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Need "beautiful place with good crowd" like Buddakan for out-of-town guest

I have a friend in town from Hong Kong who loved Buddakan and wants to go to a similarly "beautiful place with good crowd". I want good food. More important is what she wants, but why can't we both be happy? I need a reservation for 6 people this Friday night, price isn't an issue (except Per Se or Masa prices), all cuisines should be fine, location not as important but would be good to go somewhere we can get drinks afterwards nearby. Think girls' night out on the town for girls who want a great scene. We're all around 30 in case that matters. i usually care more for the food so am not an expert on what the hot spots are these days.

Any suggestions?

My thoughts are:
STK
Morimoto
Locanda Verde (never but have heard good things)
Waverly Inn (but only if one of you have some secret way of getting a reservation)
Balthazar
Morandi (although I personally think it's overrated)
Megu (is the Tribeca location still popular?)
The Robert (cool space, but is there a scene there?)
Standard Grill?
Macondo?
Stanton Social?

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Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Buddakan
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Stanton Social
99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

Morandi
211 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

STK
26 Little West 12th St, New York, NY 10014

Morimoto
88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

Megu
845 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017

Waverly Inn
16 Bank St, New York, NY 10014

Macondo
157 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

Standard Grill
848 Washington Street, New York, NY 10014

Masa
10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

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  1. Beauty and Essex?

    See if you can get reservations for Maialino.

    The Modern

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

    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    Beauty & Essex
    146 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

    1. I thought Morimoto was pretty good, albeit a bit overpriced. Some of the decor might be interpreted as a little cheesy nowadays, though. It is certainly fun, though I felt the cooked dishes and other dishes outshine the nigiri sushi.

      Locanda Verde is excellent but I'm not sure you can get a table for 6 people this Friday night at a decent time on such short notice.

      Balthazar is great but I don't think it is what your friend has in mind if looking for stunning interior design; the faux-old brasserie look it has going for it has also been copied over and over now.

      I don't think Morandi is really in the same tier as a space like Buddakan either.

      Since you have Stanton Social on your list, you might want to look at the other projects AvroKo, the designers of the Stanton Social have done. Here's the ones in NYC:

      Beauty and Essex
      Bourbon Steak
      Double Crown
      Hurricane Club
      The Monday Room
      Park Avenue Spring (Summer, Autumn, Winter)
      Public
      Quality Meats
      The Stanton Social
      Zengo

      Note that Sapa, Odea, and European Union have closed. I've been to Double Crown, Hurricane Club, Monday Room (which is really more of a wine bar), Public, and Stanton Social, and liked Monday Room & Public best. Right now on OpenTable I see availability at Public, too.

      http://www.avroko.com/

      Maybe also look into Imperial No 9

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      Buddakan
      75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      Stanton Social
      99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

      Balthazar
      80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

      Morandi
      211 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

      Park Avenue Cafe
      100 E 63rd St, New York, NY 10021

      Quality Meats
      57 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

      Morimoto
      88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      Public
      210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

      The Monday Room
      210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

      Double Crown
      316 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

      Locanda Verde
      377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

      Zengo
      622 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

      Hurricane Club
      360 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010

      Beauty & Essex
      146 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

      Imperial No. 9
      9 Crosby St, New York, NY 10013

      10 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Ok so I just received further instructions - apparently the itinerary after dinner is to hit a club. I'm guessing this means meatpacking area, and now I need even more help as this is not my area of expertise! Are there any good clubs where you can eat and then be admitted to the club by default of being a diner so I don't have to deal with lines? Or any good meatpacking restaurants that will take a group our size on friday? My friend loved buddakan 2 years ago and liked standard grill last year - is there someplace new this past year that she needs to check out? As you can see, I'm not so hip to the scene.

        Thanks to both kathryn and gforce for your recs - will definitely keep these in mind for next time!

        1. re: jen223

          Perhaps Spice Market, which is in Meatpacking, has impressive decor, and a see and be seen crowd? May be hard to get a reservation at this date, but that does in part depend on what time you are looking to go.

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          Spice Market
          403 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: orthorunner

            I'm looking for some similar suggestions too -- we've been to Buddakan in the past though, and really enjoyed Spice Market and STK which have a similar vibe.

            -----
            Buddakan
            75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

            STK
            26 Little West 12th St, New York, NY 10014

            Spice Market
            403 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014

          2. re: jen223

            Chelsea has a lot of clubs too -- if you can specify which club/where it is, it might be more helpful. Of course you don't necessarily have to dine right by there if you don't mind a short walk....

            1. re: kathryn

              No club chosen yet! I've heard that beauty and Essex has a club upstairs. Is this true?

              1. re: jen223

                There's not a dance floor really if that is what you seek.

            2. re: jen223

              TRY: Lavo (uptown), Villa Pacri, Abe and Arthur. None known for food though.

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              Lavo
              39 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022

              Abe & Arthur's
              409 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

              Villa Pacri
              55 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014

              1. re: jen223

                Hotel Griffou

                Have fun mingling with the B&T :)

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                Hotel Griffou
                21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

              2. re: kathryn

                Just made a dinner reservation for "Beauty & Essex" in December. Can't wait to check it out... the photos of the place are gorgeous!

              3. skip Waverly Inn even if you know someone who can get you in - the food is unremarkable & overpriced, service is lacking (often bordering on rude), and if they stick you at a table in the front room you'll have to deal with all the noise from the crowd at the bar.

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                Waverly Inn
                16 Bank St, New York, NY 10014

                5 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Jumping on this thread too! Would love to know who has the best food out of all the places mentioned: BUDDAKAN, SPICE MARKET, PUBLIC or BEAUTY & ESSEX. Thanks!

                  1. re: Liquid Sky

                    I would say Public, though have not been to Beauty and Essex. Public also is a much different style of place; well-designed and neat decor, but certainly not going after the wow factor of Budakkan or Spice Market.

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                    Public
                    210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

                    1. re: orthorunner

                      orthorunner: Thanks! Are there any dishes you ordered @ PUBLIC that really stood out?

                      1. re: Liquid Sky

                        I particularly liked the venison dish; also enjoyed a mushroom appetizer, but I don't think it is the same as the current one on the menu.