Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

A Californian's first trip to NYC


Swicks
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

Believe it or not, though I have traveled all over the world, Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, for some reason I had yet to make it to New York City, well no longer as I am now finally making a long overdue trip over the St. Patrick's Day holiday in mid-march! I cannot begin to describe my excitement.

I am sure most despise these types of threads due to their frequency and generality but i have prepped by reading through a lot of the existing threads so I more have some specific questions, rather than the typical "Where should I eat?" or "where is the best slice?"

For most of the time I will be with a group of friends of whom dining is not paramount and some of which who already live in NYC so I doubt I will have much control as to dining destinations. I will have some time on my own of which i intend to make the most of so my questions will mostly relate to that. Overall I am not really sure where we will be staying location wise so at this point I am not super concerend. I am aware that this is a substantially large area. I suppose age is relevant as well, we are all in our late 20's and enjoy cocktailing but aren't looking for the younger scene or the super duper club scene replete with B&T'ers.

So let's have at it...

Cocktails/Drinking....I would love another few recommendations of places, perhaps similar to Pegu and Death & Co? Or just fun, different places? Don't need anything too trendy or tough to get into, just fun and hip.

A few pub recommendations for pints on St. patricks day?

One high-end lunch? JG? Gordon Ramsay? Some others?

Some relaxed lunch places, spotted pig?

Some recs for dinner for a larger group, easy to get into, fun but not touristy? (was that general enough for you?) Will include non NYC people plus residents.

Outside of the standard NYC tourist destinations, some cool things not to miss?

I am aware of the daunting nature of this post and i hope I provided enough info for some wisdom from everyone. Everyone seems to have so much knowledge and I'd love it if you all would share some of it with me. I really appreciate any info, thanks so much! :biggrin:

-SW

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll tackle the easy question - high end lunch. Jean-Georges. End of story. There is no better place for lunch that can come anywhere near it for value. This could arguably be the best haute cuisine value in the world. $12/course? For this food? Don't think twice.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Cocktails/Drinking....I would love another few recommendations of places, perhaps similar to Pegu and Death & Co? "

Flatiron Lounge, Employees Only: both of them will have their majority of drinkers uninterested in the fine cocktails, unfortunately.

Milk & Honey...get the number at Little Branch.

Pravda's not the worst place in the world either.

The Other Room or the Room for excellent beer and wine by the glass lists.

" few pub recommendations for pints on St. patricks day?"

Molly's, Spring Lounge...

"One high-end lunch? JG? Gordon Ramsay? Some others?"

JG certainly. if in the neighborhood, Perry Street. LB has a nice lunch as well.

"Some relaxed lunch places, spotted pig?"

The Spotted Pig is only relaxed at lunch. However, Perry Street is three blocks away (literally), very relaxed, the same price (or less -- seriously), and four times as good.

"Some recs for dinner for a larger group, easy to get into, fun but not touristy? (was that general enough for you?) Will include non NYC people plus residents."

What day of the week? can't even begin to answer without knowing that.

edit: any night of the week La Nacional might be perfect for that.

Edited by Nathan (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for getting this kicked off guys.

Our group will probably be 10 or so and this dinner will most likely be on either saturday night or sunday night.

I guess I should mention that this doesn't have to be a full sit down dinner, perhaps somewhere more casual and fun with drinks and appetizers or sometime along the lines of tapas.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

with a group that large you'll be much better off on Sunday night.

very difficult to do on Saturday night -- at least anywhere halfway decent.

you'd have a shot at La Nacional...or Momofuku Ssaam Bar...but I would call either of those now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think that either of those places take reservs more than two months in advance...

Cocktail bars: What Nathan said. Add to that some of the restaurant bars around: Mas and 5 Ninth, for instance, both supply excellent cocktails, often with custom or housemade ingredients. Employees Only on Hudson St. is another fine choice, although I find it best if you go *late*.

If you can live without OCD cocktail crafting, APT (W. 13th st.), Beatrice Inn (W. 12th St.), Kush (Bowery) and 205 (Delancey) are also worth checking out for a drink and a hang, as I'd say those all qualify as "fun and hip".

Pubs for St. Paddy's? Well, An Beal Bocht (Bronx) or Donovan's (Sunnyside) are great, but you possibly don't want to go that far. I'd recommend St. Dymphna's (St. Mark's btw 1st and A), since it's relatively low-key for the neighborhood and never too crowded; plus, the outside may be open by March, given this wacky weather.

Lunch? Jean Georges or Perry Street by a mile. IMHO, you can give the Spotted Pig a miss; it's the most overrated and mobbed place in town, and I can think of literally a hundred better values for my money than sitting on a bar stool eating their burger.

