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Swicks

Help with upcoming NYC trip!

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Hello New York (and beyond) Egulleters!

I will be making a trip to your fair city in a few weeks and wanted to garner a few recommendations and some advice. You all were so helpful last time around, I am hoping for more of the same.

I will be staying for a week and still have some plans to make but for now I have narrowed it down to a few specific requests based on what my plans are thus far. I will be mostly sightseeing on my own during the day and hanging out with friends in the evenings so I plan to try and make the most of my breakfast and lunch times when I am on my own. At this point I think I will be leaving dinners up to my friends who are locals, with maybe one exception or two.

I will be staying in the Brooklyn Heights area with friends and venturing into Manhattan from there. For now, I'll break up my questions into Breakfast, Lunch, and Etc for simplicity sake.

Breakfast - Ideally I am looking for coffee shops/cafes for a quick breakfast of coffee and a pastry/bagel, etc. rather than a full breakfast. There are so many good independent coffee shops now I see absolutely no reason to stick to crappy starbucks and stale blueberry muffins.

-Can you give me a few recs in the Brooklyn area? Say B-Heights, Williamsburg, or Greenpoint?

-What about in Manhattan? Say Midtown and below?

-What about one location near Central Park? I plan on taking a day to explore that area as well.

Lunch - I plan on doing most my my choices here because I will mostly be on my own out sightseeing. Ideally I'd like to keep my budget for each meal around $25 or so, with the exception of one splurge. Is this do-able?

-I'd like to do one of the classic deli's and from what I read Katz's is still tops, is this the general opinion?

-I plan on one splurge lunch, probably at Jean Georges, is this still the best high end bang for the buck?

-For lunch, Momo SB or Momo Noodle? I went to both my last trip, noodle for lunch and SB for dinner, I was wondering how they are still faring.

-One rec around Central Park?

-What are a few other recommended spots? I will be all over so location is not super important. (no mexican and no sushi)

-Pizza - Do the well regarded spots such as Lombardis, John's of Bleeker, etc do slices or just whole pies? Is DiFara worth the trip? If I recall correctly they only do whole pies?

Etc - Just a few other randoms...

Pubs - A few recs for a nice spot to enjoy a late afternoon pint? Spotted Pig is one I know I want to try.

Cookies - I am a chocolate chip cookie fiend, other than Levain Bakery, what else is good?

I know this is an incredibly large amount of info but I tried to be as specific as possible. I thank you all for your contributions and recommendations, I know EG won't let me down. :biggrin:

Best Regards,

-SW


"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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-I'd like to do one of the classic deli's and from what I read Katz's is still tops, is this the general opinion?

Yes.

-I plan on one splurge lunch, probably at Jean Georges, is this still the best high end bang for the buck?

Yes.

-For lunch, Momo SB or Momo Noodle?  I went to both my last trip, noodle for lunch and SB for dinner, I was wondering how they are still faring.

Unless Ssam Bar has drastically expanded its lunch offerings (which it might have -- it's been moving in that direction), Noodle Bar remains the better lunch choice as its entire menu (I think) is available for lunch.

They're both still great, BTW.

-One rec around Central Park?

Jean Georges is on Central Park.

-What are a few other recommended spots?  I will be all over so location is not super important.  (no mexican and no sushi)

Oops. There goes the Sushi Yasuda recommendation.

-Pizza - Do the well regarded spots such as Lombardis, John's of Bleeker, etc do slices or just whole pies?

I'm not sure I'd call those places so "well regarded." In any event, John's doesn't do slices, and I think Lombardi's doesn't either.

Is DiFara worth the trip?  If I recall correctly they only do whole pies?

DiFara does slices.

But as someone who loves that place, who thinks it's the best pizza I've ever had, who thinks it's about as perfect as New York-style pizza can be, I have to say that I don't think it's worth a trip. Not only will it take you a long time to get there, but in part because of the crowds it attracts but mainly because Dom is so disorganized, it takes forever to get served there. You'd have to devote an afternoon to it.


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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As usual, I second most, if not all, of Sneakeater's comments. Def yes on Katz's and J-G.

On my last few visits to Momo Ssam for lunch (there were a bunch for me in December) I'd concluded that the lunch menu was getting good. Lots more variety than previously. And I heard that Noodle's menu was getting weirdly limited.

