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What are you cooking today?


muppetdiner May 3, 2010 07:48 PM

I vowed never to post a "where should i eat?" question here but I am stuck. My parents are coming from PA for a visit. Tonight on the phone my dad requested a place that is not too noisy, that the table is not too small, that won't mind if we want to linger, and that is within 5 to 10 blocks of the corner of Canal and Varick Street.

I have lived here for over 10 years, I work in the neighborhood and I eat out very often. Still, I am at a complete loss for a Soho-ish spot that fits the bill.

He said he'd be happy to go somewhere expensive if it fits into the criteria above but that means a maximum or $30 for an entree. Nothing too (his words, not mine) adventurously "ethnic". That means mexican, italian, spanish, german, french are ok but probably not indian, thai, japanese, moroccan, etc.

We're not trying to just go to a deli for a sandwich. A real sit down meal with at the very least wine and beer, preferrably full bar. Anyone have any suggestions?

I thought maybe Cupping Room, Mercer Kitchen, Numero 28 PIzza Romana, or Jardin Bistro. If you think I am wrong on any of these, I'd like to know that, too.

Many thanks!

Mercer Kitchen
99 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012

Cupping Room Cafe
359 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

Numero 28
196 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

  1. sweetpotato May 16, 2010 01:10 PM

    My husband and I just went to Cafe Espanol yesterday for lunch (on Bleeker) and enjoyed it so much. Authentic Spanish cuisine, lovely waitstaff, comfortable seating, full bar. I can't wait to go back !

    1. r
      RGR May 6, 2010 12:43 AM

      Re: Jardin Bistro. The last time we were there, the food was rather mediocre.

      We went to Cercle Rouge for the first time recently. The French bistro-style cuisine was delicious, service was excellent, table sizes are decent, and they will not rush you out if you want to linger. However, I can't judge the noise level when it's very busy because we were there early on a Sunday evening, and there were only a few tables occupied.

      Cercle Rouge photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

      2 Replies
      1. re: RGR
        simetrias May 6, 2010 04:26 AM

        Ditto RGR on Jardin Bistro. Bar Artisinal is ALWAYS packed-- at least with drinkers-- and it is noisy-crazy in there. I know, because my business uses the hotel it is attached to for our clients, and I am there at all hours.

        Ten minutes.... walking? cab? I know it is probably out of your price range, but I just took a group to Scalini Fedeli (have been many times). he $68 3 course prix fixe is fabulous, you can sit all night, and it is quiet and elegant. The old old (old?) Bouley Space on Duane at Hudson. It's a 10 min walk from Canal and Varick, at least the way I walk. ;-)

        Scalini Fedeli
        165 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: simetrias
          RGR May 6, 2010 06:00 AM

          Scalini Fedeli's website says the prix fixe is $65. Not that the small difference is going to fit the budget...

      2. r
        rrems May 5, 2010 07:42 PM


        281 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

        1 Reply
        1. re: rrems
          Delucacheesemonger May 15, 2010 04:32 AM

          As always we agree, will be there next week.

        2. c
          ciomar May 5, 2010 05:38 PM

          Piccola Cucina at Prince and Sullivan. Great food, good service. Kinda small but they never rushed us out. Your Dad may find the table a little small but that is because the plates are huge. You can read the menu because it isnt too dark and you can easily have a conversation. (His criteria made me laugh thinking of my father's request of "No glass plates" wherever we went.)

          Piccola Cucina
          184 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

          1 Reply
          1. re: ciomar
            muppetdiner May 5, 2010 07:23 PM

            Thanks guys. Love Aurora, but everytime I go its pretty packed. I think at 5pm we will probably be ok though. It's between Aurora and Bar Artisanal at this point (because Bar Artisanal is always, always empty).

            Ciomar, that's pretty funny. My dad also really can't stand that they automatically bring water to the table because he doesn't like water. He actually seems to think the waitstaff are trying to antagonize them because of it. Will definitely try Piccola Cucina on my own some day soon.

            efdee thanks for the heads up on jardin. i only ever walk by in the day time when it is pretty empty.

            kathryn, thanks for the heads up on blue ribbon. that would've been my first choice if not for your tip.

            Bar Artisanal
            268 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

            Piccola Cucina
            184 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

          2. r
            rdnnyc May 4, 2010 02:39 PM

            Jane might work. It's on the far end but still less than 10 blocks away. Full bar, solid american style food, not too cramped. Was going to suggest Jean Claude but they don't have a full bar.

            Jean Claude
            137 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

            1. m
              momosz May 4, 2010 01:59 PM

              I had brunch at Aurora on Broome off of Varick by a block or two. It was very good. The restaurant is very cozy and not too cramped. Brunch was quiet but not sure about dinner.

              1 Reply
              1. re: momosz
                eeee May 4, 2010 06:31 PM

                I second Aurora. It is perfect for your needs. The food is very good and not exorbitant and the service is gracious. It's not loud. You will be able to linger if you like.

              2. c
                cjd260 May 4, 2010 08:56 AM

                Is Aquagrill too cramped?

                Perry Street would be perfect but it might be pushing your geographical boundary.

                Perry Street
                176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

                210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                1. Steve R May 4, 2010 08:51 AM

                  Cercle Rouge or L'Ecole

                  Cercle Rouge
                  241 W. Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                  462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                  1. efdee May 4, 2010 08:27 AM

                    I stopped going to Jardin Bistro several years ago because of how uncomfortably squashed together the tables were. I don't remember whether they were small or not, but we definitely didn't want to linger.

                    1. k
                      kathryn May 4, 2010 08:11 AM

                      I've never eaten in Greenwich Grill (only in the sushi restaurant in the basement, Sushi Azabu). It's Italian food with a Japanese touch. But each time I've walked in, it's been pretty quiet and feels rather spacious for Manhattan.

                      Greenwich Grill
                      428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

                      Sushi Azabu
                      428 Greenwich St (basement), New York, NY 10013

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kathryn
                        Noodle fanatic May 31, 2010 08:52 PM

                        Second Greenwich Grill, except it might be a tad fusiony for muppetdiner's dad since it's a more expensive version of Basta Pasta (Japanese style pasta and Italian food).

                      2. a
                        a213b May 4, 2010 06:27 AM

                        Kenmare? Had a great meal there; might be a bit further than what you want, though.

                        Locanda Verde? Feel like that might be too loud, depending on the night.

                        Locanda Verde
                        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                        1. c
                          chow_gal May 4, 2010 06:11 AM

                          Blue Ribbon Brasserie; Raoul's

                          Blue Ribbon Brasserie
                          97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chow_gal
                            kathryn May 4, 2010 08:08 AM

                            Love Blue Ribbon Brasserie but it's pretty noisy and crowded in there, and they definitely would mind if you linger since they're usually a bunch of parties waiting to be seated.

                            Blue Ribbon Brasserie
                            97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                          2. k
                            kcup415 May 3, 2010 09:53 PM

                            next time go to Capsouto Freres. the restaurant has great food, great service, and the owners are gracious, warm, and sincere.

                            Capsouto Freres
                            451 Washington St, New York, NY 10013

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