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Recs for Business Casual Dinner?

Hi everyone, this is my first time posting. I've been reading many entries and doing my own research, but I have a question!

I am starting a company (online social networking/new media) and will be meeting with an investor this coming Wed (no notice!). We are both in our mid-30s. I've met this person 3X before in other business situations. Neither of us are trendy, but we are both artistic-y and urbany-y. I think we'd both need something cool but not pretentious or too fancy.

For atmosphere: I'd like someplace that is somewhat hip and interesting, but not loud (we need to be able to talk) and not too busy/crazy.
I want to avoid romantic or too small/cozy since I want to keep the topic on business.

I just discovered he is a "foodie."
I am a vegetarian.

Places I considered:
Dell Anima
Little Owl
Market Table

Places a friend who recommend this site and is a Foodie suggested:
Bar Blanc (can't get reservations until 10pm which is not a great idea)
Public (which I like but did not think the food was that great??)
Craft
Hearth

We can make a res early--like 6:30 or 7.

What would everyone suggest?

BTW, Manhattan is going to be easiest as he is form OOT for one night, and I live on UWS but work in Tribeca and don't want to travel to other boroughs on a weeknight!

Thanks for all your help!

Julie

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    1. I think Vice Versa is a happy medium.

      1. I love Vice Versa! :) I think he is staying downtown and wanted to check out places more downtown. I just checked out Perilla...no reservations except for 6:5. Think it would be ok to risk it around 7? It looks so yummy!

        3 Replies
        1. re: divina7

          I wouldn't under any circumstances risk this evening without a reservation someplace. This is business and you want someone to invest money in you. You don't want to look klutzy, disorganized or inefficient.

          1. re: Jane A.

            I agree Jane.
            It's such late notice so I think I'm out of luck for super trendy places. I don't want him to have to rush out of meetings...or eat at 10pm, kwim? What do you think of the Public? I see open reservations on OpenTable for 7, 7:30 etc.

            1. re: divina7

              Never been. It's not my part of town. Hope someone else can help you with that.

        2. Does price matter?

          If not, I will just go with the safe bet such as Gramercy Tavern or Blue Hill? Perrry St. should also work. These places have food for foodies, and vegetarian options for you!

          2 Replies
          1. re: kobetobiko

            Hi Kobetobiko,

            Price doesn't matter, but neithe rhim nor myself are going to feel comfortable in a place like Grammercy Tavern--it is a bit too staid I'm afraid. I've been and there are not a whole lot of true veggie options (things made with chicken stock). Perry Street could work but I think I'm looking for something a bit more casual while still being elegant and interesting. It's really a challenge. :(

            1. re: divina7

              What about Crispo? A bit out of your way, but it is worth the trip!

          2. Punch may work, though it gets a bit noisy at times, but you will be going early enough that it should be quiet. It attracts a younger clientele, and the food and service are excellent. I agree that you should not try Perilla without a reservation, and Crispo can get really loud, though again maybe not so much if you go early, but Punch is more comfortable IMO.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rrems

              Thanks everyone!

              Rrems, have you tried "Bar Blanc?"
              Another friend of mine tried it and said it could fit the bill? Perilla had an opening so I'm going to try for that.

              1. re: divina7

                No, I have been waiting to hear more about it before trying it. Since Perilla has an opening definitely go for it, you will not be disappointed.