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If you were leaving NYC in a month...


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(background for this topic: at the beginning of October I'm leaving the city for a commission in the Army JAG. I'll be in training in Charlottesville until the end of the year and then training at either Fort Benning, GA or Fort Sill, OK until next summer...so I'll post questions on the appropriate forums for those places as those dates draw closer)

I'm looking for a list of places that I should be eating at that are the best of NY and not likely available elsewhere (at least at this quality level) in the U.S. right now my list is something like:

the Momofukus



awesome sushi (I'm not going to end up in L.A. or the bay area)

notable NYC restaurants I haven't been to:



Peter Luger's (but I've been to Wolfgang's)

Gotham Bar & Grill






Per Se


EMP under Humm

The Modern proper

which of these are "musts" before I leave? (keep in mind I'm about to take a significant pay cut)


Edited by Nathan (log)
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Wow - it's going to be quiet around here! Congratulations, Nathan.

I am a huge, huge fan of Cru. The food is sublime - especially the pastas and meat dishes (he's all about sous vide). Go there.

I also would go to EMP and Per Se (especially if you haven't been to PS or TFL before.). My only complaint about EMP is that you can't (or couldn't, when I tried) order off the full menu at the bar.

Two of the places on your list, Oceana and Veritas, have newish chefs who I've heard good things about but haven't been since their tenure started. I'm curious enough about both that I'd go. At Veritas you can eat at the bar, bonus for you and your wallet.

Other than that, I don't feel that Luger's, Picholine or Chanterelle (I've been to all) are musts. I go to Luger's often (my family loves it) and I don't think it's nearly as good as it once was. What I've eaten at Daniel was at the bar, and was phenomenal, but the dining room is seriously stuffy and formal, which is just not my thing.

I go to Gotham pretty frequently, mainly for cocktails, but also at times for food at the bar. It's good, and I have high regard for it as a mainstay in the NY restaurant scene for over 20 years, but it's not really as interesting to me as some of the newer places, especially given the price point.

If I had unlimited funds, I'd go to Masa. Quite unique.

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It depends if you want unequivocally great experiences or the ability to say, "Yeah, I've been to X, it's not as good as everyone says it is." A lot of those restaurants-- Daniel, Luger's, even Per Se--probably fall into that latter category. They're all more than worthy of a visit, especially if price is relatively no object, but they probably won't show you anything you haven't seen or at least read about before.

What you could do, is hit some of those places for their greatest hits. For instance, the potato-crusted fish or duo of beef at Daniel. You should be able to get those at the bar/bar room. Or go the Picholine for like two cheese plates and a bottle of wine. Obviously, the same strategy can be employed at the cheaper places on the list like DiFara's.

If it was me, I'd say definites are EMP tasting menu and Masa. I haven't been to the latter, however. And hope that Corton is open before you leave.

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What you could do, is hit some of those places for their greatest hits.  For instance, the potato-crusted fish or duo of beef at Daniel.  You should be able to get those at the bar/bar room. 

You can (I had the beef at Daniel at the bar). I had to request silence from my dining partner for the first bite.

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You should still be around for the opening of Corton and possibly Shang as well. They are at the top of my personal list. If you haven't been to Soto, that is worth a visit.

One thing I wouldn't worry about though is BBQ :wink:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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It's so strange how people's lists are soooo different. I made my list when I left NYC after a lifetime to move to Italy and it's completely different!

However, my list consisted of food items more than restaurants though too...

at the absolute TOP of my list was:

Smoked Sturgeon, Smoked Salmon and Smoked Whitefish

and then followed with:

Good bagels

Good knishes

Good Hot Dogs (We do have good hot dogs (wurstel) here, but they are different!)

Good Sushi (Boy do I miss it!)

Authentic Ethinic food like Korean, Thai, Middle Eastern, Mexican


Anyway, off your list...I think I would choose Masa! I regret not ever going!!! Really!!

Good Luck with your impending move!!!

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ah....I'll admit to never understanding the attraction of bagels or knishes.

ethnic I'm not so worried about....especially, ahem....middle eastern, or Korean or Mexican.

but I'm thinking about three visits to Sripaphai are in order.

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Wow, Nathan, I can't believe you are leaving NYC! Your voice has been so prominent in this forum. Whenever I see a post with your name on it, I know it's reliable.

Charlottesville is not so far from D.C. that you won't be able to pop over once in awhile for some decent chow a la Jose Andres or Citronelle; likewise with the Cathal Armstrong places in what is it, Alexandria? Also, if you have a hankering for authentic Ethiopian or Chinese, you can get that in D.C. A family friend once said about 25 years ago, that you could tell which countries in the world were experiencing unrest by the new restaurants cropping up in D.C.

Don't forget about the Inn at Little Washington, either- if you have an S.O., that's supposed to be one of the most romantic inns in the world, and the food's great, too.

I don't know what your schedule will be like, though- I bet Army schedules are pretty rigorous.

If I were in your shoes, I would definitely choose Per Se, and either Cru or Masa.

I would pick either EMP or the Modern but not both. Having been to both, my personal preference is the Modern just because I find the service more sincere and the setting beautiful. Not to diss EMP! That's worth it, too, maybe even more fantastic; I just prefer the Modern.

I think Oceana is worth a visit, just because I am familiar with Ben Pollinger's work and I think he is a good chef. But if you're going to choose only one fish extravaganza, well, Masa is the obvious choice.

Tell us all about it, whatever you do!

If I were going to leave New York tomorrow, I think I'd miss the street meat the most. After a month's absence from NYC, I once made my boyfriend drive me straight from LaGuardia to the corner of W. 21st street and 5th Avenue- Long Live Moe's Falafels!

And hey, good luck.

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For awesome sushi, lunch at Yasuda is such a great deal.

For fancy French-ish that doesn't cost a ton, lunch at Jean Georges is without peer.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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For awesome sushi, lunch at Yasuda is such a great deal.

For fancy French-ish that doesn't cost a ton, lunch at Jean Georges is without peer.

the jean georges at lunch is an unbelievable deal. from your list, i would do luger's and make sure you get the bacon and end the meal with the pecan pie. i didn't see le bernadin on your list -- i would absolutely go there.

and -- for great sushi and *excellent* soba -- i would go to soba nippon on 52nd or 53rd btw 6th and 5th. the soba beef salad is my favorite meal in the city.

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thanks for the advice everyone...

although I imagine I'll visit while on leave once in a while, active duty is a four year commitment minimum....so this is very much a farewell tour of NY restaurants over the next month....thus my question over what to prioritize in the limited time remaining...

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I moved away from NYC 3 months ago (but still return a couple of days/week for work so it almost doesn't count), so I can relate. I'd put EMP at the very top of your list, J-G too. Places I regularly return to that are unique to NYC include Bread Bar at Tabla and Grand Sichuan International. Of course, Daniel is great.

Its interesting that although EMP has been one of my fav places ever since Daniel Humm arrived, I've found myself going there more often AFTER I moved than before; I really miss that place!

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