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Fuss free, cool dinner for not so new to NYC

Hosting some out of towners and would like to pick a great place to eat and drink. Restaurants we love but are a little bit more expensive than we'd like, or closed: Lupa, Freemans, Il Buco, Great Jones, The Breslin, Prune, Mission Chinese etc.

I know there aren't a lot of restaurants like these places, which is what makes them great, but....

Pretty much any cuisine as long as veggies are also sold.

Any suggestions for restaurants with a similar vibe but a little less expensive? Would like to stay under $20 for entrees. Bonus points if close to a cool bar with afterwards... Bars we like: Hi- Fi, Ear Inn..... or close to waterfront or point of interest of some sort). Open to Northernish Brooklyn if close to train.

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  1. From the restaurants you like i can't identify a unifying theme...
    Did you look over eater's heatmap?
    http://ny.eater.com/archives/2014/08/...

    1. Rubirosa? Like Ttrockwood im not so sure i get a theme from your places, but we like it (Rubirosa) a lot for the price, good food, pretty hip atmosphere. Its not too near (though not that far) from either of your bar picks but its also fairly close to a bunch of your other suggestions so perhaps it would work?

      1. Zabb Elee
        Parm
        Cafe El Portal
        Schiller's
        Mighty Quinn's
        Aux Epices
        Mission Cantina
        Little Rascal

          1. re: Riverman500

            Seems a little out of the OP's price range.

            1. re: loratliff

              The entrees are all under $20 as specified by the OP. The only item over $20 would be the daily special.
              http://barprimi.com/menu

              1. re: Riverman500

                Right, but most people don't consider a small plate of pasta to be an entree...

                1. re: loratliff

                  Loratliff, what about Le Jardin? I went on your recommendation last week and loved it. That sounds like it might fit Arugala's bill.