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Where to Eat in NYC 2008? The Big Topic


Saltydog
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IMO, the Essex street market is probably one of the best, or at least most accessible markets for Latino food products in the area commonly referred to as Manhattan - aside from which, (and aside from Shopsins) it is entirely unremarkable as a foodie destination - a chocolate shop, a barber, a juice shop, and well - a couple of nice cheese shops (which you can find elsewhere too). Which is to say, if you are looking for tamarinds, plantains, soda's like coco rico, good tortilla's (i.e. that aren't made by mission), cotija/queso blanco, various chiles like guajillos or even a butcher that sells things like oxtails (saw some beautiful whole oxtails there last time), tripe and various forms of trotters then this is a great place - especially if it's close by. If that's not what you are looking for, then I'm not sure there is a ton more in there that would catch your interest.

As for Shopsins, I think it's worth stopping by for sliders literally every chance I get. Sorry for the emphasis, but the sliders are f'ing good. He also has a great way with eggs and breakfast food in general (especially some of the crazier things like bread pudding french toast, mac and cheese pancakes, slut/ho cakes, mexican breakfast skillet combos and the like). I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it, although it's only open from 9 to 3.

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Thanks for the info! We'll probably pop into Essex Market since we'll be in the neighborhood, but Union Square Greenmarket looks more like what we had in mind and we'll hit there as well.

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I have the lunches set, now I'm looking at places for dinner.

Our budget went up slightly( since my spouse won some $$ in Vegas).

What is a good "red sauce" Italian place?

As I said previous, we both dont eat red meat.

I might have asked this before, but any good Indian?

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2.  kind of wrong on Otto or the ramen.  Otto:  1 pizza.  $13.  2 verdure: $12.  water to drink. 0$.  tax: $3.  tip: $5.  total:  $33.  the staff glaring at you for that order:  priceless.

Great, I'll order that.

My girlfriend and I will be here this Thursday (today) through Monday. I've been to New York before but my girlfriend hasn't. I've already been to JG, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Katz's, Ippudo, Dim Sum Go Go, Chinatown Brasserie (thanks for the tip, Mitch).

We currently have planned Friday lunch at wd-50 ($75 for 7 courses) and Monday lunch at Sushi Yasuda ($35 special).

I'd like to keep the other meals at under $30 person, pre-tax, pre-tip (or about $40 total).

Currently I have planned:

Otto

Perry St (brunch)

Tentative:

Szechuan Gourmet

Grand Sichuan

Momofuku Noodle Bar -- might be stretching the budget a bit

GROM gelato

Any other recommendations?

Thanks!

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I've been liking this place called Curry Ya - from the same owner as Soba Ya, Rai Rai Ken, Otafuku and others. It's right next door to Rai Rai Ken, at 214 E. 10th, between 2nd & 3rd Avenues.

The lunch special is $15, and includes your choice of curry over rice, various little snacks, and beverage or dessert. Curries include Berkeshire pork katsu and others.

Mditown - Katsuhama for great katsu....11 E. 47th St.

As an alternative (or in addition) to Otto, Lupa - or 'inoteca - which is easily done at your price point.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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2.  kind of wrong on Otto or the ramen.  Otto:  1 pizza.  $13.  2 verdure: $12.  water to drink. 0$.  tax: $3.  tip: $5.  total:  $33.  the staff glaring at you for that order:  priceless.

Great, I'll order that.

My girlfriend and I will be here this Thursday (today) through Monday. I've been to New York before but my girlfriend hasn't. I've already been to JG, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Katz's, Ippudo, Dim Sum Go Go, Chinatown Brasserie (thanks for the tip, Mitch).

We currently have planned Friday lunch at wd-50 ($75 for 7 courses) and Monday lunch at Sushi Yasuda ($35 special).

I'd like to keep the other meals at under $30 person, pre-tax, pre-tip (or about $40 total).

Currently I have planned:

Otto

Perry St (brunch)

Tentative:

Szechuan Gourmet

Grand Sichuan

Momofuku Noodle Bar -- might be stretching the budget a bit

GROM gelato

Any other recommendations?

Thanks!

Katzs almost immediately comes to mind for a pastrami on rye and a cherry soda. Since you note your gf is on the adventure as well, I'll add that my wife has to order extra lean at Katz (a crime!) because she just can't stomach chewing on that much fat. I of course don't hesitate to do just that :-)

If you really want to bang out the trifecta you can amble back up Houston and pass by Russ & Daughters for bagel, schmear and lox and then Yonah Shimmels for a knish. But Katz is really the "can't miss" item IMO.

