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Recs for 2 couples who can't agree

We often visit NYC and have a great time trying different restaurants and rely heavily on what I read on this board.

Another couple is traveling from the south to join us for a long weekend. We are having a difficult time agreeing on where to dine. I recommended Babbo's for a special evening but was told "I want the best value in NYC, not the most expensive place that excels in putting the weirdest looking plate of food in front of their diners. I'm not impressed. Ya'll need to dumb down the trip for a couple of southerners." His words not mine -- we've been to Babbo and had a great meal.

Okay, I get it. They aren't foodies, but we are. Any suggestions for some places that might appeal to both couples without breaking the bank. Oh yeah, and he refuses to change for dinner so jeans/casual dress is also a must.


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  1. Locanda Verde or Gramercy Tavern (Tavern side)

      1. Haha oh my! It seems like ya'll are gonna have an innerestin' time! Luckily there's plenty of places I think will be great for all of you. How about Blue Ribbon Bakery on Downing & Bedford? They have a huge menu including "fancy" fried chicken and the BEST choc chip bread pudding EVER. Public would be good for brunch since it's cheap but still a foodie fav (try the turkish eggs, sounds weird but very tasty). Markt would also be a good choice as the menu and the portions are both huge. Happy dining!

        1. Great suggestions! Thanks to everyone for the input.

          It will definitely be innerestin' time;-)

          2 Replies
          1. re: ckordier

            I think Casa Mono and Alta might have too many "weird" dishes on the menu for them?

            1. re: kathryn

              Agree. If Babbo is too weird, then Casa Mono is WAY too weird. Plus Casa Mono is cramped -- the southerners will be used to having room to move their elbows, and will not be happy about that (I get that from my mom when she visits).

              What about something like Lure Fishbar? I have taken mom there and she loved it, they have nice big booths, its in Soho so it looks the part, its got great cocktails, and the food is geared to please many palates. Plus you can definitely go there in jeans, and worst comes to worst they have a good burger.

          2. So, are you friends with these people?
            My suggestion would be considered rude.
            I would start with Jacquelyn's line of thinking, American brasserie types, maybe add steakhouses? You said special evening, is there a concrete budget since I can tell that by "value" he meant not so many dollars rather than quality/$. Also, Babbo is not much if at all more expensive than most of the other suggestions such as Gram Tav, Loc Verde, Peasant. A bit more info might help but good luck in any case.

            1. have you considered Korean BBQ? it's different enough to satisfy your needs, but approachable enough for your more limited friends. i'd say try Madangsui for quality or Don's Bogam for a slightly better atmosphere.

              1. Have you considered Maialino? It's a foodie destination, Italian, and serves roast suckling pig which would probably appeal to Southern appetites.

                1. You might also consider Lupa. Same great Batali pasta, but a more casual enivronment and a little less expensive than Babbo. Originating from SC myself, my recommendation would be to NOT take a Southerner somewhere in NYC for fried chicken. Not only would it be considered condescending and a bit of a slap in the face -- they probably also wouldn't think the fried chicken is up to their standards!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: edwardspk

                    Never said to take them to Blue Ribbon FOR fried chicken, just mentioned it because it's a good example of some of the yummy comfort food on their extensive menu. I'm actually from the south originally and would definitely take my family here if they visited again. They give you huge portions and it's spacious and friendly like many southern restaurants but still maintains a "hip" NYC atmosphere.

                    I think the steakhouse idea is another great option. My parents constantly ask me about the famous steakhouses they see on tv (like Peter Lugers).

                  2. Just took jeans wearing "southern" family to Becco during the holidays, they absolutely loved it. They would have been way out of thier comfort zone @Babbo!

                    1. Thanks for all the great suggestions. They are friends and they are dear to us -- even if we can't agree on what to eat. I'm definitely not taking them anywhere for biscuits 'cause that gal can make some scratch biscuits that puts all others to shame. Looking forward to treating our friends to a great weekend in NYC. Armed with these suggestions I am sure we'll find common ground.

                      1. As a southerner and a foodie, or in the least a foodie poser, I definitely recommend Blue Ribbon Bakery. I take all visiting family members there for lunch. They have an amazing sandwich selection on fresh made bread and also a pretty hefty entree menu. Other restaurants that were successful in riding the fine line between great food and not too expensive: Mesa Grill (Bobby Flay, southwestern), Pearl River Oyster Bar (great lobster rolls or seafood and fun easy desserts like caramel sundaes), Café Habana (Latin American), and BLT Fish or Aquagrill (seafood). I agree with Becco, which is great before a show, but have also heard that Bianca is great for Italian. I would say any of these restaurants would equally please you and your friends.

                        1. Sounding like a broken record lately but how about Public (www.public-nyc.com). The last time we were there we got into a conversation with a group of four from Texas that said they were concerned about choosing Public because they weren't into fancy food but were glad they did 'cause they were loving it. GF and I go there because we are into food so it seems like it can make many different people happy. Great value and jeans are fine.