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Foodie quality, but fun, trendy atmosphere for Febraury visit

Hi, we are traveling to NY for a weekend of fun - eating and drinking...we are all between the ages of 27-31 and enjoy quality food, but also do not want a stuff environment. Here are some places I have received from friend suggestions, please comment on them or if you have other suggestions. Trying to stay away from multi-course meals. For bars we are thinking one night in the LES/Soho area barhoping, then one night Meatpacking (they want a trendy club?)

Lunch/Brunch:
Locande Verde
Rosemarys

Dinner:
Aria
Joseph Leonard
Red Farm
Bond St
Beatu & Essex
Milk & Honey
Blue Ribbon Sushi

Bars:
PDT
Death & Co
Dream

I appreciate your help!

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  1. How soon is your trip?

    How big is your group?

    I assume you're OK waiting a while for a table, as you listed some very popular places that don't take reservations: Rosemary's, Joseph Leonard, Red Farm, Blue Ribbon Sushi (the Soho one).

    > Trying to stay away from multi-course meals.

    As in appetizers, mains, dessert? You only want to order an entree, no apps or desserts? What about shared appetizers and desserts? Or small plates? Did you mean to write "trying to stay away from prix fixe meals and tasting menus"?

    If you mean Aria Wine Bar, their food menu only has meats, cheese, and various kinds of bruschetta. Not really a full dinner menu.

    Love Joseph Leonard and Red Farm but you'll probably be waiting a long time to sit. If Red Farm is on your list, then Mission Chinese should be. It's very, very "in" right now. Much more hipster-y than Joseph Leonard (the room is actually more cozy and homey) and Red Farm (also feels a bit homey to me).

    Bond St and Beauty & Essex are not up to the same level in terms of food, I don't think.

    Milk & Honey is a BAR not a restaurant. They just moved uptown, too, to 23rd St, and are currently in a soft opening.

    For Blue Ribbon Sushi, I currently prefer the LES one, not the Soho one. The LES one is technically Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya. It has a much larger menu.

    Out of your dinner list, I don't see a clear winner IMO. I wouldn't put any at the top of my list for an out of town visitor looking for great food in a fun, hip atmosphere. Maybe Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya if you were staying at the hotel they're in.

    Instead I'd direct you to Momofuku Ssam Bar, Empellon Cocina, Acme, Perla, Tertulia, Minetta Tavern, The Breslin....

    Or something on this list:
    http://ny.eater.com/archives/2013/01/...

    For PDT, and Death & Co if you have a big group, or arrive post-dinner, you will be waiting a long, long time to get in. Sometimes the list is so long, it's ridiculous that they are taking names still. I always recommend going Sun-Weds around 6pm, to avoid the crowds. PDT takes some reservations (day of and only via phone), Death & Co doesn't. Both are very small and do not allow standing inside.

    For "Dream," I think you mean Dram in Williamsburg. It's got a much more relaxed policy and allows standing. I like it but I wouldn't consider it trendy.

    1. Trendy Ed's Chowder House for seafood and celeb watching with an active bar scene.
      Crispo's for great Italian without the price tag. Expect noisy, upbeat atmosphere with a fun bar.

      1. Thanks Kathryn! We are coming Feb 8th weekend. Im sad to hear Beauty & essex isnt that great because everyone raves about it?? So, would you recomment Blue Ribbon Izakaya, other than not staying in the hotel, or its just ok too? Also saw good reviews about Lure for sushi with a good atmposphere? I would like to stay away from prixe fixed sorry that is what I meant. I am a huge brunch person and loved Locande Verde's last time so I want to revisit. Do you have another good one that does take reservations? Ive heard about Cafe mogadar is fun and also good food? What others would you suggest? I had Minetta Tavern last time which was good, but I was not in love. I had the Nomad for dinner last time so I would like something other than that as well. My group is 6 girls. Although I am a foodie, the others have just expressed fun, trendy, hip (not hipster) atmosphere, but I want to like the food :) Oh and celebrity run ins would be a huge plus!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: tampa eater

          Do you want to like the food or love the food? I'm sure you can go to Beauty & Essex and have a decent but not amazing meal, just depends how much you want to compromise for the atmosphere.

          I really like Blue Ribbon Izakaya, actually, and go there a lot. Actually if you want that hip and fun environment, Morimoto might be better for your group.

          Lure's decor is that of a cruise ship and it always strikes me as more middle-aged due to the port holes and what not.

          Cafe Mogador doesn't take reservations. The EV brunch crowd is more hipster than probably what you want.

          The hip brunch places usually don't take reservations. Be prepared to wait w/ a party of 6.

          I would also get on any reservations you want ASAP, since you're coming in 3 weeks.

