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Jan 4, 2010 04:12 PM

Looking for a a small intimate gem on the LES

I am going on a first date and we would like to hear each other talking and be able to have an intimate conversation. I suggested Piadina and then the Smith but he didn't want to go there. He suggested Essex and Stanton Social but we both agreed they were too loud and trendy. So now we are at a loss for ideas. The requirements are excellent food, intimate environment, friendly wait service and on the LES. Any ideas?

Stanton Social
99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

57 W 10th St, New York, NY 10011

The Smith
55 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

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  1. random thoughts:
    Cacio e Vino
    Jewel Bako
    Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Agreed with the health gourmet here... Apizz, Degustation, Jack's all money first date spots for different reasons. Apizz is #1 can't miss though, subtly romantic without being too quiet and home to my personal all-time fave skate dish ever.

    2. My first choice would be Little Giant, which will meet your needs very well. Make a reservation - it's a small place. There's also Allen & Delancey, but I was there four or five chefs ago and can't vouch for the food now. It's sexier than Little Giant, and also pricier. Bacaro is intimate and well-regarded (I've been there only for dessert). I've also heard good things about Sorella.

      Jewel Bako is a good suggestion (it's in the East Village, not the LES), as is Rayuela. I think the drinks at Rayuela are very fine, and there's a tree in the dining room! I am a sucker for that sort of nonsense. I don't think the food's especially good at Cacio e Vino, though (and it's also in the East Village).

      You are right to reject the Smith (which is very loud) and Stanton Social (which is even louder). Essex is a decent neighborhood place, but not special enough for what I think you're looking for.

      2 Replies
      1. re: small h

        yeah, i know a couple of my suggestions were EV instead of LES, but i figured they might work since they're not too far off.

        speaking of the EV, and now that i know budget is a concern...Holy Basil is an option for Thai. it's definitely cozy/intimate and conducive to conversation.

        1. re: small h

          Ooo definitely skip Allen & Delancey. The first time I went it was great, but we went back a few months ago and had the worst experience with the service and the food was not nearly as good. Plus it is really pricey. Falai will be out of your budget too.

          Bacaro is wonderful for a date; Frankies 17 is also very good and a perhaps a bit cheaper (but you do have to sit on top of people). I've only done Antibes for brunch but I like it a lot, and its pretty cheap too!

        2. 2nd little giant. there's also falai, kampuchea, and frankie's spuntino.

          1. Thanks everyone for the recommendations! I forgot to mention not too pricey, we're starving artist types that enjoy good food but not a big check. We don't drink so I know that will keep the price down.

            2 Replies
            1. re: saradoesmakeup

              Ah, then, of all the places mentioned, I think Frankie's is the most economical. Kampuchea's pretty cheap, too, but it's not very date-y. There's also 'inoteca, but wine is a big part of the excitement, there.

              1. re: small h

                Second (third?) Frankie's 17. Kampuchea is not very date-worthy, and the portions are very small. So you end up spending more than you think you will, or you'll be hungry. (NB, I'm not a big eater, and I felt cheated by the price/food ratio there).

                Check out Antibes Bistro. Very out of the way (suffolk between riv and delancey), and very inexpensive.

            2. Kuma Inn is awesome, not that quiet but certainly not loud, not trendy, fun, great food.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ian9139

                Kuma Inn can get really loud as the night goes on, though, especially if they have more than one large group. The space is tiny!