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May 5, 2013 10:52 AM

One night in Manhattan, first timer....

So, I am coming up to NY for mothers day/my 40th birthday. We don't have too much time so we are looking for the best authentic pizza for lunch (we are staying in Times Square, but will travel) We are clueless about dinner. We probably don't want to spend more than $100 for the two of us. We don't drink so that should help with cost. I am debating on going to China Town or not. Any place in China Town that is the best? I am leaning more towards finding some restaurant off the beaten pat. A place that has great food and great ambiance? A place where we can hear each other speak and not being sitting on top of someone else. We aren't too adventurous with food, so leaning more american type cuisine. Thanks so much!!

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  1. Best pizza:

    $50pp minus tax and tip is about $39 each. Is that about what you want to spend?

    Is this for Saturday the 11th? Or on actual Mother's Day, the 12th? Sounds like you're planning a bit last minute for a holiday... Places in NYC book up 3-4 weeks ahead. And that's for non-holiday weekends. Are you willing to eat early or late?

    You can definitely go off the beaten path in Chinatown, but I am not sure it makes sense in your case if you are not too adventurous. It also seems like you want safer, accessible food, somewhere on the quieter side, and also "great ambiance," which doesn't correlate with Chinatown.

    1. You want to go to Chinatown to eat good American food with great ambiance? I am confused.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Monica

        I don't think that I explained properly. I am think either china town or a cool place that serves american type food with good ambiance. I'm not looking for a restaurant with a 3-4 week wait list. More like a local gem off the beaten path. $100-$125 total, but we can go higher. Thanks!!

        1. re: lbjupiter

          If you are willing to do a nicer Chinese restaurant outside of Chinatown, look into Lotus Blue and Hakkasan.

          For American cuisines within your budget that still have availability this coming weekend, the choices are more limited if you require a reservation.

          Looking for Saturday May 11th at 7pm for 2 people on OpenTable, I see openings at Blue Ribbon Bakery, Blue Smoke, The Brindle Room, Colicchio & Sons Tap Room, Craftbar, Grey Lady, Hearth, Hundred Acres, Louro, Recette.

          Off the beaten path or not, the main driving factor is going to be availability at this point. It is precisely those cool places with good ambiance that tend to book a few weeks ahead...

          1. re: kathryn

            From Kathryns list I recommend Hearth. Ask to sit in the back room, to the left of the open kitchen if you want quiet. I am pretty sure Recette will run you more than $100, you'll definitely be sitting on top of other diners, and the portions are miniscule. Louro is very popular with chowhounders, but I haven't been there.

            1. re: kathryn

              Interesting to see you mention Grey Lady. I was intrigued by the place, and when I was hanging out with a friend, I went in and asked them what bourbons they had. They wanted to sell me a shot of Woodford Reseve for $13, so we walked out. I get that for $7.50 at the bar at the end of my block, and I can buy an entire bottle of it for $40 at St. Mark's Wine and Liquor. So having established that their drinks are overpriced (though such extreme markups are unfortunately increasingly gaining ground around here), how's their food?

        2. Since you're willing to travel downtown to Chinatown, you might want to try Kuma Inn on Ludlow Street instead ( It was one of the very early Lower East Side popular restaurants. It's "Asian Fusion" small plates and reasonably priced. Definitely off the beaten path. You can have a conversation, but it's a tiny space. You have to climb a flight of stairs so if your mom isn't mobile I would pass. One Caveat: I haven't been in a few years. It used to be very difficult to get a table, but you can give it a try. As Kathryn mentioned - most places will most likely be booked.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nycfoodie51

            If you go to Kuma Inn be sure to get the sausage!