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Four Canadian Designer Girls Take Manhattan - Recommendations?

s
sundaycruddysunday Mar 28, 2007 09:05 PM

Hello:

I am visiting New York in May with three girlfriends to attend the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. We graduated last year, and as such are on not a shoestring, but on a budget nonetheless. The show is at Jacob K. Javits Centre (Chelsea-ish?) and staying at the Paramount (Times Square-ish). I'm looking for recommendations for cool-looking (we're designers, ok!?) affordable-yet-fabulous restaurants, wherever really. Something out-of-the-ordinary would be good. And, yes, I know, try Balthazar. :) Anything else? We'll be there for three days, so anything outstanding for dinner, lunch, or brunch would be great.

Thanks!

  1. g
    gra Mar 30, 2007 09:17 AM

    Hey, I am one of the 4 girls on this trip. I heard about a restaurant in the basement of a hotel with a translucent floor.... and when it rains the water drips and they catch it with upside down umbrellas... anyone know anything about that?

    3 Replies
    1. re: gra
      p
      pacz Mar 30, 2007 09:50 AM

      The Mercer Kitchen. However, the floors are not translucent, but some parts of the ceiling has glass circles that go up to the sidewalk. You can see the shadows of the people walking overhead.

      1. re: pacz
        m
        MellieMac Mar 30, 2007 10:00 AM

        Mercer Kitchen is good actually and you may even have a celb sighting. And Merc bar next door is always pretty scene-y.

        1. re: MellieMac
          g
          gra Apr 2, 2007 09:18 AM

          ah yes, mercer kitchen. thanks!

    2. m
      MellieMac Mar 30, 2007 08:49 AM

      You know what could be for late lunch after the show is Don Giovanni's on tenth ave, in the low 20's. They do EXCELLENT brick oven pizzas and its a nice atmosphere with outdoor seating if the weather is good.

      1. k
        kobetobiko Mar 29, 2007 10:21 PM

        $40 USD with wine, tax, and tips is indeed a bit of a stretch, especially if you add in the cool-looking criteria in it. To do this you will probably have to leverage 1) brunch which is usually cheaper than lunch / dinner and 2) prix-fix lunch and dinner that may come at off-hours

        Some hounds suggested Public, Freeman, and Perry street, and I agree that those are excellent choices! Public and Freeman are both great for brunch. For Perry Street, definitely do the $25 3-course prix-fix lunch or $35 3-course prix-fix dinner if you go between 5:30 - 6 pm. In fact, all Jean Georges' restaurants have this deal, so you can also visit Jean George which has extremely charming decor. You can take their lunch special at the nougatine room, food is very delicious and you get to sample Jean George's food at a fraction of the price you pay at dinner's regular hours.

        As designers I think you will appreciate the Bar at the Modern as suggested above. However, it may be a bit expensive and out of your price range.

        I think you definitely check out Del Posto recommended by nativenewyorker. It is one of the glamourous restaurants you can find in Manhattan. The regular menu is very pricey, but there is a great bargain 4-course prix fixe enoteca menu for $41 (and you can also order a la carte from the enoteca menu). If not the bar is still a good place to hang out.

        By the way, pretty all the restaurants have their own websites with menu and photos of the interior. If you google them you can check out the places first and decide on where to go. If reservation is available you should definitely reserve ahead of time as places (esp. popular cool looking ones) get filled up very quickly and walk-in may be difficult.

        Hope you guys have a wonderful trip in NYC!

        1. NAtiveNewYorker Mar 29, 2007 01:23 PM

          Del Posto is beautiful. Eat at the bar and keep the ordering to a minimum. Then walk around the Meatpacking District.

          For cheap but great interior, go to brgr. Good burger, great interior.

          1. r
            RCC Mar 29, 2007 12:39 PM

            Asuming that you wouldn't mind making the trek to 55th between 5th and 6th, then you should go to either: The Bar Room at the Modern, or the Modern Restaurant.
            These are in MOMA and the dishes, Alsatian-inspired, are very good. In the spirit of the fine museum that houses these reststaurants, the ambiance, setting and furniture should have some appeal to you.

            The wine list at the Bar Room are quite good and decently-priced, imho.

