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Lavanga or The Mermaid Inn for Second Date

Marginwalker Jan 8, 2008 02:31 PM

I'm brand new here...Can't decide between the mermaid Inn of Lavanga for Second date...Please help, thanks

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  1. financialdistrictresident RE: Marginwalker Jan 8, 2008 02:51 PM

    Do you mean LaVagna (Italian)? If you do their food is much better than The Mermaid Inn. LaVagna also has a great wine list. LaVagna is pretty dark, small and intimate as compared to The Mermaid Inn. Not sure what type of atmosphere you are looking for.

    1 Reply
    1. re: financialdistrictresident
      Marginwalker RE: financialdistrictresident Jan 8, 2008 04:39 PM

      Thanks for the help...yes, the italian place on 5th b/t A & B. I was there once and loved it. I was never at the Mermaid Inn, so I don't know how it measures up. Both my date and myseld live on the UES...I wanted to get out of the area and go downtown on the east side somewhere intimate but appropriate for a second date. but not too expensive. Would like to keep the bill under $150 if possible, do have any other palces you like better then LaVagna? Appreciate all the hepl

    2. s
      sugartoof RE: Marginwalker Jan 8, 2008 05:22 PM

      I had great food at Lavagna when I tried it about 4 years ago, but you should be warned that the place is incredibly cramped and lacks privacy for a date situation. My recollection is it's a pretty casual despite the lengthy wine list.

      5 Replies
      1. re: sugartoof
        Marginwalker RE: sugartoof Jan 8, 2008 05:25 PM

        Can you recommend a place for a second date which you would prefer....Have you tried the Mermaid Inn

        1. re: Marginwalker
          sugartoof RE: Marginwalker Jan 8, 2008 07:15 PM

          I haven't tried Mermaid Inn to compare, and all my suggestions for the East Village would be on the more casual side as well. Maybe Frank's?

          1. re: Marginwalker
            sugartoof RE: Marginwalker Jan 8, 2008 07:48 PM

            Also, another suggestion: there's a cuban place which opened recently on 3rd street between b and c i think. I found out about it from a NYMag review. Unfortunately the name slips my mind, and it's a hole in the wall....but really great food, and almost every table appeared to be on a date when I was there. Make sure you order the plantains. Best I've had.

            1. re: sugartoof
              Lucia RE: sugartoof Jan 9, 2008 08:32 AM

              I think it's called Cortadito. I passed it the other day but haven't been.

              1. re: Lucia
                sugartoof RE: Lucia Jan 11, 2008 11:16 AM

                That sounds about right, yes. It doesn't look like much, and the mural on the wall is pretty silly, but the food was really impressive. If you go, make sure you try the Yuca Fries, and order the Plantains. Both are easy to miss out on, since they're such snackey items, but they took the meal to another level.

        2. r
          rrems RE: Marginwalker Jan 8, 2008 06:45 PM

          The Mermaid Inn has totally forgettable food, and you have to shout to have a conversation, and the tables are tiny and very close together. Loud, cramped, ordinary food, and overpriced do not seem to me a great place for a second date, or any other.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rrems
            jthefoodie RE: rrems Jan 8, 2008 07:40 PM

            Not to mention, the Mermaid Inn just closed for renovations...after being exposed for having a rodent problem!
            Some ideas in the East Village and thereabouts are: Apizz, Degustation, Alta, Aroma Kitchen & Winebar. Good luck!

            1. re: jthefoodie
              Marginwalker RE: jthefoodie Jan 9, 2008 04:28 AM

              Thanks for all the help...I think I'm going to go with LaVagna.

          2. n
            nancyl126 RE: Marginwalker Jan 9, 2008 07:04 AM

            Take a look at I Coppi on 9th Street between First and A.

            1. p
              petitechoux RE: Marginwalker Jan 9, 2008 07:44 AM

              LaVanga over Mermaid Inn. It's awfully loud and the food isn't even close to being good. Skip Mermaid. Also in the area, The Smith was a nice place for a date and there's a photobooth downstairs which was a fun stop after our meal.

              1. w
                wingman RE: Marginwalker Jan 9, 2008 07:49 AM

                Lavagna is going to make it seem like you're trying to "seal the deal" on the second date, might be a bit too intimate and come off as a bit strong. Mermaid Inn is much more casual and relaxed. The food isn't great but the atmosphere is fun and the foretune telling fish you get at the end could be a great conversation piece. I'd say Lavagna is more of a third or fourth date place.

                1. bml RE: Marginwalker Jan 9, 2008 08:38 AM

                  I also would recomend Lavagna and am suprised to read that some would think it's too pushy. I understand what one poster said about it being cramped but whether or not that is an issue probably depends on how formal the two of you are. Also, as an added bonus, two very good friends of mine had their first dates there and the relationships have been going strong so I feel like it brings good luck.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bml
                    financialdistrictresident RE: bml Jan 9, 2008 12:35 PM

                    I think LaVagna is very dark and intimate (hence "seal the deal" comment). I had a third date at LaVagna and have also been many times with friends. Degustation is a bit more upscale, a bit more expensive and a bit less dark. I Coppi might be a nice compromise and food is better than The Mermaid Inn (currently closed per another post). At least it was the last time I went and I Coppi has that garden room. Pylos? Or that newer, affordable Italian that starts with a B and gets mixed reivews from hounds . . . Barbone or something like that?

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident
                      sugartoof RE: financialdistrictresident Jan 11, 2008 11:23 AM

                      Barbone would be a great choice, but the trick there is you have to avoid their entrees. There are some gems on the rest of the menu, but then the bigger issue is their service can be so rotten it's been known to ruin meals. Not worth the risk for a date.

                      1. re: sugartoof
                        financialdistrictresident RE: sugartoof Jan 12, 2008 07:39 AM

                        Thanks, sugartoof. Service was relaxed when we went. I think I posted a report. Pasta was the way to go. I thought I just read on this board that the chef left?

                  2. a
                    abbybernie RE: Marginwalker Jan 9, 2008 12:47 PM

                    I've never been to LaVagna (sounds like La Vagina, which immediately turns me off), but I've been to Mermaid, and it was excellent

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: abbybernie
                      Pan RE: abbybernie Jan 11, 2008 10:28 AM

                      Lavagna means blackboard in Italian.

                      I think Pylos is a good idea, but it's crazy on weekends. As an alternative to Lavagna, I had a very good meal at Cacio e Vino, which can be cheaper, depending on what you get. It's less dark but the music was louder than we preferred.

                      1. re: Pan
                        financialdistrictresident RE: Pan Jan 12, 2008 07:40 AM

                        Pan, I haven't been to Cacio e Vino. Might be worth a try. What do you suggest?

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident
                          Pan RE: financialdistrictresident Jan 12, 2008 08:29 PM

                          I've only been there once so far and my date and I liked everything we had, which was:

                          The Arancina, the Timballo, a Schiacciata Norma and I believe one di Funghi, which would have been a special. I thought the food was delicious and a fine value. I believe the total was around $60 including tip and one glass of wine.

                    2. m
                      Marginwalker RE: Marginwalker Jan 10, 2008 02:20 PM

                      Thanks for all the help

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Marginwalker
                        jp62 RE: Marginwalker Jan 11, 2008 01:51 PM

                        FYI......I heard inoteca is closed for renovations also.

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