Edited by sickchangeup (log)
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I would live to try Pegu, Flatiron Lounge, White Star (spouse is into Absinthe), Death & Co, Apothek and Little Branch.  My question is, can we show up for a pre-dinner drink around 7pm or so and expect to get in at these places?  Do we need to make a reservation for a drink if we want to be at the bar and not a table?  Will we need to deal with a ridiculous door policy?  Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you.

kind of late on this but i agree with others. little branch, white star and death & co are your best bets. if you get to death & co around 6:30, you should be fine unless they have a private event. little branch should be fine at 7 though they don't have stools at the bar. white star and milk & honey are the only places that consistently serve a proper traditional absinthe in the correct glass. m&h will be members only by the time you're in town but they don't open til 9ish anyway. apotheke has one of the tightest doors right now. avoid it. it's not worth the hassle nor the cost. skip PDT unless you have a reservation. resy line opens at 3pm but you may get a busy signal for 30 mins on fri & sat. i'm not a big fan of pegu, flatiron lounge, east side co, employees only, b flat or angel share. i'd choose tailor or even back forty before the aforementioned.

if you want to try freemans, i recommend going there for brunch between 11 and 11:30 on sunday instead of schiller's. the wait can be long if you get there past noon but brunch has a better vibe than lunch. try the buckwheat pancakes w/blueberry if you go and the artichoke dip. you may also want to consider ssam for lunch on friday and prune for brunch on saturday before 11:15. yeah it's early but they serve 11 types of bloody mary. food at schiller's is uninteresting so def skip it.

allen & delancey is good but not spectacular. for dining in pairs, i recommend blue hill or degustation if either of these places still have room. the $50 tasting menu at degus is still the best deal in town IMHO.

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Just got back from NY. I was really glad about The Red Cat. I tried most dishes in the menu (we were in three and went there 3 times as it was two blocks from my hotel) and none frustrated me. Although it has some ambition, it is not overly so or pretentious. There is always a nice twist on each dish. It was perfect as a neighborhood restaurant for daily food. Service was pretty good. Next time in NY I will be back.

Just trying to eat some good food and learn in the process with all the well versed foodies here. Please don't hold me too accountable for my so personal opinions! :)

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gastrodamus, thanks for your suggestions - and not too late, trip is coming up soon. We have dinner res at Tailor and are planning on having an after dinner drink at the bar (need to try one of the solid cocktails). Still holding a dinner res for the second night at Double Crown, but still undecided; I'll skip A & D (just read the chef left?). I think we'll ditch Fri lunch at Freemans or Kampuchea and we'll just wander the LES with a list of places from here and stop somewhere when hunger strikes. A little spontaneity is a good thing.

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We're back.

We had more than a few lunches that were casual and under 30.00 for both.

The first day( Monday), we met my highschool friend at the Marriot Marquis. It was almost 1pm so she suggested we go to Junior's across the street. I was actually surprised that it was pretty good. I had half a turkey sandwich and soup( 12.25). The matza ball was really fluffy and my black and white cookie was the freshest I'd ever had. Robin had some type of grilled chicken on a challah bun. She also had cheesecake. We were treated to lunch by my friend ( but that meal would have been over 30.00)

The next day we did the LES walking tour( I'll add pics later). We split a turkey sandwich, a fry and a matza ball soup from Katz's. That was around 30.00 w/tax and tip.

We shared a bagel w/ lox from Russ and Daughters too. By this point, I was sooo full and soaking wet( Tuesday the weather sucked) that I couldnt eat anything else. But, I had a few bites of a Kasha Knish from Yonah Schimmels. I also had an egg cream from the Belgian fry place. I couldnt even taste the warm Matzah from Streits!! Later on I had a doughnut from Doughnut plant.

Dinner that night was unremarkable. I was still full so I just agreed to a pizza place near Times Square. I think it was called John's. The restaurant was busy, but I wasnt too impressed by the pizza. The weather was so bad that I just wanted to eat and leave the city.

Lunch on Wednesday was @ Grimaldi's. We shared a mushroom pizza ( it was around 20.00 w/ tax and tip). Dinner was in ChinaTown. We ate at Joe's Shanghai. We had 2 dishes, soup dumplings and Robin had 1 springroll and it was 36.00( tax and 15% tip included( they added the tip on).

Thursday

We moved to a b and b in Jersey City so breakfast was covered. We did the UWS walking tour and I wanted to have lunch at Bouchon. We happened across Viand so we went there as I remembered it from Sneakeaters post. Robin had a turkey burger/fries. I had a tuna sandwich on Rye. The food was really good for a diner and the service was excellent. I wasnt that hungry but it was a big sandwich. I took a rice pudding to go which I ate today in the car on my way back to Ontario from Buffalo. That meal was 26 and change w/ tax and tip.

