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Birthday dinner recommendations

r
realhiphop Jun 29, 2010 07:18 AM

I'm back to the Chow board, after an amazing recommendation of Scarpetta last year. The food and the ambiance were perfect. My girlfriend actually rated that as her favorite meal of all time! My girlfriend's birthday is coming up again this year, and I'm looking for some suggestions. We went to Babbo for my birthday, which I also loved.

What I'm looking for:
Casual setting (along the lines of Babbo and Scarpetta)
Similar price range to those two
Amazing food (obviously)

My initial thought was Craft, Marea, Gramercy Tavern, or Convivio. I've been to Convivio and Craft though, and it might be nicer to try a place that neither of us have been.

I can offer more details if necessary.

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

Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Scarpetta
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

Convivio
45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

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  1. f
    fm1963 RE: realhiphop Jun 29, 2010 10:44 AM

    Maialino for casual.
    And Alto for less casual.

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    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    5 Replies
    1. re: fm1963
      g
      gutsofsteel RE: fm1963 Jun 29, 2010 12:44 PM

      I second the recommendation for Maialino. Nice ambience, very good food, pleasant and lively room, terrific service.

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      Maialino
      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

      1. re: gutsofsteel
        r
        realhiphop RE: gutsofsteel Jul 2, 2010 08:40 AM

        What about Craft or Marea?

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        Marea
        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

        1. re: realhiphop
          f
          fm1963 RE: realhiphop Jul 2, 2010 10:31 AM

          I haven't been to Craft but Marea's great if you order judiciously. Search the board for recommendations. Mine would be:

          Ricci
          Lobster with burrata
          Fussili with octopus and bone marrow
          Veal ravioli with sweetbreads and mushrooms
          Affogato
          Gianduja

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          Marea
          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: realhiphop
            g
            gutsofsteel RE: realhiphop Jul 2, 2010 10:55 AM

            I did not love Marea. Do some searches on CH - there are others who also did not have great experiences there. I think Craft is a terrific choice. But I think given what you're looking for, Maialino is going to be perfect for you. The food is very good, the room is casual but quite nice, service couldn't be more pleasant.

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            Marea
            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

            Maialino
            2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

            1. re: gutsofsteel
              m
              ml77 RE: gutsofsteel Jul 2, 2010 11:29 AM

              I agree. When I read the original post, Maialino immediately came to mind. It perfectly fits all of your criteria. The suppli (rissotto balls) are a nice starter, and the Malfatti al Maialino is an amazing pasta dish.

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              Maialino
              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

      2. s
        stephaniec25 RE: realhiphop Jul 2, 2010 11:11 AM

        The Gramercy Tavern is a good choice but how about something like The Standard Grill? It's more of a casual/trendy setting and I think the steak for two is great. I am usually opposed to super trendy spots but that steak is good and it's a fun spot (I'm in my mid twenties and don't worry too much about restaurant noise). Just make sure to ask to be in the back room.

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        Standard Grill
        848 Washington Street, New York, NY 10014

        1 Reply
        1. re: stephaniec25
          r
          realhiphop RE: stephaniec25 Jul 6, 2010 07:52 AM

          Stephanie-

          Would it be possible to e-mail you offline? You gave me the Scarpetta recommendation, and that worked out very well last year.

          You seem to have similar taste to me.

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          Scarpetta
          355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

        2. r
          RCC RE: realhiphop Jul 2, 2010 03:34 PM

          I don't know if Maialino is at the same level, ambiance and foodwise, as Babbo or Scarpetta. I think that Maialino is still at least a notch below either Babbo or Scarpetta. Fyi, I'm still looking forward to my dinner next week at Maialino.

          Anyway, I see that Italian seem to be the majority of the suggestions. Why don't you mix it up and check out The Modern at MOMA?

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          Babbo
          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

          Scarpetta
          355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

          Maialino
          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

          5 Replies
          1. re: RCC
            r
            RGR RE: RCC Jul 2, 2010 03:55 PM

            I can't speak about Babbo since we've never been there. However, we've been to Scarpetta and Maialino. They are serving very different styles of Italian cuisine -- contemporary Italian at Scarpetta vs. rustic Italian at Maialino -- but with regard to quality, imo, Maialino is the equal of Scarpetta. We were just at Maialino again, and everything we had was perfectly prepared and delicious.

            Photos of our most recent dinner at Maialino here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            As for The Modern Dining Room, I consider it to be at a much higher level in every respect, i.e., cuisine, service, and ambiance.

            Photos of our most recent dinner in The Modern Dining Room: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            Edited to add: The Modern Dining Room requires jackets at dinner. That, of course, makes it more formal than those other restaurants.

            1. re: RGR
              r
              RCC RE: RGR Jul 2, 2010 04:46 PM

              I've been to all 3 restaurants multiple times each. I have photos to prove but prefer not to publish. My take on it is simply the fact that I also go to Italy very often and, perhaps undeservedly so, tend to compare what we have here against what we eat there.

              Maialino's take on Roman trattoria dishes, and I'll be first to admit if I'm wrong with their intention, is nowhere close to what I taste in places in Rome. Their breads are really good, better than most in Rome. Their dishes are Ok, but not mind-blowing. I like the restaurant well enough to go back. OTOH, while Scarpetta doesn't seem to have a specific regional theme (again I may be wrong with their regional intention), I find the dishes much better executed and worth the costs that I've paid for.

              Edited to add: If wearing a jacket will be aproblem for the OP, perhaps I should change my Modern recommendation to The Bar Room. Very casual, but hip with excellent service. I love the Alsace-inspired cuisine.

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              Scarpetta
              355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

              Maialino
              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: RCC
                r
                realhiphop RE: RCC Jul 15, 2010 06:35 AM

                Any thoughts on Kenmare?

                1. re: realhiphop
                  r
                  RGR RE: realhiphop Jul 15, 2010 07:56 AM

                  Haven't been. But if you care about what Sifton thinks, he didn't think much of it and awarded it zero stars (Fair). And here's a review from someone whose opinion I value. He came to the same conclusion.

                  http://nyjournal.squarespace.com/jour...

            2. re: RCC
              g
              gutsofsteel RE: RCC Jul 15, 2010 07:57 AM

              I disagree that Maialino is a notch below either Babbo or Scarpetta.

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              Babbo
              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

              Scarpetta
              355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

              Maialino
              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

            3. r
              realhiphop RE: realhiphop Jul 16, 2010 08:06 AM

              What about?
              Aldea
              Rouge Tomate
              Blue Hill
              Lure fishbar
              Oceana

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              Blue Hill
              75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

              Oceana
              120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020

              Rouge Tomate
              10 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: realhiphop
                kelea RE: realhiphop Jul 16, 2010 08:31 AM

                I've only been to Lure of your list. While the food is enjoyable i didn't find anything particularly memorable.

                Personally it's going to be hard to top Scarpetta in my opinion. (But i' m also really bias and Scarpetta is pretty much my favorite resto ever). But others i've really enjoyed and always recommend are Alta for tapas, L'artusi for italian, Dovetail & Perilla for american,

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                Perilla
                9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

                Scarpetta
                355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

              2. r
                realhiphop RE: realhiphop Jul 22, 2010 10:51 AM

                Going to Blue Hill. Thanks for the recs everyone!

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                Blue Hill
                75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

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