For breakfast, I love City Bakery on 18th bet 5/6th aves - counter service w/ great pastries and other options (oatmeal, fruit, yogurt). Pretzel croissant is not to be missed. You can feed your cookie craving there too. Not special coffee though. Downtown in manhattan I like Joe and 9th St. Espresso for coffee, also wichcraft has very good coffee and pastries (there are multiple of each spot). If you want a livelier sit down kind of thing Balthazar is quite entertaining. You could get coffee and food at the bar without committing to a giant meal. Balth's take out place right next door has great pastries too, you can sit on the bench outside only though.

For lunch, Ippudo. Cheap and delicious.

Consider Gramercy Tavern's tavern room for a lunch? Maybe more than $25, but I was there for lunch last week and it's still so damned good.

Spotted Pig: yes yes yes. There's no wrong time of day for a pint at the Pig. I prefer Sunday afternoons myself.

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As usual, I agree with everything Daisy says.

Except for the stuff I don't know about, like breakfast.

And, there is a wrong time of day for a pint at the Pig. E.g., any time between say 8 PM and 1 AM, when you can't get to the bar without fighting.

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And, there is a wrong time of day for a pint at the Pig.  E.g., any time between say 8 PM and 1 AM, when you can't get to the bar without fighting.

See, he's always right.

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A few of my favorite coffee and something sweet breakfasts:

An espresso and an apricot filled cornetto at Zibetto (italian espresso) on 56th and 6th (no seats) (or, even, get your croissant or pastry at Bouchon in Time Warner and run it over to Zibetto for the coffee).

Pain au chocolat and cafe au lait at La Bergamote (19th and 9th, and 52nd and 10th)

The "country breakfast" at Amy's Bread (I'm not a huge Amy's fan, but I love the combination of biscuits and jam) (multiple locations)

Cream (not raspberry) bomboloni at Sullivan Street Bakery

I'm sure someone will eventually mention Artichoke for a slice of pizza. As for other lunches, you can make a bit of a study of the burger renaissance, if that's your thing. In midtown, there's Burger Joint, Beacon, 5 Napkin Burger, City Burger.

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[...]Lunch - I plan on doing most my my choices here because I will mostly be on my own out sightseeing.  Ideally I'd like to keep my budget for each meal around $25 or so, with the exception of one splurge.  Is this do-able?[...]

Yes, easily.

You should TOTALLY go to Katz's!

If you want to go to a pizzeria in Brooklyn or fairly downtown Manhattan (which would eliminate Patsy's East Harlem), you might want to consider the following:

Arturo's, on the corner of Houston and Thompson, for semi-thin-crust pizza (whole pies only, to eat in) and jazz. If you go there, get a clam pie.

Franny's on Flatbush Av. in what I guess is actually Bed-Stuy (just across the street from Park Slope) for upscale pizza plus other stuff (caveat: I haven't been there in years).

L'Asso in the northern reaches of Little Italy (or is it "NoLiTa"?). (Caveat: I haven't been there yet and, therefore, can't personally recommend it.)

Do a search of this board and any other sites you consider to be useful, under those names, and see what you think.

I love DiFara's but haven't been there for a bit less than a year, because I'm not willing to wait 2 hours for a pizza.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Remember, Arturo's is not open for lunch...that's dinner only.

The slice places that are considered worthy in Manhattan are Vinny Vincenze on 1st Ave. around 12th St., the stand-up only place that I think is called Joe's, on 6th Avenue just north of Bleecker/Carmine Sts. and Bleecker St. Pizza, at 89 7th Ave.and Bleecker St...the grandma slice. Oh, and Artichoke...

Motorino, at 319 Graham Ave. at Devoe St. in Brooklyn, seems to be pleasing one of our city's most prominent chefs, as reported in this piece in Grub Street:

Mario Batali was last seen gallivanting around Spain, but with a new wave of pizza arriving in New York — and eating cheap more desirable than ever — this seemed a fine time to bring him back to his Italian roots. We took Batali on a tour of four of the city’s new pizzerias including Co., Spunto, Motorino, and San Marzano.

You can't do much better (or much cheaper) for lunch than the delicious wonton noodle soup or roasted meats over rice at Great NY Noodletown, on the Bowery at Bayard. There's a whole mess of hand-pulled noodle shops in Chinatown - we had very good noodles at the newish Tasty Noodles on Doyers St. for like $5. The ramen places mentioned (Ippudo, Setagaya) are fine, but a bit more moolah than the Chinese noodle places.

Breakfast at Balthazar is considered classic. Great pastries and breads.

And Falai Panetteria, on Clinton Street, has some wonderful baked goods...the aforementioned bombolino comes to mind.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

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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Franny's on Flatbush Av. in what I guess is actually Bed-Stuy (just across the street from Park Slope) for upscale pizza plus other stuff (caveat: I haven't been there in years).

