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Sep 28, 2009 01:33 PM

Three Casual Dinners, true USA style...

Hi everyone

On our 4 day trip to NYC next Feb we're limited to just three sit down restaurant meals in the 4 days we are there as we're at a Knicks game the other day. Criteria as follows:

- Prepared to travel anywhere the subway can take us

- Can be lunch or evening.

- Must be a casual place as we'll be travelling light and won't have any posh clothes - jeans and boots.

- Prices up to $20 for entrees (each) + tax/tip/drinks
- we'll probably head to Rice to Riches or doughnut plant for dessert :)

- One meal is decided - just have to try Dinosaur. The other two are up for grabs.

- One must be a good burger. We don't do "fancy" - so burgers with foie gras etc is out. We just like a decent burger, medium rare with fantastic beef and great fries. Difficult to get in the UK. My burger options so far include:

Blue Smoke (we actually love the BBQ here but have heard the burger is great)
Landmarc (Time Warner or Tribeca)

Any others?

Our third meal can be anything - no fish or seafood (allergies) and no Indian (much better in the UK). Enjoy mexican, noodles, pizza (contemplating Co.), steak, pasta, diner type food, comfort food (Jane? Bubby's?)

I'm guessing my burger choice is weak and I'd really like to hear about anything else for the third meal. I know the trip is some time away but hey, I'm a planner.....

All suggestions very welcome please..... thanks so much guys :)

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  1. Balthazar and especially Luger will vastly surpass your under $20 per entree limit. You can't get out of Luger for less than $100 per head. All these places have menus on line which will help strategize.

    4 Replies
    1. re: chow_gal

      C_G is wrong about Lugers. The burgers (best in the 5 boroughs) are just $10 each. They are only served at weekday lunch though. Highly recommended.

      1. re: bobjbkln

        Correct -- Luger burgers are only during lunch.

        I'm a little confused by the request for "3 meals" that can be either lunch or dinner...

        Some restaurants aren't open for lunch (or dinner) so this can make it difficult to make suggestions.

        1. re: kathryn

          Sorry Kathryn. We only plan to have a sit down meal at either lunch time or in the evening three times during our stay - other times we'll be having breakfast (already sorted thanks to your posts!) or eating on the go/take out.

          If someplace sounds great and it's evening only, we'll give that a try :)

        2. re: bobjbkln

          great point! I always equate it with steak.

      2. Dinosaur is a great choice. I think they have the best ribs in NYC. Just make sure you get a reservation. That place is always packed!

        For a great no frills burger I recommend Veselka or Shake Shack. Shake Shack is more of a fast food type burger but it's awesome. Veselka is more of a sit down place that is great after having a couple beers in the East Village. I had a burger in London last year and it was almost ineible so I understand your pain. The fries are pretty good there but you could also go across the street to Pomme Frites after if it doesn't meet your standards.

        IMO if you want pizza I would stick with a classic New York slice for your first time here. I was a little disappointed in Co. and honestly it might be out of your price range. The pizzas are quite small and expensive. I like Artihoke and Posto. Posto is you want to sit down and artichoke for take away. Lombardi's might not be a bad choice either. First pizza place in NYC. Get a little bit of culture with your food.

        Hope you enjoy! The London board really helped me out on my trip so please ask away! (the burger was the only thing I got without recommendations- stupid me)

        2 Replies
        1. re: roze

          Thank you Roze. We have visited the city 7 times before so we're not first timers. Tried Lombardi - it was ok but didn't blow me away. Co. sounded good from a CH review I read and looking at their website most pies are below $20. I particularly like the sound of the flambe.

          1. re: roze

            The Shake Shack on 77th and Columbus is a sit-down restaurant - unlike the Madison Sq. Park branch. Same prices, same terrific burgers.

            1. For casual, well priced American cooking Redhead would be a great choice. All entrees are $20 or less except the tenderloin which clocks in at $22. The food and service are very good. Both the burger and fried chicken are first rate but really, everything I've had there has been quite good.

              Frank Bruni, in his last NY Times review, gave it a star.

              Redhead -

              349 E. 13th Street (near 1st Ave.


              No reservations for groups of 4 or less. If you get there by 7:00 during the week you won't have a problem.

              The Redhead
              349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

              4 Replies
              1. re: Bob Martinez

                2nd Redhead.

                Also for the burger, it depends if you're looking for a thicker patty or a thinner fast food style patty. Two pretty different styles.

                1. re: kathryn

                  We enjoy both really - but if we had to state a preference it would be the thicker style.

                  We are having a big apple greeter tour of Brooklyn so it sounds as though Lugers might be a winner for the burger at lunch :)

                  1. re: kansel

                    I agree with Molly's although the burgers are huge - 11oz. Also I am a big fan of the Redhead - a nice, quaint and cozy atmosphere with comfort food done well. The fried chicken is fantastically juicy. The lamb sausage and mushroom flatbread that we had was great as well, though I think desserts are not quite as stellar as apps and entrees, which should work for your plans.

                    Other not to miss experiences in the price range include Sripraphai (Thai) in Queens, a Sicilian pie for 22 dollars at Artichoke Basile pizza, Korean fried chicken (so good and addictive - sweet spicy and crunchy paper thin skin), and bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches which are pick up and go - you could do these for lunch.) Cafe Habana or Cafecito would also be good for a casual dinner.

                    Happy eats!

                    1. re: windycity

                      Note that Artichoke is a small, busy, popular takeout joint, so there's no seating inside to enjoy your Sicilian pie (I can only really endorse the Sicilian).

              2. Another burger option which, in my opinion, is as good as Shake Shack is The LIttle Owl in Greenwich Village. It's small, sit-down and takes reservations (unlike Shake Shack, which is ALWAYS slammed).

                Didn't notice any reco's for Mexican. There are tons around, so you'll get lots of suggestions, but I like Mercadito (Lower East Side) and Rosa Mexicano (Union Square location).

                1 Reply
                1. re: edwardspk

                  Little Owl only serves their burger at lunch. Right? I love their sliders (which you can get lunch or dinner). In my experience, getting a reservation for dinner here is a pain (even a month ahead you might be eating at 5:30) but walking in for lunch is much easier.