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Dinner Suggestions Needed

Hey 'hounders,

I'm going to a Saturday matinee with a friend of mine in January at Lincoln Center following with dinner. I don't know where we should eat exactly since I'm kind of indecisive at the moment where should we go.

Here's a list of where we've eaten so far and our general thoughts on them.

Le Bernardin (we were generally a bit disappointed)
Degustation (we love it)
Fatty Crab (ditto)
'ino (it's good)
Eleven Madison Park (quite good)
The Modern Bar Room (we like it)
Aureole (good but not exactly memorable)
Tia Pol (we like it)
Alta (we love it)
Momofuku Ssam (we love it)

Basically we like bold flavored food and we prefer to not to spend a lot of money (~$50-60 pp), and prefer something casual. Location is not an issue.

What are your thoughts on Del Posto, Public, Little Owl, Bondi Road, and August?

Thanks in advance!
Tina

Edit: You may recommend any other restaurants beyond the ones I've listed above. Thanks again!

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  1. Little Owl isn't really "bold" in terms of flavors but it is casual and in that price range. You'll have a long wait, though, even if you show up at 5:30pm.

    6 Replies
      1. re: chocokitty

        Yes, they do. And I think they'll take you're phone number so that you can leave if you are waiting for a table.

        1. re: chocokitty

          They do! I somehow missed the fact that you were looking for January! I thought you meant this weekend.

          They are on OpenTable but only open up the 5:30p or 9:30p tables.

          Calling would probably be better as I believe they open up the reservation books 1 day before they open it up to OpenTable.

          1. re: kathryn

            What do you recommend from Little Owl? I know their pork chop is very good but what else?

            1. re: chocokitty

              The sliders were awesome. I had the pork chop -- it was cooked to medium well when I requested medium -- and I found it juicy but strangely, the chop was mostly bland tasting meat. The accompanying butter beans were amazing, though. My boyfriend's roasted chicken was excellent. We followed it up with strawberry rhubarb crumble which was fantastic.

              1. re: chocokitty

                Pork chop is great. Scallop appetizer. Usually the fish (bass?) is well-prepared. The chicken is great, but I can't get too excited about chicken. For dessert, get whatever crumble they have on the menu.

        2. Bondi Road is most definitely cheap and casual, but food-wise it's far below the level of the other places you've listed. It's fine for what it is - a place to get a nice piece of fish & some decent side dishes. It's also deafening when crowded.

          1. I couldn't agree more about Le Bernardin. The food was mediocre at best and undeserving of any accolades. But worse than the food was the service. Short of being spit on, my guests and I were treated horribly. The waiter slammed our glasses down on our table. He never came back to check on us or to refill our water glasses. He treated us w/ the utmost contempt. I've gotten much better treatment at cheap dives! I can think of nothing that would warrant such behavior. We were there for lunch and dressed in business attire. We were a polite and quiet group of 3. The only thing I can think of and hate to suggest is that we weren't caucasian and they felt it beneath them to serve us. I never made a formal complaint which I regret, but I have vowed never to return.

            1. Quite a range here: It's hard to imagine Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin being on the same list as Fatty Crab and Momofuku Ssam. Do you want to eat somewhere near Lincoln Center? If so, try Cafe Gray (and get the short ribs!) or Amalia or if you're a wine lover go to Bin 71 and get a few glasse. If your matinee gets out early enough and you are neighborhood-agnostic, do yourself a favor and get to Babbo at 5 and put your name on the list and drink wine until you get a table in the front.

              4 Replies
              1. re: jhggeyser

                It's just meant as a frame of reference of sorts to give everyone an idea of what we like/dislike and where we've eaten. I ate at Cafe Gray before and I generally liked it more than love it; meaning I'm not really running back there soon.

                We are basically "neighborhood agnostic" but I don't know if I want to deal with the hassle of getting a table in Babbo, as much as I really want to eat there.

                Thanks for the recs!

                1. re: chocokitty

                  My newly discovered Babbo secret: walk in at 9:58am exactly one month before you wish to dine. It's was surprisingly easy. Then again, I live 10 minutes away. :)

                  1. re: kathryn

                    just show up at Babbo at 5:30 any day of the week and put your name on the list at the lectern. you can enjoy a quartino until your space at the bar -- or in the front room -- opens up. i've eaten in the front at Babbo 5-6 times and greatly prefer it to the main dining room.

                  2. re: chocokitty

                    chocokitty,

                    Since you say you like bold flavors, I would suggest Devi. Since re-opening, I think the food is better than ever. You can order from the a la carte menu or have the well-priced 3-course prix-fixe for $45.

                    http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

                2. I loved BLT Prime when I went on Saturday.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: steakrules85

                    The main reason I've avoided trying BLT Prime, even though it's very conveniently located for us, is that I've heard the noise level is excessively high -- one of my major restaurant pet peeves. So, how noisy was it?

                    1. re: RGR

                      We sat upstairs and did not find it very loud at all, however noise really doesnt bother us so maybe I am not the best person to ask. On the first floor I think the music may have been a bit louder because thats where the speakers were. Overall though everyone from the food to the atmosphere was A+ amazing.

                      1. re: steakrules85

                        What do you recommend from BLT Prime? I know it's a steakhouse...but I'm curious in what you've eaten.

                        1. re: chocokitty

                          Appetizers- Wild Mushroom Risotto and Nantucket Scallops (Both Specials)
                          Main Dishes- Porterhouse for 2, Short Ribs, Grilled Jumbo Shrimp
                          Sides- Creamy Spinach, Parmesan Gnocchi, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Blue Cheese Tater Tots
                          Desserts- Chocolate Chesnut Sundae and Crepe Souffle in Passion Fruit Sauce.

                          It is an amazing restaurant and everything was delicious. The standouts were the Porterhouse, Short Ribs, Blue Cheese Tater Tots, Parmesan Gnocchi, Chocolate Chestnut Sundae, and of course the Popovers are divine!!!!