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Birthday dinner suggestions

Hey all -

Trying to pick a restaurant for my girlfriend's bday (will be just the two of us) which is on a Thursday in August and I am not liking any of my ideas. I want somewhere nice, but not super pricey, i.e. $50-60/person for just food (excluding tax, tip and wine) so like $200 total (maybe a bit more). She tends to really like mexican/pan-latin food (e.g. Rayuela, Hell's Kitchen) so I tried for la Esquina, which is the one place she hasn't been but couldn't get a reservation. I ended up getting a reservation at Casa Mono, which could be good I think, but wouldn't mind some other suggestions.

Love to hear any thoughts y'all have.

Thanks!

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Casa Mono
52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

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  1. I really like Casa Mono, but if you like Rayuela and Hell's Kitchen and were thinking about la Esquina, how about Yerba Buena?

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    Casa Mono
    52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

    Rayuela
    165 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

    Yerba Buena
    23 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

    2 Replies
    1. re: kiworan79

      Great idea re: yerba. I have actually been and thought the food was very good. unfortunately i had an experience there that the board will not allow me to describe and i won't go back. But you're on the right track, haha.

      1. re: lnedrive14

        How about Degustation? I haven't been there yet but based on the many positive reviews on this board, it's on my shortlist.

    2. Los Feliz

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      Los Feliz
      109 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

      1. Aldea

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

        1. Casa Mono is great but a bit cramped, loud, and energetic. Depends if that's what you're gig for. Food is great but a bit rich and heavy.

          Aldea is more refined and comfortable, and quieter. You can also ask for the chef's counter. The space is pretty and much more sleek than Casa Mono's more rustic decor. The portion sizes are also generous for the price.

          Degustation is a great deal but if your budget is only $60, you may leave feeling hungry. The five course tasting is $55 and some hounds don't think it's enough food. It's also a little on the cramped side.

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          Casa Mono
          52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: kathryn

            I am also thinking of heading to Degustation since I somehow haven't gotten there yet. Is the 10 course tasting menu enough food? Will the average diner leave satisfied?

            1. re: stephaniec25

              Yes, the 10-course is just right. You will not feel overstuffed, but defininitely will not leave hungry.

          2. Thanks for all the replies. Aldea is a good suggestion, but I have been and wasn't overwhelmed enough that I am feeling the need to rush back. I should have said that I don't need a place with latin/spanish food. Any cuisine would work fine. Other ideas I had were the harrison, locanda verde, and recette, but I've been to the first two recently and not sure if recette has the vibe I was looking for.

            And TOTALLY agree with those of you who recommended Degustation, but might break my budget a bit if we do the 10-course (which I think is the way to go).

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

            3 Replies
            1. re: lnedrive14

              Are you concerned that Recette will be too quiet? We had dinner there for the first time recently, and it was quite lively. Delicious food and excellent service.

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

              P.S. The main reason I've avoided Locanda Verde is that I've heard the noise level is insanely high -- a huge turn-off for me.

              1. re: RGR

                I wasn't so worried about the noise at Locanda, which you are correct, is intrusive. I personally just don't love the food enough to go more than twice a year (have already been twice in the last 2 months).

                I didn't like Recette as much simply b/c she isn't quite the foodie I am, and I would prefer to take her somewhere she has heard of, and Recette I doubt fits that bill.

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                Recette
                328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

                1. re: lnedrive14

                  Has she heard of SD26? The food quality is way above Locanda Verde, and almost everything is available as a full or half portion, so you can try many dishes.