PROSPECT HEIGHTS.

Geez.

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For a quick coffee and pastry for breakfast I second Cafe Falai on Clinton. Also, Abraco on 7th and 1st serves some of the best espresso around and their small selection of pastries, cakes and quiches are excellent. There is no seating there, however. Ninth street espresso at 9th and C also serves excellent espresso and pastries from Balthazar bakery. For something a bit more substantial, a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese and a coffee at Russ and Daughters is one of my favourite breakfasts in the city.

On the Central Park front, cheers to the Zibetto rec - I had no idea that it was there and I've been looking for good coffee in that area for a year and a half. Otherwise, for non-Jean Georges, Bouchon Bakery is, unfortunately, your best option. It's good, just not quite good enough for the price.

For cookies, Momofuku Milk Bar does excellent, homey and creative cookies.

If you're near Chinatown, Vanessa's Dumplings is the best of the cheap dumpling places and also does excellent sesame pancakes and soups. Similarly, Nice Green Bo does really great soup dumplings. Both are dirt cheap.

Spotted Pig is great for a mid-afternoon drink. As much as I'm loathe to admit it, Spitzer's Corner at Rivington and Ludlow is good for a late afternoon beer and people watching, although it's not really a pub. Inoteca, right across the street, is a good spot for a class of wine and panini at lunch.

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[.

On the Central Park front, cheers to the Zibetto rec - I had no idea that it was there and I've been looking for good coffee in that area for a year and a half. Otherwise, for non-Jean Georges, Bouchon Bakery is, unfortunately, your best option. It's good, just not quite good enough for the price.

Near Central Park you also have Bar Boulud, Picholine, Landmarc among othjers to consider.

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Thanks to all who contributed, much appreciated. This is a ton of great info to get me started.

Thanks!

Does Ippudo best Setagaya? Last time I was in New York was right around the time Setagaya opened and that was the talk of all the ramen-ites at the time.


Edited by Swicks (log)

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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Remember, Arturo's is not open for lunch...that's dinner only.

The slice places that are considered worthy in Manhattan are Vinny Vincenze on 1st Ave. around 12th St., the stand-up only place that I think is called Joe's, on 6th Avenue just north of Bleecker/Carmine Sts. and Bleecker St. Pizza, at 89 7th Ave.and Bleecker St...the grandma slice.  Oh, and Artichoke...

Motorino,  at 319 Graham Ave. at Devoe St. in Brooklyn, seems to be pleasing one of our city's most prominent chefs, as reported in this piece in Grub Street:

Mario Batali was last seen gallivanting around Spain, but with a new wave of pizza arriving in New York — and eating cheap more desirable than ever — this seemed a fine time to bring him back to his Italian roots. We took Batali on a tour of four of the city’s new pizzerias including Co., Spunto, Motorino, and San Marzano.

You can't do much better (or much cheaper) for lunch than the delicious wonton noodle soup or roasted meats over rice at Great NY Noodletown, on the Bowery at Bayard. There's a whole mess of hand-pulled noodle shops in Chinatown - we had very good noodles at the newish Tasty Noodles on Doyers St. for like $5. The ramen places mentioned (Ippudo, Setagaya) are fine, but a bit more moolah than the Chinese noodle places.

Breakfast at Balthazar is considered classic. Great pastries and breads.

And Falai Panetteria, on Clinton Street, has some wonderful baked goods...the aforementioned bombolino comes to mind.

Yes, Arturo's is only for dinner.

I agree with most of these recommendations but was really underwhelmed with the slice I got at Vinny Vincenz several months ago and I was also unimpressed with both the artichoke and crab slices at Artichoke.

Sneakeater, my father, who grew up in Crown Heights in the 1930s, always said that Bed-Stuy began on the other side of Flatbush Av. from Park Slope. I did some checking, and I can see that there is some history of calling that area Prospect Heights, but even now, it doesn't seem to be a universal designation. I take your point, though.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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It's pretty universal to people now living in Brooklyn. And it certainly has historical legs: Aaron Copland was saying he was born in Prospect Heights as far back as I think the 1930s.

(Really, I'm not being picky. It's just that anyone who now lives in Brooklyn would tell you that Franny's is one or two miles away from Bed-Stuy, so it's confusing. If a Manhattan tourist told a cabbie he was going to Bed-Stuy, the cabbie wouldn't take him anywhere near where Franny's is.)

(I also resent it when people keep trying to take my neighborhood's one solid asset and put it in other neighborhoods.)


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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Sneakeater, my father, who grew up in Crown Heights in the 1930s, always said that Bed-Stuy began on the other side of Flatbush Av. from Park Slope.

