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6 Dudes one dinner?

h
Halifax Oct 2, 2010 03:12 AM

I am travelling to Manhattan with 6 colleagues for a football game in November. We'll likely have only one night when we can plan a meal out, which will be a Friday. We are all in our 40' and 50's.

Please help me make recommendations to the group. I'd say we'd be looking for a convivial atmosphere where we can have good food and laughs at a reasonable price. I have some ideas, but I'm interested in the views of the board.

Thanks

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  1. coasts RE: Halifax Oct 2, 2010 06:31 AM

    It would help if you could indicate a price range, but Dinosaur BBQ immediately comes to mind.

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    Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
    777 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027

    1. k
      kathryn RE: Halifax Oct 2, 2010 07:57 AM

      Keens? DBGB? Blue Ribbon Brasserie? A price range would definitely help, perhaps cuisine preferences? Neighborhood preferences? What places have piqued your interest already? Perhaps we can recommend restaurants in a similar vein if you list them out.

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      Blue Ribbon Brasserie
      97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

      DBGB
      299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

      1. h
        Halifax RE: Halifax Oct 4, 2010 12:30 PM

        I'm looking for something mid range. One of my partners is recommending Kefi, which I note has average entry prices around $15. I could see us spending a little more than that, but there will be no buy in for high end places like Jean Georges and frankly that's probably not the atmoshpere we'd be looking for.

        I'd be interested in the views of the board on Kefi.

        Otherwise I was thinking Italian or steak house, but there are a couple of others that might be fun.

        Here are some of the other places I've been considering, but again I don't want to overlook something:

        Babbo - probably top of our price range, and difficult to get a reservation. I was there about five years ago and had a great meal. Recent reviews on the board are all over the place.

        Lupa, Casa Mono, or one of Batali's other places (not Del Posto).

        Marea, although I don't know much about it.

        Convivio, as an outside possibility. I've been and had a great meal and it is reasonable. But it involves a bit of a cab ride and is a large restaurant.

        Peter Luger's. It looks like fun, but the cab ride to Brooklyn will deter others, even though for me that would be cool.

        Keens. I like the look of that place. It looks like that will be at the top of our price range, but looks good.

        Momofuku Saam Bar. I've eaten at Ko, and loved it. Saam Bar looks a lot less expensive and more casual. It will be on the edgy side for food for this group, but I think if I could get them there it could be fun. I don't know much about the atmosphere.

        I also don't know much about DBGB.

        I love Blue Ribbon. I'll keep it in mind, especially if we end up going somewhere late night. I assume it is still walk in only.

        A Brazilian steakhouse. I've never done one before.

        I look forward to comments and suggestions.

        Thanks

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        Lupa
        170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

        Babbo
        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

        Casa Mono
        52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

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

        Del Posto
        85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

        Kefi
        505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

        Convivio
        45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

        Marea
        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

        DBGB
        299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

        7 Replies
        1. re: Halifax
          daffyduck RE: Halifax Oct 4, 2010 08:24 PM

          striphouse or dbgb?

          1. re: Halifax
            s
            susiederkins RE: Halifax Oct 4, 2010 09:20 PM

            If you think Jean Georges is too expensive, I think you should strike Marea from your list. Marea has some utterly fresh seafood and awesome pastas, but I'd note that fine dining italian is usually a multi course affair - an app, a primi and secondi and then perhaps dessert. It seems that four five guys, it sounds maybe a bit fussy, you get my drift? It's a lovely environment, but not what I would call super lively - my guess is that your group might stand out for being fairly boisterous.

            I've eaten at Ko, but Ssam is actually my favorite of the Momofuku's. I think that is a great choice. Start off with 3 - 4 orders of the pork belly buns at least. Lots of the dishes present some meaty, fatty, spicy notes that just hits all the right notes. If you can go at an odd hour, you can try to nab a reservation for an entire bo ssam.

            I haven't been, but maybe Minetta Tavern, if you can get a resy - I think it's lively, and there's been a lot of chatter about the Black Label burger - some folks think it is worth the $26 price tag, and then of course, they also offer steaks too. Basically a steak, but not a total old school steakhouse environment if you want something a bit more downtown.

            The other thing that might also be kind of fun is Hecho en Dumbo. It's cheffed up Mexican, but i did find quite a lot of the food very tasty. There are some safer choices like tender pork and then there was some delicious rabbit when I went there - I think the cocktails and beers are tasty and the volume level is such that you guys won't be asked to tone it down there.

