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Where to Eat in NYC 2008? The Big Topic


Saltydog
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Tehuitzingo is excellent, and I'm as picky as absolutely anyone about Mexican.  My point is that a lot of people simply posted that this was difficult or impossible to do, which is utterly unhelpful.  I think it is patently absurd to suggest that someone who has very little access to New York City museums skip the MoMA in favor of the New Museum to save money to eat a $40 lunch.  Are you being facetious?  The MoMA is clearly one of the best modern art museums in the world- virtually everything in a textbook is hanging on the walls of the top floor.  I like the New Museum also, but that's because I'm spoiled enough to have access to both all the time.  Regardless, Calipoutine asked for suggestions with certain criteria.  It is simply not appropriate for us to suggest that she SHOULD have other goals or desires.  Is it not possible for this board to be of actual assistance to someone??

In the context of destination dining that is usually the focus of "where to eat" threads like this I actually do feel that CaliPoutine's makes things somewhat difficult. We're seeing restaurants come out now that hardly ever get any food board play. With that said I know many of us (hopefully CaliPoutine included) relish in the challenge. I'm curious to hear where she ends up.

As for the New Museum vs. the MoMA, this is an interesting debate. I would argue that I've seen more "cool" and "modern" stuff at the New. Of course the MoMA trumps it with not only tourist "been there" value but also with the significance of the works there. And, yes, I would still suggest--with the aforementioned pros and cons--someone go to the New Museum over the MoMA to spend more on food. This is coming from a kid who pretty much skipped the Eiffel Tower on his first trip to Paris (and ALL museums) because the time and few Euros saved could be put to much better culinary use. This is, of course, a food board and my preference is to get creative with the sight-seeing to absolutely stretch and maximize one's dining budget. CaliPoutine by no means needs to adopt these preferences but as someone who is extremely value-conscious (in the utility sense) yet doesn't have a ton of expendable income, there's a lot be gained by thinking about your trip creatively from a budget perspective.

There are surely many people who come to New York and eat nothing but Pax salads to save up the few dollars that will allow them to buy that Chanel bag at their flagship store For them, that's their definitive NYC-travel experience. For me, it's all about the food.

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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There are surely many people who come to New York and eat nothing but Pax salads to save up the few dollars that will allow them to buy that Chanel big at their flagship store For them, that's their definitive NYC-travel experience. For me, it's all about the food.

Ok, now I'm curious. What is a Pax salad?

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I'd adjust a few of those recommendations, but they're mostly solid.  I think 'wichcraft is a lot better than Bryan Z makes it sound.  It's not just a celebrity venue (in fact, you'd be hard pressed to ever catch sight of Tom Colicchio at any location), but a really tasty sandwich shop with quality ingredients.  For Cuban sandwiches and delicacies, try Margon on 46 btw 6 and 7- delicious and cheap.  For dumplings, I like Dumpling House (I think they're technically called Vanessa's Dumplings now) on Eldridge btw Grand and Broome.  If you can spend $30 there, I'd be rather impressed (5 dumplings for $1).  If you must do frozen yogurt, I'd skip pinkberry in favor of yolato, which can be found on 14th Street.  You could also try Kati Roll on MacDougal Street, Mei Lai Wah for roast pork buns and coffee on Bayard Street (grab some ice cream from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory across the street after), Supertaste on Eldridge for hand-pulled noodles in delicious soup (though the beef broth is my favorite), Bouchon Bakery in Columbus circle for their amazing chicken soup with dumplings for $12 (close to your budget but not over it- they have great bread and butter for every table and also a great hearts of romaine salad if you don't want soup), Grand Sichuan House on St. Marks for Chinese (try the baby lamb with cut fresh pepper, kung pao anything, guizhou chicken, etc).  There are other locations for Grand Sichuan House that have different specialties, so ask if you want one in a particular neighborhood.  Tehuitzingo Grocery on 10th btw 47 and 48 has very good tacos.  

If you're willing to travel outside of Manhattan, there are a myriad of amazing choices including most obviously DiFara for pizza, Sripraphai for thai, Spicy and Tasty or Little Pepper for Sichuan, S'Agapo for Greek, etc.  

Honestly, people, your hostility and unhelpfulness is totally uncalled for and obnoxious.  It seems obvious to me that CaliPoutine is simply looking to have a series of meals that are a hit, not necessarily to eat things that can't be procured anywhere else.  With a number of exceptions to be found on the lower east side and a couple of foods we can argue about for days, there's not much that's actually only found in New York. 

CaliP, feel free to PM me if you have questions.

Bouchon is a great suggestion, although I'd have to add the grilled cheese and tomato soup to that :-)

Margon is definitely great as well, there are also a few "Sophies" around where you can grab a huge lunch plate for $10 or under.

