Needle out of haystack
November 19, 2012 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Can you suggest a low-key but memorable place to eat in Manhattan? Preferably close to a park and a movie theater. For Wednesday. Thanks for your help.

Preferably "American" style food if possible.
posted by bleep to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't really eat there anymore, but Waverly Restaurant (a diner on 6th and Waverly, near both Union Sq. Park, Tompkins Sq. Park, and the ten or so movie theaters in that area) was one of my favorite places to eat as a teenager. Cozy Soup 'n' Burger (on Broadway and 8th) is great too, but I haven't eaten there in even longer.
posted by griphus at 8:52 AM on November 19, 2012

Crif Dogs (St Mark's between 1st and A) for the best hotdogs, is near Tompkin's Square Park, and I think there's an independent movie theater kinda nearby.

Shake Shack is actually IN a park (Madison Square Park) for the best burger under $10 in the city. Not sure about proximity of a movie theater... maybe Kip's Bay?
posted by Grither at 8:52 AM on November 19, 2012

Oh, shit, Katz's! Go eat at Katz's! It's walking distance from both Tompkins and the Sunshine theater.
posted by griphus at 8:53 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

Nthing Katz's. If you're lucky you can eat at the table where they shot a famous scene from "When Harry Met Sally" (I think they have a sign hanging from the ceiling over the table where Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan were sitting).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:03 AM on November 19, 2012

I am physically incapable of recommending any restaurant other than Veselka on 2nd avenue and E9th street.
posted by elizardbits at 9:11 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Shake Shack is actually IN a park (Madison Square Park) for the best burger under $10 in the city. Not sure about proximity of a movie theater... maybe Kip's Bay?

There is a AMC Loews on 19th and Broadway, 4 blocks away.
posted by kathryn at 9:33 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was at the Waverly last winter. It's a diner, but a good one. It's cash only! Memorable? Not sure. They make an excellent patty melt.

It's more low-key than Veselka, which is also a diner, but nicer (finishes, etc.) with some Ukranian dishes and has always been busy and excited when I've been in/walked by. Veselka is more memorable.
posted by Jahaza at 9:49 AM on November 19, 2012

Porchetta on East 7th, right by Tompkins Square. Very small place, delicious pork sandwiches. Lots of nice dessert options nearby too--Macaron Parlour, Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, Butter Lane Cupcakes; and a bunch of great cocktail spots like Amor y Amargo which is pretty under-the-radar and fabulous.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:55 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I realize that French is not American, but if you're going for "food that is recognizable and not particularly complicated," you might try La Boite en Bois. They have a pre-theater prix fixe that might fit your bill nicely.

It's on West 68th St., a block off of Central Park and four blocks from Lincoln Center. It's a block from the Loews Lincoln Square 13, four blocks from the Film Society of Lincoln Center and six blocks from the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.
posted by Madamina at 10:08 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes, Katz's. If you go late, The Famous Table should be available. I was there ~9 PM (so, somewhat near closing time) on a weeknight a couple weeks ago and it was either available or it emptied while we were there.

Keep in mind, though, if you go that late there won't be table service. Not a huge obstacle, but if this is some kind of romantic date night, that could kill the mood.

I would also keep in mind what sort of movie you want to see. If you're looking to see Lincoln or any of the other big blockbusters, you might want to keep it centered on Union Square rather than Houston Street or that ridiculous tiny Village 7 place on third ave.
posted by Sara C. at 10:09 AM on November 19, 2012

Union Square park (bonus: holiday market), Regal Union Sq stadium 14, Chat-n-Chew restaurant. You may want to clarify "memorable," since that can skew cozy or unusual or funky...
posted by xo at 10:43 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I like the Greensquare Tavern, which is close to both Union Square and Madison Square Park. Menus here, easier to read than on the website.

For a budget option, the Chat 'n' Chew is great.
posted by essexjan at 11:04 AM on November 19, 2012

Motorino has really good pizza and non-pizza food, shouldn't be too crowded on a Wednesday, and is near Tompkins Square park and Village East cinema.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 11:15 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have no idea what "low-key but memorable" means, but my ideal combo of those things is Craft restaurant, Madison Square Park and then either Kips Bay, Chelsea Clearview or down to the Sunshine. (Though I'd train myself up to the Ziegfeld if I was really going to plan an ideal day.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:36 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks for your great answers! I think xo and essexjan will be today's winners - Chat n Chew sounds perfect and I love Union Square. Woohoo!
posted by bleep at 4:35 PM on November 19, 2012

The portions at Chat 'n' Chew are enormous too.
posted by essexjan at 1:33 AM on November 20, 2012

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