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Five Restaurants for a Pre-Concert Dinner

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Lincoln Center is where it is, and although the West 60s are a notoriously limited and often tricky place to grab a timely drink or a bite to eat before a performance, never fear. To avoid the sounds of a rumbling stomach this fall, we’ve compiled a list of lesser-known eateries (and bars!), all within walking distance of Lincoln Center. Check out options for any budget, timeline or craving.

Just a Drink
Emerald Inn
205 Columbus Ave., nr. 69th St.

This friendly, homey Irish diner and pub is just right on a fall evening. Casual and cozy, you can grab a few drinks without breaking the bank, and the quieter atmosphere allows for conversation without raising your voice. Plus, its location just beyond the Lincoln Center bustle means it’s almost never crowded. We recommend a Hot Toddy, $9.

Exotic Sandwich/Post-Concert Dessert
Épicerie Boulud
1900 Broadway at 64th St.

When we heard French gourmet chef Daniel Boulud opened a restaurant devoted to sandwiches and dessert, it was music to our ears. Normally a purveyor of pâté, Boulud's eatery has a thoroughly New York slant, serving sausages on French rolls dressed up with mint, harissa, cucumber and tzatziki or jalapeño mayonnaise. Sausages range from $5.90-$8.90, along with sandwiches and tartines from $4.50-$10.50.

If you can’t make it before the show, grabbing dessert here afterwards is just as good an option. Gelatos, chocolate caramel cake, éclairs and coffee hazelnut tarts highlight the menu. Dessert prices range from $2.25 for a traditional French macaroon, to $4.50 or $5 for most pastries.

Bite and a Drink
141 W. 69th St.

The tapas bar section of this newly-opened restaurant makes for a perfect bite and drink, pre-concert. While Gastroarte also features a formal dining room and a ‘garden room’ for the traditional dining experience, the tapas bar gives you the most straight-up Spanish cuisine offered by otherwise modernist chef Jesus Nuñez, and cuts down your mealtime for a quick exit on a full stomach. Try Ibérico ham croquettes for $9, or a sandwich of Spanish staples Manchego cheese and Serrano ham with a twist: fresh peaches, for $11.

Grab and Go
61 W. 62nd Street, at Columbus Ave.

Inexpensive and good to go, the variety of ingredients in these creative sandwiches will get your tastebuds piqued, and save time if you’re in a rush. True, it’s become a city-wide chain, but for good reason: they serve breakfast all day, and every menu item remains under $10. The 62nd street location is a perfect sandwich-gobbling distance from your next concert experience.

Newly Opened/Upcoming Fine Dining
Indie Food and Wine
144 W. 65th St.

Located inside the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center, week-old café Indie Food and Wine serves movie-goers and concert-goers alike. Dinner can be a sandwich, salad, or a rotating menu of ‘proteins’ like trout, turkey breast, bacon or pork belly. Or, if you get in the film-concessions mood, there’s also gourmet popcorn, homemade pretzels, and artisanal chocolate. [prices not available]

208 W. 70th St., between Amsterdam & West End Ave.

Replacing Compass is the forthcoming restaurant Loi, named for its head chef Maria Loi, who calls herself “the Greek Martha Stewart.” With small servings known as "orektika," the restaurant will be ideal for sharing plates and expanding palates. Entrees will include moussaka, baked lamb, avgolemono and grilled codfish. Keep your eyes peeled for the restaurant's opening in late October; the space is currently being renovation by architect Glen Coben.