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Nov 25, 2007 12:32 PM

Conflicting Taste Buds!

Hi - I'm trying to find a place for my fam to go for my sister's 25th birthday.

Everyone in my fam likes something different, causing difficulty in finding a place.

We'd prefer a restaurant with entrees in the 20's, def some chicken or pasta on the menu and preferably not a steakhouse or italian restaurant (unless it's a tuscan-type place).

We really like Portofino Grille, I Coppi, Maya, Thalia, Scarlatto, Avra, Mesa Grill and Stanton Social, to name a few.

However, my brother doesn't eat steak or fish, so I am trying to find a nice restaurant with ambiance, not too stuffy, but a menu that is delicious but not as sophisticated or limited as cookshop, hearth, gramercy tavern (we'd love to go there - looks fabulous!)

Any location is fine - other than financial district. Will be driving so prefer easy access from FDR or West Side Hwy.

Excited to hear your suggestions!

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  1. Perilla might be fun - check out their menu. It's not huge but very varied.

      1. I second Crispo. Something for everyone.

        2 Replies
        1. re: rrems

          Crispo does look good. Especially love the garden aspect!

          Any more suggestions? Asian Fusion or Contemporary American? Or anything else you may know of?

          Orchard Street came recommended and looks good but doesn't have chicken on menu for my bro...
          I Trulli also looks good but the menu is still bit too eclectic for my fam. Looks adorable!
          Fresco by Scotto looks fabulous!

          1. re: wolverinegal

            You might also check out Chow Bar. Sort of pan-Asian as interpreted by an American chef. There should be enough different types of dishes to please everyone.

        2. Giorgio's of Gramercy has the type of menu you are looking for, i.e., New American cuisine with an Italian bent, so something for everyone. The food is well-prepared, but not overly sophisticated. Pleasant service and very lovely ambiance.

          11 Replies
          1. re: RGR

            I too think Crispo fills the bill -- something for everyone.
            However, if you must have another suggestion that is a generic place, try Compass which is reasonable enough and will cater to certain tastes.

            1. re: idia

              Another for Crispo with one caveat, the noise (see recent thread regarding atmosphere). There are a lot of Crispo fans on this board. I thought it was a great value and good food. I'm not as in love as other hounds. You mentioned you really liked I Coppi (Crispo is larger and louder, with better food and service). I also like RGR's suggestion for Giorgio's.

              1. re: idia

                I like Compass, but I think Chef Neil Annis's cuisine is probably too sophisticated for wolverinegal's family. Of course, she can judge for herself by looking at the menu on their website.


                Though I've considered trying Crispo, reports about the high noise level -- one of my major restaurant peeves! -- have made me less inclined to do so.

                1. re: RGR

                  Hi RGR:
                  Actually, the noise level at Crispo is not to the point that you are reading lips like at some restaurants, but certainly during the week you can count on it being more tame in that regard -- well worth a try for really creative Italian dishes and warm, pleasant service persons.
                  As for Compass, I tend to think of it as much more generic than you do, I guess. I took my family, teenage kids included and old aunt and uncle, and there seemed to be something for everyone without being challenging.
                  However, I must say that it was in May, before the chefs changed hands, so maybe it is more of a challenge now.

                  1. re: RGR

                    I feel the same way about noise, but even though Crispo can be loud at times, it's never so bad that you can't hear yourself talk. The delicious food makes up for a lot. I've found Sunday night to be the quietest.

                    I agree about Compass, as OP says she doesn't want something too sophisticated.

                    1. re: rrems

                      Hi - Thanks everyone!
                      Well, I am looking into Giorgio's and Compass as we speak.
                      I bounced Crispo and Perilla off my sister last night and she was excited about Perilla.

                      Any more restaurants to suggest semi-similar to Perilla?
                      Or, I thought Jane might be good too - anything similar to that to recommend?

                      She's tough - doesn't want Italian and wants something "special" and yet, not too sophisticated!

                      Your help is fabulous!

                      1. re: wolverinegal

                        Hey, wolverinegal,

                        Though I've not been to Perilla, all the reports I've read about it on this and other food forums have been very positive. Seems to me since your sister is the birthday celebrant, if she's excited to go there and you can get a reservation, that's where you should go.

                        Best birthday wishes to your sister and Bon Appetit!

                        1. re: wolverinegal

                          Little Owl or Market Table
                          I like Jane, but I'm not sure it's "special"

                      2. re: RGR

                        RGR, we are on the same page regarding noise. We went to Crispo (me for the first time) on a Friday night at 7 PM and were in the main dining room. Noise level was okay and we were not in the bar area (noisier) or garden (quieter). You should give it a try, but NOT on a weekend. The food was good and a great value.

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          Thanks, fdr! I'm now more inclined to give Crispo a try. We can certainly do it mid-week, but I wonder if a Sunday might also be quieter?

                          1. re: RGR

                            My pleasure, RGR. As rrems posted above, Sunday night is the quietest based on their experience.

                  2. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. Punch is delicious without being too sophisticated (the chef once worked at Compass). The menu is varied and very reasonably priced. Atmosphere is beautiful and service always warm and professional.
                    It can get a little noisy at times but the seating is very comfortable and tables fairly well-spaced. It's a gem that deserves more recognition. I think you would have a great time there and everyone would find a dish that they will like.

                    Take a look at the website: