. There are lots and lots of options at that price range. Any preferences for location or cuisine? How important is decor? As for dress code, I don't think any place in that price range has a dress code other than "no shirt, no shoes, no service," but if you're in doubt, ask them.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      So I didn't read carefully. You did say you prefer a steakhouse. Are there any other kinds of restaurants you like?

      1. re: Pan

        Italian and seafood are my other favorites. Im willing to give other cuisines a try if it's reccomended.

        1. re: blackplatano

          Alright, well there are some places in the East Village that are worth your while. I think that Hearth would stretch your budget, but you might consider it for a special occasion. You can see a fairly current menu by clicking on "The Hearth Menus" from this site:

          Bianca is a charming Emilian restaurant that would be within your budget. You can look at a menu from their menupages page:

          I haven't been there for a while, but it's continued to get good "press" on this board.

          I've found Col Legno, on 9th St. just west of 2nd Av., to be a consistently good and satisfying Tuscan restaurant, and also a relatively sedate place perfect for a date or a dinner out with a friend you want to have a conversation with and actually hear. And you can see your food! It would be hard for you to spend more than $80 + tip for two there.

          You might also consider Lavagna, which I haven't been to in perhaps a couple of years but have always found kind of romantic (especially if you get the table by the window that faces the garden), with good service, a good wine list, and very tasty food. Again, within your budget.

          Keep in mind that at many Italian restaurants (including all of these, I think), they will give half portions of most pasta dishes if you are also ordering secondi (essentially meat, poultry, or fish/seafood dishes).

    2. Since you mentioned preferring a steakhouse, I highly recommend our favorite, Keens. It's been in its 36th location since 1885, and the neat thing about it is that it still has incomparable old NY ambiance, i.e., walls filled with memorabilia and row-upon-row of clay smoking pipes suspended from all the ceilings. There are also pipes that belonged to famous people in display cases in the vestibule.

      The food is excellent, and you should be able to manage nicely within your stated budget. But here are a few hints to help in that regard. First off, a dish of crudites -- carrots, celery, radishes, and olives -- along with dip is provided on the house. And the bread's pretty good. So, since main course portions are very generous, you may want to skip having an appetizer. However, if you do want a starter, consider choosing something you can share. Next, some main course items come with a vegetable. For example, the famous mutton chop is accompanied by a salad, and the lamb chops (which, btw, are truly superb), usually come with haricots verts (French green beans). Therefore, be sure to check with your waiter before deciding which a la carte sides you want to order so that you don't duplicate. All sides have portions that are more than adequate for two to share. Finally, when it comes to dessert, my husband and I always share the Coffee Cantata. It's a delicious, light way to end the meal and definitely sufficient for two.

      Casual dress is quite appropriate.


      1. Park Avenue Cafe has a pay your age special after 8:30 (minimum $25). Three course meal off anything in their regular menu for one price. Both of your meals would cost 50.00 not including tip and tax. Business casual.

        2 Replies
        1. re: csw

          Have you eaten there lately? I haven't, but I recall Hounds posting disappointing reports. It has been announced that the restaurant will close at year's end.

          1. re: RGR

            yeah i heard they arent renewing their lease.

        2. I would suggest Houston's on Park Avenue and 28th street. It has a great lively atmosphere- good for a date and great steak for about $28-$30. Start with the spinach dip and you'll be in heaven. I know it's a chain but a great one! Highly recommend.

          1. I would highly recommend Les Halles. There are two locations in NYC, and since you don't drink, you can easily keep the tab under budget.

            Les Halles has amazing steak and tons of different sides. And I believe it was voted one of the best French brasseries a while back. Plus there's the Anthony Boudain connection.

            Dress code is casual to dressy - whatever you want.



            1 Reply
            1. re: Clare K

              I have to respectfully disagree about Les Halles. One of the best French brasseries in NYC? Maybe years ago, but not anymore. The food is barely mediocre, service is so-so, seating is so tight it would make a sardine feel squeezed, and the noise level is horrendously high. Nice restaurant? Hardly! I gave up on it some time ago.

              I am certainly not alone in my aversion to Les Halles. On Nov. 21st, my pal, dkstar1, posted a rather scathing, "AVOID like the plague" review of his meal there. You can read it here:

              Btw, Bourdain no longer has any connection to what's coming out of the kitchen.