Thrillist doesn't lose our cool every time something new and "hip" comes along. We had an uncle who did, but we haven't heard from him since 1983, when he liquidated his 401k to buy a Delorean, a bale of nose candy and sixty pairs of skintight Jordache Jeans
Not to say we don't value fresh and novel establishments, but we think it's just as important to sift through the classics and determine which are still phenomenal, and which have grown as irrelevant as Corey Feldman's business manager. Ranking near the top of the survivors is longtime SoHo favorite, Raoul's.
Raoul's still offers just about the best meal you'll ever eat in a tee shirt and jeans. Their Steak au Poivre might be the finest in Manhattan, and the Duck Cooked Two Ways is as good as it is bizarrely suggestive. Service is attentive, with none of the "Perhaps Sir would be happier slurping ketchup packets at Roller Roaster?" attitude you get at formal restaurants offering similar fare
Raoul's is equally suited for dates or group celebrations (but probably not "group celebrations.") The front of the restaurant is a classic, high-ceilinged bistro that features a long, wooden bar frequented by the sort of solid citizens who prefer their refills closer at hand*. In back, there's a 30-seat garden room, covered by a glass ceiling. Outlying the garden is a small section of choice open-air tables. If the weather's good, we suggest you make every effort to secure them, lest your meal be tainted by a furious envy you haven't suffered since your best friend's parents unwittingly subscribed to The Spice Channel.
All this timeless magnificence does come at a price, but at least you'll be compromising your financial security on guaranteed satisfaction - because there's nothing worse than dropping $150 on a restaurant that'll be here and gone faster than monogrammed, ass-hugging, designer denim pants.