Really nice Manhattan dinner for $35-40 pp before drinks, tax, tip
I spent a week in Paris a few years ago and (at that time) I had no trouble finding delicious three course meals in high-quality neighborhood restaurants for 30-35 Euros, which of course includes tax and service. This comes out to a total bill without wine of about $50, and good wine is cheaper in Paris than here. Places that looked equivalent to storefront ethnic restaurants in NYC were substantially less pricy, though not exactly inexpensive (15-20 Euros), but I didn't try them.
Is this possible in Manhattan? Is there a nice place that doesn't feel mass-produced or rushed; really good food--not amazing but better than "pretty good"; with three courses for $35-38 or so, except maybe for the most expensive things on the menu? Or the equivalent in small plates... To make things (quite) a bit easier, I'm willing to share the appetizer and dessert, since portions here are too large anyway. But still, unless there's a prix fixe, the main courses probably need to be in the $20-$23 range, or at most $25. Can you get quality food and a decent relaxed atmosphere in that price range, a place you'd be proud to take someone out to for a pleasant 90 minutes or so? (In Paris you get the whole evening.)
Target neighborhoods: Manhattan north of Canal and south of 79th Street, not too far east on the LES. ..
The place I know that comes closest to what I want is Novita...but not everyone likes it....and it's close to the upper limit of the price range. Both the food and the pricing are fine at Le Zie--it's less elegant but charming in its own way--but unless you go early the noise is deafening....Despite these two examples, I'm not stuck on Italian....
I'm quite curious about this as well (and also curious what restaurants in Paris you visited for €30). I can't think of any 'really good' restaurants in Manhattan that meet your criteria (other than during lunch and perhaps some 'ethnic' standouts, eg Szechuan Gourmet).
Bloody hell, I remember when Bouley Bakery broke the $30-dish barrier over a decade ago, and I thought Manhattan was an investment banker's isle even then...
21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018