Dinner for 10 on Saturday is actually not all that bad, on two months notice as you're giving. What's bad is trying to plan an evening out on a Saturday. My friends' usual practice is to make an evening out of dinner itself on a weekend, rather than hopping over to a bar or club afterward; we usually meet for drinks at the resto itself beforehand, or plan to gather at someone's apartment (or hit a private party) afterward.

My recommendations:

1) If you are having drinks BEFORE dinner, can score seats in the back of the room, and are planning on staying most of the evening in one place: Boqueria, 19th St. btw 5th & 6th Aves. You can go to the Flatiron Lounge for an early-evening drink (on a Saturday, it won't have the usual after-work mob), and then stay in (IMHO) a lovely, if crowded, setting having excellent tapas and drinks.

2) If you're willing to spend some money and want something cool, but a tiny bit subdued: Mas, on Downing Street in the West Village. Excellent drinks, lots of shareable small plates, lovely staff. Quite fun.

3) If you want something seriously foodie-ish, are willing to brave the East Village Saturday night mobs, and don't mind sitting on relatively uncomfortable stools that look and feel like packing boxes: Momofuku Ssam Bar. However, I will warn that by the time you get there in March, the place will probably be so crowded that it will be a seriously unpleasant experience. I'd thus advise saving this for a Sunday.

4) If you want something with lots of entertainment possibilities nearby that isn't overrun by out-of-towners: Dumont, Relish, or Sweetwater in Williamsburg, or Ici or Thomas Beisl in Fort Greene. Lots of possibilities for entertainment nearby (Ici and Thomas Beisl have the Brooklyn Academy of Music, complete with theater, music performances, and films, and the Billyburg places have lots of bars and clubs in the vicinity) and a reasonably NY crowd.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is all a great start, thank you so much all.

I expect Saturday, in particular being that it is St. Patty's day, will definately be a crapshoot, especially after what will most likely be a multiple pint of Guiness day.

A few more details....I will most likely have thursday night and all day friday and friday night to myself so these are the times I am focusing on getting some special dining experiences in as well as check out some sights as I won't be subject to a larger group of people. I'd love to get to Momofuku as I am hearing so much good stuff about it.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll tackle the easy question - high end lunch. Jean-Georges. End of story. There is no better place for lunch that can come anywhere near it for value. This could arguably be the best haute cuisine value in the world. $12/course? For this food? Don't think twice.

Second the recommendation, hit as many top spots as you can for the bargain price lunches!!! You can probably have 3 - 4 lunches for the price of a dinner.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, is 205 closed these days? I was there just three weeks ago (friend's after-gig party) and it seemed pretty good. Oh well...

This is all a great start, thank you so much all.

I expect Saturday, in particular being that it is St. Patty's day, will definately be a crapshoot, especially after what will most likely be a multiple pint of Guiness day.

Yeah. Go for something low-maintenance. It largely depends on where you'll be hanging. If it were me, I'd make a day of it in Queens; hit a bunch of the Sunnyside pubs, maybe swing over to the Bohemian Hall beer garden in Astoria for some ethnic variation, and then see if you can book ahead for a large group somewhere like Ali's Kabab Cafe (25-19 Steinway St.). If you're planning on being in Manhattan, my advice would be to see if you can grab a table at St. Dymphna's, maybe migrate downtown to Croxley Ales and then over to Loreley, and eventually end up either at one of the izakayas (Japanese snack joints) in the East Village or somewhere like Skyway (Malaysian) on Allen Street.
A few more details....I will most likely have thursday night and all day friday and friday night to myself so these are the times I am focusing on getting some special dining experiences in as well as check out some sights as I won't be subject to a larger group of people.  I'd love to get to Momofuku as I am hearing so much good stuff about it.

Thursday is an infinitely superior dining-out night in NYC to Friday, although it's really no less crowded. It's also a slightly better night for drinks out; if you're planning on hitting a place like Little Branch, Milk and Honey, or Pegu, it would be better to go on Thursday.

Momofuku (or Ssam Bar) are relatively easy to do as a diner alone, since it's counter style for the most part. If you're literally on your own for the evening and would like some local company, feel free to drop me a PM and perhaps my g/f and I can join you. I know most of the staff at Ssam Bar and a few other of the above-listed joints.

[EDIT: For Friday lunch, you will definitely want to book well in advance if you decide on Jean-Georges. Perry Street is another option; if you're there are really want to check out the Spotted Pig, you can always head over after lunch for a pint and a look-see.]

Edited by Mayur (log)
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would again like to thank all of you for your gracious contributions. This is a great start and as I square away my schedule further in the coming weeks I am sure I can come up with some more specific questions.

Mayur, thanks for the kind offer, much appreciated, I may take you up on the offer!

-Scott

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hello all,

I wanted to revive this thread because not only is my trip rapidly approaching but I also have a few more specific situations that need some recommendations.

