"Fun" Anniversary Dinner (not elegant)
I am going to be in NYC next weekend for my wedding anniversary. Every year we go, we wind up at an upscale or neighborhood italian restaurant and although I've never really had a bad meal, this time I am looking for something different. Initially I was thinking maybe a little thai or mediterrean cafe/burger bar (my date loves just real good american food)..anything that has sort of a cool vibe. I'm less concerned with price and I don't really need a white tablecloth and wine list-I'd just like to have good food in a cool environment. Any suggestions? We are staying sort of near touristy time square but I wouldn't mind takiing a cab somewhere for dinner.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet but how about Degustation? The food is wonderful, you can order any number of small plates or have the 5- or 10-course prix-fixe. You sit at a counter (normal table height) and watch the dishes being prepared. It is fun, interesting and lively.
My husband and I just celebrated our anniversary by dining at the Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center. They have a fairly light dinner menu. The lobster mac and cheese was great! (The chicken soup starter was also amazing!) I had two glasses of sparkling wine. The servers there have also been really good every time I've been. The view of columbus circle and down the park can't be beat and it was a fun, low-key way to celebrate!
Well... really... there are literally HUNDREDS of possible places people could recommend that would fit the criteria you specified. Redhead - takes no reservations. So you have to go, put your name on the list and grab a drink at the bar. If you're there early enough (?? no idea what time that would be on a Friday??) you may have no wait at all. It's a crap-shoot as far as that's concerned. They have nice cocktails though, so your wait will be less painful.
There are SO many options... so right now, before you clarify cuisine or anything like that, the first place that leaps to mind for me would be The Redhead. I guess I'm obsessed with that place all of a sudden. It's definitely american/southern, but a very fun bar-scene vibe as well. I've been twice and the bacon peanut brittle is ... well, let's just hope it doesn't sow any domestic discord if one of you eats more than your fair share... I've really enjoyed this place both times I've been (twice in the last month).
I think piegirl74 meant either Grimaldi's or Lucali for pizza. Lombardi's is in Soho/Nolita.
the low-key places are my favorite for celebrations, too, teraesa. maybe some of the ideas on this thread would work for you, as well. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/564090
i like piegirl's suggestions! prob wouldn't do burger joint, personally, just because the wait is usually so long and there's nowhere to sit -- and overall it's not very relaxing -- but shake shack once you get your food, central park rowboating + boat house (sort of upscale, tho, be forewarned), and la lanterna are great ideas. the first two you want to do before it gets too cold, of course.
Are you looking to go out during the day or during the evening? And which day of the week?
The low-key, yet quality celebration is a favorite of mine! These ideas might be way tooo low key for you, but maybe they will get the ball rolling.
Burger Join in Le Parker Meridian Hotel. Funky place and I always have a great time with the yummy burger, fries in a sack and beer at the high tables. Also completely cheap!
If the weather is nice, you could also do Shake Shack for burgers and shakes. BLT Burger also makes great burgers (I love the salmon burger) and it can be a fun vibe depending on when you go.
If Brooklyn isn't out of the question, I always recommend Lombardi's pizza. It's not a cool vibe (read: scene), but it's a classic elbows on the table NY experience. And their pizza is my favorite!
You could also take a picnic and rent a rowboat in Central Park (by the Boathouse) - again, if the weather hasn't turned too cool.
La Lanterna (W. Village) can also be a great find. You can do a full dinner or just go for dessert and jazz (which is what I often do).
As you can see, I have an affinity for "adventure dates" even for anniversaries (and Im also assuming you want it to be just the 2 of you, but that may be an incorrect assumption).
But, Im sure the folks on this board have better ideas (which I will remember to borrow for myself!)