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Expensive moving to London dinner date in W. Village or UES - Suggestions?!?!

My dear friend is losing his current love interest to the Brits and he want to take her out to a really nice dinner and he wants to wear his new suit (don't ask!).

He's looking for some place where he won't feel out of place in a suit but wants minimal trendiness and as minimal stuffiness as one can get from a restaurant where you won't feel out of place in a suit.

Expense is new issue, preferrably in the W. Village or UES.

Any suggestions?!

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    1. I would suggest Cafe Boulud. The cuisine is superb, service is both cordial and polished, and the contemporary decor is stylish. Definitely *not* trendy, and though there are some Hounds who think it's stuffy, I have never found it to be so. Despite the fact that there is no tie/jacket requirement, because of its location on the UES (76th St., b/t 5th & Madison), the preponderance of men do wear them, so your friend will definitely feel comfortable wearing his new suit.


      1. I personally was disappointed a bit in Cafe Boulud and agree on the stuffy factor from both patrons and staff. I love david burke & donatella though and while it can be stuffy, i felt the crowd to be a little more diverse. Have also been meaning to try aureole for a while up there.

        1. I was thinking Wallse but I'd also suggest Balthazar or Il Giglio - or the Harrison in Tribeca. I think any of those are apt to work. Balthazar gets noisy.

          1. What about the Spotted Pig? It is a "gastropub", so it is thematically appropriate, and although it is more casual, it is pricey and I did not feel out of place at all wearing a cocktail dress there for dinner a few months ago. It is also Michelin starred.

            1. Mas in the W. Village would be perfect. Not stuffy, but very classy and romantic.

              1. I would suggest Mas in the West Village or Cafe Boulud on the Upper East Side (grammatical side note: isn't it funny that we say "in" the WV but "on" the UES?). Both places are "casually expensive" with excellent food. Neither is trendy. A suit would feel totally appropriate at either, no tie, two buttons unbottoned. For some reason, Cafe Boulud to me felt a bit out of a Woody Allen film, perhaps because I heard a woman at a table next to me say "...and that was the single most ironic moment of his existence!".

                1 Reply
                1. re: akowit

                  I was actually going to suggest Mas to him, but then he said "well what do you know about Portuguese spots?" I've never been to any in the city, but heard a lot about Alfama. Would any of you recommend that?

                2. In my humble opinion, "One If By Land, Two If By Sea" on Barrow St. is a sure winner. There's even a piano bar. Good luck!

                  1. Wallse or Perry St. in the WV. Honestly, I don't think he will feel out of place in a suit wherever they end-up. Alfama can be good too...it's a smaller, cozier place than the other two I've mentioned.

                    1. i like Annisa - not stuffy, not trendy, but very comfortable. Food is also very well executed and orchestrated. Also, the space is pretty romantic (in a minimal ambient way - not in the grand piano and rose in a sterling bud vase way) in a way that is conducive to pretty serious conversation and your friend's love interest may very well end up rethinking her decision to move away. IMHO as much as I love Wallse, it feels more bustling and does not give off the romantic vibe to the same effect.

                      1. the little owl, blue ribbon

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Jck90

                          I find it hard to believe that men dress up in jacket & tie, much less a suit, at Blue Ribbon and Little Owl.

                        2. Wallse, Blaue Gans, Spotted Pig (a Britpub, which might be appropriate. On the other hand, he may be crying by the end of the meal). Balthazar, for sure, and for celebratory quotient.

                          One if by land, if it still exists, is a dump. Avoid at all costs.

                          - Sean

                          1. Haven't been there but I wonder if anyone thinks Cru would fit the bill?

                              1. second babbo or blue hill if you're stuck in village - never been to cru but it sounds like it would work as well...like that space. Also Toqueville if you can venture a block above 14th street.

                                1. Did we mention Etats Unis on the UES? If not, it should go high on your list. If only for the chocolate souffle, but also for everything else. It is romantic, cozy, celebratory.

                                  - Sean

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Sean Dell

                                    I must respectfully disagree. We had dinner once years ago at Etats Unis. Not only did the food not measure up to the hype (the curse of very high expectations), but it stands out in my mind as one of the most uncomfortable restaurants with regard to seating we've ever been to.