-Good morning coffee/pastries/bagels in the Chelsea area? (we are staying at the Four Points at 160 west 25th)

-Casual lunch on friday, I was thinking maybe Dim Sum, Chinatown Brasserie I have read is excellent, any Chinatown recommendations?

-Dinner Friday night for around 8 people, looking for a fun interesting place, nothing too expensive, maybe max $50 per person w/out drinks... some thoughts I had were the Bar Room at the Modern and A Voce, any other suggestions?

Thanks again for the help!

-S

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Voce is too expensive.

FG says that The Bar Room at The Modern has been reported to have had problems since its review. Don't know.

Momofuku Ssam is the current knee-jerk response if you don't mind waiting. (Actually, if you're going to be eight people you can order the Bo Sssam [huge roast pork butt] for $180 total. Then you could get a reservation. You'll want some more dishes, but you can still bring it in for $50 a person [not including drinks], I think.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For casual lunch on Friday - I would go to Momofuku. I like Noodle Bar better than Ssam but honestly, they're both amazing. Chinatown Brasserie is fine, but I wouldn't bother for lunch (they can accommodate large parties rather easily actually, you might consider it for your dinner, and there's a fun vibe to the place at night). my favorite place in Chinatown is Big Wong for roast pork and ginger scallion sauce. yum. Another favorite casual lunch place of mine is Mary's Fish Camp in the W. Village. The cod sandwich is perfection (not to mention the lobster roll).

I found out recently that Tia Pol takes reservations for large parties. Excellent tapas, small space, one of my favorites. It's on 10th Ave/23rd st. close to where you're staying. And Momo Ssam does too, I think.

The food at A Voce is excellent, and you might be able to do it at $50/person for food only, but I'd be surprised. I think the menu's on their website.

For breakfast I would recommend the City Bakery on 18th between 5th/6th. Unless you really want bagels - I think there's a Murrays close to where you'll be. City Bakery has awesome stuff - hot chocolate, pretzel croissants . . . .

Have a great trip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually called A Voce, they can't accommodate that large of a party but our party may be smaller now...

In any case, is it that expensive? I will check online.

Interesting to know about the Bar Room, maybe I will cross that off the list...

I had actually thought about Mary's Fish Camp as well...

For lunch on friday we wont be geographically limited since we will be out seeing the sites.

Edited by Swicks (log)

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello all,

I wanted to revive this thread because not only is my trip rapidly approaching but I also have a few more specific situations that need some recommendations.

-Good morning coffee/pastries/bagels in the Chelsea area?  (we are staying at the Four Points at 160 west 25th)

For coffee? Grumpy, West 20th between 7th and 8th Avenue. No other place in the 'hood comes close. By NYC standards, it's a bit of a walk, but it's just really good. On the bigger breakfast tip, City Bakery (18th btw 5th & 6th) is an NYC landmark and worth checking out, probably.
-Casual lunch on friday, I was thinking maybe Dim Sum, Chinatown Brasserie I have read is excellent, any Chinatown recommendations?
Everyone has his Chinatown favorites (and dislikes): You may want to check out the BEST OF: Chinatown Dim Sum thread, although it's not very useful IMHO. My favorites are Ping's, Golden Unicorn, Golden Bridge, and Triple 8 Palace. Others will say that Golden Unicorn is crap and that you should hit Jing Fong. All I say is: Go early and you'll get the best of what each place has to offer. For seafood-ish dim sum, I recommend Ping's (22 Mott St) or Oriental Garden (14 Elizabeth btw Bayard & Canal Sts). For a more general selection, I like Golden Unicorn (18 East Broadway).

My favorite Chinatown dim sum place continues to be Dim Sum Go Go at 5 East Broadway (right by the Manhattan Bridge and about a block down from Golden Unicorn), but there are no carts, so that may not be quite as fun as peering and pointing. Chinatown Brasserie (also no carts) is good, but pricey.

Dinner Friday night for around 8 people, looking for a fun interesting place, nothing too expensive, maybe max $50 per person w/out drinks... some thoughts I had were the Bar Room at the Modern and A Voce, any other suggestions?
Both of those would not, IMHO, deliver good performance at that price. Ssam Bar is, as Sneakeater said, the knee-jerk (read: no-brainer) choice right now. If you call *now*, you can probably get a bo ssam (and thus a table for eight). At $180, plus a max of about $120 for other dishes (that's if you're *real* pigs and get another dish per person), you're still way below $50 a head before alcohol. And it is, IMHO, possibly the single NY restaurant that you simply shouldn't miss. Edited by Mayur (log)
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info Mayur, I especially appreciate the Chinatown info as I have read the best of thread but it is tough to get a handle on.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...