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Rare night-out date suggestion please

My husband and I live in the middle of Brooklyn with our toddler, so our dinning out in recent years has been pretty lame. While we've been to many of the great restaurants in this city (Ok, not Per Se kind of great but Eleven Madison type) it's been a while since we've been out on a date. Could you please suggest a place that:

a) we could get in on Saturday (early is fine)
b) keep it $60 pp (w/out tax and tip)
c) is fun
d) innovative, creative food. not super heavy.
e) is downtown

Our favorite places are: Momofuku Ssam, Lupa, Hearth, sakagura, convivio, prune, porchetta.

Thanks!!

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Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Lupa
170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

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  1. Does your $60pp include wine and/or cocktails?

    If not, have you been to Degustation? You can order their 5 course tasting for $55pp. (It used to be only $50pp and even then was a great bargain). Portions can be on the smaller side but it is rather interesting and creative food with Spanish influences.

    1. If you haven't done WD-50 yet, they seem like they'd be right up your alley. Depending what you order it could nose up a little over $60, though. You'd probably have to skip drinks to keep it in the budget.

      Another option, right down the block, is Falai's "Menu Tradizione" - four courses (antipasti, pasta, secondi, dolci - though scaled down a bit from the a la carte versions) for $50. And you could easily do three courses a la carte (more choices, larger servings, more components) off the regular menu for around the same.

      Down the block from Prune is JoeDoe, which I've been pretty happy with every time I've eaten there. He calls the menu "Aggressive American" and while maybe that's a little kitschy / pretentious, it fits. Really bold flavors, hearty food. Fun beer-based cocktails as well.

      A little further up North, Craftbar is nice, and unlike their parent restaurant can fit into your budget. And Tabla, with careful ordering, could fall within range as well, especially since they combined the Bread Bar and regular menus.

      Don't know where in Brooklyn you are, but if you're South of Flatbush there are some great places: Convivium Osteria in Park Slope - very quaint, Meditteranean (Portuguese meets Italian) food, outdoor seating in the garden and also tables in a romantic little wine cellar. Henry's End is a Brooklyn Heights classic. New American, mostly, with rotating seasonal specials. Also in the Slope is Rosewater, a great seasonal / local place in the Blue Hill / Gramercy Tavern vein, only with Brooklyn prices. And, admittedly, without Mike Anthony or Dan Barber in the kitchen - but they're still pretty great.

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      WD-50
      50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

      Craftbar
      900 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

      Falai
      68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

      JoeDoe
      45 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003

      Tabla
      11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

      1. I'm never sure what others definition of fun is so this may not fit your requirements but I'm fond of Public. I think it hits most of your points.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Spiritchaser

          we've been to public and love it. i guess by 'fun' i meant not a super formal place- a la midtown. i was thinking of wd-50, but wonder if we would be able to get in at this point, i'll try. also joedoe and falai are great suggestions! thanks!

          1. re: adamandeve

            I don't think that WD-50 has that "fun" of an atmosphere, though.

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            WD-50
            50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

        2. How about a tapas restaurant, like Pipa (Gramercy/Chelsea) or Malaga (upper east)? There is a fun scene at both restaurants and you can manage your budget easily.

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          Pipa
          38 East 19th Street, New York, NY 10003

          1. Perry Street, Lure Fishbar & Pylos are all possibilities.

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            Perry Street
            176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

            Pylos
            128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

            1. Perhaps Aldea, although its not super downton.

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              Aldea
              31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

              1 Reply
              1. re: fatema

                Assuming this is for Saturday this week, Aldea is not available. Some other ideas are:

                SD26
                Allegretti
                Recette
                Bar Blanc
                Tabla

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                Allegretti
                46 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010

                Aldea
                31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                SD26
                19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

                Recette
                328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

              2. We have the same taste in restaurants! Have you thought about dining out in Brooklyn? A lot of good restaurants have opened up in Brooklyn in recent years where your budget would stretch further. Honestly, we rarely eat out in Manhattan anymore because every time we do we find it crowded, loud, and expensive as compared to places we like in Brooklyn (though admittedly Sakagura is never crowded or loud). That being said, we've really enjoyed WD-50 in the past, though we haven't been recently. I'm not one to complain about small portions but Degustation has truly small portions, so much so that when we left we were still hungry and had to go somewhere else for more food, which has never happened to us before or since.

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                WD-50
                50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                Sakagura
                211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

                2 Replies
                1. re: Westminstress

                  I agree, but really we ONLY go out in Brooklyn and sometimes I miss Manhattan :)

                  We have made reservations at JoeDoe, WD-50 was not available. I'll look into the other suggestions and see if something appeals more...

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                  WD-50
                  50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                  JoeDoe
                  45 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: adamandeve

                    If he's still running the "lamb fries" off-menu special... well worth it for those brave enough to try them.

                2. this doesn't meet your location criteria, but 5& diamond in harlem has a $50 pp prix fixe which is creative, seasonal, and delicious. i have a toddler and share your restaurant yearnings, and this totally satisfied/impressed. menu here, but they supposedly change it daily: http://nymag.com/restaurants/menus/pd...