HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Need an upscale restaurant thats not too expensive

I was going to go to a BBQ restaurant for my graduation celebration but i changed my mind and wanted to go to a place less casual and more upscale but not expensive. Il take any kind of cuisine as long as its very good.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. What's your price range? People define "expensive" very differently.

    1. As whitneybee says, you need to be more specific about your budget. Please give us a per person figure for food only (drinks, tax & tip additional). Also, will this be for lunch or dinner? Any particular neighborhood(s)? And what day of the week is your graduation taking place?

      Edited to add: How many people will there be?

      1. Otto.

        also, how does less casual than BBQ equal upscale?

        4 Replies
        1. re: coasts

          I dont really have an exact price range in mind. I was thinking maybe a step down from those restaurants such as Per Se and Grammercy Tavern. This will be for dinner. I'm looking to go to the place on June 5th, Saturday. Just give me anything and il see if its too expensive. Thanks

          -----
          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: icychill

            People want to help you, but between Per Se and a casual barbecue place is every restaurant in the city.

            One way you could do this yourself is go to Open Table (opentable.com), fill in date, time and number of people and see what comes up as available.

            It's hard for us to help you without a lot of narrowing down to type of food, price range, neighborhood, etc, etc.

            1. re: Wilfrid

              Since it's coming up rather soon, using Open Table would work well. You could always come back here with a list of available restaurants and get feedback that way.

            2. re: icychill

              I consider Per Se and Gramercy Tavern to be in two completely different price ranges, but if you're looking for something cheaper than Gramercy Tavern, that does narrow it down a bit.

              -----
              Per Se
              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

              Gramercy Tavern
              42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

          2. the board might kill me for this (and I wouldn't blame them), but what about Plataforma? it's somewhere between BBQ and Per Se.

            1. If you're flexible enough to do lunch rather than dinner on Saturday, Jean Georges or Bouley might work - very reasonable, upscale, and suitable for a celebration. Bouley in particular offers a lovely tasting menu for $36 - six courses, plus "gifts" from the kitchen and petit fours.

              For dinner, you can do a four course prix fixe at Convivio for a relatively reasonable $62.

              -----
              Jean Georges
              1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

              6 Replies
              1. re: fm1963

                Im pretty set on having dinner due to the fact that i wont have enough time to have lunch before the ceremony and it will be too late after. The avg i want to spend per person is about $40. Like i said before im no longer looking for a BBQ and i also do not have a particular type of food in mind.

                1. re: icychill

                  This is very helpful as $40 in NYC is not really in line with costs of any 'upscale' spots for dinner. Do you mean for this amount to be 'all in', or not including tax and tip? $40 all-in might not even get you out of a BBQ place, unless it is that crappy Dallas BBQ. Maybe try downstairs at Blue Ribbon Bakery in W. Village?

                  1. re: chow_gal

                    I can go up to around 50 a person and i would also settle for a place outside the city.

                    1. re: icychill

                      "I can go up to around 50 a person...."

                      You really need to be specific. Is that $50pp just for food? Or does it have to include beverages (wine, beer, etc.), tax (nearly 9%), and tip (20%)?

                      1. re: RGR

                        Yeah, not to mention it's a pretty big step down from Gramercy Tavern, never mind Per Se.

                      2. re: icychill

                        For outside the city, you should post a separate thread on the Outer Boroughs board.

                        Seconding Nougatine below.

                        -----
                        Nougatine
                        1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

                2. Spice Market has plenty of WOW-factor, and entrees hovering around $20, so it could be done for around $40. They also have a $48 tasting menu. My experiences there have been very good except for the time I went during restaurant week.

                  Oh wait, even better, Nougatine at Jean Georges has a $26 lunch and $38 prix fixe dinner. Total steal for the money! According to the website, there are similar deals at Mercer Kitchen, JoJo and Perry Street.

                  -----
                  Jean Georges
                  1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                  Perry Street
                  176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

                  Mercer Kitchen
                  99 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012

                  Spice Market
                  403 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014

                  Nougatine
                  1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: flower_puppy

                    $50 including beverages and tax and all that. It will be a party of 7

                    1. re: icychill

                      Why didn't you just say this in the first place?!?!?! Gramercy Tavern is about 3 times that and Per Se 6 times, so just asking for something less than that is totally meaningless.

                      The only place decent that I can think of that may work for you is Da Andrea. The food is excellent and the atmosphere pleasant. But realize that nothing for $50 per person is going to be "upscale".

                      -----
                      Da Andrea
                      35 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011

                      1. re: icychill

                        With regard to the $38 Spring Promotion being offered at Nougatine and the other Jean-Georges restaurants flower_puppy mentions, it's not available on Saturdays. And even if it were, the cost would take you beyond your budget once you add in alcoholic beverages, tax & tip.

                        1. re: icychill

                          Icychill - Are you graduating from high school or college? Would you prefer to be in a part of town that would make it easier for you and your guests to get to, or does it not matter whatsoever? What types of restaurants/kinds of food are you most fond of? Where do you normally eat out when you want to have a fantastic meal? How conservative/adventurous is your party of 7? Do they prefer traditional cuisine, or more modern/creative? What sort of vibe? Are you more of a downtown or uptown spirit? Need more info in order for us to give you proper recommendations. That said, for under $50/pp including beverage+tax+tip for a graduation dinner, my vote would be for Balthazar.

