dinner to convince a friend to love new york?
(cross-posted from the Manhattan board - would consider most of Brooklyn, too).
A friend of mine was recently transferred by her employer to Manhattan and she (sacrilege, I know) so far hates it. The reasons are far-ranging, but I think one of the problems is that she works very long hours and hasn't really had a chance to explore. I'll be heading down to New York in a few weeks, and I want to take her for a meal or experience to convince her to like her new city.
I'm open to neighborhoods / boroughs, and this can be for any meal or even a non-meal experience. I'd like to spend no more than $150. She does not really drink, so bars or anything drinking-centric won't work. She appreciates good food but is not really adventurous -- I'd prefer Italian, Mexican, or American food.
Any ideas for experiences that will 'wow' her?
I really love Balthazar, the food and the atmosphere. I can't imagine how awful it must be to live in NYC and hate it. I was born here and love it but there are times when I question my sanity about living here. Good luck to her.
I think its hilarious that 2 out of the 3 replies to your Outer Boroughs post are for manhattan recommendations.
As i said over in that thread, other than being a bit out of the way (you could pretty easily take the 6 to the F from the east 30s though) Prime meats might be what you want. Good food, even for non-adventurous types, and as someone who generally avoids grains i was really impressed by the apps/mains without grain. the neighborhood is very pretty to walk through before/after, and you could maybe stroll up towards the Bergen F stop and grab ice cream or something (both blue marble on court, or, preferably imo van leeuwan off smith, would be good options).
For something unique and special that is both Brooklyn and unBrooklyn, I often take people to Locanda Vini i Olii in Clinton Hill. It's an Italian (Tuscan) restaurant in a converted old fashioned apothecary shop. The food is great, the decor is pretty special. It should wow her–and maybe you too. Best if your driving but it is also only 4 blocks from the C Train (Clinton Washington).
BTW, Luger is a bit out of your price range.
Works long hours, doesn't really drink, isn't adventurous with food...and isn't digging NYC?
(having also read the thread on the Manhattan Board)...
Take her on the Staten Island Ferry, then walk to Enoteca Maria. Smart to get a reservation. The ferry trip is pretty, great view of the harbor, and you can even grab a beer on the ride. Oh, and the ferry ride is free!
Enoteca Maria is a small wine bar with fantastic authentic Italian food. Lots of small plates, a few pasta dishes, and several main dishes, many different each day. The "twist" is that there is a rotating crew of Italian grandmothers who do the cooking, each from a different region with different specialties. The daily menus are on the web in the early afternoon, but I can assure you that you will have plenty of food that will appeal to you regardless of who is cooking that day.
We went tonight with four people and had about 50% more food than we should have, since it was a special occasion and also we wanted to try lots of different things. One bottle of wine and an additional glass. We had about 7 small plates and two entrees, plus two desserts and a cappuccino. Bill before tip was $190.
Cash only, but there is a nearby ATM if that's an issue.
I've also heard good things about Beso in that same area, but I can't give a personal report.
My suggestion, based on my own dinner last night:
Go to La Vara on Clinton St. in Cobble Hill. If it's a nice night, sit in their back garden. I know you said she doesn't really drink, but perhaps she'd still like to try their Cinchona (gin with housemade quinine syrup and lemon garnished with what appears to be the spiraled peel of an entire lemon - not strong at all, and super-refreshing); order some fried chickpeas right away to snack on while you peruse the menu. It's all tapas-style small plates for sharing. Some of the dishes may veer into "adventurous" territory, but there are so many, you'll surely find something. (Highly recommend the lamb breast - it was the far and away favorite at our table. Don't knock the preserved-lemon-and-date condiment until you've tried it.)
After dinner, walk the few lovely residential blocks to Atlantic Avenue, then window-shop as you head down Atlantic to Brooklyn Bridge Park to take in the view of the Manhattan skyline. If you passed on dessert at La Vara, stop and get ice cream from the Ample Hills stand there.
If she still hates New York after all this, there truly is no hope.
How about trattoria l'incontro in Astoria at the end of the N train? Amazing menu (how the waitstaff memorizes it is beyond me).
I noticed that someone suggested Vinegar Hill House on the Manhattan board and I think that is a great choice.
How about Tortilleria Nixtamal in Corona and a visit to the Panorama of New York - that thing is so impressive! And the food is so tasty at Nixtamal. Plus you get to see the Unisphere and a look at the "flying saucers."