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Where to Eat in NYC 2008? The Big Topic


Saltydog
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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.

Perfectly great.

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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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!!

For price points below the four stars/places where locals regularly eat:

Monday Room

Ssam Bar

Perry Street

Babbo

Lupa

Insieme

Scarpetta

Convivio

Esca

Sripaphai

Spicy & Tasty

Balthazar

Blue Hill

Bar Room at the Modern

Tailor

WD-50

Tavern Room at Gramercy Tavern

Sushi Yasuda

Peter Luger's/Wolfgang's

Ino/Inoteca

Gottino

Terroir

Monday Room

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Nathan: Had the pasta tasting menu Friday night at Insieme--thanks for the tip! It was all lovely and, as I had the bar to myself, I got great wine advice throughout from the bartender. The mushroom risotto was fantastic, as was the chicken liver agnolotti (sp?) and the pasta with swordfish, potatoes, and capers. I wanted to pick the dishes and lick them!

The other high point of the week was the tasting menu at Spice Market--with the exception of the chicken breast and the fried rice, the meal was excellent. 10 courses of various east-Asian-inspired dishes--the chocolate tart at the end was particularly good, not too sweet, but still rich and creamy. I especially liked the Shaved Tuna with Chili Tapioca Asian Pear and Lime, it had a that lovely layered balance of flavors that I associate with Thai or Vietnamese food.

I was sorry to see my week end. :)

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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I know, I know... it's New York so of course there are tons of new places... But I have been away from the area for over a year and would like to catch up on the latest and greatest. What would you say are the top 5-10 restaurants (at all price points) that I should check out to help get me back into the swing of things? Many thanks in advance!

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Dont know if this will help w/ recs, but we've decided to take a 48hr hop on, hop off tour.

The areas of the tour:

The Uptown Loop

Harlem

Central Park

Lincoln Center

Dakota Apartments

Museum Mile, and more!

The Downtown Loop

Times Square

Empire State Building

Rockefeller Center / Top of the Rock

World Trade Center Site

Little Italy, and more!

The Brooklyn Loop

Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Museum

Antique Furniture District

Fulton Mall

5th & 7th Avenue boutiques, restaurants, shops, and more!

Night Tour (until Nov 26, 2008)

Empire State Building

China Town

Manhattan Bridge

Soho

Rockefeller Center, and more!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, we are a young(ish!) couple coming to NY for the weekend from Boston next month. I have been researching our dining and drinking schedule for weeks, have gotten some good advice already and have whittled our choices to the following. I would appreciate any advice or comments on our choices or how we could improve our plan or diversify it. We eat just about anything (no shellfish - food allergy) and will be remaining downtown:

Fri lunch: Kampuchea or Freeman's

Fri Dinner: Double Crown (interested in the Brit/Indian menu)

Sat lunch: Ssam (can't wait to try the pork buns)

Sat Dinner: Tailor

Sun Brunch: Schiller's

Also, we are interested in finding good cocktails. I have amassed a list of places that interest me, but unless I plan to end up in the ER with alcohol poisoning, I have to make some hard choices! 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.

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Couple of points. I'd do Ssam for dinner, not lunch, as the menu at lunch is very simple and not at all representative of what Chef Chang is doing.

I think you could show up around 7 and (maybe with a brief wait) get in for drinks at somewhere like Pegu Clubb or PDT or milk and honey, etc. I don't think any of the places will take reservations for a party of 2 (others, correct me if I'm mistaken), but I don't think the wait will be awful. And no, you won't have to deal with a ridiculous door policy at any of them.

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Sounds like you have a pretty good list. As far as cocktails any of the places on the list will have Absinthe, some more than others, and most will do a traditional absinthe service for you.

You will have no problem getting into Flatiron or Pegu around that time, as they are huge, and don't have a tough door policy. Little Branch should be ok at that time, but D&C could be hit or miss. Sometimes they fill up early, othertimes a little later. Luckily the doorpeople at D&C are first rate, and they will take your number and call you back as soon as a spot opens for you.

