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NYC January 8th Dinner

In town from Philadelphia, visting with my hubby to be for my 30th birthday.

Looking for a Manhattan restaurant for special occasion.

Guidelines: Nothing stuffy, takes reservations, food that is downright INCREDIBLE, not loud (I want this night to be relaxing), great wine or beer list. Budget: $50 - $100 per person including one appetizer, entrees, dessert to share, drinks (one per person).

We are young and like interesting food - ideally something we can't get in Philadelphia. Local menu, comfort food, culinary innovation - we like it all.

So send ideas my way - and feel free to ask questions.

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  1. Hearth
    Craft

    You'll have to order carefully to stick to your $100 budget, especially if you are including wine/beer, a drink, tax, and tip in there.

    3 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Even $100 per person? Still on a Philadelphia budget.
      Our meal would ideally be:
      1 Appetizer
      2 Entrees
      1 Dessert
      2 Drinks
      Tip
      Tax

      I wouldn't like to spend more than $100 - $200 total.

      1. re: saturninus

        There is a big difference between $100 and $200 - what do you want to spend?

        Look at the menus for Hearth and Craft on line....

        A lot depends on how much you spend on "drinks" - do you mean one cocktail per person? One glass of wine per person? A bottle of wine?

        You can manage fine on $200 for two, if you make sure your booze keeps you in the budget.

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          I am open to anything between the two budgets as long as I feel it is a valuable meal for the money.
          Craft looked too expensive, Hearth more reasonable.
          Drinks means 1 glass of wine per person or 1 craft beer per person.

    2. Go to DBGB. I think that will definitely fit all of your criteria. If you want to go to the high end of your budget, try Colicchio and Sons. Def high end, but great food and menu and worth the money!

      -----
      DBGB
      299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

      Colicchio & Sons
      85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      7 Replies
      1. re: AYSConsulting

        I'm not sure that DBGB fits into the culinary innovation requirement of the request. I think Hearth is a good idea. Alternatively, the Bar Room at the Modern is a place that is innovative and perhaps offers something not available in Philadelphia (speaking as a Philadelphia native, myself). The cocktails are especially great, and the egg in a jar is one of the best dishes in this city, in my opinion.

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        DBGB
        299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

        1. re: Nancy S.

          But the noise in the Modern bar room is deafening...

          1. re: rrems

            This is true, it's not cozy. But Hearth is really, really noisy as well.

            1. re: Nancy S.

              Not if you ask to sit in the back room at Hearth.

              Another one to consider is Craftbar.

          2. re: Nancy S.

            Any issues in DBGB? I liked the menu online.

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            DBGB
            299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: saturninus

              Yeah. Depending on what you order, you may have a really good meal or just an OK meal. And it's noisy.

          3. Annisa fits all your requirements. You might also look into Aldea. Reserve early for either as they do book up very quickly. If you want something more unique try Degustation. The food is definitely interesting, particularly organ meats. Seating is around a U-shaped bar, facing the open kitchen and you watch the cooks preparing your food, like at a sushi bar.

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            Annisa
            13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: rrems

              I haven't been to Annisa or Aldea but think Degustation is a great idea. The thing is, though, I'd suggest the 10-course tasting menu, which is $80 before drinks, tax, and tip, which would take the restaurant out of saturninus' budget.

            2. Convivio has a great deal of four courses for $62. Can you stretch for that? I think it offers one of the city's best price/quality ratios.

              Aldea is great. But you need to clarify the budget..

              -----
              Convivio
              45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

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

              9 Replies
              1. re: erica

                Second Convivio, though Philadelphia has some amazing Italian restaurants, like Vetri and Le Virtu. Aldea is wonderful and would probably be something the OP can't get in Philadelphia.

                Also:

                Ma Peche
                Casa Mono
                The Breslin (no reservations though)
                Blaue Gans

                -----
                Casa Mono
                52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                Convivio
                45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

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

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

                Ma Peche
                15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: Riverman500

                  We do have excellent Italian, so it would have to be very different. It's one thing we do very well.

                  1. re: saturninus

                    Convivio is very different than any Italian restaurant I've visited. Take a look at the menu.

                    Casa Mono is a good idea, but seating is uncomfortable and the tables and jammed together..as long as you are aware of that beforehand..

                    -----
                    Casa Mono
                    52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                    Convivio
                    45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                  2. re: Riverman500

                    The Breslin and Ma Peche are great, but I think the OP will find them too loud. Same goes for DBGB, which the OP mentioned a few posts above.

                    However, Casa Mono is a very good option. I really would be surprised if there's anything quite like it in Philly.

                    -----
                    Casa Mono
                    52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                    DBGB
                    299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

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

                    Ma Peche
                    15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                    1. re: loratliff

                      We have Spanish Tapas (now "Iron Chef" Jose Garces) but not a lot of it. I will check out Casa Mono. Shame about CBGB, the menu jumped out at me.

                      -----
                      Casa Mono
                      52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                      1. re: loratliff

                        Casa Mono can get pretty loud as well, though.

                        -----
                        Casa Mono
                        52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                        1. re: kathryn

                          Can it? I've not been at a peak time, so it's alway been pretty hushed in my experiences.

                          Le Gigot, on Cornelia Street, is very charming and romantic, but I wouldn't call it interesting food. Good, albeit standard French-inspired fare. Mas, on Downing Street, could work too... Their prix fixe is $68 per person and has always sounded delicious.

                          -----
                          Le Gigot
                          18 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014

                          1. re: loratliff

                            Yes, Casa Mono can get pretty loud, especially during dinner service with a packed house and people waiting.

                            -----
                            Casa Mono
                            52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                            1. re: kathryn

                              Casa Mono can get very loud. Combine a small space, lots of wine and an open kitchen during peak hours and it can get pretty lively. That said, who cares after a couple of glasses of wine.

                  3. $100 before tax/tip (assuming a 20% tip) = $77.59

                    Assuming $12 (average) for one drink, your menu budget per person is $65, give or take.

                    That pretty much rules out some of the above suggestions.

                    I did some math for another poster a few weeks ago on a similar, slighty higher budget. Here's the prices I listed - assuming one were to order the MOST expensive app, entree, and dessert each:

                    Blue Hill - 66
                    Mas (Farmhouse) - 68 PF / 66 a la carte
                    Little Owl - 60
                    Savoy - 53
                    WD-50 - 69
                    Marc Forgione: 60

                    And considering you'd be splitting a dessert (they weren't), any of the above would fit. Certainly for culinary innovation, WD-50 is the obvious choice. The rest fit the local / "comfort food" mold pretty well.

                    Another option I often recommend to out-of-towners is Falai - elevated modern Italian with a neighborhood atmosphere (think Vetri for a Philly comparison, but not so rustic - Vetri with a touch of Wylie Dufresne, perhaps) but at a more reasonable price point than, say, celebuchefs like Batali, Conant, or White. Depending how much you were to order you could do it. For a "full Italian" meal of four courses - antipasti, pasta, secondi, dolci - you'd break your budget. But you could skip the antipasti (or even split one, depending what you order for entrees) and just do pasta and secondi and come in where you need to.

                    -----
                    WD-50
                    50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                    Blue Hill
                    75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

                    Little Owl
                    90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

                    Falai
                    68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                    Mas (Farmhouse)
                    39 Downing St, New York, NY 10014

                    Marc Forgione
                    134 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sgordon

                      Nice list, sgordon. I initially didn't think that wd-50 would be an option price-wise, but in light of my excellent dinner there last week, that's now what I'm inclined to recommend. It's certainly not stuffy, it's fairly quiet, and the food, IMO, was incredible.