Ph. Terry Richardson | Magazine : Vogue Paris | Model: Crystal Renn
It happens. Your girls haven’t been at the same place at the same time in months. The proposal for a dinner out to trash talk and bat our lashes is put on the table. Yay! Off to Open Table we go! And just as you’re calculating whether or not you can afford to fit in a Fresh Direct order before pay day, one friend suggests “omg we should go to STK, I got a reservation”. Umm…STK like $50 a plate STK? Like $16 a cocktail STK? This just blasted all your hopes and dreams about a big night out at 5 Napkin Burger. You don’t want to be the first one to speak and say “yeah I didn’t set aside $100 this week for one nights dinner” . So you suck it up and you spend it, praying all the while that the card doesn’t decline as the table keeps ordering. More appetizers, more cocktails. “Omg…I am legitimately going to have to eat Ritz crackers exclusively for the rest of the week.”. Let’s face it, even if you are the friend that suggests STK…in New York City you can ALWAYS be the poor friend. We live in a city where there will always be friends with more money than you. Significantly so. Unlike in other cities where the lines of income really dictate your whole life (where you live, who you associate with, who you marry), New Yorkers are so mixed and mashed up that we end up having people in our lives from all situations. We live in a city where 20-somethings who earn $40k a year are living in high rise, concierge buildings, because they are willing to spend 70% of their income on rent and live in a closet with 6 other people. So they are meeting and living among people earning three times what they make. If you’re on an H&M budget, you have a friend on a J Crew budget and she has a friend on a Net A Porter budget and so on. Everyone is someone’s poor friend. And that’s all good. I guess. One useful tool is having an arsenal of “affordable” places to go that even the best Net A Porter consumer will love. And a useful tip if you’re spending your last dollar on a dinner out with the girls…be quick and the first person to suggest a place.
GIANO, East Village
With gorgeous lighting and superior service feels worthy of a nice night out but with $15 pasta entrees and Prix Fix options you might be able to keep the lights in your own apartment on this month.
Peep is my personal no fail spot for my fancier than fancy friends. Super sexy décor and in prime location, bar atmosphere, good food for a group of girls. Peep definitely gives off the appeal of a more expensive spot. Get the Saffron Paella to get your ultimate money’s worth.
Everyone loves Essex. It’s a New York staple now. If you live here you need to consistently rely on Essex for a no brainer get together spot. While not nearly as competitive to get a table for dinner as it is for brunch, its still a good idea to book early because Essex isn’t exactly an original idea.
La Bottega @ The Maritime
Is shockingly affordable for a hotel restaurant. The Maritime is widely loved, super cute and enormously social. Its not cheap…but compared to other fashionable hotels trust me this is not a painful menu. Get the pizza.
Iconic. Intimate. Grown up. And BYOB! Everyone’s favorite
Places with cool names tend to be more interesting than those that don’t. Another great brunch spot but dinner is more than decent as well. Best bet, keep it simple and get the $16 steak salad.
Another vote for Thai. Thai is usually a great place to start when looking for something that feels cool without paying cool. Another great looking restaurant, Room Service is easy and breezy. Cop that spicy half chicken for 13 bucks.
Happy Feasting and remember…you’re only as poor as you look. If you moved to a economically reasonable city you’d probably be considered rich.