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NEW Thread: Where is the best First Date spot in NYC???

s
sockster May 17, 2011 03:51 PM

Looking for great atmosphere, great drinks, good food. Price: around $100 for all? Where are the latest and greatest NY first date spots. A lot of old posts on Chow, need a refreshed list.

  1. r
    rrems May 18, 2011 04:40 PM

    I don't see why you need to raise your budget. You can do just fine for $100 or under. My top pick would be da Andrea. The food is excellent, it's busy but not too loud, nice decor, service is friendly and efficient. It really feels like it should be more expensive than it is. Other choices if the food appeals are Zabb Elee for Thai and Legend for Sichuan. Or even BLT Burger. The food is great and seating is comfortable.

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

    BLT Burger
    470 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    Legend
    88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    Zabb Elee
    75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    1. Rmis32 May 18, 2011 12:38 PM

      Another alternative that may be a little easier on the budget is a wine bar. Two that come to mind are Bar Veloce and Gottino.

      -----
      Bar Veloce
      175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

      Gottino
      52 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011

      1. Miss Needle May 18, 2011 12:19 PM

        I think Alta is a nice first date spot -- relatively casual, romantic and inexpensive. Lighting is dim -- good for camouflage! ; ) Menu is varied enough that it suits a wide variety of tastes. It is shared plates -- so some may not be into that. But I translate that into a more intimate experience.

        http://www.altarestaurant.com/

        -----
        Alta
        64 W 10th St, New York, NY 10011

        1. LeahBaila May 18, 2011 11:25 AM

          Not sure about "latest and greatest," but here are some "tried & true" -
          Bridge Cafe
          Hudson Clearwater
          Salumeria Rosi
          Grape & Grain
          Aroma
          dell'anima
          The New French
          Tartinery
          Tre

          -----
          Grape and Grain
          620 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

          Bridge Cafe
          279 Water St, New York, NY 10038

          Aroma
          36 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003

          Dell'Anima
          38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

          Tre
          173 Ludlow Street, New York, NY 10002

          The New French
          522 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

          Salumeria Rosi
          283 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10023

          Tartinery Nolita
          209 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

          Hudson Clearwater
          447 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

          1. s
            six dower May 18, 2011 09:55 AM

            Hearth

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            Hearth
            403 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10009

            1 Reply
            1. re: six dower
              princeofpork May 18, 2011 10:04 AM

              Most bottles of wine at Hearth would blow the budget alone.

            2. princeofpork May 18, 2011 07:46 AM

              Can you provide a little more info? Blind date or someone you know for a long time. Romantic or lively. How old are you guys.

              17 Replies
              1. re: princeofpork
                s
                sockster May 18, 2011 07:50 AM

                First date- internet meeting- early 50's- just raised the budget to $150. I'm thinking lively would be good. Thanks

                1. re: sockster
                  s
                  Stuartmc910 May 18, 2011 08:20 AM

                  f you want to use my experience as an example;

                  Also internet meeting, I was early 60s, she early 50s. She worked at the UN so she wanted to meet in the Ambassador Lounge on E. 44th Street. Nice choice. We hit it off immediately and I invited her to dinner. She was a vegetarian so I called Hangawi and made a reservation. We walked there, had dinner, and……we will be celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary in June.

                  Can’t say it will work for you, but……

                  -----
                  HanGawi
                  12 E 32nd St, New York, NY 10016

                  1. re: Stuartmc910
                    ericalloyd May 18, 2011 08:57 AM

                    ^^^ lovely story :-)

                    1. re: ericalloyd
                      s
                      Stuartmc910 May 18, 2011 09:15 AM

                      Thanks, lovely wife. I'm very lucky to have met her.

                    2. re: Stuartmc910
                      sgordon May 18, 2011 12:26 PM

                      The had the internet 11 years ago? (har har har...)

                      HanGawi was a great choice, though. Good call.

                      -----
                      HanGawi
                      12 E 32nd St, New York, NY 10016

                      1. re: sgordon
                        s
                        Stuartmc910 May 18, 2011 01:29 PM

                        You're kidding, of course! Al Gore invented it.

                        Yes, HanGawi wowed her.

                        -----
                        HanGawi
                        12 E 32nd St, New York, NY 10016

                    3. re: sockster
                      h
                      H Manning May 18, 2011 08:25 AM

                      Telepan, Modern Bar Room, maybe Scarpetta if you order carefully.

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                      Telepan
                      72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

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

                      1. re: H Manning
                        t
                        thegforceny May 18, 2011 08:55 AM

                        How do you tell your date to 'order carefully' though? IDEAS: depending on time and day (so as to avoid a long wait) Blue Ribbon Brasserie; Co.; Elsewhere; Little Cheese Pub (though of course cheese heavy menu); Klee.

                        -----
                        Blue Ribbon Brasserie
                        97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                        Klee
                        200 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                        Co.
                        230 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                        Elsewhere
                        403 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036

                        Little Cheese Pub
                        362 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

                        1. re: thegforceny
                          h
                          H Manning May 18, 2011 09:55 AM

                          I wouldn't tell my date to order carefully, but the OP could tailor his own orders and wine selections to stay within his budget.

                          Blue Ribbon Brasserie does not take reservations for two and Co. is way too casual, but otherwise they are good options for future dates.

                          -----
                          Blue Ribbon Brasserie
                          97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                          1. re: thegforceny
                            s
                            sugartoof May 18, 2011 11:24 AM

                            Wouldn't Blue Ribbon be tough even with the raised budget? Good pick though.

                          2. re: H Manning
                            sgordon May 18, 2011 12:30 PM

                            Not a fan of the "order carefully" date - I'd pick a place where if both of them happened to order the most expensive items on the menu, they'd come in under budget.

