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B'day Dinner - East Village

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bella716 Apr 3, 2009 09:09 AM

Sat 4/25 dinner for about 6 people. East Village not too expensive (mains should be between 12 and 28 dollars). Something fairly new/trendy/fun. My friend's 30th birthday and she's a bit of a foodie - so want something tasty and high-brow. Any ideas would be warmly received. Thanks much!

  1. i
    iluvtochow Apr 3, 2009 10:49 AM

    I second Apiary.

    1. s
      stephaniec25 Apr 3, 2009 09:40 AM

      Hearth might fit the bill (on the higher side of your prices, though).

      I also agree with Back Forty, but much more casual than "high brow." They have a great burger and great chicken and its definitely fun.

      3 Replies
      1. re: stephaniec25
        b
        bella716 Apr 3, 2009 09:54 AM

        Thanks, Stephanie. I agree about Hearth pricing. Back forty has great drinks too. Thanks!!

        1. re: stephaniec25
          s
          sara333 Apr 3, 2009 11:13 AM

          Be forewarned, however, that if even a single member of your party is late Back Forty will not seat anyone. I've been there twice and had issues both times. The first time, one out of four people was late and we had to wait for him before we were allowed to sit (even though we offered to order appetizers and drinks until he came). But fair enough. The second time I met a friend for dinner (on a slow weeknight) and another friend was planning to join us for desert and a glass of wine toward the end of the meal -- when I mentioned this to the server she refused to seat us and we had to have a fairly unpleasant interaction with the manager before we could get a table in the half-full room. needless to say, I won't be going back.

          1. re: sara333
            b
            bella716 Apr 3, 2009 12:33 PM

            Thanks, Sara. I have been to back forty and thought the staff was fine. Not seating incomplete parties is very annoying I agree - but it is also a common practice in nyc. full room or not. I went to Max one time and they finally agreed to seat us as incomplete, but they wouldn't even let us order for the person who wasn't there and they said if he came that they wouldn't let him sit or eat - even though we had room.

        2. malibu Apr 3, 2009 09:31 AM

          Apiary has been getting lots of great reviews since they got their new chef. I've been there for wine only, and I can say that it's super cute with a great wine selection and a great bartender who encourages 'tastes'

          http://www.apiarynyc.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: malibu
            b
            bella716 Apr 3, 2009 09:55 AM

            thanks, Malibu!! Apiary does look promising - will offer that one to her. thanks!!

          2. m
            MinhLikesFood Apr 3, 2009 09:18 AM

            Tonda is pretty new, though i haven't been myself so i can't comment on the food but I think it's worth a shot: http://www.tondapzza.com/

            Back Forty I think is good and could fit the bill: http://www.backfortynyc.com/

            and the last one i'd throw out would be Yerba Buena: http://www.yerbabuenanyc.com/media/ye...

            3 Replies
            1. re: MinhLikesFood
              b
              bella716 Apr 3, 2009 09:56 AM

              Thanks, Minh! I sent her those, hopefully she will like one of them. i'm trying to talk her out of momofuku ssam bar (long waits)

              1. re: bella716
                k
                kathryn Apr 3, 2009 08:20 PM

                You can make a reservation for Momofuku Ssam Bar if you reserve the bo ssam (pork shoulder butt).

              2. re: MinhLikesFood
                k
                kathryn Apr 3, 2009 08:20 PM

                Tonda is not really high brow. I went tonight and found the pizzas fine but the crust was lacking in structure. I was looking for nice, big airy holes. Decent char. The margherita pie was VERY wet. Droopy from the crust ring down. Nice tasting crust, though, and I also liked the tomato sauce. (I'm not a fan of a superacidic sauce). We didn't opt for the bufala mozzarella upsell ($5). The sauceless pies were better, but they really need to cut up their toppings into manageable pieces. A 2" long spear of sausage is really hard to eat on a pizza, as is an entire broccoli rabe spear. Nice atmosphere, though, and some nice big tables designs for large parties. The menus are superhard to read (frosted plastic panes with typewriter-esque black type on brown paper) although our server said they would be changing them soon, and the bathrooms are confusing (three doors covered by curtains, only two are bathrooms, and one slides open, while the other opens normally -- confusing).

                Yerba Buena is definitely trendy, fun, festive, and has great cocktails. The menu is not supervaried or long, though, and tends towards the heavy/fried. However, they don't take reservations except on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. And it's a small restaurant so a wait for a table might take a while.

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