            1. ronoc Mar 29, 2007 12:30 PM

              While in the Meatpacking District, where I imagine you will definitely end up (every group of chic girls always seems to at some point), you may find it impossible to resist checking out the just-opened The Inn at Little West 12th, which apparently specializes in serving Canadian food like poutine, but in an impossibly "rustic-hip" space. I don't get it.
              Other "design-y" places I can think of for food and apps - Aspen on 22nd st (modern ski lodge and small plates), Peep (Soho - cheap Thai food in crazy lighting/sleek room), Bar 89 in Soho (with the infamous bathroom doors that go from transparent to opaque at the flip of a switch), La Esquina in Soho (Mexican food in a hidden spot - you go through the kitchen to get to the dining room), Employees Only (barely-marked trendy place in W Village with good food and drinks and nice back patio).
              There are some cool hotel bars in the Times Square area now. Hotel Dream (not sure that's right) has a roof bar I went to once. And I think the bar(s) at the Hudson Hotel are worth the trip up there, especially for your line of work. Very trippy. Check this out: http://www.hudsonhotel.com/hudson_hot...

              1 Reply
              1. re: ronoc
                k
                kathryn Mar 29, 2007 02:18 PM

                While you're at the Inn at Little West 12th, be sure to pop into 5 Ninth. The restaurant is in a former 19th century townhouse.

              2. csw Mar 29, 2007 10:01 AM

                Kitchen 22
                3 course prix fixe is 29.00
                http://www.charliepalmer.com/kitchen_...

                1 Reply
                1. re: csw
                  s
                  sundaycruddysunday Mar 30, 2007 08:31 PM

                  beeeeeooootiful - bonne choix!

                2. livetotravel Mar 29, 2007 09:45 AM

                  Sleek, modern with arguably the best new chef with the best new restaurant turning out some of the most interesting food in NYC - all at affordable prices? Momofuku Ssam Bar in the East Village - 2nd Ave at 13th. Check out this web site for a video and a load of great critical reviews.
                  http://www.savorynewyork.com/wiki/Mom...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: livetotravel
                    s
                    sam1 Mar 29, 2007 09:53 AM

                    good call on the ssam bar. its very popular these days and unique food...their banh mi is pricey at $9 but the best ive ever had.

                    i recommend brunch at freemans (i guess theyre also open for lunch these days). its cheap, delicious, very nyc, and a cool place to try.

                    1. re: sam1
                      d
                      David W Mar 29, 2007 10:03 AM

                      Perry Street has a very strong design element, and the $24 lunch is a bargain.
                      I'd also suggest the Bar Room at the Museum of Modern Art.
                      Craft may be above your price level, but you could always stop in for a drink just to see it.

                  2. oonth Mar 29, 2007 09:30 AM

                    Kyotofu on 9th Avenue between 48 and 49 is a Japanese bakery/patisserie/sake bar in a cool modernist design space. Limited selection of savoury foods but all in all a reasonably affordable place.

                    http://www.kyotofu-nyc.com/

                    Scrolling down, I would endorse the recommendation for The Monday Room which I sampled last week. Delicious pan-Asian tapas and good accompanying wine selections. The space is not as interesting designwise as the main restaurant but maybe grab a drink at the restaurant bar first. Only thing is that it may exceed your price point by a short distance.

                    http://www.themondayroom.com/

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: oonth
                      k
                      kathryn Mar 29, 2007 02:16 PM

                      2nd Kyotofu for both the food and the design (by Hiro Tsuruta, who also did Chikalicious). Be aware, though, that what you're getting is not your typical dessert bar.

                      1. re: kathryn
                        s
                        sundaycruddysunday Mar 30, 2007 08:22 PM

                        kyotofu looks gorgeous, the drinks looks great, AND they used the same font as i did in my first portfolio - another contender!!

                    2. s
                      Simon Mar 29, 2007 08:00 AM

                      -- Tides Seafood...a tiny place Norfolk St in the Lower East Side...amazing seafood...cool design...superb service...do a search for it here and you'll find many raves...moderately priced for NYC

                      -- Lucien...fun East Village bistro...very crowded at night...not a modern design or anything, but trendy in a grungy downtown way...bouillabaise, escargot, endive salad, and chocolate cake all excellent...also fun in the late afternoon for wine...

                      -- Angel's Share bar for drinks...a semi-hidden inside a second floor Japanese restaurant on 9th St/3rd Ave...a cozy dark place for great cocktails (they have appetizers but they are only so-so)...

                      -- Cafe Mogador...very reasonably priced Moroccan place on St.Mark's between FirstAve/AveA...fits your budget nicely...good for dinner or brunch...

                      -- Otto...downtown Mario Batali joint for pizza and pasta and antipasti...Fifth Ave at 8th St...

