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Jul 13, 2000 05:11 PM

Hell's Kitchen area...

  • d

i'm moving to w.58th between 6th and 7th and i'm not too familiar with the restaurants in the hell's kitchen area...can anyone suggest some that are worth me trying? any and all varieties are welcome...


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  1. My personal favorite is Bali Nusa Indah at 651 Ninth Ave (betw 45/46th Sts)--one of only two Indonesian restaurants in NYC, I believe. They have a huge menu and it's really inexpensive. As for a quick bite goes, Amy's Bread on Ninth Ave (around 46th or 47th Sts) has really excellent breads and pastries and SouperDog on Eigth Ave and 43rd or 44th has really good gourmet sausages and soups. Rice n' Beans is supposed to be good if you're into Brazilian (744 Ninth, 51st St), Wondee Siam for Thai (792 Ninth, 53rd St), and Meskerem (468 47th St, 9/10 Aves) for Ethiopian food.

    26 Replies
    1. re: Jennifer

      On 9th bet.51-52 are 2 of my favorite chow haunts.
      Lemon Tree Cafe ( excellent middle eastern - some of the best tabouleh & hummus you can find ) & Afghan Kebab House. Both are BYO and fairly priced.
      That stretch also has Island Burgers & Old San Juan.
      9th Ave bet. 40-57 streets is Chow-Central. You will enjoy the diversity and vibes of the area.

      1. re: Jennifer

        I agree Bali Nusa Duhah (sp?) is a very good as well as reasonably priced restuarant. The owners used to have a swanky place over on east 44th or 43rd St catering to the UN crowd, but it didn't make it. However the food and serving pieces moved over to the west side about 4 years ago and the prices are much lower.
        I've spent alot of time in Indonesia and this is really Javanese not Balinese food. Neither cuisines are world class. But they do a good job. I usually try to bring visitors from overseas there to get a unique experience. We have never been dissappointed.

        1. re: Lisa

          The name is Bali Nusa Indah (means Bali Beautiful Island in Indonesian). Balinese and Javanese cuisines are indeed world-class in my opinion, and I've eaten fantastic food in both islands. I just don't think you get it at this restaurant (though I admit the last time I went there - for a disappointing meal - was something like 1 1/2 years ago).

          1. re: Michael

            When I was in Amsterdam we ate at an Indonesian place the was really really great. We had the rice table, (can't spell the dutch name) I can't find anything like that in BYC. Have you? Saw a posting here about it awhile back, but no real recommendations came from it.

            1. re: Michele

              Rijstaffel. I've never heard of a place offering that in NYC, and I remember reading the thread you refer to, which indeed concluded that it is not available in New York City restaurants. It's really something the Indonesians cooked for the Dutch, though, not Indonesian-Indonesian food, so to speak, for whatever that's worth. Or at least that's what I've been given to understand.

              1. re: Michael

                "Rijstaffel. I've never heard of a place offering that in NYC, and I remember reading the thread you refer to, which indeed concluded that it is not available in New York City restaurants."

                I haven't tried this place yet, but I was walking around in Soho and came across: SoHo Eastanah (212 Lafayette St.) which claims to be an Indonesian and Malaysian restaurant and had a sign in the window advertising Rijstaffel. Has anyone tried this place?

                1. re: Jeremy D.

                  Lafayette & where? Do you know if they are open for lunch? I'd venture to try it since it sounds like it's near where I work. UNLESS - it may be this place between Spring & Broome on the West side of the ST?
                  The sign says it's Malaysian, but it's one of those place that was a Chinese restaurant before, and I just thought the same owners turned it into a Malaysian joint when they saw Chinese wasn't working. ALTHOUGH I could be very wrong!

                  1. re: Jeremy D.

                    Yeah, I tried that place in Soho. Don't waste your money. The food was horrible.

                    1. re: Gary Cheong

                      Thanks for the warning!

                      1. re: Gary Cheong

                        you don't know the good food .

                        1. re: charles

                          so what is qualifies YOU to judge what I know about food? I got a sneaky feeling that you either work at,or own, the Indonesian restaurant I said was bad. If I am right, that would explain your anti-Penang post. So come now, tell us who you really are.

