I'll admit that I have limited knowledge of the dining/drinking options in Soho - I avoid going there at all costs these days as it has now turned into a giant strip mall, so I only know about things that were there like 5 years ago.
However, I will be in Soho on Friday for a job interview and I'm meeting a friend at 3 for some food and drinks. I have another appointment at 5 pm in Soho so I can't leave the neighborhood (although Nolita would be OK - but no LES, because I'm sick of it, and it's also just too far away).
Here's the thing: I don't want to go to a bar (wine or otherwise) because my friend doesn't drink - he doesn’t care if we're at a bar, but I just would feel better going somewhere at which the focus is food as opposed to snacks/small plates. Also, this friend is a ridiculously picky eater - he won't eat anything ethnic (idiot!) except for Mexican or Italian (not really even ethnic anymore), nor will he eat anything with greens in it (child!) – basically he likes meat, carbs, cheese, and red sauce (ie, burgers, Mexican, Italian including pizza). I, on the other hand, will eat anything so long as it's really good and doesn't have animals in it. And I need some drinks to go with my food. Preferably a good cocktail.
So... Where should we go that’s not really expensive? Some places I'm considering are
-L’Asso – I’ve heard their pizza is awesome but, despite my having walked past it many times, I’ve never been. I’m also on a mission to eat at all the best pizza places in NYC and this place is supposedly on my list.
-Taqueria at La Esquina – While I kind of don’t want to give this place my money because of the horrible things I’ve heard about their service as well as their ridiculous attitude and exclusivity, their Taqueria menu does look good (I have no need to go downstairs to the café) – but I will only go if their tacos are killer and will make up for the fact that everything else about the place sucks.
-Café El Portal – I’ve never been there but it sounds good.
-Cubana Café – I’ve been to the one in Carroll Gardens many times and I love it, but I want to go somewhere new if possible.
Which of those places that I listed would you pick, and which other places do you recommend?