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date #2, UES near 2nd Ave/88th

First date was at Cavatappo Wine Bar, 2nd b/w 89th & 90th. Went well, but the venue was very small, we sat on stools near the door ... no back to the stools ... I'm old.

I'm looking for something that will facilitate conversation. Not too fancy ... neighborhood type place would be good. Keep it in her neighborhood. Cuisine isn't too important ... food should be good but not like we have to pay attention to it and savor it.

whadaya think? This will be Friday night.

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  1. There is Per Ella (sp?) on Lex bet 89/90 which is Turkish and very tasty. Has good stuff for veggie types. Also, further uptown is Cambodian Cuisine on 3rd or 2nd (I can't remember specific address, but it is close enough I think). I assume it is still open. Also very nice.

    Have fun no matter where you end up!

    2 Replies
    1. re: BratleFoodie

      Peri Ela gets mixed reviews from what I can see. Website for Cambodian Cuisine says they're closed, greedy landlord, et. al.

      any other thoughts? I'm open to Turkish, will have to see if she is.

      -----
      Peri Ela
      1361 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10128

      1. re: Marine Engineer

        I went to Peri Ela a couple of years ago and considered it decidedly mediocre and highly overpriced. I would strongly discommend it.

    2. Just went to SFOGLIA last night for the first time-I LOVED it-sat at bar-u really need reservations. @92/Lex. I had as a starter the parppadelle alla bolognese-deep rich lab sauce-i wished i got the larger size but kept room for thier delightful roasted chicken. I am glad I tried this place. Many people get confused with SPIGOLO-my normal favorite at 81st/2nd due to the name. Conclusion-both are great!

      1. Flex Mussels could be a good spot on 82nda bet 3rd and Lex. Went there the other night and it was great!

        http://www.flexmusselsnyc.com/

        1. york grill - 89th and york
          land northeast thai - 81st and 2nd
          etats unis (or the etats unis wine bar across the street) 81st west of 2nd
          tenzan sushi - 89th and 2nd
          genesis - 2nd between 88 and 89
          cafe alsace
          naruto ramen 89th and 3rd

          1 Reply
          1. re: thew

            Etats Unis would be my choice if "not too fancy" refers to the environment of the place rather than the cost. If "not too fancy" means moderate pricing, it might not be the right restaurant for this date (granted we don't all agree on what "moderate pricing" means, but many people would classify EU as "expensive"). For reference, my gf and I usually spend $200-$300 on dinner there. The food is terrefic, and the bill somewhat inflated by our tendancy to order expensive-ish wine.

          2. beyoglu is a good spot. share the mezz platter and a salad over a bottle of wine. i would sit downstairs or outside if the weather is nice. vero is also a good spot but might be too similar to cavatappo.

            3 Replies
            1. re: fein

              A second rec for: Beyoglu, Sfoglia (if you can get in), and Flex Mussels (if she's in to seafood)
              Would also recommend Uva: http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

              www.thelunchbelle.com

              1. re: LeahBaila

                i second uva must sit in the back garden. food is ok but the ambiance makes it.

              2. re: fein

                Thank you! I was raking my brain for the name of Beyoglu! It is terrific food, casual but still nice, and a great value. The most appropriate recommendation in this thread, AFAIC.

              3. Jumping on the bandwagon from other chowhounders. My votes (in no particularl order):
                Land (thai)
                Spigolo
                Etats Unis Wine bar (its just around the corner from Spigolo)
                cafe d'alsace
                cipolla rossa(its BYOB some people may not be into that and it does require advance planning)
                I've also heard good things about Square Meal on 92nd/Madison but haven't been there yet.

                3 Replies
                1. re: preppie foodie

                  Square meal is delicious but it is also BYOB

                  1. re: heinlein42

                    Actually, while you can still bring your own wine for a $2.00 corkage fee that goes to charity, they do now have a wine list as well. No hard liquor though. While I really like Square Meal, I'm not sure how great a date place it is, unless the OP is in his 40s or above.

                    Edit:

                    Kurio is a favorite neighborhood place of ours on E. 92nd between 1st and 2nd. Great cocktails, reasonable wine list, interesting menu, and you can make a v. nice meal out of the appetizers - there's a wide selection, and I actually find them more interesting than the main courses.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Recently went to Kurio and loved it! Thanks fo rthe rec!

                  1. re: notsochubbychubette

                    I was just going to suggest b cafe. Has a small outside area in the back.

