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Aug 27, 2010 12:06 PM

Dinner suggestions for 9/4

We decided, semi spur of the moment to come into the city next Saturday to see a show. We have lunch decided already but I'm looking for dinner suggestions.

I have been all over chowhound and I guess I just get more confused.

First question, how much do we want to spend, we can go up to $80 or so per person, including a glass or two of wine, but if we can get something good for less that would be great.

Like most kinds of food, and are willing to go casual to semi formal. I know, I know, I am really narrowing this down a lot.

I did see that Jean George is doing a $38 dinner special at a couple of his restaurants, Nougatine, Jo Jo and Perry St. Also Daniel Boulud has a couple of prix fix dinner deals, DBGB for $45 and Bar Boulud for $42. Those would work for after the show if we eat early.

But we aren't adverse to grabbing a cab and heading downtown. Last time in the city we had the pasta tasting a Babbo and really liked it.

Had looked at Stanton Social, but read recently it is not as good as it once was. Also considering one of the Momofuku casual places, The Spotted Hog, Minetta Tavern, Perilla, Prune, Otto, Motorino, pretty much anything.

As you can tell I am all over the place and really starting to annoy myself.

What I really want is good food, which narrows it down to approx. 54,389 restaurants in the city. We'll say good food at a decent price which maybe cuts the number in half. Still a lot to choose from. Want a place that when I leave I say to myself, "man that was good, I could go back tomorrow and eat it again".

I appreciate any help you can offer.

Thanks in advance.

9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

Minetta Tavern
113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Stanton Social
99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

Bar Boulud
1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

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  1. I have some thoughts, but you can help by mentioning some other places you've liked, other than Babbo (which helps).

    1. Also - location and time.Wwill you have the whole evening? Or do you need to be at someplace (e.g., theater) by 8pm (if not the. district, tell where).
      IMO - Jean Georges is an example of refined French - modern, somewhat casual division. I found the food and presentation admirable, and good tasting, but not WOW how delicious. If you like this approach, you'll love it - If you want a WOW, how delicious!!!! I think not, though other CH-ers may disagree. Even a place like Hearth, whichis much less fancy, has more how-delcious factor to me.

      Jean Georges
      1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

      5 Replies
      1. re: yebo

        We will be seeing a matinee so looking to have dinner earlier rather than later. Which probably helps as being last minute will make it easier to get into places. We are not adverse to eating 5:30 or 6:00, this way we can get home on the train not too late. We don't mind hanging around either and having a drink somewhere or wandering and exploring but don't want to be sitting down to dinner at 9.

        My friend coming with me suggested a Jean George or Daniel Boulud place because they are well known and respected chefs, plus both have good dinner deals. Though a deal is only a deal if the value is good.

        I was thinking, and what I love are gastropub type places that specialize in market to table, sustainable farming type of foods. When in Chicago last year we ate at a few places, prices were very reasonable for the value and food was market fresh and quite interesting.

        I still can taste one dessert. It was blueberry and corn season so I had corn cakes, with a scoop each of corn ice cream, blueberry ice, blueberry sorbet, and blueberry ice cream. The fresh flavors were out of this world.

        We like sitting at a bar and eating too as it sort of puts you right in the middle of things plus give you people to chat with sometimes.

        So I am more inclined towards a pub type of place unless the Jean George or Boulud dinner prix fixes are worth the deal.

        Thanks again, I hope this narrows it down a bit.

        Jean Georges
        1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

        1. re: KathyH

          I don't know why yebo described Jean Georges as casual. Yes, at lunch when there is a 2 for $29 deal. But at dinner, it's jacket required. The 3-course prix fixe is $98, and there are no deals. Frankly, even if you were willing to spend the money,.dinner there is the kind of experience you don't want to rush in order to get to a show.

          Nougatine, the more casual side of Jean Georges, would be a good option for pre-theater. There is that $38 prix-fixe deal (though a la carte prices are not extremely high), and the food's excellent. There is both table and bar seating. They accept reservations.

          Nougatine photos:

          dbBistro Moderne is one of Daniel Boulud's more casual restaurants. It's in the Theater District, on 44th, b/t 5th & 6th. The menu's focus is contemporary French bistro fare, and the food is delicious. While the a la carte is fairly expensive, they offer a pre-theater 3-course prix fixe for $45. A limited menu, but if you like what's on it, it's a terrific deal for food of this high caliber.

          dbBistro photos:

          Btw, curtain time is 8 p.m., so no way you'll be out by 9. The shortest shows are around 90 minutes (no intermission), but most are 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

          Jean Georges
          1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

          1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

          1. re: RGR

            More casual than La Grenouille. But still serious.

