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restaurant for this THURSDAY- want to impress my midtown friends

Hi this is my first time posting so pls excuse any errors

I would like a recommendation for a restaurant for THIS thurs evening at around 6pm- I am hoping the day of week and time mean that I dont need to reserve too far in advance (or dont need reservations at all!)

it will be 4 people (me +3). my 3 companions work in manhattan but RARELY go below midtown. I took one to momofuku ssam and she loved it. I was hoping for a similar sort of recommendation

crowd likes asian fusion- but this is not obligatory. I was mainly hoping for the refined hipness factor. they say they want to see downtown, but the one time I took them to a "gritty" place I frequent in alphabet city they didnt like it

so basically I want to show them something interesting, hip, with good food and a downtown ambiance- whatever the hell that means, but it has to be palatable for someone who doesnt live here.

the price point is negotiable- I was hoping for 250 or less before tax/tip/drinks. or momfuku ssam prices

thanks for your help

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  1. I cannot completely tell from your post--do you want a place in midtown with a "downtown" feel, or do you want a place downtown for your friends' rare foray further south?
    If the former, since you mention Momofuku Ssam, you could consider Ma Peche, where you could get the pre-theater prix fixe which should fall within your budget.
    If youre interested in Asian fusion with a scene in midtown you could consider the relatively new Ember Room,as well, though probably not as noted for food as for its celebrity chef backers.
    If you want something further downtown, some guidance as to whether a particular area of town would be better would be helpful.

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

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: orthorunner

      whoops I guess this was a bit confusing. I am looking for a place downtown- maybe east village, LES, West Village... anywhere below 14th.

      (the reason i keep mentioning midtown is bc my friends are used to going out there. They say they want something more urban and hip but i think that if the restaurant is too downtown-y they might get uncomfortable)

    2. Perfect restaurant for you is Ma Peche. Delicious French-Vietnamese cuisine in a casual atmosphere with friendly service. Both Ma Peche and Momofuku Ssam Bar are owned by David Chang.

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

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

      2 Replies
        1. re: nmprisons

          Couldn't tell from his original post. He clarified it after I had posted.

      1. If you can do without the Asian influence, I would take them to Minetta Tavern

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        Minetta Tavern
        113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

        1. Not Asian fusion. Downtown. Not sure I'd call either "hip." Maybe "interesting". . .

          Degustation?

          Rayuela?

          http://www.rayuelanyc.com/

          I've been a few times but not recently so be sure to search this Board for recent reviews.

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          Rayuela
          165 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

          Degustation
          239 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003

          1. Perhaps, DBGB, The Spotted Pig, or Recette?

            DBGB photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            The Spotted Pig photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            Recette photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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            Spotted Pig
            314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

            DBGB
            299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

            Recette
            328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

            1. Not sure if this falls within your "refined hipness" but check out Public in NoLita. Very nice place with very good (sometimes quite edgy) food and great drinks. Tables near the nice bar can be really nice if the roll up the big "garage" door.

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              Public
              210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

              1. I second the DBGB and Spotted Pig recs, and would throw in a few more (although none of the following are asian fusion): dell'anima, Joseph Leonard, and La Esquina. Also had a great meal recently at Balaboosta.

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                Spotted Pig
                314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

                La Esquina
                106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

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

                DBGB
                299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                Joseph Leonard
                170 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

                Balaboosta
                214 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

                1. Not Asian Fusion, but Locanda Verde can be a lot of fun and has very good Italian. There's also Nobu, but that could bust your budget, depending on what gets ordered.

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                  Nobu
                  105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

                  Locanda Verde
                  377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                  1. Downtown asian fusion:

                    Kin Shop
                    Hung Ry

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                    Kin Shop
                    469 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                    Hung Ry
                    55 Bond St, New York, NY 10012

                    1. Kittichai

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                      Kittichai
                      60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012