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Feb 28, 2012 12:52 PM

Southern Belles visiting the Big Apple

We are a party of six girls (30's to 50's) who will be staying near 51st at 7th for three nights in late March and need lunch and dinner recommendations. It is my first time in New York with this group and, being the "foodie", have been asked for recommendations. We are looking for a "happening" scene (they really liked Tao last year) with good food around $100pp with maybe twice that on one night. We do not mind taking a cab or the subway. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I'd probably put Locanda Verde, The Standard, Marea, Minetta Tavern, possibly Maialino on your radar. They could all fit into your $100-200pp price range (depending on how much or little you drinki).

    Minetta Tavern
    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

    Standard Grill
    848 Washington Street, New York, NY 10014

    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    1 Reply
    1. re: edwardspk

      Good suggestions. I would add Scarpetta and Babbo to the list.

      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

    2. When is your trip? Locanda Verde, Minetta Tavern, Maialino, Babbo are all popular restaurants, and tend to book fast. Popular NYC restaurants start to fill up their reservation books shortly after they open, which can be 28, 30, or 31 days in advance.

      Babbo especially can be hard to book because they don't have many tables for 6.

      Here's another recent thread with some trendier suggestions:

      5 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Thanks for the suggestions. I will check them all out and start making reservations. I thought that a tapas place might be fun, too. And what about one of David Changs places?

        1. re: sushaskin

          You might try to browse the board a bit as many of your questions have been recently touched upon.

          Here's a current thread on tapas for example:

          But I highly suggest only going to places with reservations - 6 can be tough at some of these smaller establishments. Boqueria will work, as will Txikito.

          53 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

          240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

          1. re: sushaskin

            Which Momofuku restaurant are you thinking of?

            Momofuku Ko won't take a party of 6.

            That leaves Noodle Bar, Ssam Bar, or Ma Peche.

            The former two won't take a reservation unless you're doing a big group meal -- but they are only at off-peak times & having the large format meal means you won't be able to try a bunch of different things on the menu. A walk-in with a party of 6 people on a Friday or Saturday night might be a long wait -- maybe an hour.

            Ma Peche does take reservations (online only) but the vibe is very different from the downtown Momofuku restaurants. It is also a bit more expensive than the other two I listed (Noodle Bar & Ssam Bar).

            For more:

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

            Momofuku Noodle Bar
            171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

            1. re: kathryn

              Thanks for the reply. We will be there on a Sunday until Wednesday. I thought that Ssam Bar looked interesting. I would assume that the wait during the week might not be as bad and, as long as there is a bar, I'm sure the wait will be tolerated by the girls!

              1. re: sushaskin

                Some people absolutely will not want to wait for a table, which is why I mentioned it.

                Ssam Bar has a bar, kinda. It's next door and called Booker & Dax, but they do experimental/molecular gastronomy/avant garde style drinks. Also it is no standing allowed so if they are full, you will have to go elsewhere.

                Booker & Dax
                207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

        2. Beauty and Essex for bites and drinks. Very cool atmosphere, great music.

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: six dower

            Thanks for all of your suggestions! We are also looking for places to go dancing after dinner.

            1. re: sushaskin

              Reservations at Beauty and Essex, Buddakan and Txikito so far. Thanks again for all of your help!

          2. Back from New York where we had a great time. Wanted to give a quick report.

            Had lunch the first day at Bar Americain as it was a five minute walk from the hotel. Chef Flay was actually in the house! I had the Spicy Tuna Tartar which was a nice sized portion with just the right amount of spice. I cannot remember what everyone else had but there were no complaints.

            Dinner that night was at Beauty and Essex which was a great recommendation. The atmosphere, music and vibe were exactly what everyone was looking for. We shared several small plates between us and everything was delicious. Some standouts were the Avocado, Lemon and Espelette Toast, the Roasted Tomato Pizzetta, the Lobster Pizzetta, the Tuna Wonton Tacos, the Barbeque Ribs and the BBQ fries.

            Lunch the next day was at another of Flay's spots, Mesa Grill. I have eaten at Mesa before in both NY and Vegas. I was a little disappointed this time. I had the Smoked Lamb Cobb. The lamb was somewhat tough and the whole presentation was nothing special. One friend had the Mesa Burger which was overcooked and dry. A couple of us had the Ancho Chile-Honey Glazed Salmon which they said was very good.

            Dinner that night was at Buddakan where we were seated in the main room but not at the large table. Again the atmosphere was just what we were looking for. We had great service and again shared several plates. Standouts were the Edamame Dumplings and Tuna Tartar Spring Rolls. I do not remember being disappointed in any dish.

            Lunch the next day was at Balthazar where I had the Roasted Eggplant Sandwich with frites. Charming bistro atmosphere.

            We cancelled our dinner reserves for Txikito that night as we had eaten small plates the first two nights and wanted something different. Everyone else wanted to eat somewhere in Little Italy so we checked out some places as we walked through that afternoon and decided on Da Gennaro. The food was actually pretty good. My Bruschette and Carpaccio were very tasty. The wine flowed freely and we ended up closing the place down after a three hour meal. The service was very friendly. All in all a lovely evening. I am looking forward to a return trip so that I can try Txikito as that was one of the places that I really wanted to try.

            One friend and I had lunch the next day at Molyvos where I had dined before and it was a short stroll from the hotel. We were shopped out by then and just wanted a nice quiet lunch which Molyvos admirably provided. We shared the stuffed grape leaves and I had a soft shell crab special. Very relaxing before our trip back home.

            Thank you all again for your help and advice!

            1 Reply
            1. re: sushaskin

              Beauty and Essex is my new favorite restaurant :)