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Great ambience and a variety of food?

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Hi everyone -

I'm a Boston hound who's done quite a bit of research on options in NYC. My DH and I will be in NYC the night after Thanksgiving for just the night, and we're looking for a place to eat. We're staying on the UWS, but flexible in terms of location.

Priorities -
- I'm a foodie and he is not... so there should be at least one thing on the menu (steak? chicken?) that isn't too out there but I'm not looking to go to red sauce Italian or a French place just for him (unless it's destination worthy on its own!)
- Would like to spend under $150ish for food for both of us
- Something not too loud where we can hear each other and aren't on top of other diners
- Fun/unique ambiance - since DH doesn't like food, he's more excited about the environment
- Would be great to take reservations, but not necessary

I know it's a laundry list - do I have any chance at finding a place that satisfies? We'll go anywhere in Manhattan to find it. Thank you all!!

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  1. Highly recommend Ma Peche for their fried chicken dinner; nice spice. Also they have steak, duck, veal, fish entrees. Wonderful pork buns. Fabulous fried Brussels sprouts with cherries, ginger and chilies. Wonderful desserts (especially the peanut butter with apple, and the coffee chocolate Thai basil).

    1 Reply
    1. re: ellenost

      While I love Ma Peche, the windowless basement room doesn't say "fun/unique ambiance" to me.

      1. A lot of the places that have trendy, big box decor aren't known for GOOD food, let alone simple, good food (roast chicken, steak, etc). And a fair number of them are Asian restaurants.

        Also a cool and fun atmosphere often goes hand in hand with a crowd & cramped tables.

        Places that tend to be accessible to picky eaters and foodies alike tend to be spots like Colicchio & Sons, Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe, The Dutch, etc. but I don't know if that necessarily counts as "fun/unique ambiance."

        You could do a walk on the High Line and then early dinner at Colicchio & Sons Tap Room. You should still be able to get a decent reservation time at C&S' Tap Room even though it's only a few weeks in advance.

        Does one of the ABC restaurants (ABC Kitchen or ABC Cocina) fit? Have DH check out the menu... Might be a little bit too loud for you, though, and tough to get a reservation by now.

        If you like "secret" restaurants, contact Bohemian and see if you can get the "secret" phone number. They serve delicious but pricey food (including steaks, fondue, roasted fish) in what basically looks like someone's living room. You sit on coffee table/lounge style furniture.

        Outside your price range, but Minetta Tavern (great atmosphere, great steaks, but a bit cramped and loud, not always the easiest to reserve at, and you'd go over your budget if you got their priciest steak).

        1. You might want to consider Buddakan, it has the fun, exciting environment and good food with accessible options.

          1. Thanks everyone!! I'll share some menus with DH and let you know where we end up.