Apotheke on the otherhand will be the toughest. I tried to go there twice without much luck. The last time I was told they were "fully occupied" even though when the door opened and there were at most 10 people inside -- I most likely won't be going back. Not to mention you can enjoy 2 drinks at any of the other bars you mentioned for the price of one at Apotheke.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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So, we are a young(ish!) couple coming to NY for the weekend from Boston next month.  I have been researching our dining and drinking schedule for weeks, have gotten some good advice already and have whittled our choices to the following.  I would appreciate any advice or comments on our choices or how we could improve our plan or diversify it.  We eat just about anything (no shellfish - food allergy) and will be remaining downtown:

Fri lunch:  Kampuchea or Freeman's

Fri Dinner:  Double Crown (interested in the Brit/Indian menu)

Sat lunch: Ssam (can't wait to try the pork buns)

Sat Dinner:  Tailor

Sun Brunch:  Schiller's

Also, we are interested in finding good cocktails.  I have amassed a list of places that interest me, but unless I plan to end up in the ER with alcohol poisoning, I have to make some hard choices!  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.

I haven't heard anything about the food at Double Crown yet other than what Sneakeater wrote. I feel like you could easily fill this slot with something amazing. As DutchMuse noted, I'd do Ssam for dinner, although recent reports on that thread (weinoo?) are that the lunch menu has changed.

As johnder pointed out, Death & Co (as well as PDT) is unpredictable at 7pm. They both open at 6, and I find I have the best luck if I go close to opening time. D&Co was filled, bar and tables, last night by 7pm. Note that D&C doesn't take resys at all and PDT doesn't take them for the bar, but if you're 2 people that's definitely where you should sit. I would encourage you to go to at least one of these, as they are absolutely spectacular. Just go early. Both will call your cell when seats open up if they don't have seats for you right away. Pegu, Little Branch and Flatiron can fairly easily be visited later on in the evening. M&H doesn't open till later, 9 I think.

I went to White Star last night for the first time and really enjoyed it - I may even have gotten over my disgust of bars in NY on Saturday nights. It had a great mellow vibe, and I loved the absinthe. The cocktail selection is limited because the bar doesn't stock simple or citrus - but you can really do a hell of a lot of good things with what they have (manhattans, old fashioneds, negroni, amari, absinthe, etc.)

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As johnder pointed out, Death & Co (as well as PDT) is unpredictable at 7pm. They both open at 6, and I find I have the best luck if I go close to opening time.  D&Co was filled, bar and tables, last night by 7pm.  Note that D&C doesn't take resys at all and PDT doesn't take them for the bar, but if you're 2 people that's definitely where you should sit.  I would encourage you to go to at least one of these, as they are absolutely spectacular.  Just go early.  Both will call your cell when seats open up if they don't have seats for you right away.  Pegu, Little Branch and Flatiron can fairly easily be visited later on in the evening.  M&H doesn't open till later, 9 I think.

In my experience PDT is the hardest. The tables and booths seem basically all reserved already. I think they have two 2-top tables. Bar is first come, first served. Capacity is quite small. I've shown up at 6:45pm on a Friday, and it's packed, but Death & Co is not yet full. I think New Yorkers tend to work later (past 6pm) so Friday will be easier than Saturday. Meanwhile, I went to Pegu Club at 6:30pm last Friday and it was half empty. They have shuffled up the menu a little recently and there is a red bell pepper based drink with cucumber that is fantastic.

