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New to Chowhound... Looking for a Valentines Day LES restaurant

b
BewareAlbatross Feb 12, 2011 12:05 PM

Hey folks,
Good to finally register here and get involved: I'm looking for a Valentines Day lower east side restaurant... Preferably no Chinese, some sorta prix fixe would be optimal if it's under $20, $25... Anyone have ideas? It's ya know, I don't want to take the missus to a diner. Some place cozy, romantic. She puts up with a lot from me and deserves a good night now and again. :D

Hopefully this is more or less the format and right board, read through the rules and it looks like this is where this should go, but feel free to move it if it isn't. Like I said, never posted here before.

Much obliged for the help, I'm looking to spend $50 or under for the two of us. Things're tight as heck these days, part of why she puts up with so much. :) A more patient woman ya couldn't ask for.

So there you go... I know there's a smattering of Italian joints, which're usually fairly romantic and have a prix fixe, especially away from the touristy areas, but with NYU near by I'm not sure which ones are noisy college hangout joints. Don't want to risk that. Would be good to be able to actually get a word in without having to yell!

Cheers!

  1. k
    kathryn Feb 12, 2011 01:00 PM

    $25 per person before tax, tip, drinks? Or after?

    Cozy, LES, romantic, and under $25pp is going to be hard to find on V-Day.

    How about Cafe Katja? I would call to see if they are serving their regular menu first. Also note that they do not take reservations.

    Anything here look good?
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752189

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    Cafe Katja
    79 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

    1. n
      Nancy S. Feb 12, 2011 01:07 PM

      Motorino is taking reservations -- heart-shaped pizzas! However, they have a three-course set menu (with lots of options for the first two courses) that's $30 per person.

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

      1. s
        small h Feb 12, 2011 02:12 PM

        Frankie's 17 is mentioned on the thread kathryn linked to, and I'll second it and add 'inoteca. I don't think either has a prix fixe, but I would abandon that option anyway, since I really doubt one exists within your budget. Another caveat: I don't believe either restaurant takes reservations, and both are likely to be mobbed.

        http://www.inotecanyc.com/menu.php
        http://www.frankiesspuntino.com/17/menus.php

        You might also reconsider Chinatown. I've had a few Valentine's Day meals there, and you could easily have an inexpensive lobster dinner. It will not be candles & roses romantic, of course, but with only $50 to spend, you've gotta make some sacrifices.

        Here's a place I haven't tried (it just popped up on SeamlessWeb the other week) - might be worth a look:

        http://linafrey.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: small h
          k
          kathryn Feb 12, 2011 02:24 PM

          I like those two suggestions! With the caveat that it is very easy to go over budget unless you order carefully.

          (Note to the OP: 'inoteca in Gramercy takes reservations but the LES one does not.)

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          'inoteca
          98 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

        2. p
          pace Feb 12, 2011 06:27 PM

          Zerza, East Village

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          Zerza
          308 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10003

          1. b
            BewareAlbatross Feb 12, 2011 10:40 PM

            My apologies for not replying to all this help sooner, just walked in the door. I love living in Midwood and attending parties in Williamsburg, ah yes. 2 hours and 30 minutes of joyful commuting one way. Heh.

            Let me see... What to reply to first. Alright, well, yes, let's see, first off neither of us touch alcohol, so that cuts the cost down quite a bit usually. That's why we're somewhat more capable of doing these nights out a bit cheaper, because yeah, really not going to see a glass of wine hit our table any time soon. So that does help. And before tip for sure, I meant $25 per person (pp? Apparently here?) before tip, tax, etc...

            The point raised about the reservations, actually the point raised multiple times, a very valid one. I took a look at a few places with people rating their experience with Motorino and although it looks absolutely lovely, the quality seems to perhaps have declined? Nancy, have you been personally? I'm curious, because that would work. $30 I can do pp.