            If it's a bunch of guys, how about a pig picking? I believe Breslin at the Ace Hotel does a whole roasted suckling pig as does DBGB. The advantage of that is that you get to chow down on some tasty pig, ensuring a reservation but still allowing some opportunity to check out the rest of the menu. Note, I wasn't that impressed with DBGB, but I only sat in the bar area on the night of their soft open. I suppose I should give them another chance.

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

            Minetta Tavern
            113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

            Marea
            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

            DBGB
            299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

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

            Hecho en Dumbo
            354 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

            1. re: susiederkins
              Bob Martinez RE: susiederkins Oct 22, 2010 09:52 AM

              A note to the original poster - Ssam bar doesn't take reservations. Getting a table for 6, especially on a Friday night, might be a problem.

              Two places that fit the bill are Trestle on 10th and Raoul's.

              Raoul's is a classic old bistro in Soho with loads of atmosphere. Good steaks too.

              http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/raouls/
              http://raouls.com/

              Trestle, on 10 Ave. in Chelsea, would be a great choice. The chef/owner is Swiss and does contemporary versions of central European food, perfect for cold nights.

              http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/trestle-on-tenth/
              http://trestleontenth.com/

              Neither of these places are "scenes" but both have plenty of atmosphere.

            2. re: Halifax
              p
              Pan RE: Halifax Oct 5, 2010 01:36 AM

              Like Susie, above, I think Ssam Bar is a great idea. It really has the atmosphere of a bar and excellent drinks, while having way better than average bar food! And it's fairly priced in your range.

              Many people on this board seem to love to hate Kefi. I love to love it, but unless it's a lot more convenient for your bunch to be on the Upper West Side, I'd definitely recommend Ssam Bar as more interesting in terms of both food and drink and with more of a bar atmosphere and relatively interesting appearance. Plus, if you want dessert, you can go to Milk Bar next door or any number of other places in the neighborhood.

              I love Lupa but hate that it always seems to be impossible to get reservations at a reasonable hour. They have to either be really early or really late, and walking in is unlikely to work for you there.

              I'm among the people who have liked DGBG, except that I seriously recommend NOT getting an ice cream sundae for dessert. But they use very good ingredients and make things like duck and foie gras dishes that are probably sufficiently good, intricate, and well-made to be served at much more expensive restaurants. The atmosphere in the back room, where the restaurant is, is unique, with pots from loads of famous chefs on the wall and industrial-sized containers of different things, etc. It's definitely a convivial place, and sometimes too crowded in the bar area up front.

              1. re: Pan
                daffyduck RE: Pan Oct 5, 2010 01:44 AM

                which sundae did you get and what was wrong with it?

                1. re: daffyduck
                  p
                  Pan RE: daffyduck Oct 5, 2010 02:08 AM

                  I honestly don't recall which one it was, and I'm not sure I even remember exactly what bothered me in terms of taste profile, but it didn't taste like it had especially good ice cream, and thus, really disappointed me. And when I say that, everything else I've gotten in two trips so far to DBGB has been at a much higher level, so I would just counsel people to go and consider getting other things for dessert.

              2. re: Halifax
                k
                kathryn RE: Halifax Oct 5, 2010 06:30 AM

                Babbo has something like one table that accommodates 6 people, which makes your reservation quest even harder. Not sure about Lupa but it's pretty popular and will also be hard to reserve, I bet. Casa Mono might be a little easier. For Lupa and Casa Mono, don't use OpenTable for them, as they only put up the odd times online (5:30pm and 9pm). I've definitely gotten an 8pm at Casa Mono by calling but that was for 2 people. It's also a small place and I'm not sure how they'd handle 6. For all Batali restaurants, make sure you call at precisely opening time one month in advance to the numerical date.

                Keens, Ssam Bar, and DBGB would all be fun for your group. Keens is less hip of an atmosphere than the other two, though. Keens and DBGB do offer more "safe" choices on the menu, if that matters to you. And are both less cramped than Ssam. Ssam might be difficult on a weekend night if you walk in with 6 people. It depends what time you walk in and what night it is (Friday and Saturday vs. an off night). They only take reservations if you get the bo ssam meal (pork shoulder butt).

                Blue Ribbon Brasserie will take reservations for groups greater than 5 people.

