Restaurants & Bars

Manhattan Dinner Date Spot

First date dinner report: Alley's End on W. 17th

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First date dinner report: Alley's End on W. 17th

Owen O'Neill | May 2, 2002 12:17 AM

Having solicited and received all sorts of great suggestions earlier this week for a first date dinner choice in Chelsea, settled on Alley's End as the likely suspect. High points - very cool space tucked away where one might not suspect it exists, low ambient noise level - easy for conversation, excellent steamed mussels appetizer (far superior to the mussels I've had at Markt and Steak Frites), very good sauteed baby green beans w/pecans as veg side dish. Service was unobtrusive but friendly and efficient and the host, Tommy, made us feel very welcome. They use Illy brand coffee for their espresso and latte (major points scored with me) and the dessert we shared (sticky toffee cake with vanilla ice cream) was outstanding, truly superb. The downside... the side of polenta was extremely salty and the two entrees were okay but not particularly memorable(she had cod with lentils, white radish and some peculiar and somewhat excessively strong herb - I had mahi-mahi with jasmine rice and mango salsa). Our mutual reaction was yes... perhaps we'd try it again but would order differently (definitely not a seafood dish unless it was salmon). if you're lookign for a place to have grown-up conversation without needing to talk above the din... this is a good choice. We ate early but it was filling up as we left (at about 8:30) and noise level was still low. The tab adds up quickly - one app, two entree, two side, two tonic water, one glass Shiraz, one dessert and two lattes - $100 including tax and 20-22% tip. IMHO a trifle overpriced for what we got but it was a GREAT setting for a first date - quiet, subdued and out of the way.

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