                  2. Beyoglu, Ottomanelli's on Lex and 93rd, Delizia in the back dining room, enter on 92nd,
                    Zebu Grill on 92 bet 1st and 2nd

                    1. lots of great suggestions. Thanks. Also I see this thread made the Eater board wrap. Leaning towards Beyoglu or Flex Mussels.

                      "Not too fancy" refers to the venue, not the price. Went to some Italian place on Amsterdam last week with some friends, around 81st or 82nd ... the food was great but it just disappeared into the conversation ... but I would have noticed if it was not good. A fava bean side was the winner of the night. Gotta see if I can find the name. Anyhow, looking for a place like that, where the food is good, but the venue is nice and the noise level isn't insane.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Marine Engineer

                        In that case, much as I love the burger at Ottomanelli's (had one for lunch), I would scratch it off your list due to atmosphere. I do think that Sfoglia would be perfect, if you can get a reservation. My in-laws, who usually dine in the 50s - 70s only on the UES, are still raving about our recent lunch there.

                        1. re: Marine Engineer

                          i like both those places, but i like flex quite a bit more than beyoglu

                        2. My husband and I love Brasserie Julien on 3rd Ave btw 81st and 82nd. The food is delicious, prices are reasonable, and it has a wonderful, bustling atmosphere that is still conducive to conversation. They also have live (but not oppressively loud) music many nights. The service is always pleasant, and they don't ever rush you - which is nice if you're on a date. They have a nice bar as well, in case you just want to go for a drink.

                          1. I highly recommend Spigolo....small restaurant run by chef husband and pastry wife team. It's great! 81st & 2nd

                            1. I can't recommend Beyoglu highly enough, food is fantastic, reasonably priced, though it gets loud on a busy night. I love Delizia (it's on my block), but I have to say I wouldn't rec for a second date considering you have to walk your date through a pizza joint to get to it. Spigolo is perfect, if you can get a table. I was totally unimpressed with Flex Mussels, if you're going for that vibe I vote B Cafe, where you can get mussels and they have a crazy beer selection. I also reccommend Italianissimo on 84th between 3rd and 2nd, it's a delicious little hole in the wall that is very cozy and reasonably priced as well.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: nattie23nyc

                                Actually you can enter the back dining room directly from 92 street. It's not necessary to walk through the pizza part first.

                              2. Enough with Cipolla Rossa and Kurio! They are both so amazingly mediocre.

                                A lot of the other recs are spot on however; my favorites are Sfoglia, Peri Ela, Canyon Road, and Rughetta. All are comfortable atmosphere-wise, so you'll be able to have a nice conversation -- and the food is delicious.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: acpi

                                  Just out of curiosity, why do you think Kurio is mediocre? I would say the same about Peri Ela, though I agree that Sfoglia is excellent. I've not been to the other places.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    I wonder about the same opinion of Cipolla Rossa, which I have found (both locations) to be innovative, delicious, and incredibly reasonable. Fabulous grilled calamari, wild board sausage, homemade pastas. Reminds me of little places I have loved in Florence.

                                  2. re: acpi

                                    I love Cipolla Rossa. It's incredibly authentic and well done.

                                    1. re: acpi

                                      Must absolutely agree with you re: cipolla rossa!! Finally went because everyone on these boards raves about the place. I really disliked it.

                                    2. Atlantic Grill (3rd and 77th)seems to be the most popular dating restaurant around,, I think the whole place is packed with 1st 2nd and 3rd time daters

                                      1. beyoglu was the choice ... and it was great. We got a table ... outside ... probably the quietest spot in the restaurant. Bottle of red, the caviar roe, grilled octopus, an appetizer special (little meat filled dumplings in a yogurt sauce, and the donner kabob. Food was great, conversation was great as well.

                                        And I've got plenty of rec's on this thread for date #3.

                                        -----
                                        Beyoglu
                                        200 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Marine Engineer

                                          Ah, so there is going to be a third date? Cool.

                                        2. GING is a phenominal Sushi/Japanese Restaurant on 3rd Ave between 87th & 88th. It is a gem. Pleasant staff, great tasting and fresh sushi/sashimi. I stumbled upon it this weekend. Highly recommended.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: LastEmporer

                                            Sushi Gari is on 78th , its still in same neighborhood.

                                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                                              Altho sushi gari is one of my faves-it is very pricey esp if you have a couple bottles of sake. both times I went bill was over $400 for 2 including tip! Worth it-esp if someone else is paying!

                                          2. I just went to a great spot last night on a first date, this tiny wine bar/restaurant called Balon (right next to the Etats Unis bar). So cute, nice wine list, back garden. Food was delicious and atmosphere was perfect! No website but the number is (646) 641-2282