                -----
                Lupa
                170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                Babbo
                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                Casa Mono
                52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                Blue Ribbon Brasserie
                97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                DBGB
                299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

              3. h
                Halifax RE: Halifax Oct 6, 2010 05:16 PM

                All of the recommendations sound great. Any idea of how hard it is to get a reservation for the Bo Saam? And generally speaking, will the price of going that route be comparable to Kefi?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Halifax
                  k
                  kathryn RE: Halifax Oct 6, 2010 05:32 PM

                  The Bo Ssam is $200 but enough to feed 10 people, you'll probably not finish.

                  It's not that hard to get a reservation these days. I just logged in and I see a ton of availability over the next few weeks. You might want to log in right now just to familiarize yourself with the times available.

                  Too ensure you get one, log onto the reservations site at 10am Eastern exactly 27 days before you wish to dine and click on a time slot. At 10am is when the next day on the calendar opens.

                2. h
                  Halifax RE: Halifax Oct 21, 2010 04:54 PM

                  I have gone out on a limb.

                  On the 19th at exactly 10:00 AM, I picked up the phone and started doing the redial thing for Babbo. After about 20 minutes, I got through and was able to get the 6 person table for 9:00!

                  I am now canvassing the group.

                  I am still considering Lupa, Kefi, and a long shot in Momofuku Saam Bar. The others still all interest me, but I think these are the narrowed down choices at this time.

                  Whaddayathink?

                  -----
                  Lupa
                  170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                  Babbo
                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                  Kefi
                  505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Halifax
                    p
                    Pan RE: Halifax Oct 21, 2010 05:11 PM

                    My advice? If all of you can afford Babbo, go. My one meal there so far was memorably delicious.

                    1. re: Halifax
                      k
                      kathryn RE: Halifax Oct 21, 2010 05:32 PM

                      You got a reservation for Babbo, go for it!

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                      Babbo
                      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                    2. r
                      rrems RE: Halifax Oct 21, 2010 08:52 PM

                      I just had dinner at Nuela last night, and I think it may be just what you are looking for. We especially enjoyed the suckling pig, and the desserts were wonderful. It's spacious and lively without being excessively loud.

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                      Nuela
                      43 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

                      1. h
                        Halifax RE: Halifax Oct 28, 2010 08:59 AM

                        The group has reached a consensus: Babbo.

                        Could folks give us a sense of how dressed up we need to be. We will want to go as casual as possible.

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                        Babbo
                        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Halifax
                          k
                          kathryn RE: Halifax Oct 28, 2010 09:03 AM

                          Babbo has a dress code best described as "smart casual." Jackets and ties are not required but not out of place at Babbo - However, no flip flops or tank tops, please.

                          http://www.babbonyc.com/reservations....

                          My husband has gone several times in hip, dress-y jeans with a buttoned down shirt, and was actually dressed nicer than some of the other patrons, who were in t-shirts.

                          -----
                          Babbo
                          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                          1. re: Halifax
                            Bob Martinez RE: Halifax Oct 28, 2010 09:37 AM

                            You're going to have a hell of a time getting a reservation. Try calling them. You'll see.

                            1. re: Bob Martinez
                              k
                              kathryn RE: Bob Martinez Oct 28, 2010 09:38 AM

                              Halifax already has a reservation:
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7378...

                              1. re: kathryn
                                Bob Martinez RE: kathryn Oct 28, 2010 09:40 AM

                                Since he's that lucky I want his advice on the stock market and football picks.

                          2. h
                            Halifax RE: Halifax Nov 28, 2010 03:06 AM

                            Folks, Thanks for all of your help. Just a quick note to report on our visit to Babbo.

                            First let me say, that Babbo is a great restaurant. The food is excellent, the staff is extremely professional and engaging and the atmosphere is fantastic. I had been about 5 years ago, and again it fit the bill perfectly for our night out: high quality in every way yet casual and fun.

                            Our evening got off to a rough start when one of our party got sick at the last minute and two of the others were late. This was an extremely difficult situation. I credit the maitre d, who was candid about their policy that they could not seat us until all of our party arrived and the length of time he could hold our table. In the end we lost our originally booked table, but were given another one when our party arrived. While we were seated at one of their walk in tables (yes I know - it's a compromise), I was surprised we got a table at all.

                            The food and wine was excellent. Dishes we ordered included sardines, octopus, beef cheek ravioli, love letters, sweetbreads. Everything I tried was excellent. For those who live closer and get to eat there frequently, lucky for you that you can try the whole menu.

                            I would highly recommend Babbo.

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                            Babbo
                            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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