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Saturday night in / near the Financial District

cookie monster Sep 18, 2013 11:59 AM

I've done enough research to realize that the Financial District doesn't exactly have a lively restaurant scene, especially on the weekend. However, that is where I will be staying this coming Saturday - Thursday as I have use of a friend's fabulous apartment. I'm looking for a place to meet up with a friend following my arrival Saturday evening. It'll probably be 9 -10:00pm by the time we get wherever we're going, but I'll be on Pacific time and therefore in need of something to eat if not a full sit down dinner. So my ideal spot is some place we can walk into w/o a reservation or a long wait, and have a glass of wine or 2 and a bite or 2 at the bar. Please forgive my still somewhat hazy sense of Manhattan geography, but Tribeca seems like the closest neighborhood with any sort of restaurant scene. Would any of these places fit what I'm looking for - Marc Forgione, Locanda Verde, Terroir, The Harrison? Other ideas? Thank you.

  1. cookie monster Sep 26, 2013 09:35 AM

    OP reporting back in brief: I was running late Saturday night, and by the time I got to TriBeCa my friend had already checked out Locanda Verde and a couple other recommended spots and determined our chances of getting two seats were slim to none. So we ended up at TriBeCa Grill - not on anyone's must do list, but it was fine for our purposes. I did make it to Terroir the next night - fun, cozy place, and I enjoyed the arugula salad, veal meatballs and a couple glasses of an Italian red that I can't name because I let the bartender pick for me. Unfortunately, a work crisis then thwarted the rest of my plans for lunches and dinners around the city, as I was glued to my phone and laptop for the entirety of Los Angeles business hours. So a lot of takeout salads were consumed. I did take one afternoon break to go to Grandaisy for a slice of pizza - butternut squash and gruyere came highly recommended by the counter guy and he didn't steer me wrong. Thanks for all your advice, which I will file away for my next visit. Really wanted to try the Dead Rabbit.

    1. z
      zeeEats Sep 20, 2013 11:45 AM

      Distilled is also in Tribeca, a updated gastropub type of place by Momofuku alums. They received pretty high marks in the NYT recently, may also be worth checking out if you're looking for something more casual.

      1. sgordon Sep 20, 2013 10:36 AM

        Forgione and Locanda could - sorry, WILL - be tough without a reservation, though you never know about bar seating. Forgione gets mobbed at the bar, I know. 9:00 - 10:00 on a Saturday night is basically THE busiest time in restaurants, so places like that you might find yourself waiting an hour for seats. Terroir is also bonkers on the weekends. The Harrison is solid, nothing to write home about - more a local standby that always delivers than something you want to go out of your way for, but looking at their openings on Opentable... seems they aren't too busy Saturday night.

        For something a little more casual (but with excellent food) check out Aamanns - they used to be "all smorrebrod all day" (open face sandwiches) but recently added a really good dinner menu, more along the lines of Nordic bistro food - the quality is great, good bold flavors, and reasonably priced. Lots of fun smaller plates for snacking / sharing with a good selection of beers, cocktails, aquavit, and a small but well-curated wine selection. There's bar seating and a couple cute outdoor tables if the weather's nice.

        For something a little funky you could also check out Mehtaphor, it's creative and fun and also reasonably priced (every savory item is either $9, $12, or $17) and good.

        Both Aamanns and Mehtaphor have openings on Opentable, I noticed, so you could always make a late rez for 10:00. There were also a couple late tables (10:30+) at Khe-Yo, a new place Marc Forgione owns run by one of his top guys, doing modern Southeast Asian cuisine. Surprised, as that's a serious hot spot right now. And if you're in earlier just grab a drink somewhere until your table's ready. Most bars will be busy, of course, but there are enough bars in the area that you'll find something. The Brandy Library is a classic, if there are seats, and the two bars at Plein Sud (The Lobby Bar and Toro Lounge) are surprisingly good, given what a crappy restaurant they're attached to.

        1. ipsedixit Sep 19, 2013 08:18 PM

          I'd walk up to Jungsik

          1. Spiritchaser Sep 19, 2013 11:53 AM

            Depending upon where you are staying in the area you may want to check out North End Grill. And please find time to grab a drink (or few) at The Dead Rabbit.

            1. cookie monster Sep 19, 2013 11:08 AM

              Thanks everyone for all the suggestions so far. Definitely some places that weren't on my radar (Khe-Yo in particular sounds interesting), and that I hope to try at some point during my stay if not on Saturday.

              1. b
                bronwen Sep 19, 2013 10:14 AM

                Les Halles is not trendy but it stays open quite late and I personally like it very much.

