I'm posting in the hope that somebody will be able to give me some quick advice! I have to pick/book a restaurant for tonight for a client - who has become more of a friend over the years - who is in town unexpectedly. It's a bit like the blind leading the blind, as I only just moved to New York on sabbatical a few weeks ago - athough I have a bit of a love affair with the city, and have visited a number of times before. My friend has only been here once or twice before on very short trips.
I want to get it right as she and I have an ongoing debate about which is the best city in the world. She says London. I say New York. I'm hoping this evening will help in swaying her over to my side!
I've been on the site, researching like mad, but am running out of time. My hopes of getting a last minute cancellation at Minetta Tavern - preceded by cocktails at the Pegu Club - (both picked based on recs on here!) have just been dashed. They have no spots until 10:00, which will be a bit late with her jet lag. We are heading out after a meeting ending at 7:30.
Where else would you try if you were in my shoes? Would Peels fit the bill? DBGD?
Perametres (obviously, the lateness of the booking places significant perametres already, but to help narrow down my request), as I see you are -rightly- not fans of overbroad ones!):
Price: Minetta Tavern is actually probably a tiny bit pricier than ideal, but anything up to and including that kind of price is ok. I'd ideally be looking for entrées at about $22 to $28, rather than $30+ (not including tax and tip) if that makes sense.
Cuisine: she has requested American or European. I'm all Italianed out, after feasting - a bit too much - on delicious pasta from Otto and Peppe Rosso, etc, in the last couple of weeks (thanks again to recs on here!).
Location: I thought of Greenwich Village as it's so lovely, and an area I know, and we could wander through the square, listen to music, etc, if the rain held off. However, she is staying up near the UN, and I live in the East Village, so anywhere East would also work (or anywhere else in mid to lower Manhattan in fact... just trying to keep my request not too crazily broad).
Ambiance: preferably real New York (whatever that means). I have loved Little Owl and Tartine (thanks again to recs on here), but they are probably a little too intimate, and maybe a little too European. The likes of Otto (particularly the back room)/Ippudo, however, would probably be a bit too large and noisy. Places like One if by Land, and the Gramercy Tavern, are out of price range, though I have loved them both (I only had drinks at OIBL). It doesn't have to be swanky, and would hopefully not be too 'sceney', just basically a nice, atmospheric place with a bit of a New York vibe, in a nice area, to wile away a few hours, talking and catching up. A recommendation for a place nearby for a quick cocktail would be a bonus. We could do somewhere v. nice (e.g. the Plaza, etc) if we were eating nearby, but it doesn't have to be swanky either. An old time New York place would more than fit the bill. I've been to a few lovely old speakeasy type places over the years, but memory fails me on their names.
Us: we are both women in our mid to late 30s, in case that's even remotely useful to know!
Thanks hugely in advance for any tips!
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