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Like a Fridays or Applebees, but with good food?

Looking to take a 22 year old guy out for a college graduation celebration (there would just be 3 people here). Looking for some place with a fun, party-like atmosphere without being too divey. Also, good food is a must. Nothing ultra-sophisticated, but not a corner burger joint either. American food with some good steak options would be best. Thanks!

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  1. Minetta Tavern?

    What is your budget? When it this happening? (these are the same questions asked of you last time you posted this thread (two years ago) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/647810 ) Has your budget increased or is it still "a max of about $30 per entree? plus drinks, appetizers, etc." ?

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    Minetta Tavern
    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

    4 Replies
    1. re: nmprisons

      Budget would be about the same - Thanks for your thoroughness. About $30 per entree, max. Plus drinks & appetizers. It would be this weekend.

      1. re: kellaz

        Landmarc in the Time Warner Center might work.

        Remember to take into consideration 20% tip and 8.25% tax, on top of food an drinks.

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        Landmarc
        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

        1. re: kellaz

          Minetta will end up being a bit pricey then, unless you went for the burgers, which are wonderful.

          Perhaps a place like Ouest on the UWS might work for you as well.

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          Ouest
          2315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

          1. re: nmprisons

            I like Ouest a lot, but it seems to be a little too sedate for what the op is looking for.

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            Ouest
            2315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

      2. Minetta could work, but good luck getting a rez for this weekend. Also, the crowd might be a bit of an older one. While it's far from sedate, it's more "party-like" for people in their late thirties. How about (for another McNally resto) Schiller's Liquor Bar? Definitely party-like on the weekends, solid food, scene is more in his age range, and well within your budget.

        Other options coming to mind:

        Les Halles: Gets a good crowd on the weekend, though it might skew a little older - more of a late 20s / early 30s group.

        Marc Forgione: Good place for both foodies and non-foodies. Might be a touch more expensive (IIRC, entrees are $29-$34, give or take) but worth a few extra dollars. Food is a little more creative, but vibe is still very "neighborhoody" and can be party-like, especially on the weekends. Conveniently located near Ward III, a great cocktail spot to hit before or after.

        Blue Ribbon Brasserie: 20+ different entrees to choose from, real "something for everyone" kind of place, usually a couple steaks - a hanger steak on the regular menu and an unlisted Angus steak-for-two that seems to have been "today's special" for the last ten years.

        The Smith: happening East Village location, all entrees under $25, steaks under $30. Good variety to the menu, mostly young crowd.

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

        Les Halles
        15 John Street, New York, NY 10038

        Les Halles
        411 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016

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

        The Smith
        55 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

        Marc Forgione
        134 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013

        Ward III
        111 Reade St, New York, NY 10013

        3 Replies
        1. re: sgordon

          funny...i always describe the smith as TGIFridays...

          1. re: sgordon

            The whole reservation thing with Minetta is overblown. I have made day-of reservations the last two times I went simply by calling and once walked in with no problem. They don't fill their book with reservations.

            1. re: nmprisons

              What days and times of the week? How many people were in your party?

          2. Spitzer's Corner. It is full of 22-year-olds eating American food in a party-like atmosphere. And I've never had a problem getting a table, although it does get crowded.

            http://www.spitzerscorner.com/

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            Spitzer's Corner
            101 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

            1. Amsterdam Ale House isn't bad and is along those lines

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              Amsterdam Ale House
              340 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

              1 Reply
              1. re: bronwen

                i live near the Amsterdam Ale House and, while it's a fine place to have a beer and a quick bite, i don't think it's special enough for any kind of celebratory meal. it's divey.

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                Amsterdam Ale House
                340 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

              2. These restaurants all look really great. Thank you so much everyone!!! I've got some great options now... Especially liking The Smith

                  1. Houstons?

                    The Redhead?

                    Peels?

                    The Smith might be perfect though.

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                    Hillstone
                    378 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010

                    The Redhead
                    349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                    Peels
                    325 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                    1. while i didn't love the The Redhead the one time i went, it might work well for this dinner...

                      void Les Halles at all costs...trashy tourist crap...

                      Smith...eh...yeah, better food than Applebee's and an ok place, but nothing to write home about...

                      How about Nolita House?...haven't been in a long time, but it seems to fit this dinner quite well...

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                      Nolita House
                      47 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10012

                      Les Halles
                      411 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016

                      The Redhead
                      349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                      1. i can't tell if kellaz is the parent of the graduate or not. if yes, i would avoid Spitzers or Schillers. i don't think i would have wanted to go to that kind of place with my parents.

                        surprised no one mentioned Balthazar.

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                        Balthazar
                        80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                        Spitzer's Corner
                        101 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

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

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: coasts

                          haha no I'm not his parent. His older sister-in-law. I'm 30. We ended up going to The Smith and it was perfect!! We really enjoyed the food (High quality but not overly fancy) and young atmosphere without being divey. The steaks were amazing.. And so were the calamari and hot potato chip appetizers! Thank you everyone!!

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                          The Smith
                          55 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

                        2. Hillstone, duh.

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                          Hillstone
                          378 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010