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Trendy but good recommendation for dinner with a college kid?

We are taking our nephew out for a special dinner on Sunday. I am looking for someplace hip BUT the food has to be good, preferably below 34th. It is a special dinner, but a place like EMP would be a bit over the top. Recently we took niece to Stanton Social and last year another nephew to Buddahkan. My husband thinks a steak house is in order- but I feel it's too expected and ordinary. I'm considering the Breslin but I have a thing about places that don't take reservations (also my last time at the spotted pig I had very shabby service, but I digress). I keep on thinking of Scarpetta or my old stand-by Grammercy Tavern but these are places that appeal to me. thanks in advance

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Stanton Social
99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

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

The Breslin
20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

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  1. Locanda Verde might work for you.

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    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

    1. Gramercy Tavern is hardly trendy. I'm not a fan of the dining room as I've never had a meal there that thrilled me and, in fact, my most disappointing meal of 2009 took place there. I do, however, like the food in the Tavern Room. It has a lively vibe which I think would appeal to your nephew. But, of course, they don't take reservations.

      Scarpetta is a fine option. I'm not sure it's considered trendy, but it is extremely popular and gets a mixed-ages crowd. Whether you can get a reservation for this Sunday and at a time convenient for you is the big question. It's not on OpenTable, so you need to call the restaurant asap.

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

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

      Maialino is our favorite Italian restaurant right now. Delicious food, a good wine list, excellent service (in the Danny Meyer tradition), and very pleasing ambiance which I think would appeal to your nephew. OpenTable is showing resevations for 3 people at 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. I'd say grab it or call asap. And since there are three of you, you might want to consider having the signature "maialino." If so, be sure to mention it when you reserve.

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

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

      3 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        Scarpetta is on OpenTable here:
        http://www.opentable.com/scarpetta-ne...

        For this Sunday, party of 3, they are actually showing a LOT of availability, including the prime slot of 8pm! Trendy restaurants tend to book up quickly or not take reservations at all, so since you wish to dine this Sunday, book Scarpetta ASAP!

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

        1. re: kathryn

          Oops! You're right! I think I had a typo.

          I think it's much easier to get prime time reservations at popular restaurants on summer weekends when many natives head out of town.

          1. re: RGR

            For a long time they weren't open on Sundays either.

      2. Have you thought about Hearth. I have always enjoyed dining there and the atmosphere is outstanding. I like the lighting and the rooms. The bar is nice too.

        Hearth Restaurant @ 403 East 12th St., New York, NY 646 - 602 - 1300.
        http://www.restauranthearth.com/

        7 Replies
        1. re: Littleman

          I don't think Hearth would appeal to a college-aged guy as much as Scarpetta or Maialino.

          1. re: RGR

            You are the Boss. I like Maialinio anyway.

            1. re: RGR

              I disagree. Hearth has a fun vibe, very friendly service, casual room, similar noise level. No different than the others in that regard.

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                Do you think the crowd at Hearth is older, younger, or about the same, in comparison to Maialino and Scarpetta? Scarpetta seems the hippest to me, perhaps just because of location?

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

                Maialino
                2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                1. re: kathryn

                  I think they're all pretty similar crowds. Mixed ages. Hearth is in the east village too.

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    I live near Hearth and the crowd isn't really what I would call trendy and well above college aged.

                    1. re: bookhound

                      I agree, but the crowd is pretty similar to the one at Dressler where they ended up.

          2. Travertine is very good for italian has a great atmosphere. If you want steak, Quality Meats uptown is trendier than most mid town steak houses and the food is excellent. Macelleria is in the meatpacking so around "everything trendy" but the food is only good.

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            Quality Meats
            57 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

            Macelleria
            48 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014

            1 Reply
            1. re: pdquinn

              yeah quality meats is trendier. think striphouse is a good choice too

            2. Thanks everyone. We ended up in W'burg @ the Dressler- food was good but unfortunately the place was empty!! absolutely dead (the world cup? heat wave ennui?) Will definitely use other recs in future, thanks especially for the info on Quality Meats, would have never thought of it as i'm am not too fond of that restaurant group (am devoted to Keens) but for certain occasions would be perfect. Love both Locanda Verde and Maialino and may do one of them with same nephew at end of summer before he heads back to college.

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              Quality Meats
              57 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

              Locanda Verde
              377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

              Maialino
              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

              2 Replies
              1. re: truedog

                As the dad of two college kids, I can say that both of mine love DBGB. It's busy enough to be fun and the food isn't overly pretensious. And, if your nephew is anything like my son, he'll love the beer selection!

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                DBGB
                299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                1. re: nyctripper

                  DBGB is a great idea.

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                  DBGB
                  299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003