When you ask your text chain if anyone wants to go out tonight, you usually get one yes, two maybes (a.k.a. nos), and no response from everyone else. But on the rare occasion that everyone wants to join, go to Congee Village. This two-story Chinese spot just off Delancey, which has a tree growing in the middle of it and bamboo everywhere, is filled with big tables. Almost everything on the very long menu is served family-style, so you should share things like the salt and pepper shrimp, congee with salted chicken, and chicken and yam that’s served on a sizzling hot plate.
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Cervo’s is a little place on the LES where you can bring a date and share some seafood-centric small plates, or just sit at the bar and grab a drink.
Spreadhouse is a coffee shop on the LES that feels kind of like a loft or a garage full of freelancers and people working on screenplays.
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Purple Yam serves Filipino food in a casual space with a nice backyard. Use it for a group dinner in Ditmas Park.
Three Times is a fast-casual Chinese spot on the Lower East Side that serves good pan-fried dumplings.
Suggested by our writers
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou Cuisine
Skip nearby Vanessa's Dumplings in favor of the superior Shu Jiao Fu Zhou when you're looking for excellent, cheap Chinatown dumplings.
Cafe China serves some of our favorite Sichuan food in Manhattan, and is a great group dinner spot in Midtown.
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