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Feb 21, 2012 11:23 AM

Girls night help

Hello Chowhounders,
Everytime I come to new York, I rely on CHers to help me choose the perfect spot! Hope you will be willing to help me again!
My best friend and I will be in NYC for one Thursday night (march 15). I have been to NYC a lot...lived there for a summer and come back annually with my husband. My friend has only been one time (in the 90s). We are in our mid 30s, both have kids etc and this is our one night out!!! I want to take her somewhere fun with good food and a real NYC experience. We obviously do not want quiet/romantic, but as we are in our 30s, we want to make sure we end up somewhere fun, but appropriate for our age group (I looked at Stanton social but read somewhere that the crowd is significantly younger).

We are not extremely adventurous eaters, probably prefer French, Italian, seafood, American, etc. and like to keep the price in the mid range (let's say $3-400 for both of us including tax, tips, alcohol). I really prefer a cool neighborhood, like LES, east village, meat packing district, where we could find a cool (again, age appropriate!) bar to have a glass (or two!) of wine before or after dinner. I have been to several of the big restaurants (jean George, Daniel, le cirque etc) and want good food but don't want to spend that kind of money and want the right atmosphere as much or more than fabulous food.

Places I've considered include: Stanton social, locanda verde (sounds good but can't get a good reservation), standard grill, inoteca, wd 50, scarpetta, Spotted pig, spice market, lupa. Also interested in hearing thoughts on death & co, and beauty and Essex.

I hope I've covered everything! Thanking you in advance!

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  1. $3-400 is a heckuva budget for two people, even including tax/tip/drinks.

    $400 before tax/tip = about $310, which means even if you ate at, say, WD-50, even if you ordered the most expensive item for each course, you'd have $160 or so left over for alcohol. More than enough for a couple glasses of wine. And a couple of their amazing cocktails. Or do an "extended" menu - two apps + entree + dessert (portions are such that you could easily do it, to try more) - and stay within budget pretty easily.

    Beauty & Essex is a little more "sceney" a la Stanton Social, their sister restaurant - moreso, really, since B&E is the newer of the two. That said, I think the crowd skews a little older than what you've heard - they're both a mix, from mid-twenties to late-thirties. They've definitely got clubby vibes, though, and it sounds like you might want something more straight-up restauranty.

    Spotted Pig is no-rez, so you might want to cross that one off the list. Sounds like you'd prefer a place where you're sure to have a seat without waiting two hours.

    Lupa is great, the food is very straightforward but delicious, great wine list. WD is certainly the most playful of the bunch you mentioned - it's adventurous, but in an accessible, fun way. As I said above, great cocktails if you're fans of such. Scarpetta is also good, and while not exactly "white tablecloth" not really a boisterous neighborhoody vibe either. Spice Market is okay, but I wouldn't make a special night of it. I find manyfo the curries taste identical - more interesting but in the same vein is Kin Shop. though KS is definitely more adventurous. Not the place to go if you don't like it spicy.

    Death & Co. is awesome, but there can be a good wait to get in. A Thursday shouldn't be too bad, though. They're in easy walking distance of WD, SS, B&E, and Lupa as well.

    50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

    170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

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

    Stanton Social
    99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

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

    Death & Co.
    433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

    355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

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

    1. I am a big fan of Alta for girls night - great, buzzing crowd of all ages, fantastic tapas(the lamb meatballs are especially outstanding), and a really great wine list.

      64 W 10th St, New York, NY 10011