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May 14, 2012 07:10 AM

Have $50-$75 to spend on dinner for one. Want something fun/interesting, possibly a tasting menu.

Hello all,

I've been searching the board for the "coming to NYC/check my itinerary" posts. While they are very informative, I find the recommendations skewed towards the lower-price range (shake shack, X'Ian, etc) and the upper end (per se, wd-50, emp).

I usually go to Ippudo if it's just for one night. But apparently, we have a few good ramen places opening up in Toronto this year (plus it's getting warmer, so I'm not craving ramen as much).

Places I've considered are:
Sakagura (but izakaya alone seems weird)
Spotted pig (not really able/willing to invest time into a lineup)
Torrisi Italian specialties
Ssam bar (been there for the duck lunch, was good)
and a few others...

So, I've got $50-$75 to spend. Might only have 2 beers (have a 7:30 meeting the next day). Is there a really good tasting menu in that price range that could work?

Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

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  1. If your $50 to $75 budget excludes drinks, tax, and tip, then:you might try Lincoln, which has a 4 course menu for $75. Colicchio & Sons and Telepan offer 4 course menus for $69. Also look into the tasting menus at Babbo.

    If not, Torrisi would be a great choice. Tori Shin has a multicourse omakase for $55. You could also do the 3 course pre-theater menu for $55 at Boulud Sud and supplement it with small plates.

    Other ideas: Casa Mono, Boqueria, Txikito.

    If you're dining on Sunday, Maialino is now offering a 5 course pasta tasting menu for $55.

    1. Thanks...I should have been more specific. $75 at the upper end is all-in (tax, tip, drinks).

      Also important, considering it's two days away, I need a place that will actually take my reservation.

      Another few popped up...Lupa and The Dutch.

      I like the yakitori omakase suggestion (although sushi omakase not ideal, since I'm having sushi for lunch the next day).

      2 Replies
      1. re: grandgourmand

        I was thinking of recommending the Dutch, but you said you wanted a tasting menu...

        $50 to $60 there is doable depending on how much alcohol you order.

        Also keep in mind that if you're dining solo, a lot of places will let you order from the dinner menu at the bar -- that gets you around needing a reservation or waiting for a table at non-reservation places.

        1. re: grandgourmand

          I would forgo the tasting menu and try doing a la carte.

          It's going to be difficult to do a tasting menu + 2 beers + tax + tip and stay under $75.

          Especially if you define tasting menu as 4+ courses.

          Some suggestions that are roughly $50 for just food.
          Ssam Bar - dinner is a totally different menu, and you can check out Booker & Dax afterwards
          Prune - it's kind of Spotted Pig/Breslin esque but they have a small bar you can dine at
          L'artusi - you can dine at one of two walk-in counters, and I find the quality high for the value
          Txikito - you can dine at the bar, might go a little over budget if you get wine, though
          WD-50 - at the bar, it's 2 dishes for $25, each additional is $15
          Fatty Cue - you can dine at the bar
          Takashi - there might be a bit of a wait, though, as they would have to put you at a 2-top, but I've seen very happy solo diners there before
          Minetta Tavern - if you get the burger and another item, you can probably stay within your budget, and you can dine at the bar, there will probably be a wait
          Recette - you can dine at the bar, get 2-3 items, but will need to be careful to not go over budget

        2. $75 before tax/tip = about $58.
          Beers - depends what you're drinking. But let's assume around $8 each.

          So... $50 menu price with one beer, $42 with two beers.

          In that range... you're not really going to find a tasting menu. The only one I can think of that's decent and in that range is Public's "Sunday Supper" (five course for $50) is great - but if it's not Sunday... no luck. For a normal dinner, though, Public could be a good option - you could do a standard three courses (or skip dessert and double up on apps, if you don't have a sweet tooth) for your range - skipping outliers like the foie gras app and whatnot. The food is fun and creative, and not quite as pricey as some of their contemporaries.

          If you'd be willing to do late lunch rather and just do something cheap for dinner later, you could do Del Posto's lunch - $39 for three courses, or $49 for four courses. The wine there is fairly pricey, though. Not sure what kind of a beer list they have.

          For something less fancy, more striaght-forward, Lupa as suggested above is always a good option. Would it be on my "I only have one meal in NYC" list? No, but you sure wouldn't have a bad meal there.

          A few other thoughts, looking over open tables for Wednesday night on Opentable -

          JoeDoe - always solid "Aggressive American" food, unprenetious neighborhoody vibe, good beer list and beer cocktails.

          Empellon Taqueria - the Cocina might break your budget, but a meal of fancified tacos at the Taqueria wouldn't be bad

          Colicchio & Sons Tap Room - cheaper than the main dining room, seats at the bar for solo diners. Solid New American.

          ...and, with the new menu format, you actually COULD do WD-50 if you're cool with bar seating. Regular diners have to choose between one of two tasting menus, but at the bar you can do any two courses for $25, + $15 per extra course - you could do four courses and stay within your budget. Just ask which the four biggest ones are, so you don't wind up with four amuse-bouche sized ones.

          1 Reply
          1. I like Lupa a lot but its hard to get a reservation at a decent hour. Try Lavagna for quality and a sweet casual place. No tasting menu but the food is predictably excellent.

            1. Thanks all...just to clarify, my tasting menu comment was more wishful thinking. I know there are a lot of good lunch deals around, and wishfully thought there could be similar dinner deals.

              A la carte is perfectly. fine.

              wd-50 is intriguing. with the new menu (and decor?) will it be tough to get a reso this late? also, if I do three, maybe four, dishes, will I be full? seems very interesting.

              oh, and this is for Wednesday night. upcoming.

              1 Reply
              1. re: grandgourmand

                They don't take rezzies at the bar at WD-50, only walk-ins. That said, there probably won't be a wait for a walk-in on a Wednesday night. I live right around the corner - I can say from much experience, weeknights are fairly slow there.