                      -- n33 (Spanish accent over the "n" pronounced "en-yay") at 33 Crosby...tiny Spanish wine and tapas bar...very cozy and cool-looking inside...trendy and fun...the fancy loft building directly across the street has at various times housed Lenny Kravitz, Courtney Love, Britney Spears, Nicole Kidman, etc...very close to Balthazar (which i also love) so n33 is a good place to grab a drink before or after...

                      1. k
                        kobetobiko Mar 28, 2007 10:01 PM

                        Since "affordable" is a relative term, it will help us to make better suggestions if you provide more specific price rangea and may be cuisine preference.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: kobetobiko
                          s
                          sundaycruddysunday Mar 29, 2007 07:13 AM

                          you are absolutely right... well in ottawa I consider $40 per person for three courses with wine, tax and tip a great deal. Is that even possible in New York?

                          1. re: sundaycruddysunday
                            janethepain Mar 29, 2007 07:30 AM

                            That would mean a great deal would be about $22-25 for a three-course meal (about $8 for tax + tip, and assuming a glass of wine is $8-10)... unless my math is completely off. But is this in Canadian dollars? I don't know what the exchange rate is exactly, but you might be a little hard(er) pressed to find such a deal in NYC. Even worse if you throw in good decor as a requirement. Cheap eats with plentiful booze is my specialty, but I usually don't care for decor. That said:

                            Non-shabby places off the top of my head in which you might make your budget:

                            - Via Emilia (41 E. 21st bet. Park and Bway)
                            - Bar Carrera (on my list of places to try, in the East Village)
                            - Artepasta (if you get there before 7pm I believe, it's three courses for $15 plus ridiculous happy hour specials - $5 fishbowl martinis, anyone? The food def. won't blow your mind, but it's FUN)
                            - Cornelia Street Cafe (West Village)

                            And then there are tons of cheap but good places in the East Village that lean more from cute and cozy to funky and kitschy.

                            1. re: janethepain
                              s
                              sundaycruddysunday Mar 29, 2007 12:18 PM

                              Fish bowl martinis -- now you're speaking my language. :) And we'll disregard the exchange rate for now, as its pretty low, and hey, you're in Manhattan, what do you expect? Thanks for the list, I think Artepasta is at the top of it!

                              1. re: sundaycruddysunday
                                janethepain Mar 30, 2007 10:00 AM

                                Haha, just remember, the food isn't anything great (but it's fine, especially considering the low prices), but that'll fade into a distant memory on your second or third martini. And if you were really interested in decor, this place would not be it - the last time I was there, our party was commenting on how ludicrously bad the paintings on the wall were. www.artepasta.com

                        2. oolah Mar 28, 2007 09:40 PM

                          Public, in Nolita, designed by the folks at AvroKo, is also a great-looking glam room with good modern Aussie food.

                          Centovini in Soho is mod, with an all black and white decor and curvy sexy furniture (all from Moss, a great little furniture shop around the corner). Also, Morimoto, in the meatpacking district, is one of the most stunning restaurants I've ever seen. Even if you don't eat there, go for a drink and gawk at the beautiful ceiling -- it's a dramatic exposed curved wood slat design that makes it look like you're inside a whale.

                          The food is just ok at both these places, although Centovini is redeemed by a really broad and well-thought-out wine list.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: oolah
                            s
                            sundaycruddysunday Mar 29, 2007 07:21 AM

                            Thanks - they all look gorgeous! Centovino is run by people who run Moss - the best of both worlds! Sigh...! Morimoto looks gorgeous, and who doesn't love sushi? I'll put them all on my watch list, but right now I'm leaning towards Centovino. Wine List AND furniture? I'll die of happiness. Thanks for the recommendations.

                            1. re: sundaycruddysunday
                              Toshiro Apr 1, 2007 06:06 AM

                              A Torontonian here! Check out Kitchen 22 on 22nd. Charlie Palmer's place - it gets pretty good later on but the have a 3 course price fix menu for like $30 (or used to) - pretty good deal (at the range your in NYC is tough) - especially tip!
                              Good Luck :)

                            2. re: oolah
                              funkymonkey Mar 29, 2007 08:41 AM

                              Public is a great suggestion; i think their food is pretty tasty, and the atmosphere is tres cool. They also have a wine bar called The Monday Room, which serves food as well, and might be a more budget-concious way of experiencing the place.

                              202 in chelsea market is worth a stop in for brunch. it's in the nicole farhi store in chelsear market, at 75 ninth ave.

                              1. re: funkymonkey
                                k
                                kathryn Mar 29, 2007 02:19 PM

                                Here's the AkroKo site:

                                http://www.avroko.com/

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