                1. financialdistrictresident Sep 18, 2013 03:09 PM

                  As already suggested, TriBeca (lower West side of the city). Also, Lower East Side (LES). I head to LES more than TriBeca. In FiDi you might consider:

                  Acqua - casual Italian. A local favorite. Not a destination place. My SO eats at Acqua when he doesn't want to eat in Brooklyn or the EV (Lavagna, etc.).

                  http://www.acquarestaurantnyc.com/

                  MarkJoseph (steakhouse) is just around the corner from Acqua. Check their hours, not sure how late they are open on weekends. Draws more of a business crowd during the week.

                  http://markjosephsteakhouse.com/

                  Les Halles (Anthony Bourdain is long gone) - We were grateful they were open on Christmas day so we didn't have to eat Chinese food. Will probably go there this Christmas again. Not a destination place.

                  http://www.yelp.com/biz/brasserie-les-halles-new-york-2

                  There is a newer restaurant a friend just tried on one of the slips off Water Street. Over by where TKTS was before Sandy. I can't remember the name. She liked it.

                  Lower East Side's Rayuela might work for you:

                  http://www.rayuelanyc.com/

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: financialdistrictresident
                    financialdistrictresident Sep 19, 2013 08:25 AM

                    The place I couldn't remember is Trading Post.

                  2. z
                    zeeEats Sep 18, 2013 01:17 PM

                    Terroir is a good place to start your evening for a few glasses of wine and small snacks. The Terroir in TriBeCa is also pretty big, so I don't imagine you'd have any wait at all for 2 people.

                    Then walk a couple of blocks down to Khe-Yo, a new and very hot Laotian restaurant owned by Marc Forgione. They have a small bar area for dining, but you can probably even make a last minute reservation for 2 since you're looking to dine around 10pm. May I suggest the duck laap salad and crunchy coconut rice. The wine list at Khe-Yo is a bit limited, but the Asian inspired cocktails aren't bad.

                    Given the choice between The Harrison, Locanda Verde, and Forge - I'd definitely recommend Locanda Verde. It may be very bustling on a Saturday night, but again I don't imagine the wait being long at all for 2 people.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: zeeEats
                      financialdistrictresident Sep 18, 2013 03:11 PM

                      zeeEats, how is The Harrison these days? I haven't been in ages. Still darkish and clubby?

                      Can't wait to check out the Terroir in TriBeca. Been to the tiny Terrioir in the EV. I was the oldest person there :)

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident
                        z
                        zeeEats Sep 19, 2013 08:20 AM

                        The last time I went to Harrison was over a year ago, after Amanda Freitag left the kitchen. The dining room feels more updated and family-friendly now, but the food was pretty average.

                        I love the EV Terroir as well, but the Tribeca location definitely caters more to a mature crowd. The staff is just as friendly and knowledgeable though.

                        1. re: zeeEats
                          financialdistrictresident Sep 19, 2013 08:28 AM

                          Thanks, zeeEats.

                          I haven't been since Chef Freitag was there either . . .had a good New Year's Eve dinner there once. Been going there on and off since they opened.

                          I read Duane Park Cafe (New Orleans-ish) is closed. That was one of our favorite walk over to the West side dinner places. Reasonable, good food, not a scene. I found this old post:

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/488143

                          http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

                          Haven't been since they became more of a burlesque and jazz club before moving to Bowery.

                      2. re: zeeEats
                        n
                        nomadmanhattan Sep 18, 2013 03:21 PM

                        Second on Terroir.

                        One more suggestion for light eat and drinks, WeatherUp, if people watching is your thing. Beautiful lounge, nice vibe - a mix of wall street and creative types; excellent cocktails. Sat is the prime night.

                        For more laid back atmosphere, Smith and Mills is good.

                      3. c
                        ComeAwayWithMe Sep 18, 2013 12:48 PM

                        I have no personal experience but I had asked about a watering hole in FiDi lately and the Dead Rabbit in FiDi is supposed to be a good spot - huge drink menus (like a leather bound book) and great bar menu. (oysters, mussels, fish n chips, sandwiches, etc.)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ComeAwayWithMe
                          Spiritchaser Sep 19, 2013 11:51 AM

                          The Dead Rabbit is an absolutely fantastic place, their cocktail menu is incredible, the server and bartenders are wonderful. We have eaten there several times and the food is good but it's the drinks that get us to go there. And a Saturday around 9:00 it can be packed.

                          1. re: Spiritchaser
                            financialdistrictresident Sep 20, 2013 01:11 PM

                            The Dead Rabbit looks interesting:

                            http://www.deadrabbitnyc.com/

                        2. t
                          Tommy D. Sep 18, 2013 12:37 PM

                          All good choices. If any of them are too crowded try Cercle Rouge or Odeon.

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