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Theater District with 20 yr old First Timer?

I'm taking my 20 year old niece on a special trip to Manhattan, and am looking for a pre-theater meal somewhere near the Theater District. She lives in a small Texas town, and I'd like to take her somewhere that is not too stodgy, but with recognizable food--- a place where she'll feel like it's a special event. I was perusing the board, and also Open Table hoping for an Italian restaurant with butternut squash ravioli (a favorite!), but haven't found it yet. Budget would be around $30 an entree. When I was her age (late '70s, eek!) my parents took me on just such a trip---leaving behind that same small Texas town, and the places that made a lasting impression on me were the Russian Tea Room, Gallaghers, and a very dark, oak filled German place where the waiter showed me how to fold a fancy napkin. She's a lot more hip than I was, and a fancy place would make her a bit uncomfortable---but I'd like for her to have a Manhattan experience of "dinner and a show" that is memorable for her. Any ideas?

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  1. Up your budget a bit and go to Lincoln.

      1. Butternut squash ravioli always strikes me as more of an autumn seasonal food. May have trouble finding it right now.

        1. You would probably have to adjust your budget but I do agree with the recommendation of Betony. Another possibility would be db Bistro Moderne.

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          1. re: Spiritchaser

            Db bistro also has a pre theater menu 5-6:30pm, $48 for 3 courses, which could work with the OPs budget....and a not scary sounding flank steak entree
            http://www.dbbistro.com/nyc/menu/

          2. "I was perusing the board, and also Open Table hoping for an Italian restaurant with butternut squash ravioli (a favorite!),"

            Del Posto currently serves pumpkin cappellacci with browned butter which is really delicious and also similar to butternut squash ravioli. The restaurant is probably too far and too pricey for your pre-theater dinner but you could try it for lunch.