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First Date, East Village, Degustation?

I am going on a first date and trying to keep it in the East Village or close. I'm looking at Degustation - I like the fact that it is a very different with cool food, but not in love with ordering a $75 tasting menu (I've read the 5 course really isn't enough food) on a first date as it could look like I'm trying to hard and also make the date feel a bit uncomfortable. Does anyone have any recommendations for a spot either in or close to the East Village that's a good spot for a date? Thanks!

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  1. Apiary is great for first dates. It's solid food that's not too "out there", but still delicious. Also, the vibe is nice, but isn't overly romantic (which could be off-putting for a first date). I think Degustation would be a little too... stuffy for a first. Also, since you're sitting side by side, you can't carry on a conversation quite as well if you were seated across the table from him/her.

    1. Village Yokocho ??
      Japanese, lots of small plates, great food, sprawling menu, not too pricey, very energetic and fun. Gets busy and does not take reservations though.
      If you live in the area, poke your head in. You'll know in a minute whether it's for you.

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      Village Yokocho
      8 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003

      7 Replies
      1. re: pauliface

        Better yet, Cucina di Pesce. I had a first date there in 1990.
        My date ended up moving to SF with me. We're not an item anymore but we are still best friends.

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        Cucina di Pesce
        87 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003

        1. re: pauliface

          Cucina di Pesce has changed ownership and chef, and has gotten a lot of terrible reviews lately.

          1. re: rrems

            Thanks for the headsup. Shame dat.
            If you knew the old place, where might you recommend for a similar place (food & vibe)?

            1. re: pauliface

              Maybe Da Andrea?

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              Da Andrea
              35 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011

              1. re: rrems

                Thanks, but first requirement is for there to be eggplant rollatini or parmigiana and/or chicken parmigiana on the menu.

                1. re: pauliface

                  No good there, but there is a new place which I mentioned in my post farther down here, Rubirosa, which is a more traditional red-sauce kind of place, but with superior food. They have chicken parm.

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                  Rubirosa
                  235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

            2. re: rrems

              same owners. they never had a chef

        2. What about Death & Co.? Great cocktails, and the shared small plates can easily make a meal.

          2 Replies
          1. re: loratliff

            Of course it's possible the date doesn't drink liquor (possibly only beer or wine), or doesn't drink at all. Which might be a little awkward (I have friends who don't drink liquor and I try to avoid taking them to cocktail bars).

            1. re: kathryn

              True, but I feel like you'd know that prior to a first date...

          2. It might also be awkward to be sitting side by side at an open kitchen for a first date...

            Do you know if she has food aversions or allergies? Degustation can be intimidating for picky eaters: tomatoes, sardines, oysters, squid, octopus, quail,and I think duck have all shown up on the menu at one point or another.

            I would do Prune, Apiary, Hearth, Redhead, maybe Motorino, or something in the Frank, Max, Supper, etc vein would be safer.

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            Motorino
            349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

            1 Reply
            1. re: kathryn

              Agree with Kathryn, Degustation only works if your date is into food and not a fussy eater.

              What about Rayuela on the LES (EV proximity)? It's not too dark or romantic (like Degustation and Lavagna) for a first date. . .

            2. Osteria Morini and Rubirosa are relatively new places that are fairly close to the east village. They are 2 different styles of Italian food, but both are excellent, and have a casual ambience that is good for a first date. I love Degustation, but I would save it for when you know each other a bit better.

              Here's a link to my recent report on Rubirosa:

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/762944

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              Osteria Morini
              218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

              Rubirosa
              235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012