Just moved to the city and wanted to know what was in my hood...
- Yaacov Sep 21, 2000 11:48 AM
i've been lurking here a bit lately and wanted to take advantage of the wonderful resource this site has become. I just moved to NYC from philadelphia and wanted to get an idea of what were some of the best places in my nabe -- grammercy (specifically 23rd and Lex).
i'm more of a eonophile than a foodie, but they tend to go hand in hand. i know of a few byos in the city (tartine and several others that allow corkage) but wanted to get a handle on some of the gems in my neihborhood.
any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
if you would like to email me personally, just take out the nospam part.
thanks in advance,
re: Pat Hammond
For the munchies try: The Chippery @ Zoop 950 Broadway @ 23d. Fresh made potato chips in different flavors. Also Tossed, a place that specializes in unusual mixed salads @ 295 Park Ave South near 23d. There is (or maybe was) a place that served good Jamaican Patties on 23d Street. I believe it's near 3rd Ave. ERIC ASIMOV of the TIMES raved about the roast chicken to go at Scopa on 27 East 28th Street. And I think you should check Jim Leff's "What I Ate For Dinner" re a Turkish restaurant near you. Also, hike on over to 24th and Ninth to Grand Szichuan(sp).
But just walk around your nabe and smell the garlic. And let us know what you find.
Try Enoteca I Trulli, the wine bar connected to I Trulli (which is itself a good choice). They've got a terrific list that they're always tweaking, plus some really interesting grappas. As far as the food goes, you can order from I Trulli or choose from a list of meats and cheeses. Two words: truffle cheese. Don't miss it - I dream about this stuff. The homemade ricotta is a knockout as well, and the service is very caring and knowledgeable. (27th between Park & Lex)
Welcome to the city, Yaacov! You sure picked a great food neighborhood--it's practically the hottest restaurant destination neighborhood in town at the moment Gramercy/Flatiron/Murray Hill), and it's growing by the second.
Within walking distance is my favorite restaurant in the world, Gramercy Tavern, on 20th between Park and Broadway. It's pricey, but worth every penny, and it features one of the best wine lists in the civilized world. Try the Tavern part first (the dining room is prix fixe), since you love wine.
You're also near Les Halles (Park Ave. So. & 28th), Anthony Bourdain's masterpiece bistro. Not particularly expensive.
Don't miss the Union Square Greenmarket (M, W, F, Sat, 6 a.m.-5 p.m.), which, now at harvest time, is in full swing. (North and West sides of Union Square, 14th to 17th Streets).
You're also near a Garden of Eden (Third just north of 23rd), the best new chain of specialty food stores in town. Sometimes overpriced, but also some real bargains.
And you're within walking distance of Chicama (nuevo latino, w/a ceviche bar, 19th bet. Bway and Park), City Bakery (best tarts in town, 17th bet. 5th and Broadway), Bobby Flays restaurants Bolo and Mesa Grill (20th bet. Park and Bway, and Fifth Avenue near 16th St.), and the terrific Scopa (E. 28th St., bet. Madison and Park).
That ought to keep you happy and out of trouble for a few weeks!
Follow the smell of curry up Lexington to the wonderful world of Little India -- more Indian restaurants and food shops than you can shake a knob of ginger at. Curry in a Hurry seems to be popular. You get your food from a steam table downstairs and eat up. Don't miss Kalustyan, the Indian grocery store par excellence -- all kinds of spices at cheapcheap prices (green AND black cardamom!!), big jars of homemade mango chutney (good-bye, Major Grey's!), glass jars full of interesting candy and dried fruit, all kinds of exotic canned stuff, and a take-out counter in back. Don't forget the kulfi! Isn't this why you moved to NY???
Definitely shop Kalustyan's, esp. for spices (BTW, they've recenrtly expanded their takeout, which is Middle Eastern). Definitely avoid Curry in a Hurry. The best in the nabe seem to be the southern Indian vegetarian places. Do a search an this board for Mavalli Palace and New Madras Mahal for some opinions.
Since you ID yourself as an oenephile, you might be interested in yesterday's Diner's Journal in the NY Times, about a new wine bar, Bar Demi, that is on 17th between 3d and Irving (see link).
Hi Yaacov, now that you're in NY, you should get in touch with the Tasters Guild which hosts some fabulous wine tastings locally. Their site includes a list of NY BYOB restaurants (link below)
One thing I'll point out is that NY regs don't allow you to take your wine home once it's been opened. This is totally different from our situation in Calif. This was a shocker to me one of the times I attended a byob dinner in Manhattan with many bottles in hand. I must have looked so dismayed when the captain stopped me on the way out, that he just shooed me out and said, "go, go!" and turned his back so he wouldn't see me leave.
I'd mentioned this incident to a friend in Vermont who said this had been the case there too. But the law was recently changed when the authorities realized that it was better for people to carry their wine home in the opeed bottles rather than chug-a-lug the remains and weave home with it in their guts.
Alot of the places recomended to you are a bit on the expensive side...for a few reliable places that are reasonable neighborhood haunts, I can reccomend the following as I frequent them often.
Noodles on 28th (on 3rd ave & 28th)
Reccomend: Cold Sesame Noodles (I ask them to warm them up), The best Lemon Chicken & The best Scallion Pancakes
Ess-a-bagel (1st ave & 20th st)
Great bagels & fixins
Rungsit Thai (on 23rd st & 3rd ave)
Don't look around for atmosphere but they make very good Spice Shrimp soup & Shrimp w/ chili peppers and garlic.
LaMarca Pasta & Cheeseshop
(on 3rd Ave & 22nd Street corner)
Joe is a great guy! Great place w/ great soups in the Cheese Shop portion, and good prepared foods. The best turkey breast. In the pasta restaurant next door, food is superior, and you can even get pasta in a pint to go for lunch or eat it there in the cheese shop. Obviously great cheeses as well.
HERE ARE A FEW TO AVOID:
Pastrami Factory 23rd st between 1st & 2nd ave)
A really gross dirty place that serves extremely mediocre food.
The Chinese Restaurant on the corner of 1st ave & 23rd St is lousy also.
Hope this helps a bit...