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French in Times Square/Hells Kitchen

kelea Feb 21, 2008 10:45 AM

Hi, I'm taking my date out to Ave Q on a sunday and looking for a place for dinner after. He likes french food and we would like to stay around times square/hells kitchen.

I know Marseille is a popular choice among the fellow hounders. But would it be too casual/loud for a date? If not, are there any other french restaurants in the neighborhood people can recommend that won't break the bank? Around $50-60pp would be nice.

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    brokergal RE: kelea Feb 21, 2008 11:13 AM

    I dined at Marseille also on a Sunday evening and found it to be perfectly comfortable for intimate conversation. I think the setting is quite nice for a date - dim lighting, plenty of space between tables, professional and unobtrusive service and - best of all in my view - no chaotic bar scene.

    One thing to be mindful of is that the menu includes Mediterranean influences so while there are some French standbys you might check out the menu first.

    1. QueenPeach RE: kelea Feb 21, 2008 11:15 AM

      It's not completely close to Times Square but if you're willing to venture out, Boite en Bois is an amazing restaurant and has a $40 3 course prix-fixe from their a la carte menu. It's delicious! Try the steak with cognac sauce.

      1. l
        Lucia RE: kelea Feb 21, 2008 11:16 AM

        I think Marseille would be good for a date in terms of atmosphere. The food is good, not great. As brokergal notes, it's not a straightforward French restaurant.

        1. Miss Needle RE: kelea Feb 21, 2008 12:03 PM

          What about DB Bistro? As long as he doesn't order the truffle burger, you should be able to stick to your budget.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Miss Needle
            r
            RGR RE: Miss Needle Feb 21, 2008 02:20 PM

            I think dbBistro is the best French restaurant in the Theater District/Times Suare area. But it is upscale, so even if you don't order the truffle burger, I think it's tough to meet at $50-$60pp budget even for food only. And then there are drinks + tax & tip.

            http://www.danielnyc.com/dbbistro

            1. re: RGR
              kelea RE: RGR Feb 21, 2008 02:25 PM

              The menu looks fantastic but it is stretching the budget a little. Plus he's not a fan of walking. I will have to keep it on the back burner for now...still considering it because everything just looks SO delicious!

              HK might be more ideal as he's driving and will probably park around there. Which is looking like Marseille or Le Madeleine so far.

              1. re: kelea
                r
                RGR RE: kelea Feb 21, 2008 02:45 PM

                At dbBistro, one way to stretch the budget at bit is to share apps and desserts. This is not one of those teensy portions-type places, so it's doable. Otherwise, depending on what you drink, you could be looking at an out-the-door cost of $75- $100pp.

                Unless he's hell bent on strictly French, I think Marseille's cuisine, albeit French/Mediterranean, is better than Le Madeleine's. And the atmospherics are nicer as well.

                http://www.marseillenyc.com
                http://www.lemadeleine.com

                French restaurants used to abound in that area, but the numbers have dwindled down to a very few (another one, Rene Pujol, just closed), and those others have not been mentioned for a very good reason: they're mediocre at best.

                Have fun and Bon Appetit!

                1. re: RGR
                  kelea RE: RGR Feb 22, 2008 04:45 AM

                  Thanks RGR. I think the answer's obvious! Looking forward to the dinner at Marseille then!

          2. 280 Ninth RE: kelea Feb 21, 2008 12:08 PM

            You can try Le Madeleine, on 43rd and 9th. Within your price range, perfectly acceptable food (not outstanding, but fine...), French.

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              rrems RE: kelea Feb 21, 2008 12:53 PM

              I agree with brokergal. Marseille is just right.

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