                            For the new budget ($150) though, you could probably do someting a little nicer - Prune, maybe? I did a recent calcualtion on another thread that if you were to order the most expensive app, entree, & dessert it'd come to $53/pp. Might be cutting it close once you include wine / tax / tip. Amazing how much supposedly "inexpensive" places can cost these days once you add it all up.

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

                            1. re: sgordon
                              s
                              sugartoof May 18, 2011 01:28 PM

                              I think it's the factor of another individual having free reign to order in a social situation where it's tacky to put limitations.

                          3. re: sockster
                            s
                            sugartoof May 18, 2011 11:48 AM

                            Sockster, Considering it's an internet date, I'm going to toss out the suggestion that instead of upping your budget, you look towards going casual.

                            I would even suggest something as casual to the extreme, like Fonda Nolita, which is made to look like an open air Mexican taco stand. It will give the date a sense of adventure rather than an attempt at heavy duty romance, and the lights are dim enough that it could work, providing you then go somewhere fancier for drinks.... if it feels right. Just wanted to throw out an option that was more fun than formal.

                            I have noticed we're loading you up with Downtown options. Does that suit you?

                            -----
                            Tacombi
                            267 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

                            1. re: sugartoof
                              LeahBaila May 18, 2011 11:55 AM

                              Great idea and an awesome alternative to the traditional "romantic" date-y dinner.

                              1. re: sugartoof
                                MVNYC May 18, 2011 02:14 PM

                                This makes sense, the more casual the first date the better. Given that you have only met on the internet a more casual place lessens the chance that you might be stuck there if the two of you don't get along.

                                1. re: sugartoof
                                  s
                                  sockster May 18, 2011 03:47 PM

                                  Actually prefer downtown..thinking Soccarat on 19th. Anyone have any comments on this idea?

                                  1. re: sockster
                                    s
                                    sugartoof May 18, 2011 05:45 PM

                                    Sockster, I don't know about Soccarat, but it's near Boqueria, which reminds me that both locations are great date spots with lots of flexibility on how you approach the night.

                                    -----
                                    Boqueria
                                    53 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

                            2. sgordon May 18, 2011 07:31 AM

                              $100 for two people is a fairly small amount amount for "great atmosphere, great drinks, great food" - let's break it down:

                              $100 = $50/pp
                              $50 = $38 before tax & tip.

                              Assuming a glass of wine will cost minimum $8 at a cheaper place, and you have two drinks each, you're looking at a pre-tax/tip food budget of about $22.

                              I know, it's disheartening to think that dinner for two for $100 is considered "cheap" nowadays, but that's the city we live in.

                              You can certainly get good food for that, but I'm not sure about romantic atmosphere. Though honestly, I don't think "romantic" is good for a first date. You need to, like, know someone a bit before getting romantic. Romantic is for second or third dates. First dates are for fun.

                              You could go "cozy" a la Frankies 17 Spuntino. There's a little buzz in the air, but the food is lusty and hearty, miles better than anything you'd get for the same price at any Little Italy red-sauce joint.

                              Or go somewhere fun and boisterous - Momofuku Noodle Bar, get some pork buns and split a ramen or some other more substantial dish, drink beer. The time you'll wait in line will be extra time to get to know each other.

                              I think the only member of the Falai family that would work would be Falai Panetteria. Caffe and the flagship would break that budget rather handily, at least at dinner. You could do Caffe Falai for lunch, only get one course and a couple drinks, but you couldn't do a normal app-entree-dessert meal.

                              Across the street from Panetteria you've got Alias - they've been a solid, decently priced standby for years, though they just got a new chef and I don't know if the menu's changed and what the prices are currently like. It's quiet but unfussy, sound level makes for easy conversation.

                              For something a bit more sceney, Schiller's Liquor Bar could work. You could easily get an entree each (and they're decently sized), maybe even split an appetizer and/or dessert as well. The wine is nice and cheap (carafes are $16-$22) so even if you got the most expensive one you'd have a bit more money freed up for food.

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

                              Alias
                              76 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

                              Caffe Falai
                              265 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                              Schiller's Liquor Bar
                              131 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                              Falai Panetteria
                              79 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: sgordon
                                t
                                tex.s.toast May 18, 2011 07:44 AM

                                I can't be the only person reading this who thinks the idea of sharing a bowl of ramen on a first date might not be everyones idea of a "best" first date.

                                1. re: tex.s.toast
                                  sgordon May 18, 2011 12:24 PM

                                  Actually, I think it's a great first date. My first date with my girlfriend of three years was even less fancy noodles & broth - Pho Grand.

                                  -----
                                  Pho Grand
                                  277 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                                2. re: sgordon
                                  s
                                  sugartoof May 18, 2011 11:57 AM

                                  Alias is good suggestion, though not full of romance. It would have fit his initial budget, and it's pretty under the radar too. I think I'd go across the water to Diner in Brooklyn instead though.

                                  Frankies would be perfect if it didn't get so damned loud, and half the seating wasn't so awkward.

                                3. s
                                  sugartoof May 18, 2011 12:03 AM

                                  Considering a bottle of wine could run $25+ or 2 rounds of cocktails could push you in the $40-$60 range, that's tough. Beer makes the whole equation more workable, but not always.

                                  I don't really have a perfect answer, but to get the ball rolling, I'll throw some names out:

                                  Maybe one of the Falai's.
                                  Lavagna used to come up often on those old date threads.
                                  Back Forty or Northern Spy Co. are nice but still casual.

                                  -----
                                  Back Forty
                                  190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

                                  Lavagna
                                  545 E. 5th St., New York, NY 10009

                                  Falai
                                  68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

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