I had an amazing gelato/sorbet from GROM and a horrible cupcake from Magnolia. I took a cupcake home from Crumbs. We also shared a cookie from Jacque Torres and a cookie from Levain.

I had 1 bite of a really HORRIBLE pretzel in central park. The birds/squirrels got the rest. I also bought 5 H and H bagels. I had one this morning for breakfast. No biggie, I've had much better bagels in Florida.

Dinner was at JFK as we got there at 6pm. Make sure you eat before you go to the airport. The food sucked.

Thanks for all the help/advice.

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One more question - Where can we get good coffee and a light late morning breakfast in the LES on a Saturday? I'd like to skip anyplace that offers brunch and may have a line; somewhere with coffee to go and a crepe or other walkable food is fine. Thanks!

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I've been liking this place called Curry Ya - from the same owner as Soba Ya, Rai Rai Ken, Otafuku and others.  It's right next door to Rai Rai Ken, at 214 E. 10th, between 2nd & 3rd Avenues.

Curry Ya was great. We went there for dinner but then went next door to Rai Rai Ken. That was not so great. Soggy noodles and mediocre broth. Definitely doesn't compare to Ippudo.

I think our best meal was at Sushi Yasuda. I've never had sushi like this. It was a great pleasure to be served by Yasuda and chat with him.

WD-50 was good for the money. Perry St was another great deal. Grand Sichuan, lots of dishes we can't get in Austin even though Asia Cafe here is pretty damn good.

Thank you, Mitch, and everyone else in the thread for all the tips.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, I'm considering a solo trip the second week in December. I love eating alone at bars and am interested in visiting some of the better options in the city. Also, what's new in terms of cheap eats and food shopping? I'd like to spend my days walking around hitting inexpensive restaurants and shopping for unusual ingredients, go take a nap, and then spend the evening noodling around the bars in better restaurants. I'm on a tight budget. Advice?

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OK, I'm considering a solo trip the second week in December. I love eating alone at bars and am interested in visiting some of the better options in the city. Also, what's new in terms of cheap eats and food shopping? I'd like to spend my days walking around hitting inexpensive restaurants and shopping for unusual ingredients, go take a nap, and then spend the evening noodling around the bars in better restaurants. I'm on a tight budget. Advice?

Go back on this thread a few pages. I asked for inexpensive options for meals. I got a lot of good suggestions.

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Thanks, Randi.

Any advice on best restaurant bars for solo diners? Are there any special prix fixe or bar menus at the better restaurants? I'm willing to dine early to get a good deal. A number of places around DC are doing recession-buster specials to attract more diners and I wondered if there was a similar movement in NY.

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Any advice on best restaurant bars for solo diners? Are there any special prix fixe or bar menus at the better restaurants? I'm willing to dine early to get a good deal. A number of places around DC are doing recession-buster specials to attract more diners and I wondered if there was a similar movement in NY.

I haven't seen any special bar menus here, in fact, although I've been seeing more empty seats in the dining rooms, bar dining remains very popular in NY. If you go early you're more likely to get a seat. Some of my favorite places to dine at the bar are gramercy tavern, lupa, perilla and cru. At Gramercy, the bar serves the tavern menu, which is less expensive than the main dining room, and the food and service are always excellent. Lupa is (as discussed above, I believe) a terrific value, but the bar does fill up quickly there as well. Lately I've had excellent meals at the bar at dell'anima and scarpetta as well (there should be threads on each of these). And of course there are the Momofukus (again, I would refer to their threads) which are perfect for solo dining. Other than at the absolutely top places (i.e., Jean-Georges, Per Se) you can almost always dine at the bar.

I would also consider lunch instead of dinner if you want to eat at the best restaurants for less. Check out the Jean-Georges thread too.

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Thanks, Daisy. I have been to (and loved) the bar at Gramercy Tavern, but I haven't been to NY in many years and haven't followed the restaurant's evolution under Michael Anthony. (I ate at Blue Hill once when he was still there, and I even assisted him once at a demo at the IHMRS many years ago.)

I am interested in three of the Meyer restaurants, actually: Gramercy, Eleven Madison Park and the Modern. The Modern is especially appealing since I could combine a visit there with a tour of the museum. Which of these do you think is best and why?

I am planning cheaper eats for lunchtime and am willing to splurge some at dinner, but if it's possible to eat a fantastic dinner on a budget then all the better. I'll go look at the J-G threads, I've never dined at any J-G restaurant.

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Thanks, Daisy. I have been to (and loved) the bar at Gramercy Tavern, but I haven't been to NY in many years and haven't followed the restaurant's evolution under Michael Anthony. (I ate at Blue Hill once when he was still there, and I even assisted him once at a demo at the IHMRS many years ago.)

