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Need restaurant recs for UWS birthday

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I'm taking my husband and another couple out to dinner on Friday and it's been a long time for us, so bear with me. I am looking for good restaurant recs, preferably on the UWS as our friends are coming from Riverdale. We're not picky about cuisine, as long as it's good food. I'd love a place with great drinks and decent lighting (I'm not getting any younger, and since we rarely make it out for a grownup night, I'd like the lighting to be kind to me.) It doesn't have to be new and sceney (in fact, I'd be happy for it not to be sceney), but I figure a lot has changed on the UWS since we moved to Brooklyn 5 years ago, so I'd love some suggestions from people in the know. I used to love Ouest and we also liked Pampas, to give you an idea of the places we went when we lived there. Thanks in advance!

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  1. I went to Dovetail recently and absolutely loved it

    www.thelunchbelle.com

    2 Replies
    1. re: LeahBaila

      Ouest is still solid - I'd add Telepan

      1. re: harrison

        After not having been there in quite a while, I had an fine dinner at Ouest recently. Ambience, service, and food were all excellent. Definitely worth revisiting.

    2. Lights and food are favorable at Cafe Ronda and Landmarc. Compass is also still doing well, though I prefer drinks at the former. And all are relatively near the Express Bus stop.

      1. Puttanesca is great...Food is fantastic.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kcijones001

          A new place just opened that looks great. Eighty One:

          http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

          I also like Cesca. But haven't been there in a while and I think there were some ownership changes.

        2. Dovetail is the restaurant that compares most favorably to Ouest on the UWS, I think. The cocktails are good and made with fresh ingredients (though they are a little on the herbal side); the wine list, including wines by the glass, is solid; food is very well prepared (portions are smaller than at Ouest); and desserts are brilliant. The lighting is dim / romantic / blemish hiding. The one problem I foresee with this restaurant is that you may need to wait for your reservation and the bar area is quite small. We waited about 20 minutes for our table on a weeknight.

          Compass is also good. (That's where the Dovetail chef was most recently, I think.) It has a nice wine list and service is great.

          A lot of people love Telepan. (I have to admit I'm indifferent.) Lighting is much brighter than at Dovetail and probably just a smidgen dimmer than at Ouest.

          I like Ronda, Landmarc, and Puttanesca, but I don't think they're quite in the same category as Ouest or Dovetail.
          Haven't tried 81. (Want to!)
          Cesca was around when you were, I think.

          Happy birthday!

          5 Replies
          1. re: cimui

            You might also try Ocean on Columbus Ave. or The Neptune Room on Amsterdam.

            1. re: cimui

              Thanks for all the terrific suggestions. One follow-up question. I think I'm leaning towards either Landmarc or Cafe Ronda, unfortunately neither will take reservations for a party of 4. We are trying to get seated somewhere around 8pm on a Friday night. Will both of them be absolute zoos at that time? I would have preferred a reservation, but don't want to discount two good choices for that reason alone.

              1. re: vvv03

                Landmarc is pretty big so I don't think wait would be too bad. I did notice that neptune room has 7:45 available on Open Table if that's an option. I'd say it's on par if not better than Landmarc

                1. re: vvv03

                  I've never made a reservation at either and have always been able to get a seat at primetime. You can always sit at the bar while you wait for a table, though I will say that if you go that route, the bar at Landmarc is much more spacious. Cafe Ronda, being a neighborhood restaurant, has a classic New York bar placed in close proximity to the doors and tables.

                  I do have to say, though, I'm surprised Landmarc wouldn't take your reservation.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    Landmarc only takes for 6 or more

                1. Zeytin is a great place on Columbus and 85th. Good Turkish food. Good lighting too. If you do decide ona sceney place, Loft is right down the street. Prohibition is also good for drinks.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: UWStoSONO

                    i believe prohibition is closing or has closed.

                    1. re: fein

                      im pretty sure prohibition is still open, were doing a dinner there next week...

                    2. Let me add to the chorus of Dovetail lovers. Celebrated my husband's birthday there last weekend and absolutely loved it. Lighting and sound fit your criteria. May be hard to get a reservation for Friday though. If you do go, try the duck goulash--the best dish I've eaten at a restaurant in ages.