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downtown dinner - foodie in the group!

hoping everyone can help. i recently got engaged and next saturday (not this immediate one) i am taking my three best friends, and future sister-in-law, to dinner, to ask them to be my bridesmaids.

my friends are easy but my future sister is a FOODIE to the first degree, and i am feeling a little pressure to keep up with her! i would like the food/cocktails/wine to be great, as well as the atmosphere (fun/festive), AND the price to be not TOO over the top and i will be paying for dinner. (maybe the entire bill, for the 5 of us, to be not more than $350 with drinks)...is this even possible?! west/east village, lower east would be ideal.

any type of food is fine. thank you in advance for your suggestions!!

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  1. See if the round table at Blue Ribbon Brasserie is available. Only table you can reserve. It's for 5 or 6, can't remember.

    1. The Redhead will allow reservations for larger groups. I'm not sure what their cutoff is though.

      5 Replies
      1. re: egit

        great suggestions...i have never been to the redhead (been to blue ribbon and love it) - what 's the atmosphere?

        1. re: wvillagenyc

          Small, cozy, fun. Lively bar scene-- some might use the word "boisterous," but I've never been tempted to use the word "obnoxious." Can get a little noisy at times but once you're seated at a table it probably won't bother you. The crowd trends to the younger side, but not exclusively.

        2. re: egit

          Their web site says "Reservations are taken for dinner only for parties of 5 or more, and only before 6:30pm."

          1. re: kathryn

            i just noticed that as well... a major disapointment because it sounded perfect.

            1. re: wvillagenyc

              It's not a big place and has gotten pretty popular, especially after the NYT review, so I understand why they'd do that.

        3. If she is such a foodie why not ask for her expertise and to make a suggestion. She will love you for looking to her for advice.

          5 Replies
          1. re: princeofpork

            That's a great suggestion! Foodies love to think about restaurants and make recommendations. Just let her know the parameters. That way, if it's not up to her standards, she has only herself to blame, and you've sought out her "expertise". The only risk with this is you have to go with one of her suggestions. If you ask her advice, then ignore it, you've begun to set the future tone of your relationship with your sister-in-law.

            1. re: edwardspk

              i actually thought of that...but would love to just pick something. we have a great relationship already and all we talk about is food - so i was trying to pick one and have her be impressed :)

              any thoughts on The Smith??

              1. re: wvillagenyc

                Been to the Smith many times. You will have a good meal but nothing that will blow anyone away. It will be loud and crowded,

                  1. re: wvillagenyc

                    I think the price point will limit your choices somewhat. What about Northern Spy Food Company? It's not really much of a fun "sceney" place, but the food is definitely solid. If you're there with five people, you can make your own fun, right? It's very laid back, and the bill for food alone shouldn't be more than 20-25 pp (not including drx, tax, tip).

          2. That's a bummer about The Redhead. Another thought might be The Smith. I haven't been there for dinner, but it seems like it's pretty popular. It has much of what you're looking for and I get the impression people like the food, especially considering the relatively low cost.

            Any other CHers have an opinion on the food at The Smith?

            Another fun option in your price range is Cafe Mogador. Good scene, good drinks, fun, festive, etc. They don't take reservations at all, so you'll have to wait. But you can do that at the bar with their cocktaiils, beer, wine, etc.

            2 Replies
            1. re: egit

              would not do the Smith with a foodie. The place is nice and fun and loud but food is okay. I would suggest something more like
              del Anima
              scarpetta
              spice market
              kittichai

              just to name a few good one's with a fun vibe

              1. re: BLover33

                I don't think the OP can fit any of those into her budget.

            2. How about Public? Nice space, lively, great food and drinks, even has a Michelin star. We have ordered off the menu and also had the Sunday Supper and the food has always been top notch. For your budget that's $70 per person with tax tip and drink, you could probably do it if careful.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Spiritchaser

                I know I don't live in NY, but I recently reviewed Travertine in Nolita, and it seems like it would fit the bill.