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Reasonable wait/eat at bar without reservations Friday night downtown

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Need to find a place that has excellent food (under $75/pp including tax+tip), does not require reservations, and does not involve a wait longer than 20 minutes on a Friday night around 8:30-9:30pm for a party of 2. Downtown, preferably on the west side, as we'll be heading to dinner from Chelsea after an art gallery opening.

The only places I can think of right now are Tia Pol (out because the wait would probably be over 20 minutes) and Blue Ribbon Downing St Bar (would be perfect but we go there too often).

I'd love to compile a list of such restaurants for impromptu dinner dates where one could eat well without a reservation and without having to wait forever on busy nights. Is this an impossible task? Would be happy with restaurants/bars where one can squeeze in half sitting/standing while eating like at Blue Ribbon Downing St Bar as well.

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Tia Pol
205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

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  1. Possibilities:
    L'Artusi?
    Somewhere in Eataly?

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    L'Artusi
    228 West 10th Street, New York, NY 10014

    1. My memory's a little fuzzy on exactly when we arrived, but I've definitely gone to Perilla and Scarpetta after 8:30, waited 10-15 minutes for two seats to open up at the bar, and and had drinks there -- but we could have had dinner at the bar if we'd wanted to. I think it is because the majority of people at the bar are there waiting for their tables to open up.

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      Perilla
      9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

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

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Thanks for the wonderful suggestions Kathryn! Perilla was where I wanted to go tonight but couldn't make a reservation for at the last minute. Will definitely keep both places in mind for my next impromptu dinner.

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        Perilla
        9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

        1. re: Noodle fanatic

          We actually stopped in last night, the main dining room was full, so we ate a lovely dinner at the bar around 7pm. Red oak salad with pears and stilton and pecans, spicy duck burger, grilled branzino with fennel and a preserved lemon sauce, and a wonderful tequila and persimmon cocktail.