Looking for a less expensive Friday night option
OK. I've been doing my research for several months now for a brief trip to NYC next month. I grew up in Queens but haven't lived in NYC for over 20 years, but still come back to visit about once a year. II've decided that this trip will have a west Village focus if possible (already have done the EV and the LES trips). We're coming in late Thursday afternoon (around 3:30 p.m.) and leaving Saturday around 2 p.m.
The tentative plan is to hit Momofuku Noodle for late lunch on Thursday ( I know, already straying from the plan) and have reservations for Little Owl at 9 p.m.
Friday I want to go to ino or inoteca for lunch (missed it last time due to 24 hour bug), make our way over to Bleecker and graze our way to dnner in the West Village. Since Little Owl will be our splurge for the trip, I'm thinking about a less expensive option for dinner on Friday. The problem is, most of the less expensive places don't take reservations and I figure Friday night can be pretty tough for walk-ins. Considering the following:
Arturo's for pizza
Saturday morning the plan is to either hit a deli (Sarge's is near the hotel) or one of the 24 hour Chinatown places (NY Noodletown maybe). Since we have a 6 hour train ride, we'll look to hit Despana or someplace like that to get some great sandwiches to go.
What about dining on Cornelia Street? Someone already mentioned Po (Italian, small, very good, reasonable). There is also Cornelia Street Cafe (they have a prix fixe), Le Gigot. Crispo is a good value and good food/big portions if you don't mind crowded and noisy. I've been once and it's not my kind of place, especially on a weekend. I'm more of a EV/LES eater.
If we were to use Little Owl as the benchmark for expensive dinner, then most of the restaurants on your list will be around the same price and unlikely to be much less expensive other than Da Andrea or Malatesta, and Arturo. Among the three I think Malatest is the best, definitely better than Da Andrea. If you go on the early side, 6ish or so, I don't think you will have much wait, even on a Friday night.
If you are going to be in Chinatown on Saturday and need to leave before Despana opens at 11am, you can try Di Palo's. On Saturday they have fresh burrata. Get some bread and olive oil (bring your own salt too!) and you will have delicious food for your ride home.
OR, why not get some baked char xiu bao (BBQ pork buns) from Mei Li Wah which just reopened last week!
Thanks everyone for the great advice. After presenting all of these options to my lovely wife, she perused the on-line menu at Little Owl and declared that since it wasn't THAT expensive, we could go to a similarly priced place after all. We've been to (and loved) Lupa, so we settled on Perilla and lucked into reservations at 7:15 p.m.
Thanks for the great back-up plan of Di Palo's just in case Despana doesn't work out!
We’ve been to 4 of the restaurants in your list. While Casa Mono is a great Spanish tapas place and fast becoming one of our favorites, depending on your definition of “inexpensive”, the tab can run up pretty quickly.
I’m one of the few here who’s not into Crispo, as even with 2 dinners over a span of 6 months, we find that there are other Italian restaurants that we prefer.
Malatesta, on the other hand, was a pleasant revelation for us just last Friday. I wrote about our positive experience here a few days ago. With simple but very good to satisfying dishes, and given our relatively low dining cost, this one would definitely fall in the “inexpensive” category within your list of restaurants.
Bellavitae, Casa Mono, and Crispo all take reservations. These 3 are very different restaurants and I don't think you could go wrong w/any of them (w/the caveat that it's been a while since my last trip to Bellavitae). Da Andrea is OK. At that price point, I'd rather go to Po or Lupa for dinner, and those take reservations. I haven't been to Malatesta. Arturo's is good, although beware of too many toppings (crust gets soggy in the middle). I haven't been as a walk in on a Friday.
Your planned meals at Momofuku Noodle and LO sound great.
On Casa Mono and Bellavitae - we find it very easy to run up a close to $200 tab at those places, though we usually go for lunch and that's our meal for the day, and includes a bottle of wine and a dessert probably. Doesn't mean that you can't eat for much less, but you might want to check the menus on line, just to make sure. Despana doesn't open until 11:00, so you might want to make sure that works for you. Haven't been to the other places you mention.