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What's good around the Empire State Building/Herald Square area


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I just started a new job with offices in the Empire State Building, and there's lots of commerce and food in the area, but what's good, specifically? Could be anything from a decent sandwich to fine dining. What's the best Korean BBQ in that area? Any really good coffee? An interesting bar?

I've been to a pretty good dumpling place in Koreatown on 32nd called Mandoo, and today was a nice day, so I got a sandwich from the 'wichcraft kiosk in Greeley Square and sat out on the plaza. I used to like a hole-in-the wall Indian place at toidy-toid and toid called Curry & Curry, when my not-yet wife lived in that area circa 1993, and I think it's still there.

It's not a part of town that I would think of going to eat, so what else is there that's potentially interesting to e-Gullet types?

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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I like Madangsui for Korean BBQ.

For coffee, you could always walk south to Stumptown or north to Culture Espresso.

For a cocktail bar, try the newly opened Empire Room?

Bon Chon, Kyochon, and Mad About Chicken are all around there.

And if you're willing to go up to 39th, there's always Szechuan Gourmet and Lan Sheng.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Thanks Kathryn. Those are good to know.

I keep walking by the Empire Room and it looks very elegant, and it's always empty, though it seems like an obvious place to have a really nice cocktail establishment. It may just be that I notice it in the morning when I walk into the building.

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You should try Sushi Sen-nin on E. 33 St. between Park and Madison for what I remember to be excellent (though pricey) sushi. Another place I enjoyed is Artisanal on E. 32 St. between Park and Madison for enjoyable French brasserie type cuisine and the best cheeses.

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Walked by Artisinal yesterday and it looked very attractive. On the way there on 32nd between 5th and Madison I had a nice cappuccino from Cafe M, which is a small bakery that has very attractive looking cupcakes and serves coffee.

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I tried an organic hummus bar today called Nanoosh on Madison between 32nd and 33rd. I got the Nanoosh wrap, which had hummus, ground beef, mushrooms, mesclun, onions, and probably a few other things. The bread had a bit of a cottony texture, but the wrap was otherwise pretty good, particularly with the mushrooms. They also serve a decent organic coffee.

There's a horrific looking thing across from the ESB on 5th Ave. called Pizzacone, but something tells me I'm going to have to try it one of these days. The concept reminds me a bit of a pizza place in Warsaw in the late 1980s, before the fall of the Berlin Wall that served pizza on a kind of cardboard-y waffle.

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Walked by Artisinal yesterday and it looked very attractive.

They have a tiny retail counter in the back, also, if you ever need to pick up cheese for non-immediate consumption.

My touchstone in that area is the 'wichcraft kiosk, which you've already found, so I'm enjoying your updates on other options.

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A friend who works says to hit Woorijip for the best (fast/takeout) Korean lunch in town.

Baden Baden is another Korean friend chicken option. He prefers Mad For Chicken and Baden Baden to the rest.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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I'll second the motion above to check out the Midtown Lunch site, which has cornered the market on documenting the best cheap eats in Midtown.

My go-to place in that 'hood is Dimple, Indian vegetarian on 30th Street (11 W. 30th). The lunch buffet provides a good overview, though the best stuff is on the menu.

In terms of Korean, I think the most interesting place is Cho Dang Gol on 35th (55 W. 35th). Not your typical barbecue spot.

Maybe pushing the boundary a little, but I like Hill Country for barbecue. That's on 26th (30 W.26th).

I don't think Nanoosh is all that great. In that vein, surprisingly, some of the best falafel I've had in NYC has been at Kosher Delight on Broadway near 37th (1365 Broadway), especially at lunchtime when they do high turnover. I'd steer clear of anything but falafel there, though.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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For small quick bites I love the Craftwich kiosk in Herald Square.

For much bigger bites or awesome drinks and snack etc, there's the Breslin as the Ace Hotel, as well as the lobby bar. And they also have a branch of Stumptown there as well.

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I was in that area, a few weeks ago, sort of stranded looking for a place to duck in and get a meal, I really could have used this list! We found a mediocre pub, that had ok sandwiches.

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Dimple is now Punjab Palace and is no longer vegetarian.

Great Koran on 32nd Street, North Side of the Street, street level - Kun Jip.

Mandoo has good dumplings and a good fried tofu appetizer.

