Nice solo NYC dinner
October 6, 2012 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Where to get a very high quality but casual meal alone this Sunday evening in NYC?

Hi! I want to take myself out to a really really nice dinner tomorrow night in NYC. Since I probably will be going solo, I would like somewhere where the dress is casual but the food is really good and I won't need a reservation.

I tend to like creative locavore fare and American/European dishes (as opposed to Indian or Ethiopian). I live in Brooklyn and I've enjoyed places like Marlow and Sons, Roberta's, Rye, Traif, Calyer, etc. but I'd to try something new. I'm not a vegetarian--I enjoy seafood, poultry, pork, and beef. I'd be happy to spend ~$100 for 2-3 courses and a couple glasses of wine. I'm open to anywhere in Brooklyn or downtown Manhattan. There are so many places to choose from and I'm having a hard time narrowing it down by just looking at photos/menus/reviews. Just off the top of my head to give you an idea of what I'm looking at, I was checking out Dressler or Craft Bar but I can't get a feel for how casual either of those places are from looking online.

Suggestions welcome!
posted by greta simone to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Vinegar Hill House. Ive taken people there and they enjoy it so much they go crosseyed. It's very homey and casual.
posted by sweetkid at 10:52 AM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was coming in here to suggest Vinegar Hill House as well. The decor is comforting and you feel like someone's mom is in the kitchen making you your favorite meal. Their pork chop is delicious, by the way.
posted by zoomorphic at 11:00 AM on October 6, 2012

Lot 2 is another one you'd like. And they have great cocktails as well.
posted by overhauser at 12:47 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you are dining alone you can often walk into even a very nice restaraunt and eat at the bar.
posted by shothotbot at 12:51 PM on October 6, 2012

Response by poster: I'm aware, but I'm not sure what restaurants might not have a bar or which ones I won't look out of place in wearing jeans.
posted by greta simone at 12:57 PM on October 6, 2012

Vinegar Hill House is outstanding, though I'm not sure they have a bar.
Lot 2 is fantastic, definitely has a bar, and you would not be out of place in jeans--but on Sunday nights they feature "Sunday Supper" which is served family style and best shared with someone.
posted by thirdletter at 1:13 PM on October 6, 2012

Saint Austere, on Grand Street at Lorimer, is so good that my foodie best friend went back there for his birthday, after we first tried it. Classic bistro fare.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:22 PM on October 6, 2012

Vinegar Hill House has a bar.
posted by sweetkid at 2:11 PM on October 6, 2012

You mention Craftbar in your question, and I am a regular there. You will absolutely not be out of place there in jeans. We never dress up to go there, and most of the other customers are casual except on Friday and Saturday nights, but even then there are plenty of people in casual dress. Their wine list is pretty extensive, they have great cocktails, and the food is fantastic. If you see a redhead and a tall dude with a big beard eating there, that's probably me and my husband.
posted by bedhead at 2:18 PM on October 6, 2012

Gwynett St. on Graham Avenue in Williamsburg is lovely, with a casual bar in the dining room. It's laid back, exposed brick, not too fancy and you won't feel alone because the bar area is generally pretty busy, but not in a way where you'd feel awkward. I think Esquire *just* voted it one of the best new restaurants in America (with a nice picture of the bar area there.) Get the bread loaf and butter, and definitely save room for dessert. The desserts are the best part.
posted by amoeba at 2:21 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I recently had a fabulous solo meal at La Vara. Excellent food, casual vibe, quite different and creative even if you're familiar with Spanish food.

Prime Meats is another locavore-ish Brooklyn restaurant with a German accent and an emphasis on meat. They have a bar, but it's a bit crowded for dining, definitely a casual vibe, though.

Some Manhattan places I've had memorable meals recently are Aldea, Bar Room at the Modern, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Dovetail, and Boulud Sud. All would be congenial for solo dining at the bar, though you may have to wait at Momofuku or Aldea.

I'm honestly having a hard time thinking of any place outside of the stuffiest of stuffy Midtown restaurants where you'd genuinely be out of place in jeans. Just go wherever the food looks appealing, and if you're concerned, call ahead to find out what the wait might be like for a single walk-in on a Sunday night.
posted by psycheslamp at 2:30 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Ssam Bar and Lot 2 (though perhaps not ideal for a Sunday as others have indicated). I also love Riverpark in Manhattan, lovely views of the East River, beautiful dining room, and truly fabulous staff, same owner as Craftbar. I think all would be congenial for eating alone. For what it's worth I was really underwhelmed when I went to Dressler.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:28 PM on October 6, 2012

Whenever I'm in this situation, I go for the bar at Gramercy Tavern or a seat at Ssam Bar.
posted by anildash at 6:24 AM on October 7, 2012

I really enjoyed Foragers Table in chelsea: amazing locavore ingredients, fresh, innovative cocktails.

It may be a little cheaper than you want; means you can try more!
posted by lalochezia at 12:20 PM on October 7, 2012

I came in to suggest Gramercy Tavern and Ssam Bar.
posted by miles1972 at 1:34 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

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