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Early dinner in Chelsea?

We're making a quick trip up from DC to see a play in Chelsea, staying at the Maritime Hotel (16th Street at 9th Ave). We need to eat dinner before the show, and are looking for something light, relatively quick, and as good as possible. Price is not really an issue, but we don't have time for a multi-course "experience."

A restaurant within a short walk of the hotel would allow us more time to eat. Would probably lean toward French, (light) Italian, "new" American, etc.

Any suggestions?

Thanks very much for your help!

Lewellyn

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  1. What time and where exactly in Chelsea is the play? Does the restaurant need to be en route from your hotel to the play? How much time exactly do you have to eat? Relatively quick meaning 30/45/60/90 minutes?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Noodle fanatic

      We arrive at Penn Station at 4:45, and the play is at 7pm. Atlantic Stage 2, 330 West 16th Street.

      Would also be interested in post-theater places - maybe for dessert?

      Thanks!

      1. re: lbelber

        Just to confirm, are you checking into the hotel before the play as well? For those who are interested in helping, the theatre is on West 16th St. between 8th/9th Ave., and Maritime is on W16th St./9th Ave.

        1. re: Noodle fanatic

          I'd like to, but it's not necessary. If there's something great between the train station and Chelsea, then we can go directly to the restaurant.

          Thanks!

    2. Bar Veloce on 7th ave nr 20th st would be perfect; it's a small space with a great wine list and light panini/tramezzini

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      Bar Veloce
      176 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      5 Replies
      1. re: jacquelines

        If you're in the mood for an Italian wine bar with great small plates, try Gottino. For a trattoria with great wine, try Dell'Anima.

        For New American/French, I highly recommend Cafe Cluny (small, cozy, intimate). Their frisee lardon is fantastic. Another suggestion is Pastis (buzzy bistro), an old standby by Keith Mcnally, great steak tartare and frites.

        If you find yourself absolutely pinched for time, La Bottega in your hotel is not bad, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there normally.

        For after dinner drinks (which night of the week is the play?), if you feel like strolling, I highly recommend walking down to the West Village and having a drink at Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar (West Village) if you're in the mood for wine and amazing small plates. They have the best food out of any wine bar I've tried. I'd eat there even if I weren't drinking. Sorry my idea of dessert is wine and small plates ;)

        Are you guys planning to turn in after dessert, or will you be going out afterwards? If you find yourself in the East Village, try Momofuku Milk Bar (no seating). Highly recommend their cereal milk soft-serve ice cream, compost cookie, and cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookie. A bit of a pain to go cross town JUST for this, but it depends how dedicated you are as foodies. The L train is pretty convenient from where you are.

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        Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar
        34 Downing St, New York, NY 10014

        Cafe Cluny
        284 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

        Dell'Anima
        38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

        Gottino
        52 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011

        1. re: Noodle fanatic

          Noodle fanatic, have you been to the Monday Room? It's a small wine bar hidden behind the host stand at Public and is set up to look almost like someone's library/den. They also have really good food (but watch the bill, it's not cheap) as well as some interesting, more obscure wines.

          FYI the cornflake, marshmallow, and chocolate chip cookie is no longer on the menu at Milk Bar, having been temporarily displaced by the peanut butter cookie. They also have a new "confetti" cookie with sprinkled baked into the dough.

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          The Monday Room
          210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

          1. re: kathryn

            No I haven't been to the Monday Room. Will give them a try. (Although my pace of trying new restaurants has been slowed down significantly now that I'm on a diet). I can't believe the cornflake marshmallow cookie is no longer! I got it maybe 2-3 weeks ago? Will ask if they'll be bringing it back.

            1. re: kathryn

              Kathryn - who would you say has better food? Monday Room or Blue Ribbon Downing St.? What are the star dishes at the Monday Room? Do you know if they share a kitchen/chef with Public? I'd never been too fond of Public personally, because their menu isn't quite my cup of tea (reminds me of the type of modern cuisine that I'm not particularly fond of from my travels to Berlin or Helsinki). And how is the space lit? Brighter/dimmer/about the same as Blue Ribbon Downing St.?