            I can always change it, at least for a little bit beforehand. I was most impressed with Lina Frey. They've a $55 prix fixe which is well above my budget *but* I'm going to call them, perhaps they're also serving from the regular menu, which is more reasonable. And of course the missus is more than worth it, perhaps I can come up with the cash somehow. *Scratches head* Somehow, anyway. Yes. To do the special one, the $50+ one...

            Really, really appreciate all the help. What a wonderful welcome to Chowhound's community. Thanks to all of you, they all look lovely, just a question of finding just the right fit.

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

            Lina Frey
            201 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

            2 Replies
            1. re: BewareAlbatross
              n
              Nancy S. Feb 13, 2011 05:19 AM

              I've been to Motorino 4 times -- last night in fact. I think the pizza is great, but so are the first courses and desserts. I highly recommend it.

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

              1. re: BewareAlbatross
                k
                kathryn Feb 13, 2011 07:04 AM

                The curse of the pieman is that pizzas can never be 100% consistent due to ovens, dough, weather, etc. That said: I've been to Motorino in the East Village about 10 times and eaten their pies via delivery perhaps 25 more. Sometimes we get extra to freeze for later.

                It's my favorite in Manhattan.

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

              2. p
                prcentauri Feb 13, 2011 03:05 AM

                Though i havent been in a while i recall apizz being pretty nice, warm inside from the open oven, possibly a lot red tones regarding the interior. If u share a primi, each get a secondi and share a dessert or each get a primi, share a secondi and share a dessert it should be around 30pp

                1. coasts Feb 13, 2011 03:11 AM

                  Socarrat Paella Bar's new location in Nolita accepts reservations, unlike the Chelsea flagship. they have a 6:30 spot for two still open. Paella's are priced at $22-25pp, so you'll be close to budget. i would stretch your wallet to allow for a $9 appetizer, as the paellas do take some time to prepare. to me, paella is one of the more romantic dishes, as it's best shared straight from the pan. if you're a real sweetie, you'll even scrape the socarrat for her!

                  1. b
                    BewareAlbatross Feb 13, 2011 06:43 AM

                    Well I was able to locate some money, I consistently manage to amaze myself, so I'm actually working with a bit over $100 for the two of us now... Bit of an increase, really. :)

                    Tra la la ley, unfortunately last night we had a huge amount of Carmine's ridiculously fantastic pizza so we're a bit overstuffed on that food group. But I'll file Motorino away, thank you Nancy. :) Very useful to know about for the future.

                    And the others too, bookmarked them all. Or at least their menupages if I could've find websites Thanks everybody so much :) Looks like Lina Frey is going to come together which should be wonderful, and it's great to know about all the other possibilities around the dear's neighborhood. Much obliged to all involved!

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

                    Lina Frey
                    201 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                    1. b
                      BewareAlbatross Feb 13, 2011 09:17 AM

                      Blast! Difficult to choose! Motorino is really getting sold here. Well I made reservations for both Lina Frey and Motorino... I'll have to let the lady decide which she prefers more, I suppose. Heh. At this point I think I'd be a fool not to offer that place, with its special Valentines Day menu, as an option. Much obliged!

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

                      Lina Frey
                      201 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                      1. b
                        BewareAlbatross Feb 13, 2011 12:44 PM

                        Talked it over with her and she digs Italian a lot more, even though it's been done recently. So we're both very excited, 'though probably me more so because I know exactly how great of an experience it's going to be and she's sort of patiently indulging my desire to keep it a surprise and trying not to hit me because I won't tell her the restaurant. :) Well, can't help it, I like surprises.

                        It really does look wonderful, they've an amazing Valentines Day menu, and the reviews here have really sold me, I greatly appreciate all the help from everybody. Also, I mean, I find the idea of toasting to an absolutely special night really tasteless if there're other options, not tasteless, wrong word, but... Well, there's something just odd about it. So the fact that they have a light punch which seems to be heavily fruited, that will work perfectly and probably better than Lina's champagne. Much tastier for two people who aren't at all used to booze these days, much easier to manage overall. I know she'll have much more of a blast with it.

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