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Nov 1, 2007 09:22 AM

Spicy - 2nd Date (not LES or EV)

Have a 2nd date on friday night and don't want it to be too close to my apartment (LES); I know the girl really enjoys spicy food so I figure why not take advantage of my favorite type of cusine. Trying to keep it under $100 as I'm sending out MBA applications and they giving my cc serious damage! Any suggestions for the upper east village (above 10th) or west village/ tribeca/ chelsea areas?

Thought about Tia Pol but have read some negative reviews.


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  1. I love the food at Tia Pol, but you'll have to wait for a table. The food isn't particularly spicy.

    1. You're in luck - I've got a restaurant and a bar pairing for you.

      Pongsri Thai at 165 West 23 Street (just east of 7th Ave.) is a very respectable Thai restaurant which makes fine versions of all the Thai favorites. The spicing level varies by dish but it's certainly robust. (Ask the waiter before ordering something extra spicy - some things are already pretty zippy and you don't want to overdo it.) I can strongly recommend the Nam Sod salad and the Pad Key Mao (not peppery but very flavorful) but you really won't go wrong ordering anything on the menu. The ambiance is just fine and the prices won't break your budget.

      For pre dinner drinks the bar at El Quijote restaurant (226 W 23rd St), right next to the Chelsea Hotel, is a real find. Unlike the regular bars in the area this one is quiet and good for conversation. And you'll have plenty to talk about. El Quixote is filled with kitschy decorations - sort of the Spanish equivalent of a tiki bar. Funny stuff. The drink prices are quite reasonable and it's less than a block from the restaurant.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bob Martinez

        Yes! Definitely go for drinks at El Quixote. You can get a small pitcher of sangria, and maybe some shrimp in garlic sauce. (My husband took me there for lobsters 14 years ago for one of our 1st dates). Then go on to your next place. I never went to Grand Sichuan Int'l in Chelsea 24th St., but if you want spicy food, I'd go there. This would be one of my perfect dates! Please report back and let us know what you ended up doing.

        1. re: michele cindy

          I'm glad you liked El Quijote too. It's pretty unusual and a pleasant place to have a drink.

          I've got to disagree about Grand Sichuan International in Chelsea. The food is a solid B but the atmosphere is borderline divey and the crowds would definitely kill any buzz on a 2nd date. Hell, they kill my buzz even if I'm just dining there with friends.

          *Much* better Szechuan food can be had at Szechuan Gourmet on 39th street, my pick for the best of it's kind in Manhattan. The atmosphere is lightyears better than GSI as well. The only problem is that it's out of the OP's geographic range so I didn't recommend it.

          1. re: Bob Martinez

            I didn't think about that... Now that you mention it, Friday nights at El Quixote are really packed too, and there are always folks bumping into you as they wait for a table. Personally, I wouldn't mind going to either place even on a 1st or 2nd date.

      2. We just tried Saravanaas for the first time and loved it. South Indian, lots of spicy (and inexpensive) dishes. Downside is that the service and decor leave a lot to be desired. Anyway, it's on 26th and Lex if you're interested.

        1 Reply
        1. re: clembeauchamp

          Saravanaas is great. Although I don't know if it's the best atmosphere for a second date. Maybe Devi would be a better Indian date spot?

        2. Take her to Los Dos Molinos on 18th between Park & Irving. The Mexican food is super spicy and really tasty. Great margaritas, too.

          4 Replies
          1. re: LeahBaila

            thanks! that's the place I was thinking of.....

            1. re: wingman

              Oh good! You'll enjoy it...make sure to order cheese dip (it's not on the menu)!

              1. re: LeahBaila

                my only worry - is it a cheesey mexican place i.e., mama mexico or is it a decent date place?

                i'm traveling far further north than my comfort zone here....

                1. re: wingman

                  No...not cheesy at all. No mariachis or anything like that.

          2. not a fan of los dos molinos. i think you can get much better. if you go i would love to get your opinion.