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Please help with input for just the right place

p
plafield Mar 26, 2013 01:19 PM

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!

  1. p
    plafield Mar 26, 2013 05:48 PM

    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?

    1. p
      plafield Mar 26, 2013 05:22 PM

      Is Schillers reasonable in terms of the noise/crowded tables thing?

      1. sgordon Mar 26, 2013 02:23 PM

        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
        Freeman's
        Kin Shop
        Aamanns
        Blue Smoke
        Empellon Cocina (8:30)
        Ngam
        Mehtaphor
        The Smile
        Sorella

        3 Replies
        1. re: sgordon
          k
          kathryn Mar 26, 2013 03:20 PM

          Last time I was at Empellon Cocina, it was pretty loud. There was a good amount of space between tables, but the place was full and you did have to raise your voice a little to be heard.

          1. re: kathryn
            sgordon Mar 26, 2013 10:12 PM

            On the weekends, for sure it can get noisy (but what place in the East Village doesn't?) - I've found on weeknights that, while not exactly sedate, they have a pretty reasonable noise level.

            1. re: sgordon
              k
              kathryn Mar 27, 2013 05:17 AM

              Was last there on a Thursday, group of three, sat in the back. Maybe it is better with only two or on the banquette. Still had to repeat yourself occasionally to be heard.

        2. r
          rrems Mar 26, 2013 02:15 PM

          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.

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