Sneakeater's your father?

Also surprisingly spry for one his age!

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Sneakeater, my father, who grew up in Crown Heights in the 1930s, always said that Bed-Stuy began on the other side of Flatbush Av. from Park Slope.

Sneakeater's your father?

Also surprisingly spry for one his age!

:laugh:

Sneakeater, according to the Wikipedia article on Prospect Heights, the Brooklyn Museum and the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza are also in the neighborhood, so there's more than one asset there. But anyway. :smile:


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I agree with most of these recommendations but was really underwhelmed with the slice I got at Vinny Vincenz several months ago and I was also unimpressed with both the artichoke and crab slices at Artichoke.

Vinny Vincenz's round pie tends to be a little underdone, but it's a good gas-oven slice, nothing more. Get it well done if you want a litlte more char. The square slice is among the better square slices in town.

Artichoke's pies have too much crust. It's all out of proportion. The artichoke pie is a novelty, but way too big and gloppy. The crab slice seemed really unappetizing to me, so I didn't try it. The regular slice has a too sweet sauce, too much cheese, and again, really thick crust. The only one I like there is the square.


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

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Sneakeater, according to the Wikipedia article on Prospect Heights, the Brooklyn Museum and the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza are also in the neighborhood, so there's more than one asset there. But anyway. :smile:

I struggle with that. I consider them in the neighborhood, but I also acknowledge Eastern Parkway to be the boundary. That would put them in whatever neighborhood is on the other side of Eastern Parkway. Some people used to call the several-block stretch in which they're located its own neighborhood, called Institution Park, but that seems lame.

In any event, I'm happy to claim them.


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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Not that you asked, but if you need any local advice, I'm in Brooklyn Heights (for the last 27 years or so) & we eat out 8 nights/week, much of it in the surrounding area. Send me a pm or e-mail.

If you're in the area late morning or lunch (not sure why you would be but if...), then walk to Atlantic Ave and stop into Sahadi's (betw. Henry/Clinton). Lebanese store with everything from prepared foods to nuts/fruits/cheeses/breads... dont miss this, you dont have one on the West Coast.

Inexpensive decent Polish breakfast (perogis, blintzes, egg dishes...) at Teresa's on Montegue St. off Hicks. If your friends try to convince you to have dinner anywhere on Montegue St., dont. Instead recommend local dining at Henry's End (game menu... think turtle soup, elk chops, buffalo rib eye) or Noodle Pudding (Italian)...both on Henry, off Cranberry... or to go to Smith St. Or call me and I'll tell them.

From Bklyn Heights you can walk over the Brooklyn Bridge right into Manhattan's Chinatown. Great walk, lots of food at the end of it. Nice in the morning. And in the afternoon. Not bad in the evening either. Dont do it at night.

eta: did I mention that I grew up at DiFara's and started going over 40 years ago? (food board folks from around here are sick of hearing this so I'll spare them any more :unsure: )


Edited by Steve R. (log)

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Sneakeater, according to the Wikipedia article on Prospect Heights, the Brooklyn Museum and the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza are also in the neighborhood, so there's more than one asset there. But anyway. :smile:

I struggle with that. I consider them in the neighborhood, but I also acknowledge Eastern Parkway to be the boundary. That would put them in whatever neighborhood is on the other side of Eastern Parkway. Some people used to call the several-block stretch in which they're located its own neighborhood, called Institution Park, but that seems lame.

In any event, I'm happy to claim them.

I suppose that other neighborhood is Crown Heights, which is where both my parents (my mother spent her entire childhood near the Botanic Gardens) would situate the museum and everything else past Grand Army Plaza. For whatever that's worth.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Except NOW Crown Heights is considered to start at Washington (except that some people think Classon).

I could go on about this kind of thing forever.

ON-TOPIC PS TO ORIGINAL POSTER: Franny's serves great pizza not near but not terribly far from Brooklyn Heights. No slices, but individual size pies. But really you ought to just get in touch with Steve R., who knows everything. (Just be aware that he overrates Chestnut and Henry's End.)


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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... But really you ought to just get in touch with Steve R., who knows everything.  (Just be aware that he overrates Chestnut and Henry's End.)

Cute. Last night at Henry's End, both Ginny and I had the turtle soup, then I had the loin of antelope and she the honey/ginger duck. A bottle of Thomas Coyne Mourvedre rounded this out nicely, as did espresso. It's a tough life, doing research for you.

eta: forgot to mention that this cost us $120 plus tip. Nothing was comp'ed. :smile:


Edited by Steve R. (log)

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