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NYC trip - cocktail spots and restaurants


pistolabella
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My husband and I are coming to New York later this summert for the first time and I would love some opinions on cocktail bars and restaurants we're considering. There are obviously waaaay too many interesting sounding places to visit, so these are our running lists...any tips, warnings, or recommendations for something better much appreciated!

 

First the cocktails: Blacktail, Pouring Ribbons, Dead Rabbit, Amor y Amargo, Angel Share, Orient Express, Mulberry Project, Attaboy and we have to hit Death & Co. because their book is really what opened up the world of making drinks for us. I personally think I can live without PDT.  Anything I should know or suggestions that would be better? Is the food good at Blacktail as well? Where is Phil Ward working these days? I also want to visit Bemmelman's bar and the Algonquin hotel bar, but more for the history than to sit around for any long period. Also - are there two Angel Share locations, and if so are they distinctly different?

 

For restaurants - I am intrigued by the downstairs / bistro portion of La Esquina; Spotted Pig; Prune; Baohaus; Song e Napule pizza; Claudette; Left Bank;  Shabu-tatsu; Monte's Trattoria (anything similarly old-school in the area that you like better?); Barbuto.  I'd also like to sample some delicious dumplings if anyone can suggest a quick/fast/cheap place that's good.

 

We're staying at the Jane Hotel, so any other recommendations or tips in that vicinity appreciated.Thank you!

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sorry - I can't really comment on cocktails or most of the restaurants, but maybe @weinoo can help there?

 

Wow... Monte's... that's a name I haven't heard in a long time... a long time...  I was recently wondering if it was even still in business.  Funnily enough, my parents had their first date there... and they had been married for about 50 years!  I used to go there with them when I was a kid, but it was going downhill near the end of the '90s...  I think I was back there around 10-12 years ago, and I seem to remember it being a shadow of its former self.  So, personally, I would leave it off the list.  Unfortunately, I don't have any good suggestions for a replacement - but I think there have been threads in the last year or so about NYC red-sauce Italian places....

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Thanks for that! Also thanks for tagging weinoo....I didn't realize you could do that on eGullet and solves my conundrum of wanting to ask about the cocktail spots in the Beverages & Libations forum as well, so I will tag a few posters I follow from there...

@Rafa do you have any tips on the above? 

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I come to NY about once a year (I grew up on the upper west side.) Every time I visit I make a pilgrimage to Prune. I'm simply a Gabrielle Hamilton fan. I believe that her partner (in life and business) is now in charge of the kitchen, but I also trust that Hamilton is such a control freak that the food is still carefully curated as ever. Besides the food being delicious, the staff is gracious, the atmosphere casual and friendly and I always have a good time in every way when I go. This is my major splurge restaurant; I try to coincide it w/my oldest friend's birthday and my husband I take her out. My other extravagance is to buy macarons at a little French bakery/cafe in Chelsea called La Bergamote. Very nice coffee and the pistachio macarons are swoon worthy.

 

I am also fond of Buvette, despite the fact that the tables are a tad small and wobbly. The back room is sweet, and sitting at the bar is nice too. I've only had the gin martini's there, because they are smashing, although after a few sips I wouldn't trust my judgement. Bonus points for the fact that there are plenty of small plates, and the fact that they are open all afternoon, so that's my way of having one meal to take the place of lunch and dinner. They are also open late at night.

 

I try to avoid breaking the bank, so to balance my extravagances I am happy to go low-end. My vote for best hot dog is the cart on the southwest corner of the Museum of Natural History. They are grilled, not dirty water dogs, and for some reason his relishes and toppings are the best. Also good for a meal: if you go to MOMA get the chicken and rice from the Halal truck on the SW corner of 6th and 53rd. The white sauce is addictive, the red sauce is hellishly hot. Ask for both!  Prepare to stand on line, but you can sit on the edge of the fountain which is a bit cooling. 

 

So you see, my routine is very limited, as I don't even live in NY. Have fun! 

 

 

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Phil works a couple of nights a week at the Long Island Bar, in Brooklyn. Give them a call to see when he's behind the stick.

All of the bars you mention are quite good. If I were going to add one or two to your Death & Co. wish, I'd be at Pegu Club 1st, because it really was the incubator for so many more. Dead Rabbit, Pouring Ribbons, Attaboy (nee Milk and Honey - RIP) are all fine too.

 

The restaurants you mention all seem to me to be mentioned because of maybe how hip they are or were, or because of the scene, etc.  But I think there are better choices for the actual food.

 

For Italian, for instance, Rubirosa would be my choice above Monte's.

 

We're big fans of Wildair, for a great wine list, excellent food and fine service. No reservations, so get there early-ish, or you might have to wait. When we have to wait, we go next door to its sister restaurant Contra, where they have good cocktails.

 

King is great, recently reviewed in the NYT. We also very much enjoyed our 2 meals at The Beatrice Inn. And it's hopping.

 

I don't know much about Shabu Tatsu; when we want Japanese food (non-sushi) in that neighborhood, we hit Sobaya, for their house made, awesome cold soba noodles. For hot pot style dining, we're fans of Hot Kitchen.

 

For my money, the best burger is still to be had at J.G. Melon's, though Minetta Taverns' and others are good too.

 

The newest McNally restaurant, Augustine, is fun to check out, but the real killer is the 9-story atrium lobby bar between it and Tom Colicchio's Fowler and Wells, in the classic building at 5 Beekman Place. 

 

For breakfast, I highly recommend Russ and Daughters cafe.  If you'd like delicious dumplings and other dim sum, I'm still a fan of Nom Wah, on Doyers Street.

 

Oh yeah, Staten Island ferry is great for stupendous views of lower Manhattan. And free. And you can get into the Met museum for anything you wish to pay. But the new Whitney is a stunner as well.

 

And I'm still a fan of hot dogs at Katz's (on their griddle) or the original Gray's Papaya (72nd and Broadway).

 

And since it's the season, a walk (early) around the greenmarket at Union Square is fun - Wed, Friday or Saturday for the most vendors.

Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Fantastic! Thank you both. My restaurant choices are 100% based upon browsing TripAdvisor and old Eater hot lists. I'm not super-attached to the idea of any particular restaurant so I really appreciate your suggestions of better places.

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