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Soho dilemma for "touristy" lunch need help...

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Here's the deal -- there's 4 women coming in from the farmlands of MO. for a meeting. Afterwards they are taking 2 of us to lunch. The women are very casual, never get to NY, maybe once every 5 years. I know there are a bunch of trendy restaurants around, but these are not their style. I'd like to take them somewhere different from what they're accustom to, and not break their bank. I'd like to give them a few suggestions, then let them decide. Here's what I thought of so far:
Katz's, Fanellis, anything in little italy? I'm more concerned that they have a good time and an enjoyable meal, the food should be good, but a new york feel is more important. I took a similar group for dim sum in chinatown once, had a great time, but these ladies are far from adventurous. thanks!

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  1. Well, definitely nothing in Little Italy...can you specify a little more about the price point and the vibe you want...Katz's and Fanelli are good places but since it's a post-meeting meal, do you want something a little more leisurely or slightly upscale?...also, how far from Soho are you willing to wander?

    The suggestion that first springs to mind is Balthazar...good for a post-meeting meal...not cheap but not terribly expensive either: very reasonable carafes of wine and salads...food would prob be a little different than what they are used to yet not scary for unadventurous eaters either...all the salads (Balthazar salad, warm spinach w/ trout, beet w/ cheese and endive, are outstanding)...they make a great burger too, and have nice desserts...you might spend anywhere from 30 to 50 per person at lunch depending on what you eat/drink...somewhat trendy but also becoming a NY classic...

    A more casual option from the same owners is Lucky Strike, on Grand St...never been wowed by the food there but it's a mellow bistro(ish) place...actually, come to think of it, i'd prob rather go to Fanelli than Lucky Strike...

    Another option is Nolita House on Houston St...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Simon

      We ended up at fanelli's. I've been there many times, I should have worn them that sometimese service could be gruff. Needless to say, it was super gruff, she was super busy. Sometimes it's hit or miss with the waitress's, but at least they got to see what a gruff ny waitress at an old ny restaurant is all about...

    2. I haven't been there, but have read that Il Cortile is one of the better Little Italy restaurants. I can see the women you're talking about loving the scene.

      1. I find Antique Garage in SoHo to be completely charming. And, it's an actual garage, but all dressed up with chandeliers and warm wood tables. It has a french/italian farmhouse feeling about it, but they have turkish food. A wonderful seared tuna salad, but also delicious lamb meatballs and interesting paninis. (And incredible mint lemonade!)

        It definitely won't break the bank, but I think it's a gem.

        1. Go to cafe habana!
          Cafe Habana
          www.ecoeatery.com
          17 Prince St
          (212) 625-2001

          1. Noho Star
            Spring Street Natural
            Dos Caminos

            all of those have casual settings but in a busy NYC atmosphere/environment.

            1 Reply
            1. re: asianbun

              I wouldnt recommend Katz's for your MO friends, definitely not. Balthazar in Soho has varied menu that they would probably like. Lombardi has great pizza on Spring St. Mexico Radio is a cute place. 5 points could be a good choice or Chinatown Brasserie. Not sure if Zoe is open for lunch that;s a possiblity too. Inoteca on ludlow st. has italian tapas , different than anyhting in the midwest. Maybe go to Pastis in the meat market area.