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A right mix of romantic and cool?

Hey all. I am a recent contributor and I am so far thoroughly impressed with everyone's knowledge here. I am looking for a restaurant recommendation to take my wife to for our anniversary. It's not a major thinkg, but I am looking for the right mix or romantic and cool. By romantic I don't mean a guy playing on a piano, but more of a laid-back, semi-quiet, no-rush atmosphere. By cool I mean a predominantly local 20-something crowd, no logoed LV bags paired with UGGs, please. I would like something new. The tried and trues include:

Aquagrill
Blue Ribbon/Blue Ribbon Bakery (downstairs)

Budget is $100 per person max, including a glass of wine, tax, and a 15% tip.
Location: Anything below 23rd street is fine by me. Preferably not in the meatsmelling district.

I was thinking The Mercer, but I am not sure.

Thanks.

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  1. Great choices on the tried and true. The Mercer is a little bit too self-consciously hip for my tastes, though the food is very good. A few restaurants you might want to look into: August, Agave, Mas, Jane, Salt, Lupa (tho ppl say they've been rushed here, I've never been). There's some great stuff further west, but I'll have to think on it a bit more.

    6 Replies
    1. re: cimui

      I've already taken her to Lupa once, we had a good time - no rush at all. I will look into the others. I am hesitant on the Mercer for the same reason you mentioned.

      1. re: nokitsch

        Hey, sorry about that half assed response earlier. I think more details'd be helpful.

        The strongest choice of the bunch is probably Salt, a low-key, intimate place with well prepared, cozy food, not unlike Blue Ribbon Bakery. The downside is that some of the tables are too close together and kind of loud-ish during prime time dinner hours. (I bet you can specifically ask for tables that are more private.) Wine list is good, service very friendly.

        If you're into French food, Mas is old school French fare with a good wine list, but maybe pricier than the food merits.

        The others I'd strike off the list, on second thought. All are good, but not special enough for a really special occasion like an anniversary. Agave and Jane's food probably aren't special enough, though both are very good; August isn't a romantic enough space

        The only other place I can think to recommend is Jefferson, if that's still open. I haven't been there in a while. If it is still around, the space is beautifully minimalistic and the food very good.

        I leave the east village to the experts.

        1. re: cimui

          No worries - actually my analysis of your recommendations mirrored your response word for wordl. Salt came out a winner with the only worry being close tables (judging from the pix on their website). The menu looks just perfect though. Thanks.

          1. re: nokitsch

            I like Salt a lot but my last meal there was only OK, not as good as previous visits.

            Also, if you're a party of two, and get stuck in the window seats, it can get cold and drafty there even with the door shut.

          2. re: cimui

            Jefferson did close a few months back.

            1. re: jsgjewels

              That's too bad. 'preciate the update.

      2. Hearth on 1st Ave and 11th.

        Laid back, cool, terrific food, very good service and no rush atmosphere. Crowd is normally a mix, but with predominantly those in their 30's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RCC

          Hearth is a good choice. I have to get back there.

        2. Landmarc could be good for this.
          The Harrison or Red Cat might fit too. Say no to the Mercer.

          1. So many places!
            5 Ninth Avenue
            Cafe Cluny
            Little Owl- if you can get in
            Goblin Market
            Hearth- absolutely
            Mermaid Inn
            Il Buco
            Freemans
            Peasant
            just to name a few ! Have fun

            1. Blue Hill would be a good addition to your list for consideration. I second Little Owl, also.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ballulah

                My wife and I love Apizz for romantic and cool

                1. re: ballulah

                  I second Blue Hill but it may be a little more expensive than your budget allows. Possibly doable if you order carefully and definitely worth it.