Restaurant for dinner near the Village Vanguard
I will be in NYC in August, and will be looking for a good place for dinner before a show at the Village Vanguard. Looking for reasonable price ($35-$45 per person including drinks) with reliably good food and service - ecclectic american/continental, italian, chinese or seafood. Any suggestions?
If drinks can be something casual like beer as opposed to a composed cocktail, consider Kin Shop. Modern Thai, shouldn't have a problem getting a reservation for August, and wouldn't take too long prior to the show. It's only a few blocks away. BLT Burger is also an option in that area.
Dining before the Village Vanguard is tricky -- while the early set starts at 9pm, and the doors open at 8pm, and i highly highly (highly!) recommend getting there around 7:50 or so...why?...because it's a sublime experience to snag seats withing 2 metres of the stage and appreciate the performance up close...(and you can drink and soak up the atmosphere between 8 and 9)...
So if you're planning on a full meal before, you'd really want to dine at 6pm and even then you'll be rushed...my suggestion is to get a light snack somewhere before: Morandi (Italian trattoria a couple blocks south)...or there is a French wine bar and charcuterie-type place just north and to the left of the Vanguard...or get a slice of Two Boots pizza...
Then go out for a late meal when the set ends at 10:15pm and have a lot of choices, w/ no time or location stress...
(As you can guess, i am a Vanguard regular and ponder this issue regularly :)
You can easily spend $45 on three cocktails in the village.
What's your budget per person before tax, tip, and drinks? It's hard to give recs including drinking since drinking habits vary so widely.
When is your show? What time do you need to be there?
How many people in your party? How far in advance are you planning? A lot of places nearby that are popular on CH don't take reservations unless for big groups.
We are not huge drinkers - maybe one with dinner - especially wtih the drink minimum at the Vanguard. We were going to shoot for the 9pm show, so we would eat early. Last time I was there I did exactly what Simon suggested below - got there before the doors opened and was second table from the stage - very cool! There will be three of us, so a reservation may be hard, but since we are eating on the early side, I was hoping that wouldn't be a big deal. Budget is flexible, especially if there is a very worthy place nearby....