                          1. re: Noodle fanatic

                            Balthazar is a great choice. It's festive, and offers a glimpse of a particular social sphere in New York. Easy to get to. Beautiful neighborhood for walking around. Great choice!

                            You can find a completely different scene at either of the two Congee Village (s). They even have private rooms for large parties, but most people I've talked to prefer the open seating. It's very good Chinese food, ideal for sharing among large parties, and they have crazy tiki-style drinks. And you'd be hard pressed to spend >$20 pp, unless you order a "market-price" seafood dish (They tend to run around $30). And the decor is Legend-of-Zelda-castle meets Scarface. I think it's great fun, and pretty casual, but you will see a few dressed up families celebrating birthdays in the mix.

                            Amazing 66 is a similar Chinese banquet style restaurant. Hounds seem to prefer the food at 66, although I found both restaurants to be comparably good. The decor is newer, and a little more soothing, and you'll see more elegantly dressed patrons. But for my money, nothing says "party" like Congee Village.

                            -----
                            Amazing 66
                            66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                            Congee Village
                            100 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

                            1. re: Noodle fanatic

                              I like Balthazar. However, I don't see how you can keep a 3-course meal with wine + tax and tip to under $50pp unless all seven people order only the least expensive items on the menu and pretty much stick to tap water.

                              1. re: RGR

                                Agree with RGR that if everyone orders 3 courses and wine that it won't be under $50, but that would be too much food for most people anyway. I'd suggest being a bit creative by doing appetizers family style (3-4 instead of 7), or ordering Le Balthazar (the plateaux de fruits de mer) as an appetizer for the entire table to share. Ditto with dessert. You definitely don't need 7 desserts, maybe get 3-4 to share. I find sharing much more intimate anyway.

                                Doing the $38 3-course prix fixe at one of the Jean Georges restaurants offering the Spring Promotion is a good idea (Nougatine, Matsugen, Perry St, Mercer Kitchen, Jojo). Make sure to check what times they're offering the prix fixe, because some might only offer it on certain days and have set hours (e.g. according to the website Perry St is only offering the prix fixe Sun-Fri 5:30-6pm, or after 9:30pm). As much as I love Matsugen, I think their prix fixe is weak and will leave you hungry, but the menu overall is amazing for those who are Japanese cuisine buffs. That said, it could be wasted on the average American. Perry Street is beautiful and is a great suggestion. I wouldn't recommend any of the other JG restaurants personally because I'm not much of an uptowner personally.

                                Congee Village is a good idea. Not sure if the atmosphere is high end enough for what icychill's looking for, but definitely meets the budget requirements. Have not personally been to 66 so can't comment.

                        2. If your dinner isn't coming up too soon, you may want to sign up for blackboard eats -- though I think they have a limit of 4 people per coupon code. I've saved 30% off my meal (drinks included) at several decent restaurants including Perilla, August, Boqueria and Landmarc.

                          www.blackboardeats.com

                          -----
                          Perilla
                          9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

                          Landmarc
                          179 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                          Boqueria
                          53 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            icychill said upthread (4th post down) that the graduation and dinner are this coming Saturday, June 5th. In a later post, s/he said there are going to be 7 people at the dinner.

                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              Wow, I'm not familiar with blackboard eats. I just looked at the website and it almost looks too good to be true. Is there a hitch here? I couldn't figure out from the site how they manage to offer 30% discounts, presumably at places people would otherwise be willing to pay full price.

                              1. re: uwsgrazer

                                There's no hitch. Of course there is a deadline and only a certain number of codes are sold so it may be sold out earlier in the day, but that's about it. I do like it that BBE has deals from lots of places where I would go with or without discounts - unlike restaurant.com, for instance.

                                1. re: uwsgrazer

                                  What uwsister said. No catch. I was wondering why good restaurants would participate in the program. I've come across something that said that business has really soared because of blackboard eats.

                                  1. re: uwsgrazer

                                    Here's the terms of one example deal -- I'm not too keen on the auto-gratuity and do note that the deal expires in about a month after you get it:

                                    30% off lunch or dinner*
                                    *please note: limited passcodes are available for this special; available during lunch or dinner with the minimum purchase of $10 per person during lunch or $20 per person during dinner; max party: 4; dine-in only; not valid for brunch, Monday special suppers, or use with zip cards; this restaurant is closed Mondays; please note: this restaurant will add a 15% gratuity to the pre-discount total of the bill

                                    get passcode by: July 21 8:30 AM EST
                                    special expires: Aug. 18

                                    1. re: kathryn

                                      From all of the BBE restaurants I've been to, only one added an auto gratuity. At all of the other places I've been to, I generally tip a bit more than my usual (pre-discount) because I figure there are going to be a few folks that will tip after discount, and I'm already saving a bundle on the bill to begin with.

                                2. Jean-Georges' Matsugen offer $38 prefix on saturday as well

                                  -----
                                  Matsugen
                                  241 Church Street, New York, NY 10013