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Dinner before St. Ann's

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My husband and I are looking for a place to eat before or after we see La Didone at St. Ann's. It's a birthday dinner, so we want something nice ($18-$28 entrees). We're up for anything though French, Italian, German, or pseudo-European would be preferred. We have been to 5 Front and enjoyed it, but that was a few years ago and the reviews on this board indicate that it has gone downhill. The ideal place would be no more than a 20 minute walk from St. Ann's.
Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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  1. In BK Heights, Noodle Pudding is great, but I don't think they take reservations. Maybe OK if you go early. Henry's End is always good - especially if you are a meat eater. Closer to St Ann's, we like Superfine, but it's more casual and although I do like it- the food is sometimes hit or miss. Some people like Water Street, but I am not one of them. To me it is over-priced mediocre pub food. Five Front is def over-rated in my multiple experiences, I really don't get why it's still so popular- avoid that one for sure, its looks are deceiving.

    1. We thoroughly enjoyed our pre-theater dinner at 5 Front before "Black Watch." Maybe it was b/c we took our server's suggestions, or maybe we just lucked into a good night, but the food, service, and ambience were perfect.

      1. superfine is fun for drinks and perhaps some appetizers but their menu is limited...stick to basics if you go.

        noodle pudding is delicious but could be a wait. five front is decent though unremarkable.

        perhaps a walk to vinegar hill house?

        1. In the north Heights there is (as previously suggested) Noodle Pudding and Henry's End. Also Le Petit Marche and Jack the Horse Tavern are pretty nice. In Dumbo we like Hecho in Dumbo for Mexican. But, if you want to go birthday upscale, there is no place more special than the River Café. Don't know how soon your tickets are for, but if you can get an early reservation (5:30 or so) on the night in question, I'd grab it. It clearly would be at the upper end of your price range, but for a birthday, definitely worth it. And just a 3 minute walk from St. Ann's.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bobjbkln

            Thanks for all the recommendations! We're tempted to go to River Cafe though I'm not sure recession economics will allow it. It's looking like Noodle Pudding or Vinegar House, though we're also intrigued by Petit Marche.
            Thanks again.

            1. re: SueChefinNYC

              We had a great dinner at 5 Front St. It was the first time I had been there in years and it was just terrific. It's just around the corner almost from the Theater (We saw Doll's House) and it worked perfectly.