Great Rest. Near Alphabet Lounge (104 Ave. C @ 12th St.)
I am visting NY to see my brother and see his band play at the Alphabet Lounge this Saturday. I would like a recc. for a restaurant near this lounge. Our favorites are tapas, italian and new american. Really looking for a great restaurant. There will be 6 people total dining. Any suggestions???
The fact that it's Saturday makes it tough. If you'd consider Japanese, Kamui Den is on Av. A near 12th St. and takes reservations, and I don't know whether it's great, but it's excellent (if you go, get the kabayaki). For Italian, Gnocco is on 10th St. just west of Av. B, but I would call it merely good, definitely not great (though if you go, get the budino di castagne for dessert and consider having some kind of carpaccio). Cafe Mogador, on St Marks between A and 1st, is very good and takes reservations, but you didn't mention North African or Middle Eastern among your preferences, and as much as I like Mogador, I wouldn't call it "great."
So in conclusion, I think you should consider getting reservations at Hearth, 12th St. and 1st Av., if you're willing to spend that much. The meals I've had there have always been very good to great.
Oh, never fear, none of these are the best restaurant I've ever dined at. :-) Even within the neighborhood, the 10-course tasting menu my girlfriend and I had recently at Degustation blew away anything I've ever had at Hearth (though, to be fair, I've never ordered a tasting menu at Hearth, so this is an apples-to-oranges comparison), but: it was a $100/person meal; Degustation's a bit further downtown (5th St. just west of 2nd); it specializes in tasting menus, which are not for people in a rush; and it has a design that isn't conducive to conversation among that many people.
Hearth opens at 6; is that early enough for you? According to OpenTable, a reservation for 6 at 6 PM on Saturday is available. I take it, the show starts around 8? I did have very slow service at Hearth the last time I was there, but though that's put off my mother from going back, I consider it just an off night, and I think that if you have limited time, they should be able to accommodate you. Reserve over the phone and talk to the reservationist if you like.
I'll add to the recs for Hearth. You're also really close to Kasadela, which is sort of a Japanese tapas place, on 11th near C. It's much lighter fare than the hearty American stock you'll get at Hearth, but sure to please.
There's Back 40 over on Ave B (at 12th I think?), which is pretty good. I think its the closest to what you are looking for near Alphabet Lounge. I love their pie - wow. I would consider it "new american"ish. Mercadito is good -- overpriced for what it is -- but you could make a mex tapas night out of it. If you like meat, I thought Kafana right there on C was great (you really have to like pork though). Cafe Peppe Rosso there on C is also ok -- not upscale Italian by any means, just sort of a homey neighborhood place with Italian comfort food. If you want good Italian, I suggest you walk a bit down to Clinton Street (Ave B south of Houston) and eat at Frankies 17. Clinton Street is also a pretty good place for tapas with both Tapeo 29 and 1492, both of which I have enjoyed (there are lots of good restaurants on Clinton -- you could just walk down the street and see what suits your fancy). Back to Ave C - there's Esperanto, pretty decent pan latin/brazillian food. I haven't been in a long time, but could be a good alternative to Mercadito. Also a bit up C from there is Cafecito (cuban), which is also decent. If you are looking to just snack and drink, Grape and Grain on 6th btw B and C is nice (winebar w/food).
Hearth is a bit of a walk too, just FYI. Not a bad walk at all, just don't go thinking its across the street from Alphabet Lounge. It's over on 1st ave.