Only in New York
My boyfriend and I are coming to NYC Memorial Day weekend, and excited to eat our way through. I'm quite adventurous but he's a picky eater, so looking for places that are exciting and have a fun atmosphere but also have a steak or chicken on the menu. We're also looking for places that are especially unique.
I'm specifically looking for one weekend (Saturday or Sunday of the long weekend) dinner idea in Manhattan. I'm leaning Lower East Side/villages/SoHo due to the vibe of the area. We're thinking of doing Park Avenue Spring on one day, and I'm in charge of the other. Would love to do something trendy/hip and not too expensive (entrees under $35) if possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
As usual, Kathryn gave you some good thoughts.
But on "especially unique": You're talking about a place like Momofuku Ssam Bar or one of the other Momofuku establishments, I think. Check their online menus. Here's Ssam Bar's site: http://momofuku.com/new-york/ssam-bar/
Actually, your price range encompasses most restaurants in New York. Scarpetta, for example, has only two dishes above your entree limit (though one is dry-aged sirloin), and it's a very good restaurant. Whether you'd find it trendy, I don't know. The trendiest places are rarely the most delicious. http://www.scottconant.com/restaurants/scarpetta/new-york/menu You might find Crispo across the street and a block east more trendy/hip, but though I eat much more often at Crispo (it's cheaper!), Scarpetta is definitely a couple of levels above Crispo in deliciousness, and they took their decor seriously.
You might prefer to go to a good restaurant in the East Village like Lavagna: http://lavagnanyc.com/menu/dinner/ or Apiary: http://apiarynyc.com/pdf/apiary_menu.pdf (Caveat: I have not been to Apiary for a few years, so please check with others who've been there more recently, or at least check some Yelp reviews that seem credible).
I'd like to encourage you to consider going to lunch at Tocqueville, a really charming, delicious, and thoroughly civilized restaurant. It's the antithesis of trendy/hip, but its lunch prix fixe is probably one of the best values in New York. http://tocquevillerestaurant.com/home/
It's open 24h, changed chefs a couple months ago and so the menu's changed around a bit. It's not a destination place, but a good compromise.
Malatesta was mentioned below and that's one of my faves for atmosphere. The menu is limited, but the food is solid. Make reservations or get there early.
Where are you from?
I usually recommend burgers, Southern, BBQ, pizza to those traveling with picky eaters. Possibly casual French as they will usually steak frites and a roast chicken on the menu. Would he be into any of the following?
- Shake Shack [burgers]
- The Redhead [or the Dutch for lunch for their fried chicken]
- Mighty Quinn's [BBQ]
- Motorino [pizza] - they have a great prix fixe lunch as well
- Katz's Deli - for pastrami sandwiches
- Balthazar - you can have oysters, escargot, sardines, he can have chicken, steak, or a burger
I'd also recommend Russ & Daughters if he is ok with smoked salmon and bagels. This would be for breakfast/brunch/lunch. Check hours before you go, they'll probably be open but it never hurts to check.
Unfortunately an old school atmosphere steak house (Keens, Luger's, Wolfgang's) is probably out of your budget. For example, the Porterhouse for two at Keens is $96.50.