Please help with input for just the right place
I'm coming in to NYC for 4 days to celebrate my birthday in April. I have reservations for Scarpetta on Friday night and Louro on Saturday night. I plan to breakfast at the Breslin Saturday morning and do a bit of a bakery crawl on Friday morning. But I need help with Thursday night.
There will be 5 or 6 of us and I'm looking for delicious food in the $20-$35 pp range (not including drinks or tip) with an ambiance that's comfortable and allows for conversation. In other words, not a shoulder to shoulder place where you can't hear yourself talk, never mind your table mates. I'm open to almost any kind of food (new American/farm to table, Indian, Thai etc) Pretty much anything other than Middle Eastern or African (although we're doing Italian on Friday so that wouldn't be my first choice though I would consider.) Downtown is better than uptown. Village East or West, SoHo, Chelsea, etc all ok.
Here's the challenge: I'd prefer something where we could get a reservation for 7:30 or 8:00 on a Thursday night only a few weeks away (April 18.) I looked at Back Forty, Northern Spy, Schillers, and Zee but none of them take reservations and I'm imagining that we'd have quite a wait at prime dinner time at any of these places. I have no familiarity and don't really know where to begin to find a Thai or Indian place that fits my criteria so please chime in with any and all suggestions. Thanks in advance!
Opentable shows Kin Shop has an opening for 6 people at 7:00. It would be a great choice for Thai food. A cheaper but excellent Thai place is Zabb Elee. They don't take reservations but I think for a larger group they might.
Schiller's absolutely takes reservations. Go on opentable.com - I'm seeing tables for six on the 18th open every half-hour from 6:00 to 7:30. They're exactly the spot I'd recommend for that price range as well.
A few other places with openings around that time, that might fit the budget:
Beauty & Essex
Empellon Cocina (8:30)
Thanks so much for the suggestions. After looking at them all I'm between Blue Smoke and Beauty and Essex. I know the style of food is very different but which one would you say has better quality of food and what about ambiance?