            La Grenouille
            3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

          2. re: KathyH

            I think you should consider Momofuku Ssam Bar. They make good cocktails, and my girlfriend and I like to eat at the bar, but their food goes well beyond just being good bar food. It's made from excellent ingredients, eclectic, and very satisfying.

            Another restaurant in the East Village that you might enjoy is Apiary. They have good cocktails and a good wine list, but maybe I'm biased because the time my girlfriend and I dined there, we were sitting next to the sommelier while we waited for a table at the bar, and engaged him in a conversation about the cocktails and wine and then the food. I thought our dinner was pretty damned outstanding.

            Have a look at the menus and see what you think:

   (look at their beverage menus, too



            1. re: Pan

              The current Ssam bartenders are from PDT as well!

        2. I'll second Ssam Bar, but be prepared to wait - although if you go on the earlier end, the waits aren't usually too bad.

          Some other options:

          Apiary - New American, very solid, three courses would run around $50, before drinks / tax / tip.

          Prune - About the same price, come and check out one of our downtown Beard nominees (the other one, Wylie Dufresne, would be a little out of your price range) - great food, casual atmosphere, probably want a rez though as they can get pretty busy.

          Double Crown - Continental / (mostly South-)Asian fusion from Brad Farmerie and his crew. Think miso-glazed bone marrow and five spice foie gras. A lot of Indian and Malaysian influence

          JoeDoe - "Aggressive American" as the chef calls it. I've grown quite fond of his food lately - BIG flavors, not terribly subtle, but pretty delicious. Also an interestng list of Beer Cocktails.

          Momofuku Noodle Bar - if Ssam is crazy busy, you can always pop by Noodle and see how the crowds are.

          Falai - $50 prix fixe. Modern Italian with an avant-garde edge (think Mario Batali meets Wylie Dufresne) - not huge portions (you get more ordering a la carte) but it's four courses as opposed to the normal three, so you actually get hooked up pretty well, and you get to try more stuff for your money. Really a solid deal.

          Momofuku Noodle Bar
          171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

          68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

          54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

          45 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003

          60 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

          Double Crown
          316 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

          5 Replies
          1. re: sgordon

            My brother and I had dinner at JoeDoe a few months ago (maybe closer to a year ago). We enjoyed our food and drinks, with the following caveat: What were described on the menu as "gnocchi" were leaden to the nth degree, not light and pillowy, as gnocchi are supposed to be. My brother told the waiter that the menu should be changed to call them kneidlach, for truth in advertising.

            1. re: Pan

              I've found that gnocchi, like matzo balls, are quite personal. Some consider "light and pillowy" to be the ideal, while others (self included) prefer ones a bit more dense. In the Italian-American areas near where I grew up (New Haven, CT & Providence, RI both had large communities) they invariably leaned towards the latter, so that probably affected my preferences.

              To my knowledge there's no one "correct" way to make them, although it seems light is the general preference around these parts.

              1. re: sgordon

                Have you had the "gnocchi" at JoeDoe? They were the most leaden I've had in quite a long time. I'd be curious to know whether they were they just right for you, given your taste and the preferences where you grew up.

                1. re: Pan

                  Haven't tried JoeDoe's, no, but I suspect I'd like 'em. Most of the "light and pillowy" gnocchi I've had leave me feeling like I've just eaten a bowl of potato-flavored air. I'm not a big fan of most airy things. At least not when they're the main part of the dish.

                  45 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003

          2. I'll be in a similar situation with an early dinner before an 8pm show at The Shubert. We're leaning toward Sushi of Gari 46, which is very close to the theater, and I'm quite sure we can have dinner and be out well in time for our show. I know Aureole also has a pre-theater dinner option for $55.

            Sushi of Gari 46
            347 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036

            1 Reply
            1. re: havepixel

              First I want to thank each and everyone of you for your replies. I have been busy checking out each restaurant website and drooling over menus. I have come to the conclusion that I just need to get into the city more often. No excuse really not to do so.

              Things have changed a bit since I posted in that on Monday I slipped down my back steps while bringing shrimp to the grill and severely sprained my ankle. I am on crutches and slowly doing better.

              What this means is that my walking will have to be kept to a minimum for the time being. I love walking and do about 4 miles min a day.

              But this doesn't mean I won't be coming Saturday. I have tickets to a show and plans to be there no matter what. I'm walking better and will just gimp around with a crutch or hopefully maybe only a cane by then.

              So for now, I scratched any East Village restaurants as part of the appeal of there is wandering around. I'll leave those for another weekend, a good excuse to come back.

              We decided to go to dbbistro Moderne as it is not far from the theater. Plus I will say that your pics RGR did sway me. Was going to order off the prix fix menu but may have to go ala carte instead.

              Thanks again for all your suggestions and help.