Columbia Area Eats?
I'm new to Manhattan and Columbia and was wondering what people were eating up near my new home. West side between say the 70s and 130s. A lot of the stuff really close to school doesn't seem all that good, 'cept maybe Columbia Hot Bagels, Kornets, and Famiglias.
Is there any good Chinese up here?
I'm hungry! help.
I really like Taqueria Y Fonda on Amsterdam between 107th and 108th. The restaurant is a real whole in the wall, but the take-out/delivery is excellent. Freshly prepared tacos are the draw, but don't miss the Tacos Dorados de Pollo - 3 toothsome fried "taquitos" topped with a salads of crisp Romaine, cilantro, tomatoes and fresh cojita cheese and the red mole pork tamales.
I prefer Columbia Cottage (on the corner of Amsterdam & 111th)to any other Chinese restaurant in the area. I was really surprised that such a good Chinese place was this far uptown. Their menu contains the usual fare with the addition of regional offerings (Sichuan, maybe?). Plus, you can stop by the Hungarian Pastry Shop next door for a great hamentaschen afterward.
Henry's on Broadway & 106th is good American bistro with a tasty brunch. Silver Moon Bakery across the street has a great frangipane brioche.
Restaurants I avoid: Tomo Sushi (Broadway between 110th & 111th) because of that "not fresh" feeling and Delux Diner (Broadway & 113th)for bad service.
One of the best people-watching spots in the city is in the corner window spot at Silver Moon bakery. Just about anything you eat there will complete the New York scenery. Try the goat cheese sandwich on olive bread -- it gets it. The chocolate croissant (something I don't usually like) is a moment. The macaroons are the closest thing I've had to the ones made at Laduree in Paris. The bread is wonderful. My favorite whole wheat bread is there. How does she get that soft and densely chewy interior with that crisp crust? The sourdough bread is primo. She is a gifted baker.
Max - Italian (amsterdam and 120ish)
Small, newish, Italian place. Have been there only once, and was good.
Zula - Ethiopian (amsterdam and 120ish - opposit corner from Max, I think)
One of a few Ethiopian places on this stretch of Amsterdam.
Also, if you go down on Amsterdam in the low 100s (bet 100 and 110), you'll find many little Mexican places.
Saji(?), 109th between Broadway and Amsterdam
Take-out Japanese. Has sushi, noodles, and other assorted take out meals. Reasonable.
Sal & Carmine's - Broadway and low 100s
I think they have one of the better slices in the UWS.
the columbia area is okay if you're going for mediocre, fill you up, not make you gag food. best chinese in the area--dynasty. nacho mama's, the heights, and deluxe are to be avoided at all costs. toast (down by the 125 st. station) is pretty steady for sandwiches and the fries are quite good. go to hamilton deli just to see the one guy MAKE your sandwich--i swear you can't see his hands move he's so fast. turquaz, down on 100th st, stacks up pretty well with real turkish restaurants (i.e. ones in turkey). le monde is just what you think it is--a place trying too hard, but it's not awful and not that overpriced. for better (and more expensive) fare, try alouette on b'way bet. 96 and 97. or it is 98? it's a gem. welcome to the neighborhood.
The Mill is close to 113 St., not 103 St. My folks used to like it and took me there last year or a year and a half ago. It was bad. They were answered in the affirmative when they asked if there was a new cook. It would be good to hear if it is good again, but many people here never seem to have noticed a difference, anyway. I suppose it's possible I went there on an off day, though it would have to have been really off.
Some surprising omissions:
Metisse, 105 & Bway. A brilliant and not overprivced French restaurant with a lives-above-the-premises chef.
Meridiana, 107 & Bway, for trad and pushing the envelope pastas. Also Presto for more traditional, mostly Roman style pastas two blocks north.
And does anyone know anything about the Taqueria y Fonda-type restaurant at about 99th and Amsterdam, west side?
I have to add that Mama Mexico seems to have had some trouble with their addition. I've been there twice, the first time over a year ago, and then again four months ago. The first time was at least alright (I wasn't overwhelmed, but I wasn't a blank slate emotionally either... so who knows?).
The second time, however, the food was mediocre and the service was *attrocious*. There was a confusion with my order, so a fajita was brought out for me instead of the tamales I had ordered. Another person at the table also had a fajita, so they brought the meat out separately, but the tortillas and sauces were put in the centre of the table for us to share. When I informed the waitress of the mistake, she not only took away my plate of meat, but she had the other person count out half of the tortillas, which she took back, and a busboy dished out half of the sauces!
The friend of mine who instigated both of these dinners said that she had one more bad experience there (after the one I described). I worry that this is a sign that their expansion overwhelmed them a bit.
I really like La Mexicana. It's on Amsterdam, just north of 107th (near Jumbo pizza). If you eat in, you get a lot more stuff than if you get take-out/delivery. Either way, it's a great deal (it is really easy to die of overeating for under $10, after tax, tip). The tamale is really good, the chicken enchiladas con salsa verde is also really good. My roommate loves the quesadillas. Warning: some of the dishes are dramatically less expensive than others, but are not significantly smaller -- it's easy to over-order (and take home, and enjoy the next day :-). My only gripe is that, occasionally, the meat is full of gristle. Oh, and they have some homemade fruit drinks that are really interesting (they taste like milkshakes without the creaminess or cold... hard to explain).
There is also a place called "A", near 106th and Columbus. It's really small and easy to miss. There's a big subway style blue "A" in the window. It's a take on French-style food by a Jamaican -- ackee and other Jamaican ingredients end up influencing a primarily French choice of dishes. I find them kind of expensive (for a starving grad student -- I've usually spent $20 on dinner there, after tax, tip and byob drinks). The lamb pie is outstanding, imo, the rabbit pate is alright and the rest can be left alone (unless he's added stuff to the menu since I was last there). It's BYOB, and near a liquor store. It's a really friendly place -- the cook will chat with you, and the waitresses are really interesting. Oh, yeah, the main chef cooks on weeknights, whereas the other chef cooks on the weekend and during the day. I didn't particularly care for the secondary chef's work, but that could have been because his menu didn't excite me: he offers a variety of crepes filled with stuff, not my cup of tea.
There's a Haitian place called Krik Krak on 99th and Amsterdam (give or take a street... I usually just walk down Amsterdam. It's on the west side of the avenue.) The meals are about $8 and are *huge*. Two should feed three people. The place is primarily patronized by Haitians. Unfortunately, much of the food is from cafeteria style steam tables in the back. On the other hand, that doesn't really hurt the stews, and the food is really good. There's not much room in the restaurant, but they charge extra for take-out. AFAIK, there's no delivery. Great place to practice your French, if you're willing to be at a lost for the parts of Haitian that come from West African tongues.
There are also a couple Senegalese places up around 116th and Central Park West (which is actually called something else up there). I haven't been to any of these enough times to give any useful information. My experience has been very positive (and oh my goodness, so much food for so little money! -- and I'm guessing steam tables were involved somewhere).
And finally, I really like the empanadas (sp?) at Cafe Con Leche -- 97th (?) and Amsterdam. The restaurant as a whole has been a mixed experience for me. I've had some really outstanding meals, and some really disappointing ones. I would suggest you give it a try.