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Last minute village recs?

DKG50 Sep 21, 2013 04:58 AM

After several months, my wife and I are lucky to have free babysitting and a night when neither of us are working. Any suggestions in EV, Greenwich Village, or West Village for a restaurant? We are looking for:

Any cuisine - great food
Easy to talk
Nice decor/ambiance
Up to 150/without liquor
Smaller places are better
Easy to get into without a reservation

I used to cook at Al Di La and used to follow the restaurant scene. Kids and life have gotten in the way of that in the past few years - looking to have a great meal, a great night, and a great time.

Many thanks in advance!

  1. financialdistrictresident Sep 22, 2013 07:17 AM

    Where did you end up? How was it?

    1. sgordon Sep 21, 2013 12:08 PM

      Good suggestions above, though the "without a reservation" thing could make a number of them difficult, it being a Saturday night. Momofuku Ssam will take you number and call you when your seats are ready - just grab a drink at any of the 3,000 bars in the neighborhood until it's ready. Just don't wait until, like, 9:00 to get on the list or you might wind up dining pretty late. That said, I've never had longer than maybe a thirty minute wait, even on a weekend. Two-tops can be pretty easy to seat.

      Cafe Cluny in the West Village has been much better than it used to be since Chef Philip Kirschen-Clark took over the kitchen (he used to run Vandaag when it was good, and before that worked at WD-50 if I remember right) - good little neighborhood joint, creative food without going too avant-garde. I noticed they still have a couple tables open on OT.

      Couple other places I noticed with tables open, in your price range:
      Empellon Cocina or Taqueria
      Amazingly, Babbo has a 9:30 two-top if you want to jump on it quick. Might be gone by the time you read this.
      Alder (10:30 only, though most of the seats are unreserved)
      Acme (6:45 only)

      2 Replies
      1. re: sgordon
        loratliff Sep 21, 2013 12:27 PM

        When did Cluny change chefs? I've never been impressed by the food there, but perhaps that will change.

        1. re: loratliff
          sgordon Sep 21, 2013 12:46 PM

          February: http://www.grubstreet.com/2013/02/phillip-kirschen-clark-cafe-cluny-chef-interview.html

          Also, he's a two-L Phillip - my bad.

          Sietsema did a pretty good write up of them for The VV:


      2. loratliff Sep 21, 2013 09:29 AM

        Joseph Leonard immediately comes to mind for me. There might be a wait, but the host will take your number and text you, so you can walk around the Village while you wait. Cozy, friendly, small, and great food.

        Other options:
        Miller's Near & Far (Newish, but great food and hasn't been crowded.)
        La Sirene (BYOB French in Soho)
        Saxon & Parole
        Pearl & Ash
        Louro (You could still make a later res on OpenTable, but they take walk-ins too.)
        Recette (Plenty of availability on OpenTable.)

        1. financialdistrictresident Sep 21, 2013 07:39 AM

          If you are willing to go a little past the EV to the LES (Allen btn Rivington & Stanton) . . .Rayuela:


          You can reserve online via their website (takes you to www.opentable.com) and they have availability for this evening.

          How lucky you are to have kids and a family :)

          1. Ziggy41 Sep 21, 2013 05:19 AM

            Assuming its for tonight its a little tough.
            But I see Le Philosophe shows availability for 2 so that's a nice option I suppose.
            Malai Marke comes to mind as well for a nice meal that may not require resvs. Although I would make one just in case

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