Right by the Empire State Building, on Madison at 33rd, is Tina's, which used to be a Sophie's but is essentially the same. The platters are decent enough as is the Cubano but the best things there are the empenadas (fried and kept in a warmer, a bargain at a buck each) and the Fried Pork sandwich (roast pork that is deep fried to give it a crispiness, along with maduros, onions and mayo).

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Grand Sichuan House on St. Marks for Chinese (try the baby lamb with cut fresh pepper, kung pao anything, guizhou chicken, etc).  There are other locations for Grand Sichuan House that have different specialties, so ask if you want one in a particular neighborhood. 

Grand Sichuan ("International" part is sometimes appended) is the name, not Grand Sichuan House.

The guy who runs the 3 most talked about ones also has some GS restaurants he's no longer associated with (the ones in Chinatown and Midtown West).

Here are the three in Manhattan:

Grand Sichuan International

229 9th Ave at 24st (Chelsea)

Grand Sichuan

15 Seventh Ave. South at Leroy (West Village)

Grand Sichuan International

19-23 St. Marks Place (East Village)

between Second and Third Ave.

RIP the Midtown West location.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Grand Sichuan House on St. Marks for Chinese (try the baby lamb with cut fresh pepper, kung pao anything, guizhou chicken, etc).  There are other locations for Grand Sichuan House that have different specialties, so ask if you want one in a particular neighborhood. 

Grand Sichuan ("International" part is sometimes appended) is the name, not Grand Sichuan House.

The guy who runs the 3 most talked about ones also has some GS restaurants he's no longer associated with (the ones in Chinatown and Midtown West).

Here are the three in Manhattan:

Grand Sichuan International

229 9th Ave at 24st (Chelsea)

Grand Sichuan

15 Seventh Ave. South at Leroy (West Village)

Grand Sichuan International

19-23 St. Marks Place (East Village)

between Second and Third Ave.

RIP the Midtown West location.

Yes, I meant Grand Sichuan. I was thinking of Grand Sichuan House because I'm overdue for a meal at that location. Isn't Grand Sichuan in east midtown still open?

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Oops! Good catch.

Grand Sichuan in Midtown WEST is closed.

Grand Sichuan in Midtown EAST and Chinatown are the 2 he's no longer running.

He was there and moved on, his mini empire is really the West Village, East Village, Chelsea, and Jersey City, NJ locations.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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No one disputed that the price point couldn't be met on street food and Chinese (and I verified last night that rai rai ken is in fact a street food place).  The problem is that these places are necessarily neighborhood dependent and aren't necessarily well-sited for a tourist itinerary. Furthermore, I interpreted the OP as asking for sit-down places, not food you have to eat on a park bench (which would suck on a day like today) or require her to run to Chinatown every meal.

As well, all the Sichuan places are out. She doesn't eat spicy food. So stop recommending them.

Finally, it is highly likely that a non-wine-drinker will experience poor service at a Batali restaurant. Especially at peak times. I've seen it.

Edited by Nathan (log)
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For the record, I disagree with your use of "street food."

There are PLENTY of places mentioned in this thread where you can sit down and eat for $15 or less.  As I've said, I imagine most of us do it every day.

The Chinese and mediocre Cuban cafeteria chains yes. And terriyaki boy and some of the korean fried chicken places I'd recommend in this context too. Other places violate the price guidelines once tax and tip are included. But ultimately where they eat is going to be determined by where they are and at what times. Which is why I thought the midtown lunch and vending cart links were a great idea.

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For the record, I disagree with your use of "street food."

There are PLENTY of places mentioned in this thread where you can sit down and eat for $15 or less.  As I've said, I imagine most of us do it every day.

Isn't street food food that you actually eat on the street? You know, with salsa dripping off your elbow? (like I'll be doing in Oaxaca starting tomorrow)

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The Chinese and mediocre Cuban cafeteria chains yes.  And terriyaki boy and some of the korean fried chicken places I'd recommend in this context too. Other places violate the price guidelines once tax and tip are included.  But ultimately where they eat is going to be determined by where they are and at what times. Which is why I thought the midtown lunch and vending cart links were a great idea.

Read the thread. There are PLENTY of places mentioned that aren't Chinese and mediocre Cuban cafeteria chains, or Terriyaki Boy or Korean fried chicken.

(Of course you're right that it's very location-dependent.) (And that Midtown Lunch is a great resource. But that's my point. Most of what's on Midtown Lunch isn't street food.)

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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As well, all the Sichuan places are out. She doesn't eat spicy food. So stop recommending them.

There are non-spicy items that are done very well at Grand Sichuan, though you do have a point. It depends how non-spicy is meant by not spicy, I suppose. There are lots of good items at GS that aren't spicy, including veggies and that lamb dish.

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As well, all the Sichuan places are out. She doesn't eat spicy food. So stop recommending them.