                          1. re: gary cheong

                            ok. I need to tell you now. I am a customer of soho,
                            I eat there 3 times a week. They cook the food is taste fresh & light, not oily, not to spicy & they don't loss the traditional Indonesian & Malaysian flavor.
                            By the way, I try penang & nyoya in china town, I order the roti canai(you super recom), the pancake is to crispy & over cook the curry sauce, taste bitter.
                            chao kew teao(you hightly recom), it is cook w. the pork fat & to spicy, I only can taste the spicy & pork oil. Did you think the people they spend money for hight cholesterol, taste bitter curry & burn the tongue from spicy? maybe you own the penang & nyoya

                            1. re: charles

                              You should stick with Soho cooking, not Malaysian. Be wary if you ever go to Italy, as plenty of lard is used there. The myth of the Mediterranean light cuisine is actually a creation from Berkeley California. Stay local and keep it lite!

                              1. re: Allan Evans

                                No need to slander California. The Mediterranean Light diet, the Mediterranean food pyramid and the supposed prevalence of grains, vegetables and olive oil came straight from the olive oil marketing board as filtered through the junket-happy Oldways Foundation, who hornswaggled half the U.S. food press. But I digress.

                                1. re: Pepper

                                  As a native Californian, I can slander my paese with first-hand knowledge, but as good and healthy as the "diet" is, it cannot cure depression the way a perfectly cooked bacon rasher can.!

                                  1. re: Pepper

                                    "No need to slander California. The Mediterranean Light diet, the Mediterranean food pyramid and the supposed prevalence of grains, vegetables and olive oil came straight from the olive oil marketing board as filtered through the junket-happy Oldways Foundation, who hornswaggled half the U.S. food press. But I digress."

                                    Please digress further! If ever there was a crowd that'd want to hear a story like this, it's this one!


                                2. re: charles

                                  Dude, you are so WRONG. Yes, they (the Chinese and the Nonyas) use lard to cook some of the food, and yes things are real spicy. If you want to eat Malaysian watered down for the gringos, go right ahead. You obviously have no appreciation of the authentic stuff, and have no clue whatsoever.

                                  But where do you get off saying I don't know what good Malaysian food is? I grew up there and ate that kind of food 1/2 of my life. So please stay in Soho, and leave us alone to enjoy our lard and our spices.

                                  Keep your disinformation to yourself.

                                  1. re: Gary Cheong

                                    Dude,YOU are SO WRONG!Eastanah IS the authentic stuff. You may eat that stuff for 1/2 of your life, but I am Malaysian!

                                    1. re: Nelly

                                      I went with a fellow Malaysian whose taste I trust. We both thought it sucked. How convenient that suddenly we have all these "new" posters! Especially when my original comment on this place was way back in July.

                                      1. re: Gary Cheong

                                        Agree. Bali Nusa is totally poor. It's hard to imagine any other reaction.

                                        1. re: jason

                                          No! Other reactions are FINE. Other reactions are ENCOURAGED. It's not the OPINION that's dubious here, it's that I'm just about positive it's coming from non-objective sources, for a number of reasons.

                                          Sorry to be cranky, but let's please separate out the issue of shills from issues of opinion. They are unrelated.


                              2. re: charles

                                To say Gary doesn't "know the good food," is both a grammatical and critical error at best. At worse, I think you might be shilling for Bali Nusa Indah. And dissing lard--unless you're vegetarian, or religiously and ethically opposed to eating pork products is--distateful.


                                1. re: Pete Feliz

                                  Dissing lard is a near-capital offense around here.

                                  My sweet lard. Hallelujah.

                                  As for the Gary diss...inane on-the-fly jabs from random posters aren't worth getting bothered about. Just like tips by people who you don't recognized should be weighted relatively low. We filter out as much of the "noise" as we feel we can, but frequent users learn who the good names are, and Gary's obviously one of 'em!


                                  1. re: Pete Feliz

                                    I eat pork, but not the pork oil. you can try the noodles in penang & check out the cholesterol.
                                    I didn't say anything about Bali Nusa Indah.

