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New Yorkers: put your money where your mouth is!


Fat Guy
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A couple of years ago I started a topic aimed at determining true favorite restaurants. Let's bring this up to date. The same rules apply:

- Let's rule out the neighborhood takeout and HMR (home meal replacement) places that you'd never visit again if you moved to the other end of the city.

- Let's also rule out the super-luxe special-occasion places.

- Rule out business meals, meals of necessity (compromise places near the theater, near your parents, etc.) or any meals where someone else is covering the bill so it's not your personal money at stake.

- Don't list a place unless you personally and happily pay to eat there at least every other month (five or six times in the past 12 months, minimum -- past 12 months only; for the purposes of this topic we don't want to know where you used to eat a lot).

Based on all those criteria, the following are my favorite restaurants right now:

- Burger Bar at Beacon - I've posted ad nauseam about the Burger Bar/Kitchen Counter at Beacon, which is probably the place I've visited most often in the past several months. This is the place I go for lunch with my son.

- Szechuan Gourmet - I had a great run with Szechuan Gourmet over the past year, with more than a dozen visits. It still remains an open question how the New York Times review and increased popularity will affect the restaurant. There have been enough negative reports lately that I'm worried, though my last meal there was superb.

- Momofukus - Not a creative, choice, I know, but I can't stay away, particularly from Noodle Bar ever since it moved to its new location. My concern right now involves reports of an abbreviated menu, but I haven't been in since that popped up.

- Kampuchea - This went from being a place I had doubts about to being a place I've chosen over the Momofukus on a couple of key occasions when I had people I needed to impress. I think Kampuchea (which will be the site of my book-release party, so I'm now hopelessly in the tank for Kampuchea) is consistently under-valued in the press. I may go there for lunch today.

- Sripraphai - I think there was a dip in quality after the latest expansion and wacky New York Times two-star review, but recent visits to Sripraphai have been totally successful. I used to go more often but have probably been five times in the past year.

The following are repeats from my 2006 list:

- Bread Bar at Tabla - Like the Bar Room at the Modern (which fell off my list this year), the Bread Bar is the "lite" version of a fancier USHG restaurant. This synergy works for me, because you get the skill of the fine restaurant's chef, a professionally managed service team, access to superior wines and cocktails and a number of other benefits you wouldn't normally get at the price point.

- New/Nice Green Bo - For me, NGB (which changed its name from New Green Bo to Nice Green Bo this past year) has been the most consistently terrific restaurant in Chinatown.

- Katz's Deli - The best pastrami, end of story. People who think otherwise don't understand pastrami.

Who's next?

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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Momofuku - mostly Noodle Bar.

Ushi Wakamaru, certainly since it reopened.

Sobaya or Soba Koh. Last night was Sobaya, because I like the greater menu variety as opposed to Soba Koh.

Arturo's - our favorite pizza without leaving the borough or traveling really far uptown.

Schiller's - since it's so close and the fries are so damn good.

'inoteca.

Katz's - no explanation needed. Even if it's just for a hot dog.

Great NY Noodletown. For a fix of roast meats or their superb wontons.

Cafe Katja - great, friendly service and great, delicious food, along with a fine beer list and some unusual, unique wines.

Somewhere for BBQ - be it Blue Smoke, RUB or Hill Country.

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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Hmmmm....Bread Bar (my partner and I got written up in Time Out NY in the 'regulars' column since we go there so much)....all time fav. Chris, the chef in Bread Bar, is terrific, and I still love the chicken tikka not to mention the specials. Also, one of the few places in town to stock my fav gin--Old Raj.

I suppose Eleven Madison would be considered a special restaurant, but its a reg place that I wouldn't want to live without. Two visits ago, I mentioned that I love Badoit water, and voila--this week I went and they put a bottle of Badoit on the table! (Not on the menu but they bought a few bottles b/c I had mentioned it--how's that for customer service).

Momofuku Ssam Bar. The pork belly buns are reason enough to put this on a regular rotation.

Tia Pol. Love the charred peppers, the chorizo, the croquettes, etc etc.

Grand Sichuan International on 24th. Favs are the sour string beans with minced pork and the "fresh killed" Aui Zhou Spicy Chicken.

John's on Bleeker St. I still love the #32 with extra garlic.

That about sums it up, I think, as for regular rotation places.

Edited by DutchMuse (log)
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I actually don't have that many places to add that qualify (I'm being very strict with myself on the rules here):

- Nyonya

- Todai!

- USQ Cafe (bar seating mostly)

- Chinatown Brasserie (Sunday Dim Sum)

I think this is a function of working 9-6 and living in the Village - so many options to rotate through within a few minutes walk that there is rarely a need to leave, and when we do we like to rotate through lots of options around town. At the same time, if I moved to the upper east, I'm not sure there is a single place that I currently eat at 5+ times a year near me that I'd travel that far to return to with any level of frequency. I would just assume my new neighborhood would have something similar that would cover me just fine. Or instead of going to Mary's Fish Camp all the time cause it's very close by, I'd split time between that and Pearl Oyster Bar if I'm coming from so far anyways.

There are also a couple of categories which would fit:

- Churrascaria (Plataforma/Porcao)

- Korean BBQ (NY Kom Tang, Kang Suh)

- Momofukus

but because the 7-8 visits we make a year are evenly split, neither qualifies.

Edited by sickchangeup (log)
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They're run by the same group (along with Yakitori Tory's and Abburiya Kinnosuke). I believe the menus are pretty similar between Torys, Totto, and Soba Totto (which has additional Soba items).

Edited by AEK (log)
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They're run by the same group (along with Yakitori Tory's and Abburiya Kinnosuke). I believe the menus are pretty similar between Torys, Totto, and Soba Totto (which has additional Soba items).

Their menus are pretty similar between Yakitori Totto and Torys, yes - the latter is the little sister of the former, but Aburiya pretty much has it's own distinct robata menu with classed up versions of a few Totto things like their trademark tsukune, and Soba Totto's focus is on Soba, and they have a subset of the Yakitori menu, which I don't know will be maintained if and when they open another sister restaurant, as that yakitori menu generally follows the female head chef of the group as she is always working at the newest of the restaurants.

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They're run by the same group (along with Yakitori Tory's and Abburiya Kinnosuke). I believe the menus are pretty similar between Torys, Totto, and Soba Totto (which has additional Soba items).

Their menus are pretty similar between Yakitori Totto and Torys, yes - the latter is the little sister of the former, but Aburiya pretty much has it's own distinct robata menu with classed up versions of a few Totto things like their trademark tsukune, and Soba Totto's focus is on Soba, and they have a subset of the Yakitori menu, which I don't know will be maintained if and when they open another sister restaurant, as that yakitori menu generally follows the female head chef of the group as she is always working at the newest of the restaurants.

Totto and Torys have slightly different menus(torys has the chicken sashimi) and different atmospheres, they almost feel like different unrelated restaurants.

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Man, I thought I spent a lot of money, but you guys have like 10-15 places you visit 5+ times a year, including places like Babbo, Yasuda, Blue Hill and 15 East? I was pretty darn certain that people wouldn't even be able afford to visit places like this 5+ times a year on their own coin. Yow!

I also returned to this list cause I was reminded of another place I goto 5+ times a year and would return to (at some location) regardless of where I live:

Rosa Mexicana

Just got back in point of fact :-)

Edited by sickchangeup (log)
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