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Jul 25, 2007 08:48 AM

Is "Trendy" And Delicious Possible?

A friend of mine asked me to recommend a Manhattan restaurant where she could take some of her friends from out of town. At first I was excited to share some of my favorite group places; but, then came the kicker ... "young and trendy." :(. Pretty much any of the restaurants that came to mind were immediately crossed off. I think this raises an interesting question: is it possible to balance young and trendy with taste? Or, are these two things mutually exclusive. And, if there are any such restaurants, what should I recommend to my friend?

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  1. Why would they be exclusive of each other?

    9 Replies
    1. re: FrankJBN

      Some of the "sceney" places where the young and would-be hip dine just do not produce when it comes to flavor. The only thing that keeps them going is cachet, and after that's gone, the scenester who follow in the wake of the image-makers can keep a restaurant afloat for years.

      I find, though, that that is the exception, not the rule. I have had great experiences at Stanton Social, Alta, Butter (food, not service) and Highline to name a few spots. Stanton Social is definitely one of my go-to spots when friends are visiting from out of town and I want to give them a dose of NYC-envy.

        1. re: LeahBaila

          What dishes do you recommend at Stanton Social? We walked by Saturday night before dinner at Orchard. TIA.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Beef sliders, soup dumplings, squash tempura, peach and brie quesadilla, and the donuts.

            1. re: LeahBaila

              Thanks! Is it correct that the menu is sort of eclectic small plates?

        2. re: JungMann

          Did you have a bad experience with the service at Butter? I love highline, by the way. I think it's underrated. And, the prices are very fair given the location and trendiness.

          1. re: ajgnet

            I've always had bad service at Butter. The first time the servers were flat out rude and ignored me. I had the sense it was because we were dressed for a walk thru the city and not for doing blow with Linsay Lohan in the bathroom. Recently I was seated 30 minutes late without an apology. The food was still fantastic, though.

            Highline makes very good Thai-fusion for very good prices in the neighborhood. Drinks are pricey but fantastic.

            But my vote still has to be Stanton Social. The sliders, fish tacos, french onion soup dumplings and meatballs are all just so fantastic. The energy in the room, the innovative little dishes and the atmosphere make for a really fun night. I think I may have to go after work!

          2. re: JungMann

            Some people here don't dig it, but I definitely second the Station Social - fun, great atomosphere, and I liked the food!

            Also, I heard Suba was good and sceney, also small plates.

          1. re: johnnyappleseed

            The food there is consistently great. I had a wonderful dinner there last week, and was reminded of how much I like 'inoteca. Being uninterested in the scene, I found the quiet downstairs more mellow and really lovely.

            I'll also second Momofuku Ssam recommended below.

          2. I think the list I'm about to recommend has come to: Spice Market, Mercer Kitchen, and Stanton Social. Stanton Social would normally be my first choice; but, it's always my impressive-new-york fallback.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ajgnet

              my #1 in this category would be buddakan.

              spice market used to be but as i wrote in a recent post in another place, haven't eaten there in a while and the founding head chef isn't there anymore....

              'inoteca is one of my favorite places, and always great!

              mercer kitchen is a good choice too. lure fishbar perhaps?

              i dislike butter. trendy, but when i've eaten there, bad food & bad service...
              is mermaid inn considered trendy now? it's delicious...

            2. Perhaps I am too old (and totally out of the pop culture scene) to know what trendy is, but do Blue Ribbon or Red Cat count? Both are very lively and have excellent food.

              1 Reply
              1. Tia Pol doesn't have an exclusively young crowd, but you do see some of the meat-packing contingent there, and a lot of the food is fantastic.