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East Village/ Lower East Side Rec

sfeater Apr 27, 2011 03:43 PM

SF Hound coming to NYC for a ladies weekend in late May. Looking for a celebratory yet mid priced dinner on Saturday and prefer this hood for proximity to continued revelry later in the evening. Would like a cocktail menu, food in the innovative realm though specific cuisine not important, cost around $60 pp (including a drink or 2 but light appetites; the 4 of will likely share a number of dishes), nice design and fun atmosphere a plus.

On the short list:
Prune
Vandaag
WD50 would be perfect except for the price and lack of available reservations...

SF restaurants I would consider for this occasion:
Bar Agricole
Range
RN74

NY restaurants we have enjoyed in the past:
Momofuku (the more casual location)
Public
Balthazar
Hearth

Any thoughts on these choices or other recommendations would be much appreciated!

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  1. s
    sam1 RE: sfeater Apr 27, 2011 03:53 PM

    i have to steer you away from vandaag. nice space and fine for a drink but the food is mediocre and the service was completely all over the place.

    im a big fan of prune. my only concern for you is that it's small and while lively, its more of a refined place for a great meal.

    prune is a great option considering your SF favorites.

    -----
    Prune
    54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

    Vandaag
    103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    1. v
      villainx RE: sfeater Apr 27, 2011 04:15 PM

      May want to consider Brindle Room or Northern Spy, not too far from Hearth if you need some idea of the pre/post neighborhood options.

      Prune should remain a possibility.

      Just an idea about the feel of the above mentioned places, they are more upscale neighborhood places, versus the somewhat corporate feel of the other NY places you mentioned. I'd say slightly more rustic than polished elegance the way Balthazar/Hearth/Public are.

      -----
      Northern Spy Food Co.
      511 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

      Brindle Room
      277 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009

      1. j
        jester99 RE: sfeater Apr 28, 2011 08:32 AM

        Frankies spuntino for Red Sauce Italian on clinton st., DBGB is in that general area too. Porsena for pasta and Edi and the Wolf is pretty good as well they are all in the East Village. I would also throw Back Forty in that mix.

        From the restaurants you listed that you have been to before, might i suggest Maialino which is right around Union Square and not too far off from the area.

        -----
        Frankies 17 Spuntino
        17 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

        Back Forty
        190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

        DBGB
        299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

        Maialino
        2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

        Porsena
        21 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

        Edi & the Wolf
        102 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009

        1. sgordon RE: sfeater Apr 28, 2011 12:29 PM

          I actually love Vandaag and will gladly steer you back. Great food, of a cuisine we don't see too much of here in NYC. Every meal I've had there has been the equal of (at half the price) any meal I've had at Aquavit. The menu changes often, too, so whatever didn't please the other poster may be long gone. Also the cocktails are fantastic, and the beer list is very creative and well-curated.

          Prune and WD-50 you'll get no argument from me on. Great places, both. Only question is that WD will be hard to get out of for under $60/pp, to really experience the place. Generally an entree + app + dessert there will be around $75, before you even get to drinks. (The cocktails are some of the best in the city, though, it should be noted)

          Only addition I'd add is Falai, what I consider an underrated gem. Very innovative Northern Italian cuisine. They were just okay back in the day when the Times reviewed them some years ago, but Chef Falai has gotten so much better in the years between - partly due to the influence of Wylie Dufresne at WD, just up the street. His food is playful like Wylie's but more hearty and a bit more lush, doesn't lose touch with his rustic Florentine roots. He does a $65 prix fixe for four courses - a really good deal, full Italian meal (antipasti, pasta, entree, dessert) - split a bottle of wine or two and you'll get a good selection of food without going too far over your limit. Going a la carte you could easily stay under, if you're light eaters like you say.

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

          Aquavit
          65 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022

          Falai
          68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

          Vandaag
          103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

          1. sfeater RE: sfeater May 3, 2011 12:17 PM

            Thank you for the input so far. I have a res at Prune but still would like to explore some other options. I have looked into these suggestions and while they look like great places I would def check out with some more time in the city, I'm not sure any of them fit all 3 requirements of celebratory, innovative, has cocktails. Except maybe DCGB but there website really turns me off... I know I'm asking a lot at my price range, but any other thoughts would be much appreciated!

