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Needing a relatively inexpensive and fun place for dinner in Chelsea (group of 5-8 ladies)

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Hello NY Hounds!

I am in charge of finding a place for a group of friends to dine at for this coming Friday. I understand this doesn't give much time for making a reservation for our biggish group (5-8), but would love any/all recommendations.

We're staying at hotel in Chelsea, so it would be great to keep it local as we're all getting in from out of town.
I'm thinking that the pricing of Otto is right down our ally! Er, and that's about my only point of reference for places in NY. Ideally, apps/entree would total about $30/person. We love cocktails as well as wines.
We dont have any dietary restrictions, and I believe most of the ladies are adventurous eaters.
If there is any french or swiss place that comes to mind, that would be awesome as well!

Thanks in advance for your guidance!

boston hound mollyditty

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  1. http://www.trestleontenth.com/

    You might try this place. The food is excellent. If weather is good, sit in the garden. Be sure to say hello to Ash of Top Chef fame.

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    Trestle on Tenth
    242 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY 10001

    1. So I recommend Otto. It's unusual, delicious, pretty relaxed, and you've heard of it. A long walk nice on a pleasant day, short cab ride from Chelsea.
      or Gascogne, Gascon French food, pretty relaxed, has a garden in back. Smaller than Otto, IIRC, so less to look at in terms of the array of customers.

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      Otto
      1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

      Gascogne
      158 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      1. All the recs are good, esp Gascogne. Would suggest you check out the menus of the following to see if they fit the budget. Many have tapas (Socarrat, Suenos, Tia Pol, Txikito) or sushi (Morimoto) options that individually are inexpensive but really add up. Also, your group is pretty big for a coupleof these (Tia Pol, Txikito), but you might go at a non-rush hour. You might just check the following as well, but they may be beyond your budget: Buddakan, Colicchi & Sons, The Red Cat, Scarpetta. Please let us know what you choose to do and how it all works out!!

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        Buddakan
        75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

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

        Red Cat
        227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        Gascogne
        158 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        Morimoto
        88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

        Suenos
        311 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

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

        Socarrat
        259 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

        Txikito
        240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

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

        2 Replies
        1. re: Upperwestsider

          Good call on the Red Cat--especially for the adventurous eaters! Might as well add Cookshop to the mix. Great for larger parties but on the pricier side. Easy access to the highline for your after dinner passeggiata.

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          Cookshop
          156 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

          1. re: Upperwestsider

            Tia Pol now takes reservations but only 5 days ahead, so may work out well.

            Txikito also takes reservations now and has a private room now too.

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

            Txikito
            240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

          2. Hello NYhounds!

            Thank you so much for your words of advice :) We actually ended up getting a reservation at La Esquina's downstairs restaurant. With 8 ladies making plans, it turned out someone had been able to make that a while ago, and I hadn't been aware.

            It was delicious! Great margaritas, sans sweet/acetic sour mix.
            -Queso Fondito was gooey, salty, sweet, and a great crunch from the pumpkin seeds. It came with plantain chips, though not too many, and they were thin so one needs to be a little careful when scooping up the cheese.
            -Tortilla soup. I actually haven't ever had tortilla soup, and thought it was really great. Fresh avocado mixed in, tomato base, chunks of chicken, and crunchy tortilla strips.
            -Grille corn which had a nice char and tangy cheese sprinkled on top.
            -Quesadilla with mushrooms and black beans. was the least impressive of the dishes, but still good. served with a spicy and slightly sweat sauce (perhaps a smooth salsa?)

            I got the carnitas tacos which were AWESOME! I could have had two orders (only two small tacos per order). I also tried the fish tacos made with shark, which was also really tasty. Both were fresh, crunchy and cooked perfectly.

            We ordered one of the crab tostada and while it was good, the ratio of crab meat to tostada was a bit overwhelming (meaning, there was about a golf ball of crab meat on a cracker). Perhaps if you LOVE crab it would make you super happy. also, a squeeze of hot sauce on top made the whole bite burn a bit, which I could have done without.

            The downstairs is very cool, and has a unique atmosphere. The service....well, let's just say that when we placed our app order and asked for more time to look over the entrees we were told that we had to decide at that moment because of time constraints. That was a first for me.... Though, a nice waiter did follow me from the restroom to tell me i had some tp on my shoe. So that was nice :)

            Again, thank you so much for your suggestions. I will keep them in mind for my next trip to NYC!
            mollyditty

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            La Esquina
            106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012