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Saltydog

Where to Eat in NYC 2008? The Big Topic

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Welcome to NYC!

For sweetbreads, I'd recommend Casa Mono's, they are usually very good (one time they were over-salted, but that was only once).

For cheese, definitely hit Murray's downtown or Ideal Cheese in Midtown, both offer fantastic selections and great service.

For good markets, I'd say the Grand Central Market is pretty good and centralized as its name implies. The Union Square Greenmarket is another option, though if you're staying near Central Park then Fairway on the UWS isn't too far.

And for a great high-end lunch I'd suggest Jean-Georges, it's got a fabulous $28 prix-fixe lunch, though you should definitely RSVP.

Enjoy your time in our little town!

Cheers! :cool:

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We're looking for:

traditional pasta

a great sweetbread dish

traditional NYC Deli (Katz's has been suggested)

wood-fire oven pizza

a couple good markets where to buy produce and breads (we plan to make lunches)

a good cheese shop (murray's, perhaps?)

A great, high-end lunch which won't break the bank severely (max $60 before wine, but less would be great)

1. Casa Mono is a good idea. Les Halles isn't. it's basically a tourist trap and really has nothing to do with Bourdain (it's possible to have acceptable food there but there's no reason to come to NY for it).

2. what days are you here? this makes a MASSIVE difference for your lunch plans. there are all sorts of top-notch restaurants with great lunch deals during the week...but not on Saturday and Sunday. if you're only here on the weekend...then Perry Street is your best choice for lunch. otherwise JG is perfect.

3. Babbo for pasta...

4. Momofuku Ssam Bar for sweetbreads (and lots of other stuff...see the thread)

5. Katz's

6. I'll leave the pizza to others.

7. Chelsea Market.

8. Murray's.

9. JG if during the week, Perry Street on weekends.

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You might consider staying further downtown if that's an option. If you were just a young tourist I'd say staying by the Park is fine. You're close to the typical shopping, museums, shows, etc. Since you're culinarily focused, however, a location further downtown might actually save you some money in subways or cabs. Those Metrocard swipes really add up and if you can save maybe $8-$10 per day by walking that can go toward different accommodations or glass of wine. You get my drift.

As usual, recommendations by the standard stable of posters are spot on. Nathan's point on haute lunches during the week is especially applicable to people looking to have a gastro-trip on something of a budget. You'll be getting 2/3 the experience (sometimes more) at less than half the price. A pretty good value prop. if you ask me.

USQ Greenmarket is probably what you had in mind when you asked for a market, but you'll very likely need to supplement that with staples found at a normal grocer like Fairway or the shops in Chelsea.

You also might try some of New York's contemporary Italian restaurants for pasta. As someone who gets a bit bored by Italian cuisine, I find places like A Voce and Insieme quite exciting. Many of the same flavors that you're probably looking for in a more sleek (culinarily speaking) package. Finally, if you're looking to use this trip as a mean to research a place of your own, you'd probably be well-suited by checking out some of the smaller places, wine bars, Italian small plates restaurants, you get the drift. More suited to a first-time restaurateur perhaps.

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traditional pasta

I'm with everyone else -- Babbo.

wood-fire oven pizza

Una Pizza Napoletana is the first wood-fired oven pizzeria to come to mind. The owner has a custom-built wood-fired brick oven. $21/pie but delicious, fresh, and high quality. Everywhere else I'd recommend is probably coal-fired or gas. They had a great wild arugula, pecorino, and spring onion special pie (all toppings added to the basic bianca) this past weekend.

Union Square Greenmarket is indeed great, but as others have suggested, they don't always have everything you're looking for. I usually supplement by going to the Whole Foods across the street, just for convenience's sake.


Edited by kathryn (log)

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

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I tried, but was unable to get a reservation at Babbo, so would Lupa be considered a somewhat respectable replacement?

Thanks,

Len

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I tried, but was unable to get a reservation at Babbo, so would Lupa be considered a somewhat respectable replacement?

Thanks,

Len

yes.

though many of us eat at the bar at Babbo or at the walk-in tables rather than bother with reservations.

(bar-dining is a big deal in NY)

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I tried, but was unable to get a reservation at Babbo, so would Lupa be considered a somewhat respectable replacement?

Thanks,

Len

I think Esca would be a much better (and more similar) replacement, though of course your meal would have a seafood bent. I haven't been in a few months, but Fiamma would also be a decent replacement. My meals at Lupa in recent years have been extremely uneven. If you decide to go, I'd suggest putting your name in early (waits are generally an hour to three hours) and then having some drinks at Pegu Club across the street.

Add: Insieme and A Voce would also be good choices.


Edited by Jesikka (log)

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I tried, but was unable to get a reservation at Babbo, so would Lupa be considered a somewhat respectable replacement?

Thanks,

Len

yes.

though many of us eat at the bar at Babbo or at the walk-in tables rather than bother with reservations.

