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celebratory dinner, need restaurant recommendations

nycfoodgal May 17, 2011 05:39 AM

In early June I will be attending my college commencement and afterwards plan on having a celebratory meal with two friends.

I love all kinds of food and would like to find a place that is special but not too expensive.

Commencement is at Jacob Javits center but the location for dinner is flexible, as long as it isnt too far uptown.

Yes I know I am not giving much to work with but I am somehow feeling unsure about what I want.
I would prefer a place that is more about the food rather than the scene (no uber-hip places with rich men and their model girlfriends please!)

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    nmprisons RE: nycfoodgal May 17, 2011 05:50 AM

    Obligatory first response to pretty much every "need restaurant recommendations" thread":

    What is your budget ("not too expensive" means very different things to different people.)? Before anyone can suggest anything, they need to know what you expect to pay, per person, before tax and tip and without drinks.

    What day of the week?

    3 Replies
    1. re: nmprisons
      sgordon RE: nmprisons May 17, 2011 06:05 AM

      What nm said.

      Yeah, budget makes all the difference. Even your total budget/pp - including tax, tip and drinks - as long we know about how many drinks you'd be having (glass of wine per course? One bottle to split to last the meal?) "Expensive" is relative...

      1. re: sgordon
        nycfoodgal RE: sgordon May 17, 2011 06:07 AM

        good point.

        I would say about $100 a person including tax, tip, drinks. would probably buy one bottle of wine to share for the meal.

        does that help?

        1. re: nycfoodgal
          nmprisons RE: nycfoodgal May 17, 2011 06:17 AM

          Esca is relatively close to Javitz and, if you order carefully, you could stay close to $100/person.

          402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

    2. sgordon RE: nycfoodgal May 17, 2011 10:00 AM

      Okay... $100/pp = $78 (give or take a dollar) before tax & tip.

      Assuming you with a relatively inexpensive wine (most places the cheapest bottle will be around $40 - $45 these days.... I know, ridiculous...) that's about $15 from each, so a $63 menu price food budget.

      I recently did a round-up of places for around that price for another poster, here's my top picks that would fit your budget - the prices following each would be if you ordered the most expensive app, entree, and dessert:

      Marc Forgione: $61
      Public: $53
      Prune: $53
      Klee: $53
      Cookshop: $54
      Apiary: $53
      David Burke Kitchen: $63
      Little Owl: $61
      Colicchio & Sons (Tap Room): $60
      Red Cat: $59

      And if you can stretch your budget a teensy bit...

      Blue Hill: $68

      Of the above, the top three (Forgione, Prune, Public) would probably be... my top three.

      I'm not sure Esca is really do-able on that budget, or at the very least you'd get a "limited" version of it. A Primi & Secondi would cost around $60 (on average) by themselves, no room in the budget for antipasti or dessert, really. Could you eat there? Sure. But you might leave a litle hungry - the food is really portioned with a four-course "proper Italian" meal in mind. The pastas are not, like, Little Italy sized. Even having just two courses you'd have to be careful in what you order to not go over budget. I think for around $125/pp (that's including tax, tip, etc) you could pull off three (possibly four, if you split some antipasti) courses comfortably, though.

      Blue Hill
      75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

      156 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      Little Owl
      90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

      402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

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

      200 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

      54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

      Marc Forgione
      134 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013

      60 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

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

      David Burke Kitchen
      23 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

      1 Reply
      1. re: sgordon
        nycfoodgal RE: sgordon May 18, 2011 10:08 AM

        Thanks everyone for the advice, I have made a reservation at Prune, since I have wanted to eat there for quite a while!

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