I am interested in three of the Meyer restaurants, actually: Gramercy, Eleven Madison Park and the Modern. The Modern is especially appealing since I could combine a visit there with a tour of the museum. Which of these do you think is best and why?

I am planning cheaper eats for lunchtime and am willing to splurge some at dinner, but if it's possible to eat a fantastic dinner on a budget then all the better. I'll go look at the J-G threads, I've never dined at any J-G restaurant.

There are extensive threads on all three places and I would encourage you to scroll through them to get a better feel for them. I would heartily recommend all of them.

I've eaten at Gramercy twice since Michael Anthony took over the kitchen and thought the food was fantastic. I love the whole vibe of the place, especially the bar area. I find it much more comfortable than Eleven Madison, which is a stunning room but a bit austere to me.

The one time I tried to eat at the bar at Eleven Madison I was told I couldn't order off the regular dinner menu, which was a disappointment. I don't know if that's changed; perhaps others can chime in on that. I like the Modern, but not nearly as much as the other two - while the food is certainly well-prepared, it hasn't moved me quite like GT or EMP. Others feel very strongly that the front room at the Modern is an incredible value and love it. If you want or need to be in midtown though, it's a good pick.

The lunch menu at Jean Georges is the best deal in NY!

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The one time I tried to eat at the bar at Eleven Madison I was told I couldn't order off the regular dinner menu, which was a disappointment.  I don't know if that's changed; perhaps others can chime in on that. 

I've eaten at the bar at Eleven Madison and was offered the regular dinner menu.

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I haven't seen any special bar menus here,

Actually, there are a lot of places with special bar menus. Probably, you (like me) just tend to disregard them and go for the dinner menu, so they don't really register.

Aside from Gramercy Tavern (which I count as a bar menu even if you don't), there's Picholine (whose bar menu is fantastic) and Eleven Madison Park (whose bar menu I've never tried because I love the main menu -- which I've been served at the bar -- so much).

I'd consider the Bar Room at The Modern's menu a bar menu, and highly recommed it.

Also, I prefer the Bread Bar at Tabla to the dining room.

Telepan has a bar menu, I think -- but the food there is sort of blah.

There are lots of others, but I can't think of them right now.

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I haven't seen any special bar menus here,

Actually, there are a lot of places with special bar menus. Probably, you (like me) just tend to disregard them and go for the dinner menu, so they don't really register.

Aside from Gramercy Tavern (which I count as a bar menu even if you don't), there's Picholine (whose bar menu is fantastic) and Eleven Madison Park (whose bar menu I've never tried because I love the main menu -- which I've been served at the bar -- so much).

I'd consider the Bar Room at The Modern's menu a bar menu, and highly recommed it.

Also, I prefer the Bread Bar at Tabla to the dining room.

Telepan has a bar menu, I think -- but the food there is sort of blah.

There are lots of others, but I can't think of them right now.

Of course you're right, and I've had meals off many of these; I was just responding to what I took as a request for special recession/savings menus. (And apparently I just haven't seen them - see Kathryn's link.) Certainly some places serve a less expensive menu at the bar all the time (I would include Bobo as well).

(btw, I like Telepan, you don't?)

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Dear All,

Please be gentle, I am new and just a simple Northern boy from England.

I travel to NYC on honeymoon next week and I am looking for some recommendations. So far I have been told I must have dinner at Babbo (spelling correct?), but I cannot find out how to book, as they seem to have no website/open table listing. Am I getting sucked into super-restaurant hype here, or is it really that good?

Also, I have been recommended 11 Madison Park.

We have four dinners to look forward to and I am looking for two $175-200 (for two, 3 courses + wine) establishments and two sub-$150 places.

My wife is not big on fish/seafood, so please bear this in mind.

I am in your hands….

Many thanks,

Paul

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1. Believe it or not, it is very hard to stay below $200 for two people, including wine, at the City's top or upper-second-tier restaurants. (Please recall that in New York, service is not included and the standard tip is 20%. I'm assuming your budget is inclusive of tax and tip.)

2. Babbo pretty much is as good as all that. But it's almost impossible that you could get a reservation now for next week. It usually books fully a month to the day in advance. Their url is http://www.babbonyc.com. Your best bet might be to chance an early (say between 5 and 6 PM) walk-in for a seat in the bar area (although you might not want to take such risks on your honeymoon). You might be able to stay within your price limit there, at least if you try.

3. Eleven Madison Park is excellent, and reservations might be possible a week in advance. Since the three course prix fixe there costs $88 per person, however, it's going to stretch your budget.

4. If you've got the stomach for "avant-garde" cuisine, WD-50 is a very good restaurant that's within your budget.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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