            1 Reply
            1. re: sfeater
              k
              kathryn RE: sfeater May 3, 2011 02:10 PM

              There's only a handful of restaurants in town with truly excellent cocktail programs. The sheer number of cocktail bars/lounges probably has something to do with that. Many more people are getting a drink before or after dinner elsewhere. Also overall the trend has been to open restaurants that are more about comfort food than innovation (blame the recession). Our "molecular" (or whatever) scene just doesn't match up to other cities like Chicago especially after p*ong, Varietal, Room 4 Dessert, and Tailor all opened and quickly closed.

              Vandaag is an excellent choice for your dinner. The cocktails are great (I just had some this weekend).

              Prune and DBGB's cocktails just aren't up to the same level as Vandaag's (and DBGB is more about beer anyway). My favorite items at DBGB all have to do with charcuterie -- probably the opposite of innovation.

              If you really are the light eaters you say you are, you might be better off going to a cocktail bar and noshing with a most-liquid dinner (Pegu Club's creative small plates? PDT's creative hot dogs?). Pegu Club doesn't take reservations for that small a group so I'd get there around 6pm. PDT only takes reservations day of via phone, so you'd need a backup plan. Both of these might be good pre-dinner spots to hit up, though (they'll be hard to get into post-dinner on a Saturday night).

              Otherwise, your price range is limiting your options. $60 pp including 1-2 cocktails isn't much when those cocktails cost $13. If you're really the light eaters you say you are, you might be able to get by at the Bar Room at the Modern. Alsatian small plates, buzzy atmosphere, gorgeous interior design, good drinks (not the best but solid).

              Another option is Yerba Buena which has Latin roots but the menu isn't really that strict/traditional. The great thing about them is that their cocktails are $12 and (somehow!) they do a larger cocktail than most everybody else.

              But if you really must have great cocktails, you'll have to be more lenient on your request for innovative food. Here's a list of places with serious cocktail programs, you'll see that most of them are NOT very experimental when it comes to cuisine (Gramercy Tavern, Peels, Locanda Verde, etc):
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7614...

              When you say you've been to Momofuku (the more casual one), did you mean Momofuku Noodle Bar? Or Momofuku Ssam Bar (who has a cocktail program run by PDT bartenders)? Or Ma Peche? Only the latter two have a liquor license. Ko and Noodle Bar serve only beer and wine.

              -----
              Gramercy Tavern
              42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

              Momofuku Ssam Bar
              207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

              The Modern
              9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

              Momofuku Noodle Bar
              171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

              Please Don't Tell
              113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

              Pegu Club
              77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

              Yerba Buena
              23 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

              Locanda Verde
              377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

              DBGB
              299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

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

              Vandaag
              103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

              Peels
              325 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

            2. s
              sarahe1 RE: sfeater May 3, 2011 12:55 PM

              Just piping in, I also loved Vandaag. Thoughtful, well prepared food and excellent service. The bread basket was especially to die for - strange but true! http://fritosandfoiegras.blogspot.com...

              -----
              Vandaag
              103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

              1. sfeater RE: sfeater May 10, 2011 10:49 AM

                OK so have a res at Prune, Vandaag and Aldea. Yes I realize that Aldea is the wrong hood, but I just liked the look of the place. Any final votes for the winner? I'll be sure to report back..

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

                Vandaag
                103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                3 Replies
                1. re: sfeater
                  sgordon RE: sfeater May 10, 2011 12:19 PM

                  I'm not personally the biggest fan of Aldea, but I also acknowledge I'm in the minority on that.

                  Of the remaining ones - hard to say. See which menu appeals to you more. Prune is a bit more esoteric, while Vandaag is a style of cuisine you don't see terribly often, so it could be interesting. If cocktails are important, though, I'd go with Vandaag - their cocktail program is one of the best restaurant ones in the city right now, and certainly the best of the three.

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

                  Vandaag
                  103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: sgordon
                    m
                    monab RE: sgordon May 10, 2011 12:42 PM

                    If great wine is interchangable for great cocktails then how about Terrior?
                    And if appitites are truely light, how about the follow AMAZING cocktail bars?
                    - PDT
                    - Cienfuegos
                    - Mayahuel
                    - Death & Co.

                    I agree with whoever said that Vandaag's cocktails are great, but the food is truely mediocre.
                    Aldea is wonderful, but not really a "fun" atmosphere...

                    -----
                    Death & Co.
                    433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

                    Mayahuel
                    304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

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

                    Cienfuegos
                    95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

                    Vandaag
                    103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    1. re: monab
                      sgordon RE: monab May 10, 2011 01:13 PM

                      Well, I'll disagree with you on Vandaag's food. I find it excellent, especially for its price point.

                      -----
                      Vandaag
                      103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

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