I have a friend coming in next month who works in design and tends to get more worked up about the space of the restaurant than the food. She especially seems to be into the homey/"faux-rustic" thing--I don't know what the hell you call it--tons of reclaimed wood, unfinished surfaces and chipped paint, exposed brick, bare lightbulbs, etc. etc. Places like Isa, Marlow & Sons, Vinegar Hill House, Edi and the Wolf, Buvette, *maybe* Freemans are springing to mind.
So my aim is to find a place with some good atmosphere to satisfy her that is serving up the best food (relatively speaking) to satisfy me, but am kind of drawing a blank. Mostly looking for Manhattan, just listed the Brooklyn examples since they seem to be all over that aesthetic. Price range under $30-$40pp (including maybe one or two dishes and maybe one beer or btg wine each, pre-tax/tip). Location doesn't matter, but I'm pretty sure this species is rare if not non-existent above 14th.
Also looking for a "modern" asian spot that's relatively inexpensive (ie., not sushi), and am debating between Red Farm or Mission Chinese. Thoughts?