        2. Also, what about Bobo for brunch since they reservations? Or is Rosemary's or PUBLIC better?

          2 Replies
            1. re: tampa eater

              Public has a great brunch but they don't take brunch reservations.

            2. More to add to the list I have reserached? What are your thoughts on these for what I am looking for? Sen, Willow Road, Chez Sardine, Public Library?

              3 Replies
              1. re: tampa eater

                In addition to the list I replied with, and based on your " happening" Asian place request. I agree with Kathryn on
                Morimoto. I love Blue Ribbon Izakaya both for sushi and cooked food.
                --Bond St. is a cool place.
                ---Sushi Samba on 7th ave south probably fits the bill
                ---- Buddakan i mentioned and i'm sticking to it
                ----- Kittichai in SoHo is great atmosphere and food and the bar in the hotel is excellent
                ----En Brasserie is Japanese and a beautiful place
                ---Megu looks nice and is a " hip "kind of place but maybe too expensive
                -----Tribeca Canvas is Morimoto's new place and definitely has a buzz
                ----- Nobu in Tribeca still packs them in and has the best jalapeño yellowtail.
                ------Macao could be fun
                ------Pig and Khao is small but has Asian food and loud music and a young crowd.
                -------Chez Sardine doesn't compare to any of the places above, it's tiny, limited selection of food. But it does have some sushi rolls.
                ----Lure is not really a good sushi option, its better for cooked food
                ------Kuma Inn is an interesting spot on LES for Filipino, Thai and other Asian food.
                ------Maharlika is a cool Filipino spot in the East Village, Jeepney is their other location
                -------Indochine has good Vietnamese food and a trendy atmosphere
                ------Sakagura is not exactly a "hip" place but it is a cool place to go for Japanese dishes and it's a buzzing place in a cool location.
                LOL I'm exhausted.

                1. re: foodwhisperer

                  This is great, thank you so much! I will take yours and Kathryns advise (sorry Kathryn I overlooked this on your original post.) I will also look into Tribeca Canvas as well. I currently have reservations at Buddakan but I get scared its just well known because of the atmosphere, but if you all agree it still has good food that will be my last resort if I cannot ger reservations there.

                  1. re: tampa eater

                    The food is good at Buddakan. I especially like the edamame dumplings.

              2. Is there a place with an asian flare, preferably with sushi, that takes reservations, not in the LES for dinner? The atmosphere bustling, younger crowd (not college young though:)

                3 Replies
                1. re: tampa eater

                  So that's a no to Morimoto? It is very close to the Meatpacking District if you want to do something there after dinner.

                  Most of the very good sushi here tends towards the traditional and austere.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Thank you all! I was able to get a reservation at both Morimoto and the new Tribeca Canvas mentioned by another reader. Any opinions on which have the better upbeat atmposphere/food?

                    1. re: tampa eater

                      Morimoto in the meat market is a bigger venue. And a more happening downstairs bar. Tribeca Canvas is newer and is packed every night. I think the meat market one has more of a buzz.

                2. Locande Verde is good and it's lively.
                  You might want to do a dinner at Osteria Morini in SoHo
                  I prefer BLue Ribbon Izakaya on LES over BLue Ribbon Sushi in SoHo.
                  Bond St. Is a lively place
                  Stanton Social you might want to check out.
                  Red Farm is not a fun place IMO
                  Balthazar and Pastis are good places to grab a bite.
                  ( across the street from there you have the rooftop at the Gaansvorrt for drinks, or The Standard upstairs bar.
                  Buddakan has a good bar, and is a nice place to eat "fancy Chinese food" but it's not real expensive, in Meat packing.
                  Frankies on Hudson Street is lively italian place.
                  The MeatBall shop might be a good lunch spot. or of course Katz's deli.
                  I'll leave the hot bar picks to other CH'ers, as I'm not real familiar with the new places. Although my son likes going to Mermaid for oysters and drinks.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                    I was just at the Library at the Public Theater and it is very cozy the cocktails are great, the food was pretty impressive & the room is beautiful. However, having to walk through the *very* brightly lit Public Theater to enter/exit and use the restroom (which is a hike) really kills the vibe of the place. I had heard this before I went but dismissed it - and it really does dampen the experience.

                    I've heard that Mission Chinese started taking reservations, so that would be a good choice or you can easily get in for lunch. If you want to do Red Farm, get there when they open so you don't have to wait. Both great choices. I love Blue Ribbon Izakaya and Blue Ribbon Sushi as well but Izakaya would be better for a group. I've heard Bond Street is outrageously expensive and not worth it. NoMad is one of my favorites right now and does an amazing brunch as well. If you've never been to ABC Kitchen it is worth a try and it's gorgeous - would be great for a girls night.

                    Oh, and if you like Mexican, you cannot go wrong at El Toro Blanco - trendy & seriously delicious food!!