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Need a restaurant for a very picky friend

I am trying to decide on a restaurant to go to with a friend from out of town. This friend does not eat any seafood whatsoever, nor does she care for Mexican, Indian, Asian (other than suburban American -Chinese fare) Spanish, French... well, you get the picture. She would probably really appreciate a nice German restaurant, but that would not be so much fun for another friend of mine who will be joining us. So we're left with steak and Italian. I can think of about 20 great Italian places I'd like to go to, but I think they would be too trendy/expensive/wine-oriented. Friend #1 specifically requested a restaurant that is "reasonably priced", so that leaves the big steakhouses out.
Before I call Crispo (which would not be a bad thing, as I do love it) can anyone suggest a not-too-stodgy Italian place that also offers good meat dishes? Or a steakhouse that is affordable? I imagine she would not want to spend more than about $50, total. Oh, and she is strictly a beer drinker, so an emphasis on wine or spirits would not go over too well.
Thanks in advance.

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  1. Go to Da Andrea on Hudson. The meat is great, pasta, salads, etc. I love the lamb shank, pork chop, hanger steak.... Get Italian beer. Or won't she drink that?

    1 Reply
    1. re: simetrias

      Absolutely agree. As I was reading through the post this is what came into my mind also. It should suit everyone's taste and the food is quite good. The more adventurous may want to try the sweetbreads. Delicious!

    2. Il Bagatto. Quite tasty and reasonably priced Italian. Pipa also reasonably priced and tasty tapas. The sangria is also quite nice.

      1. Thanks to everyone who has replied so far. At this point, I am considering Crispo, da Andrea, and Via Emilia. I am still open to other suggestions, but would love to hear more about Via Emilia, in particular. I haven't been there yet, and I am thinking it might be a win-win situation: I get to try somewhere new and fun, she gets to pick between lasagne and steak! :)

        4 Replies
          1. re: vvvindaloo

            Who eats steak at Via Emilia? lol Seriously, they're primarily known for the delicious homemade pastas, with the lasagna being the stand-out! The restaurant is big with vibrantly-colored modern decor. There is a good-sized bar and a waiting area, the latter especially important because it can be very busy, and they don't take reservations. As Leah mentioned, it's cash only. Also, they are closed on Sunday.

            http://www.viaemilianyc.net

            Enjoy and Buon Apetito!

            1. re: RGR

              Grazie, grazie... *I* certainly will not be eating steak. But it's there, on the menu, and I bet my friend will! I have heard good things about their lasagne. I did know that it was cash only, but I was not aware that they did not take reservations. That could be a problem.

              1. re: vvvindaloo

                If you'd like an Italian restaurant with atmospherics that are the antithesis of trendy, i.e., a bit on the old-fashioned side, but has excellent traditional Italian food, I highly recommend Campanile, a neighborhood gem, hidden away on 29th St., b/t Madison & Park Av. S. The lasagna is first-rate, though my favorite is the eggplant parmigiano, and steak is on the menu. They accept reservations and credit cards.

                A couple of caveats. Campanile tends to be fairly quiet (a huge plus for me!), so if you and your friend like boisterous, you probably wouldn't be happy there. Also, I have no clue about the beer.

                http://www.campanilenyc.com

          2. $50 a person at a steakhouse is totally do-able, if you skip wine and dessert, and just limit your sides....if she's watching her budget, hopefully she'd have the common sense to order the cheapest cut, or split a porterhouse. I think Strip House, and Michael Jordan's are affordable. I've had both amazing, and not so amazing experiences at Strip House. There sides are always excellent.

            How about going for burgers instead?
            In the old days I would have suggested Blue Smoke, but it's not the most reliable spot these days. Old Homestead had a burger spot now, that might be worth looking into?

            1 Reply
            1. re: sugartoof

              We recently had burgers at Blue Smoke, and they were excellent.

            2. CARMINES, 2450 Broadway, Btwn 90th & 91st St, family style italian, great meat dishes, reasonably price, LOTS of food, need a reservation. GREAT PLACE.