(bar-dining is a big deal in NY)

I see, I did not realize that was an option. Are there any sort of rules I need to know in order to get in at the bar/walk-in?

I tried, but was unable to get a reservation at Babbo, so would Lupa be considered a somewhat respectable replacement?

Thanks,

Len

I think Esca would be a much better (and more similar) replacement, though of course your meal would have a seafood bent. I haven't been in a few months, but Fiamma would also be a decent replacement. My meals at Lupa in recent years have been extremely uneven. If you decide to go, I'd suggest putting your name in early (waits are generally an hour to three hours) and then having some drinks at Pegu Club across the street.

Great, thanks very much, I'll look into those.

Cheers,

Len

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at most restaurants in NY, you simply walk in...either take open seats at the bar or order a drink while waiting for barseats to open up (it's a good idea at this point to tell the bartender as you order your drink that you're planning on eating at the bar).

at Batali restaurants, the bartenders (or the maitre'd in the case of Babbo) have a list of people waiting to dine at the bar (merely drinking at the bar is highly discouraged at these restaurants (with the exception of Del Posto where bar dining is not allowed)).

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at most restaurants in NY, you simply walk in...either take open seats at the bar or order a drink while waiting for barseats to open up (it's a good idea at this point to tell the bartender as you order your drink that you're planning on eating at the bar).

at Batali restaurants, the bartenders (or the maitre'd in the case of Babbo) have a list of people waiting to dine at the bar (merely drinking at the bar is highly discouraged at these restaurants (with the exception of Del Posto where bar dining is not allowed)).

Trick at Babbo- do not talk to the host. Go directly to the bartender. If you talk to the host you will wait much longer, even though they may tell you that you are supposed to talk to the host.

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Great stuff guys, thanks very much! I'm going to give that a shot.

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I would also go with as few people as possible if you want to dine at the bar - 3 absolute max.

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I would also go with as few people as possible if you want to dine at the bar - 3 absolute max.

No problems there, we will be a party of 2. Good to know though.

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at most restaurants in NY, you simply walk in...either take open seats at the bar or order a drink while waiting for barseats to open up (it's a good idea at this point to tell the bartender as you order your drink that you're planning on eating at the bar).

at Batali restaurants, the bartenders (or the maitre'd in the case of Babbo) have a list of people waiting to dine at the bar (merely drinking at the bar is highly discouraged at these restaurants (with the exception of Del Posto where bar dining is not allowed)).

Trick at Babbo- do not talk to the host. Go directly to the bartender. If you talk to the host you will wait much longer, even though they may tell you that you are supposed to talk to the host.

I got into a long argument about that recently....cause that was always my position and talking to the bartender had always worked for me. others insisted that you have to go to the host.

well, the last two times I went (since that conversation), the bartender did in fact direct me over to the maitre'd.

take it up with Sneakeater.

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The bartender reacharound at Babbo is indeed a reacharound. I used to do it, too, until I concluded it constituted cutting ahead of the people who'd registered with the maitre d'.

Also, as Nathan notes, it doesn't seem to work anymore.

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My meals at Lupa in recent years have been extremely uneven.  If you decide to go, I'd suggest putting your name in early (waits are generally an hour to three hours) and then having some drinks at Pegu Club across the street.

Add: Insieme and A Voce would also be good choices.

Not to argue, but my last 3 meals at Lupa (all within the past 6 months) have been very good. And it's at a quite different price point than A Voce, Insieme, Esca or Babbo, where you will undoubtedly have very good food as well.

You might even want to try Bar Milano - our pastas in the first week of operation were quite good, and they should only get better as a bit of time goes by...but it also is operating at a much higher price point than Lupa.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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Wow! Thanks for all the prompt replies guys! I had already thought about going to Babbo (Just read Bill Buford's "Heat") an Lupa also sounds great.

I have a couple other questions though...are there any quality hostels in the downtown area? And also, is Jean Georges "Jacket and Tie Required", since it is a 3 Michelin star?

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for pasta, one restaurant i love is bar pitti 268 6th ave. i absolutely love eating there.

other places i recommend that dont break the bank:

momofuku noodle bar

florent

marlow and sons (brooklyn)

tia pol

for drinks:

death and co. (ask for joaquin)

pegu club

PDT

milk and honey

rusty knot (ask for toby)

cheers!


I need an eye opener.

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no tie at JG, a jacket is a good idea.

there are hostels in NY but quality?.....

the White Hall is downtown.

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Heading to NYC in early July -- WD-50 lunch & Jean Georges lunch already booked. Trying to decide between Lupa and Babbo for dinner one night and I also have one open slot for dinner. . . suggestions?? It will follow a Jean Georges lunch and I will try (in vain I am sure) for a Ko reservation) and Saam is always a possibility although I have been there a few times. Any other suggestions for a terrific, interesting dinner?

Many thanks in advance!

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But if you can't get into Babbo, Lupa is a very respectable alternative.

(Avoid the saltimbocca.)


Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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