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              The Monday Room
              210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

              1. re: Noodle fanatic

                It's been a while since I've been to the Blue Ribbon Downing St wine bar, so I'm not sure I can comment on the food as I go to the BR Sushi, Bakery, and Brasserie locations more often.

                But the Monday Room is pretty dark. They share a kitchen/chef with Public. My favorite dishes there are the eel, dashi custard, and foie gras on french toast.

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                The Monday Room
                210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

        2. a little out of your way but bottino on 24th & 9th has a lovely garden.

          1. Try the Rocking Horse Cafe on 19th and 8th. Fun place with upscale Mexican.

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            Rocking Horse Cafe
            182 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

            4 Replies
            1. re: Dave O

              I was going to recommend that too. The garden at Gascogne is another good option.

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              Gascogne
              158 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

              1. re: chow_gal

                chow_gal - does the food at Gascogne fall under the "great" category, or is it a place that you probably won't go if it weren't for the garden? Haven't been there, but curious to know. Online reviews on the food are very mixed.

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                Gascogne
                158 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                1. re: Noodle fanatic

                  No way food is GREAT. But it's solid and just so much fun. Service is sharp. I always leave having had a solid, tasty meal, and a fun, fun, (did i mention fun?) time. Love the steak tartare. Like the merguez and frites. Crazy armagnac selection. Really like the salad dressing on the mesclun with goat cheese.

                  PS I never sit in the garden.

                  1. re: chow_gal

                    Very cool - will definitely give them a try sometime! Thanks :)

            2. Intermezzo...went last night. Under new management it was great. 8th ave and about 20th on the East side of the street

              1 Reply
              1. re: kathyre

                Which dishes in particular at Intermezzo do you recommend Kathyre? A quick search on menupages and Yelp is showing very mixed reviews on the food... Sometimes it's hard for me to try a place when it doesn't even get 4 stars on Yelp, since if Yelpers - traditionally the least discerning when it comes to their palate - can't even love the place, I can't imagine it being amazing when it comes to food quality. Especially since there are places Yelpers give 4/5 stars to that are terrible and you can't even pay most Chowhounders to try. There are certainly restaurants I love that get less than 4 stars on Yelp, but those usually fall under the ethnic food category... maybe too ambitious or too authentic for an average American. Hope I don't get a lot of heat on this issue. I know I'm making a gross generalization, since there are foodies (like myself) who comment on Yelp as well, but we are of the minority. If there were a foodie hierarchy when it comes to how discerning one's palate is with Manhattan restaurants, I would put Chowhound on top, then Menupages, then Yelp. Sorry I rambled on a bit. I'm a tad of a control freak when it comes to cross checking all 3 sites to confirm if a restaurant gets a unanimous "Great" before I try it.

              2. inside the maritime hotel is the japanese restaurant Matsuri - a place that has the best single piece of tempura (the sea eel) that i've ever had, including tempura places in japan

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                Matsuri
                369 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

                1 Reply
                1. re: thew

                  Super convenient! Matsuri is a really pretty space and the food is good (but very overpriced; not great value for $). Not a place I would go out of my way to eat at knowing that there are other similar high-end Japanese restaurants that has much better executed food: En Japanese Brasserie, Matsugen (alas neither is convenient for OP's request). Although since price is no object, Matsuri could be perfect given its location. Just make sure to tell them when you sit down (or call ahead of time) that you need to be out the door within x minutes so that it doesn't take ages.

                2. Gascogne, on 8th Ave just south of 18th street has a GREAT pre-the prix fixe at $27. Food is wonderful, service is terrific. It's still one of the best deals in town, imho.

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                  Gascogne
                  158 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                  1. 202 at Nicole Farhi, Chelsea Market - enter 9th Ave towards 16th St.
                    Across the street from the hotel and around the corner from the Atlantic 2.
                    Fish tacos, tuna burger - fast and good. Nice desserts too.
                    And they have a bar.