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Seeking mid-range resto rec below midtown

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Hi, I'd like to take my friend and his GF out to dinner [nominally in exchange for crash space in Williamsburg]. Are these parameters impossible or with NYC's bench depth and the knowledge on the board, miracles can happen ... ???

--place we could plausibly get into this Sat, 3/29/2014 ... with a party of 3-4 ... we are willing to wait at a place that takes walks ins

--ideally eating between say 6:30 and 9:30 ... maybe this is delusional?

--ideally between Flatiron/Nomad - Tribeca ... Brooklyn from Greenpoint to Park Slope probably ok.

--let's say up to $60-80/person with tax/tip

--European or American [not American Southern] preferred [two of them have absolutely 0 spice tolerance] ... fancy Mexican maybe. Doing Central Asian the night before, so that is also out. And not pizza, due to pizza overload.

[I'm not trying not to come off as ridiculous and picky ... I recognize some sacrifices/ may be necessary on the food quality front, and most of this is slightly flexible, e.g. Financial District spot, but not Queens. I just know in my home town board [SF], people always want people to be explicit about their parameters.]

Anyway, would welcome ideas. Thanks!

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  1. I did a quick check on OpenTable and saw that Blaue Gans has availability at 8:15. Located in TriBeCa, Blaue Gans is excellent mid-priced Austrian fare. BTW, there are many mid-priced restaurants showing availability in the area below mid-town.

    1. Go to Upstate in the East Village, if your party likes beer, wine and seafood you'll love it

      1. Actually, psb, your explicit conditions truly read as a godsend to NYC 'hounds: detailed enough to exclude the places that won't suit you, but broad enough to let the creative regulars go to town, so to speak, on your behalf.

        I don't know if you've cross-posted on the Outer Boroughs, but as far as (lower) Manhattan is concerned, there are, as ellenost says, a wealth of places to choose from. Although 'Zagats' is a bad word in these parts, you might think of doing preliminary research on that site of a neighbourhood (Lower East Side [LES], for example), cuisine, price, factored together and then returning here with queries about what the c'rowd thinks of your preliminary choices.

        1. I see some good availability still at Louro and Recette right now on OpenTable.

          1. Lavagna, in the East Village, has decent availability. I went this week for only the second time, and the first time in a bit, and really enjoyed it a lot (as I did the first time). Intimate, but not crowded. Delicious and well presented food without being at all pretentious. Very reasonably priced.

            1. Does the price include drinks? That can vary the options wildly - i.e. $80 before tax and tip = about $62 menu price. That's perfectly fine for most places for app / entree / dessert. Subtract a glass of wine and you're at $50 menu price for food. Two glasses, $38, give or take.

              That said, there are a few good options I'm seeing on opentable. My top picks, if I were going out with you this Saturday:

              Acme (Has been fantastic lately. 6:30 only, otherwise nothing available til 10:00)
              Cafe Cluny (great under the new chef for the last year or so)
              Salinas (might come close to the edge of your budget)
              Txikito (tapas, which can actually add up the $ quickly)

              If you want to go out for drinks earlier and then eat really, really, really late, there's an 11:15 table at Babbo, which is certainly doable if you stick to some of the cheaper wines by the bottle... I actually enjoy dining there at late seatings. It starts off very hustle-bustle and and gets more and more relaxed as the crowd peters out...

              In Brooklyn: Blue Ribbon Park Slope, Char #4, and Palo Santo are all good options in your range

              A bunch of other solid places I'm seeing:
              Yerba Buena (I think only the Perry St. location has tables in your time range)
              Telepan Local (6:30 only. Small plates / tapas-style...)
              Apiary (is Scott Bryan still there, anyone know? Heard he was opening a new place, don't know if he's still involved...)
              Casa Mezcal
              The Marrow
              Cookshop, Hundred Acres, Five Points (all sister restaurants, in descending order of approximate price, all good New American)

              1. [general reply to everyone after ~12hrs]

                wow, i really appreciate these suggestions. i had never heard of 75% of these places and was getting concerned when LUPA was only avail at 3pm and 11pm ... but suspected NYC "bench depth" would save me ... but again didnt want to come across as as a Ridiculous Princess about the whole thing ... "and the walls must be lime green".

                the weird factor for my planning [and i'm just telling tales, not relevant to any advice] is my friend's GF might bring her "adoptive grandpa friend" who is ~90 y.o. and apparently the biggest drinker in the crowd :-) [yeah, i am aware how much wine/cocktails can swing the tab] ... so some limits on distance, lateness, etc.

                2 Replies
                1. re: psb

                  Haha. I know all about heavy-drinking adoptive grandpas. Usually they pay the wine tab, though.

                  You'll want to book something quickly. In a city of 8 million people, a lot of them are making Saturday night reservations on Friday afternoon. Probably 25% of what's listed above won't be available a few hours from now, and most of the rest will be gone by tomorrow morning.

                  1. re: sgordon

                    >You'll want to book something quickly.
                    oh yeah, i gave my host the choices of Cluny, Ganz and Lavagna (my preference order) and he picked Lavagna, so we're in there on the early side.

                    i also decide to take another friend + GF out on Sunday night to Cluny ... sunday obviously had much higher availability than Sat. then maybe go to Barbes after.

                    looking forward to both, but Cluny more so. i have to say part of the appeal was the name ... I have some interest in French history.