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Special Dinner with Roommate

Hi All,

My roommate and I decided that instead of buying each other gifts for the holiday, we would treat ourselves to a nice dinner, so we are looking for suggestions.

We live in the east village so would prefer something in that area (EV, LES, SoHo).

Unfortunatley, we spend pretty much our entire salaries on rent, so while we want to "splurge" on a nice dinner, we aren't looking to pay as much as we wish we could : ) We were thinking of entrees in the $20 range. However, I was also thinking about doing an Omasake somewhere (I've always wanted to do that and we both love Sushi). Is it possible to do that for maybe $50 max? (when i usually read about these things, the price tag is about $100)

Thanks so much for any and all suggestions!

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  1. although it is an outer boroughs suggestion, the omakase at taro in park slope is fantastic and a steal at $35 I believe. Sit at the bar, where it will come piece by piece and you'll have much more back-and-forth with the chef, as opposed to at a table, where you will just get a platter full of fish (albeit a very good one).

    1. I highly recommend Tides, the teensy fish/seafood "shack" on the LES. The food's delicious, and the minimalist decor has an elegance about it. (The ceiling is truly unique!) The owner, Stephen, is one of the nicest guys around and goes out of his way to make sure diners have a great experience.


      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR

        great suggestion -- it fits the OP's criteria perfectly...

      2. The $57 prix fixe lunch at Le Bernardin is really special. I know; wrong part of town, not dinner and more money than you wanted to spend. Still, you might want to consider a four-star splurge at very reasonable prices.

        2 Replies
        1. re: steve h.

          Along these lines, the lunch tasting menus at Bouley are also amazing. I believe one is about $40 and the other about $50.

          1. re: steve h.

            Ditto Jean-George for lunch. $24 for 2 plates.

          2. I believe that Jewel Bako (5th St btwn 2nd and 3rd) has a very reasonably-priced (~$50) omakase. I was checking out their menu after eating at Degustation next door (awesome, btw) and remember thinking "hey, I might actually be able to afford that omakase!"

            Report back, please, if you do go!

            1. Never myself been, but have heard great things about Cube 63 on the LES and it has an omakase that starts at $30 per person...

              1. Not in your neighborhood but they will do an Omakase at Shimizu on 51st street that is amazing for about $50. Sit at the bar and you'll have a blast.

                1. went to le miu for an early new years eve dinner enjoyed everything we had they have a tasting menu for 55 the sake is a little pricey

                  1. In the east village, there is a little french bistro called Jules. It is on St Mark's place. The entrees are in the 20$ range, a little under and over 20 actually, and you can have a bottle of wine for under 30$ if I remember correctly. There is live jazz music. The food is good. This is not a stuffy restaurant, it is relaxed and cool. I loved my experience there. You won't break your budget too much and you will have live music on top of it.

                    1. You can try Kanoyama on 2nd Ave. and 11th St. for the Omakaze. For a relaxed nice enough dinner in a casual place, you can also try the Argentinian - Azul Bistro on Stanton cor. Suffolk St. and order the Mix Grill (don't know what it is called) good for two that goes for less than 40 bucks and order a reasonably priced Malbec to go with it. Desserts were pretty good there too. For a different experience, you can try Freeman's and just order a bunch of appetizers and desserts with their yummy cocktails and you should be able to remain on budget.

                      1. I second Le Miu- their Omakase for $55 is Amazing! A little more than you wanted to spend but fntastic. I believe Chanto in the west village does one also for $45 but I've never had it before.

                        1. If you can wait, why don't you take a look at restaurant week offerings? You should be able to find a fantastic meal (probably including supplements and wine) for a price within your budget.

                          1. Nice idea and EV is a great sushi hood. Some places that come to mind are Ebisu, Kanoyama, Lan, Esashi and Hasaki. In SoHo, there is a fine and well priced sushi bar in the seafood restaurant Lure, a bit of a "sleeper" if you ask me. With imagination, I think that you could do an omakase at any of these places and stay within budget.

                            You should work on the basis that each piece will cost in the region of $5 (with the exception of places like Masa and Kuruma) so $50 would give you 10 pieces. I'm assuming that you want to drink some beer or sake so you could combine say 8 pieces and a couple of beers or a carafe/300ml bottle of house/so-so sake. Alternatively for $40 of food, you could do 6 pieces of sushi and either a sushi roll or 2-3 shared appetizers which might fill the belly a little better.

                            A couple of other tips to keep costs down: (1) do sushi rather than sashimi, the latter being more pricey; (2) go for less expensive fish types (expensive options include certain tuna cuts, some fish roes + shellfish and anything flown in from Japan; better value options include some shiny fish eg mackerels, sardines, shads etc plus staples such as salmons, yellowtails, flukes etc many of which will have come from more local waters);(3) opt for an omakase plate which will give you a selection of the day's best fish served nigiri or sashimi style as you prefer and this sets you back a lot less than if you ordered the pieces individually although obviously you miss out on the piece by piece eating and interactivity with the sushi sensei which is a big part of the omakase experience. By way of example of (3), Kanoyama offers an omakase sushi plate (8 pieces of nigiri + 1 roll) for $30 which is great value for the quality of fish on offer. And this could be washed down with well priced and tasty Kurosawa junmai sake.

                            If you're able to extend to $75 each, you could include Yasuda in Midtown East amongst your options. Fine sushi, stylish interior and not nearly as expensive as is regularly made out on this board.