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Searching for good, but casual place pre-theatre near Barrow Street Theatre, West Village and Other Dinner Recs.

I will be taking my college-aged son to New York for a long weekend in a few weeks. We are going to see a play on the Saturday night at the Barrow Street Theatre in the West Village. We are looking to have dinner before the show and would like to walk to the theatre after we eat. We also would like to dress casually. I am aware that AOC is close by, but the menu doesn't really appeal to me. I actually thought we could grab a falafel at Taim (I've never been and I understand it is not too far), but thought we may want sit down somewhere and have a drink or a glass of wine, as an option. Also, a recommendation for dessert after the play would be great. Again, walking distance would be a bonus.

I am also looking for a rec. for a dinner not too far from Midtown. Our plane is scheduled to arrive early on a Friday evening, so the timing of our arrival is up in the air (no pun intended). Again, something casual would be great, because my son is not into dressing up. We will be staying at the Hilton on 6th and 54th and would ideally like to walk somewhere, but not to a tourist trap.

We may try and catch the the Merchant of Venice in Central Park on the Sunday evening if the heat is not too unbearable. Since the show starts at 8 pm, ideally we should probably eat early on the Upper West Side in the high 70's or Low 80's. As an alternative, do New Yorkers bring their dinner while watching the play in the park? Do we sit on a blanket on the grass or is there seating? How early do we get there, before the show (I am sorry if these comments are beyond the scope of this board). Would it make sense to do take-out and bring our food to the park? If so, what would be some good take-out choices from the Upper West Side.

Many, many thanks in advance. I find the advice on these boards really invaluable.

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AOC
314 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

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  1. 'Ino on Bedford is a wonderful small plate and panino place that's walkable to the Barrow St. Theater, and they serve wine. Blue Ribbon Bakery, on Downing is also excellent, but it's less casual. They have fantastic desserts, too.

    Shakespeare in the Park is in a beautiful outdoor theater, so there's no picnicking during the show. There are great specialty grocery stores on the Upper West Side, such as Fairway and Zabar's, and the Shake Shack with the shortest line is on Columbus at 77th St. near the park.

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    Shake Shack
    Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

    Blue Ribbon Bakery
    33 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

    1. The Shakespeare in the Park question is off topic, yes, but it sounds like you're planning on just showing up and expecting to see the play (apologies if I'm wrong). You can't. You have to get tickets. People line up for these many hours - often more than 12 - in advance. Or they try for online tickets, which are randomly distributed.

      http://www.shakespeareinthepark.org/?...

      There is food available at the Delacorte Theater (and it's not bad) if you're lucky enough to score seats.

      2 Replies
      1. re: small h

        If you are planning to go to Shakespeare in the Park on a weekend day and are not patrons/donors, you need to plan to spend literally all day waiting in line for the free tickets this year, which would preclude having breakfast or lunch outside the park (I guess one of you grabs takeout while the other holds the spot in line?). Al Pacino playing Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice"? People have been getting in line at 6am!

        1. re: kathryn

          Thanks so much for the warning. We are going to pass on the "Shakespeare in the Park experience".

          Do you have a rec. for an great Italian restuarant, albeit with a very casual dress code, near Midtown. Thanks so much.

      2. Little Owl
        Mary's Fish Camp
        AOC
        Le Petite Abeille

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        Little Owl
        90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

        Mary's Fish Camp
        64 Charles St, New York, NY 10014

        AOC
        314 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

        1. What time does the play start? Saturday night in the West Village + casual + walk-in could potentially mean missing the start of your play. It's a great neighborhood to eat in, though. Perhaps Perilla? You can make reservations and it's pretty close by. Top Chef Season 1 winner's restaurant as well.

          For dinner, what's your price range? La Bonne Soupe and Burger Joint are good standbys for casual meals and very close by. Check hours before you go so you'll have a backup plan in case your flight is very very late.

          Literally across the street from your hotel is the famous halal cart (make sure you go to the southWEST corner of 53rd and 6th AFTER 7pm and look for the "we are different" yellow bags).

          http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2054/2...

          There are many competing carts nearby. BTW, I wouldn't confirm with the workers of any cart that they're the same as the famous one. They have absolutely zero incentive to tell the truth. Of course they'll say yes! They want you to spend your money! You could get something to go and take it back to your room. It's open until 4am.

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          La Bonne Soupe
          48 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

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

          Perilla
          9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

          1 Reply
          1. re: kathryn

            Your hotel is near my office and one of my standby's there for casual and not expensive dinners is Topaz Thai on 56th btw 6th and 7th Aves - they are open until 11pm I believe.

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            Topaz Thai Restaurant
            127 W 56th St Frnt 1, New York, NY 10019

          2. Keste - pizza on Bleeker, worth the wait.
            Pearl Oyster Bar
            also, L'Arte de Gelato is next door to the theater

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chuck Lawrence

              I second Keste. Your son will love it and you can get wine or beer. Plenty of ice cream places in that block as well.

            2. West village - Perilla
              Midtown - Benoit

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              Perilla
              9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

              1 Reply
              1. re: grouchomarx

                Many thanks for the recs. We ended up going to Keste before the theatre and then to the Gelato place next door after the show. Both were excellent. We opted out of going to see the merchant of Venies. We ended up doing one meal at Fishtail (late -afternoon tuna burger) which was great. Our first dinner was at Redeye grill. It was perfectly fine and convenient....We grabbed an ice cream "cake" at Quality Meats after dinner.

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