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Apr 28, 2009 07:41 AM

Ann Arborites heading downtown?


I'm new to NYC and desperately need some help. I've got my aunt and her boyfriend in town from Ann Arbor (so they're laid back, but know good food) for dinner in two weeks. I'd like to take them someplace delicious but not too exotic. I'd ideally like to be able to make a reservation if possible, I'm not looking to break the bank, and I think it would be fun to take them someplace downtown (or elsewhere, just want to give them a feel for Manhattan). Specifically, here's what my aunt gave for guidelines:

"We are wide open as to food - we eat anything except sushi
(preferring our parasites cooked ) and we're not big fans of Indian.
Chinese,Thai, Mexican, Italian, French, Fusion, American....
or really most anything and anywhere we can
take a cab to is great. More relaxed, less fancy is preferred over
more formal dining since we are typical Ann Arborites who
hate to have to get very dressed up ;-)."

Help! I've scoured the Chowhounde boards yesterday and today, but many of the suggestions seemed quite expensive or don't take reservations. I'm so new here -- what should a reasonably-priced "nice" dinner cost? I've read many good things on here about Cookshop, but other than that I am overwhelmed by the choices.


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    1. Hi Rincon, here are some of my recs:
      La Palapa (St. Mark's)
      Market Table
      Bar Breton
      Chinatown Brasserie
      Mercadito (West Village)

      3 Replies
      1. re: LeahBaila

        Thanks again! I sent a few of everyone's suggestions to my aunt this morning. She read a few reviews and menus and chose Papatzul. I was able to get a reservation for their visit in a few weeks, so I'm all set for now, looking forward to it.

        1. re: rincon1996

          Really? Papatzul is pretty pedestrian. You'd get the same quality of Mexican food pretty much anywhere in the country.

          1. re: ExFlexitarian

            Interesting, thanks. I didn't know anything about it, but was suggested above. I'll let my aunt know and see if she wants to reconsider.

      2. I'd add Las Ramblas, Pipa, Kefi, Snack and Rhong Tiam as suggestions.

        Dinner at Perilla followed by drinks at the Barrow Street Ale House would make for a nice low-key evening.

        1 Reply
        1. re: skgchow

          Thanks so much for the recommendations everyone! Greatly appreciated!

        2. I think Kefi is a good suggestion, because they serve very good food at about $30-35/person for dinner. But they're uptown.

          If you'd rather go to the Village, consider Lupa, but they're overly hard to reserve. If you do go there, expect to pay around $50-60/person including tip for dinner with a couple of glasses of wine. Italian restaurants I like in the East Village include Supper (around $25-30/person for dinner), Frankie's Spuntino (perhaps slightly less) , and Cacio e Vino (less than Lupa, especially if you avoid slightly pricier specials). Further remark about Cacio e Vino: I went with my girlfriend Friday night w/o reservations, and their special antipasto was not as good as the one we ordered off the menu, which was a few dollars cheaper. The one on the menu was Pulpo Arrosto, I think, and I don't recall what the special was, but it sounded more interesting than it was. By the way, Cacio e Vino accepts reservations, but I'm not sure about the others.

          You can also consider Crispo, on W. 14th St. I haven't been there for some time, but my brother, whose taste in food is very similar to mine, had a great meal there a couple of months ago. They accept reservations.

          None of these are places where there's any important reason to dress up.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Pan

            I used to love in AA! I miss it, especially now with Oberon available.

            Lupa is a great idea. Not like the Italian one could find in AA and it takes reservations.

            I'd stay away from Thai. AA has a Thai restaurant as good or better than anything in Manhattan (save *maybe* Rhong-Tiam).

            If not Lupa, maybe Chinese? No good Chinese in AA. Maybe Szechuan Gourmet?

            Good luck!

            1. re: Jorel

              Lupa does take reservations, but they're usually after 9:30, etc. They seem almost constitutionally disinclined to reserve at peak hours, in my experience - even on nights when they have plenty of room.

          2. Hey!

            Funny, I just moved here myself from Ann Arbor. I've had a lot of chances to eat GREAT food though, so if they are looking for fresh, good food (from local farmers, always a plus) at unpretentious places I suggest Hearth, Cookshop (had a GREAT meal there) and Five Points!!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: jesslyn04

              Thanks for the ideas! Cookshop was my first choice, but 6:30 was all they had for reservations. I will look into Hearth.