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Interesting but not challenging restaurant for lunch, $36.50 app (maybe) and main

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Situation: The rep of a charity to which I've made a big donation is taking me to lunch as thanks. I'd like to go some place interesting. But - I know from a previous meal with him that he's a pretty conservative eater, which wasn't 100% enjoyable for me. (I picked a place in Chinatown CH raved about and I'd never been to, I loved, but clearly it was totally strange to him, not in a good way, that dishes didn't have vegetables mixed in.)

I only feel right that the meal total $40/pp. I figure $40-3.50 tax= $36.50; I'm sure no alcohol and probably no dessert,.

Ideas?

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  1. I assume this is for a weekday lunch? What about the Tavern Room at Gramercy Tavern?

    Or Tocqueville's prix fixe ($24.07) or a la carte options?

    ABC Kitchen also has a $28 prix fixe lunch.

    Ciano's is $20.12.

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    Gramercy Tavern
    42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

    Tocqueville
    1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

    Ciano
    45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

    ABC Kitchen
    35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

    1. How about The Standard, which has good food of the "normal kind" in the Meat Market area, or a safe bet is Balthazar or Pastis. For seafood, Aqua Grill, fits the budget and has excellent fish and sandwiches for lunch

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      Pastis
      9 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

      Balthazar
      80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

      Aquagrill
      210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

      Standard Grill
      848 Washington Street, New York, NY 10014

      1. $40 before tax is around $36.50 yes. But I'm assuming you plan on tipping as well, which would bring down the menu price to $31 and change.

        All the above suggestions still work. I'll add Del Posto to the mix as well - their $29 lunch deal is a steal, for three courses (plus amuses, etc) - it'll make your dining companion feel like they're getting you something special and fancy, but for a not-fancy price. And if they're willing to splurge an extra $10/pp, you can make it a "full Italian" four-course meal.

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        Del Posto
        85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

        2 Replies
        1. re: sgordon

          Thank you for the suggestions -- and sgordon for the tipping correction; I think the person taking me out is a 15% tipper.d

          1. re: yebo

            If they're a 15%-er, you should drop a few bucks extra down when they're not looking...