                                2. re: Gary Cheong
                                  Samantha Leong

                                  I have tried the Rijstaffel at Soho Eastanah. It is not like what Gary says. It is worth trying. At Eastanah, the food is wonderful. The atmosphere has the authentic Malaysian and Indonesian culture. The Rijstaffel serves everything from soup to dessert. It has several dishes in one package and is worth the 20 bucks.I spoke to the chef who is a experienced,friendly guy so you know he is not serving boot leg food.Maybe it is just Gary's problem.

                                  1. re: Samantha Leong

                                    Dare I say it? Especially after the loooooooong thread elsewhere about branding posters as shills?

                                    Ehhh, what the heck.

                                    I've never been to this restaurant. I have nothing against it. But I think Samantha may be Charles. Or vice versa. And I suspect both are affiliated with the restaurant. The anger over Gary's criticism of the food is just way too personal. And Samantha's chat with the chef rings totally false to me.

                                    I'm checking a few things...hold on....

                    2. a
                      Adam Stephanides

                      There was a long thread on this board in early April entitled "9th Ave Good Eats (40s and 50s)" which was pretty comprehensive.


                      1. There's a very good, small salad bar/deli called the Crystal Cafe a bit down from the corner of W.57th and Broadway (in the shadow of the Associated Supermarket). When I worked on 57th it was my favorite place for a very quick lunch. The cold salad bar is small compared to a lot of places, but the stuff is always really fresh, and the choices are above average - in particular, there's a wheatberry salad that's fantastic. Definitely not as exciting as a lot of the 9th Ave. options, but great in a pinch. Also, Topaz Thai on 56th (6th/7th) is a solid choice.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Lauren

                          I second that opinion about Crystal Cafe. I normally avoid salad bars like the plague (I've read too many scary articles about contamination)--but Crystal is like a Mom and Pop shop, with everything looking and tasting fresh. And more innovative than most. I work a block away--so it's always tempting.

                          For wonderful fresh grilled fish and Greek specialties, try Molyvos on 7th Ave between 55th and 56th Street. Not cheap--but always good.

                        2. You did not mention whether you are moving
                          58/6-7 for work or to live. It makes a difference.

                          It would be a big stretch to walk to 45,46/9th. just
                          for lunch. Most folks have previously mentioned
                          that you check old threads in the Manhattan Section.
                          There are a few places close by to 2-3 block radius
                          of 6th,7th.
                          57th-7th There is a bagel shop with a few decent spreads. I believe they make the bagels on premise.
                          Mangia on 57th/6th for deli/salad-to-go-place.

                          Lakwarana (sp?) SriLankan place on 56th Bwy-8th. Actually, there are a few different restaurants on
                          that Bwy-8th stretch of 56th.
                          Holidays - A Carribean take-out on 57th between 8th-9th.

                          Hope this helps


                          2 Replies
                          1. re: anil
                            Adam Stephanides

                            Actually Lakruwana is on 44th between 8th and 9th.


                            1. re: Adam Stephanides

                              You are correct, What I wanted to type was Taprobane,
                              instead Lukwarana stuck in my mid. Thanks for
                              correcting me.


                          2. a
                            Adam Stephanides

                            In a space on 9th Ave. between 50th and 51st Streets, where a nondescript Chinese restaurant used to be, there is a sign saying that a branch of Grand Sichuan International will be opening up there. If it's close to the original in quality, it will be well worth going to.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Adam Stephanides
                              Michael Powers

                              Hell's Kitchen is loaded with great spots. The best pint of Guinness in Manhattan is available at McCoy's, on 9th between 51st and 52nd. The bartenders pull it properly, without the enormous head with which almost all NYC bartenders routinely rip off Americans (but often not Irish). There's a fantastic hole-in-the-wall pizzeria a block or two down from there on the other side of the street going north (the first one you come to). Island Burgers, a few doors down from McCoy's going south, serves up a sublime burger for around five or six bucks (they're also served at McCoy's for an extra fifty cents or a buck or so if you'd prefer to have a burger at the bar). Now, there's a diner with a good pastrami sandwich for six bucks up around 58th Street or so either on 9th or 8th. Can't think of the name of it offhand, but I think it starts with a "V," which should narrow it down. One more thing: beware the movement by the real estate people to change the name of the neighborhood from Hell's Kitchen to "Clinton." Do whatever you can to try to head that off.

                              Michael Powers