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small plates dinner for gf bday

It is my girlfriend's birthday and I'm looking for a place for dinner. She's into sharing everything and likes asian fusion food among others. In previous years we've been to O.G. and Kuma Inn, both of which were great. Any suggestions for a tapas/small plates restaurant (any type of food) or a good asian fusion place where we can share a bunch of stuff? Location is no big deal, and in terms of price I'd like to keep it reasonable, maybe under $40 per person not including drinks.


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    1. re: lanadai

      Just posted a review of Tia Pol. We really enjoyed the food and service there this past week.

    2. Tabla's Bread Bar has a tasty menu consisting of small and larger plates, all designed for sharing. The dessert donut holes with chocolate sauce are seriously scrumptious! I think you should be able to put together a good meal within your budgetary parameters. We've always sat on the very pleasant outdoor patio with a view of Madison Square Park.

      1. I have heard good things about Alta in the Village. Also I find Bao 111 good for a group - a fun atmosphere, with good cocktails.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cookiepuss

          Yep - I've written a lot of recommendations for Alta lately... for now I'll just second cookiepuss' suggestion.

        2. I think the perfect tapa place for such a special dinner is Degustation. It is very initimate with only 16 seats, and they serve french-inspired spanish tapas. The dishes are meant to be shared. You also get to see the chefs cooking in the open kitchen right in front of you! (with a hand-reach). $40 is doable if you select carefully.

          For Asian Fusion, you can try Le Miu or LAN, both in East Village. They are both Japanese fusion, but done a lot better than most of the high-end places (like Tao or Ono) in the city. Again, small restaurants, reasonably priced. You can find their website links and menus on menupages.com

          Hope you have a wonderful dinner with your girlfriend!

          7 Replies
          1. re: kobetobiko

            I second Degustation. The place is perfect for this kind of occasion I find it very romantic because it's so small and the dishes are fantastic. I say you could easily make it at $40 a person including a bottle of wine.

            This is actually where I am planning to go again for my birthday that's coming up. Enjoy!

            1. re: roze

              Another for Degustation. Just went back again (had their new soft shell crab tapa). You will need to order carefully at $40 (skip the dessert, dessert is not their forte). Do a search of this site for suggestions.

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                Oh my girlfriend goes crazy for soft shell crab, thats great they have that! I have a res for sat. night, looking forward to it.

                1. re: foodchow

                  It was so good. Small and scrumptious! One of my favorite tapas that night.

            2. re: kobetobiko

              Thanks for the advice, I just did some reading about Degustation and it sounds great, looks like I'm going there. Thanks again!

              1. re: foodchow

                Had my dinner at Degustation on Saturday. It was really fantastic, can't say enough good things about it. Thanks to all who recommended it, we had a great time.

                1. re: foodchow

                  So glad you and your gf had a special birthday dinner and Degustation worked for you.

            3. Oh yeah, Degustation is perfect for you. The Desperate Chefs Wives love Wesley as well. He'll be the handsome Spanish chef just a few feet away.

              1. Xunta for tapas. really cute space and YUMMY food and sangria.

                1. there is this place momofuku I have been hearing about.. It sounds like it might be a good option too..

                  1. Stanton Social has really fun atmosphere, I think prices are reasonable, small plates are good, and for two, you'd only need a few to be full.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jel212

                      Stanton Social is a good choice... the desserts are the best part!!!

                    2. My one visit to Degustation was great -- the food is excellent -- but we couldn't share as much as we liked because the plates were SO small, often just a couple of bites. So we ended up having to order two of the things we liked so we could both get enough, and it ended up being more expensive than anticipated as well and we left a bit hungry. On a less expensive end and more in line with the places you've liked in the past, I really like Izekaya Ten (nextdoor to Tia Pol) -- Japanese small plates and sake, great for sharing and you can easily fill yourself up for less than $40 per person. And of course there's Tia Pol, if you don't mind the wait.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: ABT

                        Can't say I agree with the portion complaint at Degustation. It depends on your appetite of course, but we found that each dish had plenty to share between two (maybe with the exception of the signature asparagus with poached egg). Plus most of the dishes are so rich you really don't need very much. In terms of cost though, do expect to order about 3 dishes per person.

                        1. re: jsgjewels

                          I agree with jsgjewels. I think the portion size at Degustation is very adequate. Anything bigger should not be classified as small plates. The whole point of small plates is to have portion just enough to savor (and share) and that you can try many different dishes. Of course depending on appetite of different people some may need to order more while others less.

                          For Japanese Izakaya, I think Izakaya Ten is just OK. There are better ones like Aburiya Kinnosuke or Yakitori Tottos in Midtown. However, they are more expensive.

                          1. re: kobetobiko

                            I don't love Izakaya Ten either, for the same price I think Taisho is much better and they have grilled skate wing. When I had dinner at Degustation, my boyfriend and I shared everything, since it was small plates, i wanted to just sample everything, we left very satiated.