Wedding Gift for Friends in the LES
I am going to a friend's wedding this spring in New York. They live in the LES/Alphabet City, and don't have a lot of money. The bride told me that they didn't want any gifts, but I still want to get them something, so was considering a gift certificate to a restaurant in the area that they wouldn't necessarily be able to afford themselves. Probably something mid-range for NYC! I am gathering hints from their family, but thought that Chowhounders would also be a great source of information?
I'm not thinking of any place where they would have to wait months to get a 9 PM reservation, but someplace with good food and good service.. a bistro or Italian/French restaurant?
Any ideas? For anyone that knows Toronto, if they still lived here I would probably get them an Oliver and Bonacini gift certificate..
A gift certificate for Eataly might work. They could choose to use it for splurge ingredients, to dine-in or take-out, or on kitchen supplies. http://www.eataly.com/
I loved my recent meal at Louro (a menu with Portuguese, Spanish and Italian influences), and found the prices similar to what we pay for moderate Italian (similar Enoteca Sociale/Campagnolo prices) in TO. I'd recommend considering a gift certificate for Louro. While it is popular, it's low key, the food is great, and the service was very good. I was able to get a 7 pm reservation through Opentable with two weeks' notice. $150- $200 would cover dinner for 2, including some wine. Our dinner for 3, including a couple cocktails, a few glasses of wine, several small plates, several larger plates and 2 desserts came to just over $210, before tip.
A gift certificate for Hearth http://restauranthearth.com/ and/or its wine bar Terroir (sort of contemporary American with Italian influence) or Boqueria http://www.boquerianyc.com/ (tapas) also might be a nice wedding gift.
I "bought" friends a gift certificate to Dave Santos' Um Segredo dinners (really an informal arrangement that I would pay for a dinner for them at one of the dinners that I dressed up myself) at his home in Roosevelt Island thinking it would be fun to be part of a chef's semi-private dinner at his home. They didn't use it in time and he's now opened Louro and is no longer doing the Roosevelt Island dinners but they ended up using it at his nossa mesa dinners on Monday nights and it went really well. They were still able to choose based on the published menus and I was able to call and just put down my credit card.
The Eataly suggestion is great.
You might also consider:
All close to home for them, all fabulous and not hard to get a res if needed at all.
I think an Eataly gift certificate is a great idea, since they'd be able use it on kitchenware as well.
If you didn't go the restaurant/Eataly route, FreshDirect (grocery delivery) does gift certificates too.