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Jun 13, 2007 06:18 PM

Visiting Italians-Pre-Theater dinner rec.

Thanks to all who helped with my previous search. I got so many great ideas. Just one last thing. We have tickets to take them to Beauty and the Beast on July 3rd, which also happens to be my 30th wedding anniversary. Any suggestions. I did read someone's suggestion for West bank Cafe. Checked out the website and it looks good. Any other ideas???

Thanks again,

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  1. I like West Bank Cafe. The food's excellent, service is friendly and efficient, seating is very comfortable, and the overall ambiance is pleasant. But it is a casual place.

    Are you looking for something fancier/upscale = more celebratory?

    Also, I notice that July 3rd is a Tuesday, and many shows start at 7 p.m., instead of the usual 8 p.m. Is that the case with your show? If so, and you will be dining pre-theater, that definitely impacts restaurant choices.

    19 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Insieme for high end italian, le bernadin for a blowout

      1. re: MBShapiro

        I have always wanted to go to le bernadin and Insieme looks lovely, butI don't feel the need to spend that much on the meal for that night.
        I happen to be a really good cook and I have to laugh at prices for things that are so simple and inexpensive to make. Good Italian cooking shouldn't be that expensive. They would laugh at spending $9.00 for white beans with sage and garlic. Another time perhaps.
        Thanks, I appreciate the info.

      2. re: RGR

        Hi RGR,

        Thanks for all your help. I checked out your LES walking tour BTW. You have me craving an eggcream! Also, will be going to Ethos. Menu looks good and I know the simple grilled fish will appeal to them. Checked my tickets and they say 8 PM. Not looking for fancy upscale. Just good food and a nice overall ambiance. While I would spend a bit more, I don't need to as long as the food is great. The show alone will impress them, I can save a splurge meal for another time.

        1. re: scanmike

          Hey, scanmike,

          Egg creams! Super yum!! lol I'll be interested to hear what the Italians think of the tour. Glad you're going to Ethos.

          Based on what you say you're looking for pre-theater, West Bank Cafe will be very suitable.

          Looking forward to your eventual reports. Happy 30th Anniversary in advance! :-)

          1. re: RGR

            BTW, I posted re: bad reviews at West Bank, Roberto Passon onCitysearch.
            Can you give me your advice?

              1. re: scanmike

                I'm with RGR on both those restaurants, having dined several times at Passon and West Bank Cafe - both for dinner and brunch. They're very good and remarkably reasonable. Haven't read the Citysearch posters - but in general, I find Chowhound postings to be far better gauges of a restaurant's quality than general info/tourist boards.

                Also, based on your response to Insieme, I'd definitely not recommend Barbetta where the prices are high and the food doesn't warrant the cost. Nice garden, though, especially this time of year.

                1. re: Striver

                  Striver, agree with your comments on Barbetta. The garden is the highlight. There are better places in the area.

                2. re: scanmike

                  I don't read Citysearch reviews, nor do I put much stock in the reviews on Menupages. From my experience, Hound reviews are quite reliable though, of course, you will find differences of opinions -- some quite vociferous -- regarding just about every restaurant. I recommend West Bank Cafe and Roberto Passon because my experiences at them, like Striver's, have been positive. That's the best I can do. :-)

                  1. re: RGR

                    Hi RGR,
                    I am torn between West Bank , Roberto Passon and Marseille. All three you recommend. Foodwise, is one any better than the other?. They seem to be in the same price range.

                    1. re: scanmike

                      Hi scanmike,

                      Since you are hosting Italians, I wouldn't go to Roberto Passon -- the carrying coals to Newcastle thingy. Plus, in terms of atmospherics, while it's pleasant enough, I think it's the least attractive and comfortable of the three.

                      I think the quality of the cuisine at Marseille and West Bank are on a par with each other though, of course, they are entirely different -- French/Mediterranean vs. New American.

                      When it comes to ambiance, they differ completely. Marseille is a brasserie with eye-catching decor and a bustling vibe which still manages to maintain a noise level that's conversation-friendly. West Bank has attractive low-key decor, tables that are nicely-spaced, very comfortable seating and, overall, quieter ambiance. To me, it has a more NY/American "feel" than Marseille, which is, after all, a NY version of a French brasserie.

                      Does this help?

                      1. re: RGR

                        It helps immensely. Thank you

                        You are a wealth of knowledge.
                        Any recommendations for lunch by MOMA?

                        1. re: scanmike

                          You can, of course, eat inside MoMA. I haven't been yet to any of the restaurant options there. The Modern and the adjacent more casual Bar Room are top tier. But there are also a cafeteria and a cafe. My daughter and the b.f. have had dinner in The Modern's formal dining room. But they have also eaten a couple of times in the cafe (on the 5th floor) and they said the food's good.


                          If you tell me what you are looking for in the way of cuisines, casual vs fancier, and budget, I'll try to offer suggestions for places in the vicinity of MoMA. Also, will this lunch be with your Italian visitors?

                          1. re: RGR

                            Hi RGR,

                            Casual, budget and yes with my Italian visiors. If the cafeteria is fine, that will probably suffice. Also, keep in mind they have a 11 year old boy. A amazingly, well behaved boy who can withstand hours with adults. I have to check over West End Cafe's menu to make sure something will appeal to him. That's why I included Roberta Passon in my choices to you.

                            1. re: scanmike

                              Hi scanmike,

                              It's the cafe on the 5th floor that my daughter says is very good. I don't know anything about the cafeteria, but it's also a Danny Meyer operation, so I would presume it's fine.

                              Just to throw out another possibility... La Bonne Soupe, on 55th St., b/t 5th & 6th Avs., is a sweet French bistro with lots more on the menu than just good soups. It's a family-friendly place, so the 11-year-old should feel very comfortable.


                              Actually, I forgot about the 11-year-old. The West Bank menu should be o.k. because there are a couple of pastas on it. And if he happens to like steak, it's on there.

                              Now that you've mentioned him, I'm wondering if, perhaps, Marseille might be a better option since it does have a more vibrant, bustling vibe. Pastas on the menu there as well. And if the young man wants to go "American," there's an excellent burger with fries.

                              1. re: RGR

                                We seem to have like minds. I also forgot about him till yesterday and so I just checked out the menus of Roberto Passon, WEst Band and Marseille. I thought the same thing...Marseille does have a pasta and a hamburger. I was just wondering if the hamburger is good. My daughter just returned from Venice and she knows their eating habits better having spent time with them. She said the husband likes pastas and steaks and the boy likes pasta with pomodoro sauce or beef.. Le Bonne Soupe is fine.


                                1. re: scanmike

                                  My husband has had the burger at Marseille. It was big, juicy, and delicious. Also for the beef lovers, there's steak/frites.

                                  In my view, one of the major joys of traveling to a foreign country is experiencing that country's cuisine. When our French friends have visited here, we've taken them to NY-centric or American restaurants, i.e., a deli, a steakhouse, or a restaurant serving New American cuisine. I'd give a pass to the boy re: familiar foods. But when it comes to the adults, I'd try to expose them to things that they can't find back home. Ergo, my LES eating tour, which you know about. :-)

                                  Btw, if you haven't been able to find the details of my tour, I'd be happy to post it here.

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    Hi RGR,

                                    I think I found the tour on a previous post. Thanks
                                    I plan on taking them to deli's, steakhouse, etc. Plus I will do a bulk of the cooking. Just don't know what to do about that night of the theater. I am probably needlessly worrying. . .

                                    1. re: scanmike

                                      Hi scanmike,

                                      I'm sure whatever you arrange for them, they will have a great time and be very appreciative. So, relax! :-)