Empire State Pizza on 33rd Street, South Side of the street, has a good 2 slices + soda deal for $5. Good slices as well.

Bella Napoli, Madison btwn 30 and 31, has good steam table Italian-American food. Great chicken parm heros, and the Bella Napoli Salad with grilled chicken is a great meal.

No 7 Sub, in the Ace Hotel, is interesting, but a little heavy.

Stumptown has a small variety of small premade sandwiches on offer, mostly ham and cheese.

Wolfgang's, at the bar, offers a decent slight splurge of a meal.

Ben and Jack's, on 5th and 29th, offers a similar but larger menu.

Mishima, on Park btwn 30 and 31, offers better than average sushi and good and interesting lunch specials.

There's a random Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant on 33rd Street, South Side, btwn 5th and Madison, that has a 3 items over rice for $5 lunch special to take out only. Some interesting choices mixed in with one or two more Americanized dishes.

Waldy's Woodfired Pizza is a nice break from the usual choices.

There's a newish sandwich/salad place on 7th and 30th that's a few steps above the usual dreck offered by these places.

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Note that my post should have read "Great KorEan on 32nd Street, North Side of the Street, street level - Kun Jip."

Best Korean bbq is debatable, as it can depend on what specifically you're eating. That being said, Wo Chon, Woochon, on 36th Street, is my go to place.

We walk up to Olympic Pita, on 38th Street, two or three times a month. Great schwarma on laffa, good salad bar. Lunch specials give you a ton of food. Kosher.

Mr. Broadway's falafel is OK, their schwarma on a baguette is actually pretty good.

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Tried the Cuban sandwich at Tina's, which is a Cuban restaurant run by Peruvians at 34th and Madison, and while maybe not the best Cuban sandwich I've had in the city, it would certainly qualify as a respectable entry. The roast pork was nicely done. Lots of other attractive looking lunch plates as well with the option of table service or takeout, and they do a very brisk lunchtime business.

As an aside, I had a really good Cubano last week or so at Favela, which seems to be a Cuban restaurant run by Brazilians (I guess Cuban emigres don't go into the restaurant business particularly) just south of Washington Square Village by NYU.

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(disclaimer- I worked at Madison and 32nd until about a year and a half ago, so my info on the area may be dated)

Tina's Cubano is good (what the heck is with those paper thin pickle slices?!!), but the thing to get there is what they called the Fried Pork Sandwich, which has the cubes of pernil deep-fried for a bit of crispiness and a layer of maduros on top of it. Their empenadas were also good and cheap. I never liked the steam tray stuff, it always looked better than it tasted.

At Bella Napoli I really enjoyed their white slices, with the Grandma coming in a close second due to it's inconsistency (some days the crust would be too tough and crunchy- it doesn't reheat well, apparently).

Minar also had a steam table full of food that looked better than it tasted BUT you could get a good dosa lunch there, especially the rava masala dosa, and I liked their sambar better than anyplace in Curry Hill.

When the mood struck, Golden Crust would be good for some curry chicken or patties.

Other faves have already been mentioned (Olympic, SG, Hill Country, Worijip, etc.) but I'll see if I can remember any more...

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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I'll second a couple of the Korean options people have mentioned above. I like Kun Jip best for the more home cooking oriented options. And Madangsui seems to be the strongest barbecue of late. And Cho Dang Gol, which FG mentioned, is good for tofu especially.

In addition, I remember having a really interesting (though expensive) meal at HanGawi. It's a very zen Korean vegetarian place on 32nd, but the food is quite different from what you're probably used to from Korean restaurants. Aside from being completely vegetarian, it's much more elegant, restrained and subtle than typical Korean fare. It has echos of a Japanese experience in many ways, and the place is very quiet and serene. Worth a try.

On a more meat-oriented tip, there's always the mutton chop at Keen's. And I'm surprised no one has mentioned The Breslin.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm looking for a place in this (actually a little north by the library) that is good for a business dinner for tomorrow night that I can make a rezo for today. I don't want to say that money is no object, but it will be expensed by someone else.

Thanks,

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Depends on exactly where you are and how far you want to walk.

db bistro moderne is fairly close to the NYPL.

If you're a bit further west, Esca might be within walking distance.

Otherwise, if you're a bit further east, I'd do Japanese: Sushi Yasuda, Sakagura, and Soba Totto are all clustered near Grand Central.

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