There are non-spicy items that are done very well at Grand Sichuan, though you do have a point. It depends how non-spicy is meant by not spicy, I suppose. There are lots of good items at GS that aren't spicy, including veggies and that lamb dish.

well..it's kind of a castrated way to eat Sichuan food.

long experience has taught me that when someone says they don't eat spicy food it means that they REALLY don't....and that they'll even notice heat where chiliheads can't even detect it. consider that about 75% of people who say they "like spicy food" can't actually handle Sichuan heat.

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As well, all the Sichuan places are out. She doesn't eat spicy food. So stop recommending them.

There are non-spicy items that are done very well at Grand Sichuan, though you do have a point. It depends how non-spicy is meant by not spicy, I suppose. There are lots of good items at GS that aren't spicy, including veggies and that lamb dish.

As well, all the Sichuan places are out. She doesn't eat spicy food. So stop recommending them.

Finally, it is highly likely that a non-wine-drinker will experience poor service at a Batali restaurant. Especially at peak times. I've seen it.

This is a good point because I dont eat spicy. The Friday dinner at Heartland Gathering in August was held at a Sichuan place. I initially questioned whether or not I should attend, and I was told that there will be "mild" items. Wrong, nothing was mild, I ended up having to order something " gringo" from the regular menu so I could eat. Besides the spicy, it was very red meat heavy( including lamb).

I much prefer Cantonese or Hunan type of Chinese food.

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As well, all the Sichuan places are out. She doesn't eat spicy food. So stop recommending them.

There are non-spicy items that are done very well at Grand Sichuan, though you do have a point. It depends how non-spicy is meant by not spicy, I suppose. There are lots of good items at GS that aren't spicy, including veggies and that lamb dish.

well..it's kind of a castrated way to eat Sichuan food.

long experience has taught me that when someone says they don't eat spicy food it means that they REALLY don't....and that they'll even notice heat where chiliheads can't even detect it. consider that about 75% of people who say they "like spicy food" can't actually handle Sichuan heat.

This is one point I'll totally agree with you on. I can't handle ANY spice at all.

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No one disputed that the price point couldn't be met on street food and Chinese (and I verified last night that rai rai ken is in fact a street food place). 

Hmmm - so one eats steaming hot bowls of ramen on the street?

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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No one disputed that the price point couldn't be met on street food and Chinese (and I verified last night that rai rai ken is in fact a street food place).

Hmmm - so one eats steaming hot bowls of ramen on the street?

Ramen-ya. . . Street. . . Same thing. :smile:

--

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No one disputed that the price point couldn't be met on street food and Chinese (and I verified last night that rai rai ken is in fact a street food place). 

Hmmm - so one eats steaming hot bowls of ramen on the street?

I saw no seats at Rai Rai Ken or Curry Ya...so in my view they're street food (a concept of which I'm a fan...I just thought that was a different thread)

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I saw no seats at Rai Rai Ken or Curry Ya...so in my view they're street food (a concept of which I'm a fan...I just thought that was a different thread)

Definitely seats - as a matter of fact, I had lunch at Curry Ya today, sitting down, inside. Not bad, by the way.

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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I got this info from CH. What do you think of this UWS tour?

Start at Grandaisy bakery on 72nd and B'way and try the pizza bianca and whatever else might appeal. (Check out Grey's Papaya next door for hot dogs.)

http://www.grandaisybakery.com/

Walk a block up Amsterdam to Jacques Torres chocolates

http://www.mrchocolate.com/

Head west to Broadway to check out Fairway and Citarella. Don’t miss Zabar upstairs for cooking equipment at very good prices with a very knowledgeable staff.

Keep walking north on Broadway to Zabars, passing Grom, Beard Papa, and H&H on the way. Then over to Barney Greengrass at Amsterdam and 86th Street.

Don’t know where specifcally—or when—about the Super Taco Truck; maybe someone else can add more info.

Hit Murray's Sturgeon (90th and Broadway) for any of their smoked fish or Barney Greengrass (Amsterdam and 86th St) whose lox, eggs and onions are amazing as well as their fish too!

Magnolia Bakery at 69th and Columbus.

Soutine Bakery on W 70th between Broadway and Columbus (closer to Columbus)

Then on to Silver Moon Bakery at Broadway and 105th.

http://www.silvermoonbakery.com/

Add the new Grandaisy Bakery on 72nd off of Amsterdam for a slice of potatoe/rosemary pizza. And I think Absolute Bagels on B'way around 106 are the best bagels on the UWS.

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Coming to New York for the first time in my life and want to make the most of it. I want to visit smaller independent interesting restaurant/bars. Trailblazing gutsy and fun. Don't want to hit the Daniel price points but want the great grit of where the locals go and design/menu wise hot stuff...what's interesting...hit me with everything you've got. I want to hit many places with trying a few bites at the bar to avoid booking resos too heavy.I'm there Dec.21 - Jan3.09. Let me know your thoughts!!

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