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Help me plan for my siblings' visit! The pressure is on!

  • m

I have been reaching out to chowhound a lot recently, but y'all are so helpful! My siblings and their significant others are coming to town - my brother's girlfriend has never been to New York before and I want to plan out a great weekend for them! Their visit coincides with restaurant week too... I inadvertently made reservations at a couple places with that menu. We're all in our 20s but I would describe this as a low-key group overall. Dinner will be our main activity probably - they aren't big drinkers, but I think fun cocktails and beer lists are always a good thing :)

They are here for three nights. Thursday night I have a reservation at Spice Market for restaurant week. I am thinking of changing that to Apiary, which also it turns out is doing restaurant week. I thought the girlfriend might get a kick out of meatpacking, but I'm not so excited about spice market and have been dying to try Apiary? What do y'all think? We could also fit in a PDT visit with Apiary or similar, which I think would be cool...

Friday night I am deciding between Perry Street (restaurant week is there too!) I also made a reservation at Casa Mono because tapas seemed fun. But then it occurred to me that the girl who'd never been to New York might really like Freeman's... and we do have a group of 6 that night...

Or maybe I should do Freeman's for brunch? We are splitting up Saturday night - two to Shakespeare in the Park, two to a concert at Citi Field and two to a Broadway show, so I was thinking maybe a picnic in Central Park or something early and easy.

So I guess my question is, what do you think of my restauarant picks, those of you who have entertained visitors? Do you think any of these would be bad with a group of 6? I know Apiary can be loud, Casa Mono is small, and Freeman's on a Friday might be suicide... am I overstretching?

And am I missing any better alternatives? Whew!

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Casa Mono
52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

Perry Street
176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

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

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  1. Doesn't Apiary have the prix-fixe at all times? Perry St. has one also, although I think it is only served in the early evening, while during restaurant week there is no time restriction. This is something to watch out for with RW. Many restaurants that participate have the same deal every day of the year, but they get filled up with clueless customers during RW, and the service and food suffer.

    1. Casa Mono is great, Freeman's not even in the same league.

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      Casa Mono
      52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

      1. So I have now decided to do Freeman's one morning for brunch. Which means I have two dinners... is it bad to have them all downtown? I had also thought about Perilla as an easing into NYC place, cute, etc. but now I am thinking it might be too sedate.

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        Perilla
        9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

        5 Replies
        1. re: mc22

          Locanda Verde might fit the bill.

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          Locanda Verde
          377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

          1. re: mc22

            Freemans takes reservations for parties of six or more. I'm not certain if that applies to brunch, but you should certainly call and ask. The wait for brunch at Freemans can also be quite long and there's not a lot of space to wait inside so you may be out in the sun in the alley waiting.

            However, if two in your party are planning to go to Shakespeare in the Park on a weekend day and are not patrons/donors, they need to plan to spend literally all day waiting in line for the free tickets this year, which would preclude having brunch downtown. Al Pacino playing Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice"? People have been getting in line at 6am!

            Perilla is also a good choice and I think the food is quite good -- if you have Top Chef fans in your party they may also enjoy a Harold sighting. Nothing wrong with a more chill, relaxed atmosphere if you're spending the day running around the city in the heat.

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            Perilla
            9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                I'm not alone! I read many good reviews about Freeman's then my SIL recommended it to me, so we'd given it a couple chances and were disappointed every time. Though like another poster writes below, it might be a cool choice for out-of-towners because of the "secrecy" feeling.

              2. re: mc22

                Perilla is an excellent choice. I would not consider it very sedate, if anything it can be a bit loud at times.

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                Perilla
                9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

              3. Oh good! I know an actor, so we got tickets reserved through him for Shakespeare in the Park - it's making planning a lot easier. Will rethink Freemans - I thought the out of towners might get a kick out of the alley thing, but I think New York is probably impressive enough in other ways! One last question: are there any places around Moma y'all would recommend for dinner? With a group of 20-somethings? I feel like Convivo for example is too stuffy. I love the Bar room at the modern, but they are all booked up (thanks to restaurant week!) I used to like Insieme... less fancy is fine too... good pre-theater prix fixe?

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                Insieme
                777 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019

                5 Replies
                1. re: mc22

                  If you would like to give them a taste of one of 4-star Chef Daniel Boulud's restaurants at a quite moderate price, how about dbBistro Moderne? They offer a pre-theater prix fixe for $45, Tues.-Sat., 5 to 6:30 p.m.

                  dbBistro Modern photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                  and here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                  P.S. Convivio is "stuffy"??

                  1. re: RGR

                    Ooh I like that idea. I knew I might get in trouble for the Convivio :) It just feels a bit more expense-accounty than the places I generally enjoy. Not the food, but more the crowd...

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                    Convivio
                    45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                    1. re: mc22

                      To give you a better idea, I was actually really intrigued by the mentions of Casullela (I think you are a fan RGR?) but then I saw they don't take reservations and that seems too risky!

                      For someone who feels relatively familiar with NYC dining, I'm finding that introducing it to my siblings is tricky! Maybe because I am trying to plan extra hard :)

                      For pre-theater I was also thinking about taking them to Burger Joint for something unconventional, but then I realized we would smell like burgers all evening!

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                      Burger Joint
                      118 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

                      1. re: mc22

                        Never been to Casullela. And I would never go to any restaurant pre-theater without a reservation.

                        1. re: RGR

                          Oops! My bad! I was thinking of this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/706238 but it was referencing your recommendation of Seasonal...

                2. Also for first timers to NYC you might want to add in a pastrami sandwich at Katz's, pizza, bagels and smoked salmon, and other classic NYC foods to the itinerary

                  This thread may also help:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/715472

                  And these:
                  Please help me eat during a month in new york
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/716238

                  Don't leave NY without eating these foods
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610739

                  Pizza in NYC
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6928...

                  BTW, I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333

                  Best breakfast and brunch:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/707772

                  1. I am have taken quite a few out of towners to Spice Market and they all love it. We do a tasting menu and get to sample all different dishes. It is also a fun place for a group of 20 somethings.

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