So you're unemployed. You still want to go out on the weekends with friends, but don't want to revert to college-student downscale (diners, Chinatown dives, Chelsea Chino-Latino, etc.) Cheap, fun but enough style so your fully-employed friends don't feel like they're slumming.
I have unemployed pals who are appalled that friends invite them out, but insensitively pick $20-$25 entree places. (Personally, I pick up the tab for my out-of-work friends virtually all the time, but that's not everyone.)
So what are your favorite dinner places in a recession???? My list would include Grey Dog's Cafe, Ony (noodle shop), Risotteria (risotto and paninni), and Moustache (Mideastern?) in the Village, Film Studio Cafe in Hell's Kitchen, Il Corallo (cheap pasta) in Soho.