Fun Dinner for 2 Ladies
Hi NY Hounds,
I'm going to be coming to NYC towards the end of September for my best friend's final wedding dress fitting. Since I am the maid of honor, I would like to take her out to a fun dinner, just the 2 of us. I'm a major foodie---her, not so much. She won't enjoy anything too out there and doesn't like tapas (but does like small plates). And she really enjoys a fun cocktail list or wine.
Right now I'm leaning towards Stanton Social. I went there once before when in NYC and really enjoyed my meal there. I know some folks aren't that into it, but this is the type of vibe I'm looking for. Good drinks, good food, in a fun/chic atmosphere. We live in DC, so I'm looking for something a little more NYC. Also, I'm on a bit of a budget. I would prefer not to go over $125 for both of us.
I made a list of other places to consider. Your input would be great (and other recommendations are welcome):
In terms of location, we will be staying around Union Square/Flatiron District. But I don't mind traveling to another fun area.
I should have been more specific. She doesn't like Spanish tapas (or really Spanish food) but I think she would be fine at a small plates restaurant like Stanton Social, or some of the other places listed above.
I know she likes American, Italian, French, Asian (although probably not Indian), and possibly Mediterranean.
I second Staton Social as I think it's a good place for the occasion. It's got an extensive and creative drink list, a scene, good people watching, a fun vibe, chic decor and fun food. Plus if you go to the lower east side where it is there are lots of affordable bars right there that won't break your wallet.
Sushi Samba is fun but it is expensive and the food isn't really worth it. I think its one of those places that used to be the "it" place and has kind of lost it's touch.
If you want drinks stop by Flatiron Lounge.It's got a big creative cocktail list and in my opinion more "highbrow" then that of let's say Stantion Social. It's right by Union Square. It might be nice also to just stop in there for a creative Champagne cocktail before dinner to celebrate.
Verlaine is in the same area: http://www.verlainenyc.com/
They have fun drinks with a South East Asian Flair (think lemongrass, cucumber, hot chile, mango vodkas). If you go there try their "lawnmower" made with "special organic vodka" it's great.
This is more of your average bar but incase you might want to dance a little you could check this out (right next to Verlaine):
This great latin restaurant has a bar where you can find top notch mojitos and even better sangria (white and red).
Not sure if you know but Stantion Social has an upstairs that is primarily a bar. The "main floor and dinning room area" is where all the regular tables are. If you go upstairs (the stairway is literally right in front of you when you walk in the door) it's primarily bar with lounge tables where you can also order food. It gets a little crowded but what I would do is get there a half hour early so you can go upstairs and get a drink before you sit down and do some people watching. :)
Of the ones you've listed, i've been to Sushi Samba and Peep, here's what i think:
Peep was a very good dinner, and EXCELLENT dinks (so, if your friend likes drinks and you like food, this is a good choice!) It's decor is very trendy, and the bathrooms have the one way glass/mirror, so you look at diners while you're in there! (Not my favorite thing, but my fiancee and friends got a huge kick out of it.) It does get a bit loud for my taste, but if it's just the 2 of you, you'll probably be fine.
Sushi Samba is good sushi, and it's fun decor. I like it, but don't really see it as a special place to go for dinner, ya know?
Also, if you're staying in the Union Square area and your friend likes good drinks, you should go for one or two at Olives, downstairs in the W Hotel. Don't stay too long, though or it'll cost you a fortune!!
Thanks for your recommendations rugburn. I probably am going to cross SushiSamba off the list then. I put it on there only because I heard it was popular---but that was a number of years ago.
I'm originally from Boston so I know 1st Olives quite well---back in the day where they didn't take reservations, you would stand in line for 2 hours to get a table and Todd English was actually in the kitchen :) Ah those were the golden days. I can still remember his incredible duck!