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Trip to NYC

My wife and I are headed to NYC for 3 days and 2 nights in July. I'm looking for two great dinner options in the SoHo, Tribeca, LES area. I don't want to spend a small fortune, but they should be very cool aesthetically, great food, and hopefully a good bar area as well. Recs are much appreciated.

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  1. What is the *most* you are willing to spend, including tax, tip, and drinks/wine?

    By very cool aesthetically you mean something sleek, modern, hip, trendy like those designed by the architectural firm AvroKO (check out their web site for examples)? Of course a lot of the trendier places in town tend to be more expensive.

    Any cuisine preferences or dislikes?

    Are you adventoruous eaters (open to eating spicy food or molecular gastronomy or organ meats) or not so much?

    Are you willing to travel to other neighborhoods?

    Where are you traveling from (so we don't recommend BBQ to a Southerner, etc.)

    Are you looking for dinner recs only?

    Is making reservations important or are you willing to wait?

    Are you are beer drinker, wine drinker, or cocktail drinker? Not all restaurants have a liquor license here and some are BYOB!

    1. Thanks for the neighborhood list. Cuisine preferences? If you provide more detail on price range (including tax, tip, alcohol) it will be easier for us to make suggestions. What do you mean by "cool aesthetically?"

      One place that comes to mind on the LES with good, not great food and a good bar area is Rayuela (Latin):

      www.rayuelanyc.com
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5249...

      Falai (Italian) on the LES is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. No bar area. A recent thread:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/233792

      1. Thanks everyone for the follow-up questions. Being a ChowHounder as well, I probably should have started off with a better post. Anyway, here are some additional details:

        - We are from Los Angeles and have both been to NYC many times before, but somehow this is our first time heading there together.

        - I would like to keep the cost under $100pp including drinks, tip and tax unless you think that's unreasonable for what we're looking for, in which case I'd be willing to stretch to $125pp one of the nights.

        - We like just about every type of ethnic food, although we're not particularly adventurous -- neither of us likes game or organ meats, nor do we get all the fuss over "foam."

        - We drink just about anything, although we prefer wine and cocktails to beer.

        - We would prefer to go somewhere that will take a reservation. We are trying to fit a lot into 3 days and 2 nights while my parents watch our daughter, and don't want to waste it waiting. Although if we're waiting with a drink in hand and not too long, we can live with that.

        - In terms of aesthetic, we would like a place that is hip and energetic. It doesn't have to look like a W Hotel, but we want the place to be relatively youthful, energetic, and fun -- and with some style.

        - I'm primarily looking for dinner recs, but we will be in town for 3 days so if anyone has any cheap breakfast or lunch suggestions we're all for them. Although I can also easily live on NYC bagels for breakfast and pizza for lunch...

        - We are planning to stay in SoHo, Tribeca, or the Lower East Side primarily because we like the fact that we can spend most of our afternoons on foot around there. I'm not necessarily wedded to eating in those districts, but I would also be quite willing to stay local. I just figured that if I opened recs up to all of Manhattan it would be impossible to narrow them down...

        - Speaking of which, we are torn on the following hotels; any inside knowledge would be much appreciated: Thompson, 60 Thompson, The Smyth, Tribeca Grand, and Hotel Gansevoort.

        Thanks again everyone!

        6 Replies
        1. re: soccerandlost

          Well there are three (more, but these are my favorites and most unique to NY) East Village/LES places that you really have to try.
          1) Degustation- counter seating (12-16 seats) around an open kitchen, but in comfortable chairs and a nice but small restaurant. French/Spanish small plates. Tasting menus are 5 courses for $50, and 10 courses for &75, but I suggest you order a la carte (get one of each for some dishes, share others) because it is better value than the 5-course (you will still spend about $50pp before tax,tip but you can try more things) and because I have read that the 10-course is more experimental.
          2) Momofuku Ssam- Really good Korean-influenced cuisine, quite a bit over hyped at this point, but I'd say the quintessential NY restaurant of the past 2-3 years and, again, excellent food. No reservations, so maybe go for lunch.
          3) Katz's Deli for pastrami.

          The above places certainly have their own style, Ssam and Degustation are relatively small. Consider cocktail places in the EV like PDT as well. For pizza, I'd probably steer you to Co. for lunch.

          1. re: ian9139

            +1 to all the spots ian9139 mentioned.

            1. re: kathryn

              I definitely agree re: Degustation (though you may get a little foam here and there - but it's outstanding - esp. for the price) and Momofuku Ssam Bar. I'm not as crazy about Katz's as a lot of other people on this board, but it's always a fun experience if you haven't done it before.
              I would also suggest Txikito for 'tapas' and great gin & tonics which I think are made with Fever Tree tonic. Anyway, really good stuff and it's right next to Co. so you could do a double whammy if you can handle it.
              And sorry if it's got nothing to do with your parameters - neither hip nor downtown - but I always advise any New York visitor to have a martini and a mutton chop or prime rib at Keens. Great bar, food, and old New York ambience.

              1. re: snaporaz

                Make that another for Degustation. Though not sure it's energetic. I find it more intense. Also I'd rate it very good, not great. I've had so few great, memorable meals (Robuchon, Falai, The Modern - Dining Room, Chanterelle, EMP, Pikayo). I'd also eat what you can only get in NYC - bagels & bialies, pizza, Greek. A recent thread on Degustation:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/619818

            1. Two new places that you may want to consider are Locanda Verde (tribeca) and DGBG (Boulud's new place for burgers in LES).

              1. Degustation
                Harbour
                Locanda Verde
                Aldea

                1. Bar Artisinal is new hotspot in Tribeca. I haven't been though.
                  Frankie's Spuntino in LES for Italian.
                  Chikalicious in the East Village for dessert was pretty awesome the last time I went.
                  If you have time, stop in at the Essex St Market for some grab to go goodies from Ronnie Sue's chocolates and Saxelby's cheese.