PDT: smallest, no standing, very popular, and hardest because it also takes reservations for tables/booths, bar is first come first served

D&C: a little larger and easier to get into than PDT, no standing, no reservations, but Kelvin the doorman is a sweetheart and good about calling you back

Flatiron and Pegu: they allow standing and are much larger, only take reservations for large groups IIRC

And if you're into cocktails, be sure to try some at Tailor, of course. The downstairs lounge is huge and has banquettes, standing counters against the wall, and the bar. They are quite popular on the weekends, though, with a non-cocktailian crowd. Go earlier rather than later. And since you'll be in the neighborhood, try the new list at Allen & Delancey by Alex Day of Death & Co. The bar there is rarely full, and it's gorgeous. I love the booth up front, very cozy.

Edited by kathryn (log)
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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I appreciate the helpful cocktail info. Now I can plan our evenings better. So, I think we will give PDT a pass this time and I am rethinking our Double Crown reservation. I don't want to waste a meal on not-so-good food. My other thoughts were Allen & Delancey (but, the photos I've seen make it look very dark inside, how is the room?) or Bar Blanc? I would do Ssam for dinner but the website says that they don't take reservations. Sorry to ask so many questions, but I am a compulsive planner!

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At Ssam Bar, it definitely looked to me like the full menu was being served at lunch a couple of Friday's ago. You could always go to Noodle Bar for lunch instead of Ssam, as the menu is back to being fully functional, and many have enjoyed the food there as much as at Ssam. Kampuchea will not thrill you like either of the Momos mentioned.

Freeman's - I don't know that it would be high on anyone's list for a visitor.

Allen & Delancey is dark inside.

While the Schiller's brunch is really good, the brunch at Balthazar is even a step up from that, and the room is spectacular.

Those in the know have commented on Double Crown. What I don't see on your list is a place like Katz's, a true NY experience that can't be had anywhere else. Or an Otto or Lupa, where you can have some of the finest casual Italian food without hopping a plane to Italy. And don't forget the rest of the lower, lower east side, Doughnut Plant, Kossar's, Pickle Guys and Il Laboratorio.

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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Yes, Ssam has upgraded their lunch service. Check the web site. They don't serve as much as they do during dinner, but it's more than it used to be.

As for A&D: It's dark but you get used to it. The new cocktail menu is very good. The atmosphere is quite cozy, lots of candles, chandeliers, exposed brick, faux library/study with the books and shelving and paintings. It's romantic and the food is good.

Edited by kathryn (log)
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Hmm..so I will keep Ssam for Saturday lunch. Sat dinner is still undecided, maybe Balthazar since it sounds good??? The reason I didn't include Katz's is that I gleaned from obsessive reading of posts that Katz's is best only for pastrami and, I have to be honest, I am just not a fan of pastrami. However, I have Russ & Daughters on the list for a stop before we head out of town. The problem is that I cannot cram all the places I want to go into two days.

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My other thoughts were Allen & Delancey (but, the photos I've seen make it look very dark inside, how is the room?)

I've been to Allen & Delancey a couple of times, and it just didn't seem that dark to me. It was already dark out, though, and we sat at the bar. I thought it was cozy, warm, and Alex is fabulous!

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One more question.....one of my favorite things to do when I'm away is hit the food markets. I know of Essex St. Market and Chelsea Market, but are there others? Essex St. would be convenient because it is close to where we are staying. Is it worth a couple hours? Any advice on vendors or products not to miss? Thanks!

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One more question.....one of my favorite things to do when I'm away is hit the food markets.  I know of Essex St. Market and Chelsea Market, but are there others?  Essex St. would be convenient because it is close to where we are staying.  Is it worth a couple hours?  Any advice on vendors or products not to miss? Thanks!

The Essex St. market is not worth a couple of hours - it's fun for the historical purposes, but unless you're going there to really shop for food, it is not a "don't miss." Much better off, as Sam says, to spend a few hours at the green market in Union Square and perhaps the enormous Whole Foods across 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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Go to Essex Street Market just to eat lunch at Shopsin's (Tuesday - Saturday) and then walk quickly through the market afterwards, but it's not all that interesting in comparison to say, Zabar's/Fairway/Chelsea markets or the Greenmarket (M, W, F, Sat, 8am-6pm).

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