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Jun 28, 1999 06:01 PM

best places to try in NY city

  • y

I will be visiting New York July 13-20 and staying in
the theater and then Little Italy area. Would like
suggestions on interesting and good places to eat.
Being from the middle Georgia area we are used to very
good food that isn't bland.

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  1. f
    Frank Language

    Well, gee...have you heard of a place called Tad's
    Steaks? There's one on 34th street and one on East 14th
    street, so you'll never be far.

    20 Replies
    1. re: Frank Language

      All you've got to remember are these two words: Fifty-seventh Street. The Motown Cafe, the Brooklyn Diner, Le Bar Bat, Jekyll and Hyde's, the Harley-Davidson Cafe, Planet Hollywood--it makes me salivate just thinking about it.

      And Little Italy...! Here's a secret tip only New Yorkers know about: look for the restaurant with the most twinkly lights! They may appear to be ``decoration,'' but are in fact--how can I phrase this?--``awards'' of ``authenticity,'' if you know what I mean, and I know that you do.

      1. re: al pastor
        Josh Mittleman

        Was that intended sarcastically? That's a catalogue
        of overpriced tourist joints that sell atmosphere, not

        Yvonne, read through the Manhattan board. It is
        entirely a discussion of interesting and unusual places
        to eat in Manhattan. If you don't see what you're
        looking for, ask again. The more specific you make
        your question, the more useful the answers will be.

        In the theater district, you can find a lot of
        exceptionally good restaurants, but they will be rather
        expensive. If that's not a problem for you, I can
        recommend a few. If you'd prefer good food at lower
        prices, walk west to 9th Ave., where there's an
        interesting variety at more reasonable prices. Or take
        a bus down to 8th Ave. in the 20s, which has all sorts
        of fun places these days.

        I don't know Little Italy very well. It has nice
        cafes, great pastries shops, and I can't say much about
        the restaurants. Walk south a few blocks and you'll be
        in Chinatown, where you can find all sorts of
        interesting places.

        Feel free to ask for details about anything in

        1. re: Josh Mittleman

          ``Was that intended sarcastically?''

          Oops! The macro that was supposed to spit out the street address of Frico Bar must have malfunctioned. A thousand pardons from you all.

          1. re: al pastor
            Josh Mittleman

            How about you replace it with a macro that posts "Read
            the board, then ask questions"?

            1. re: Josh Mittleman

              Goodness, attitude is high on this message board! As a
              relative newcomer to this site, Yvonne, I feel like I
              want to apologize for the very stereotypically NY
              edginess the other responses have had. I assure you
              not everyone here will be like that. I don't know what
              type of food you like or what price range you're
              looking for, but if you haven't been utterly scared
              away by the other respondents, please know I would be
              happy to offer advice. You are coming to perhaps the
              best eating city in the world, and I would love to help
              you experience some of the best it has to offer. Hope
              to hear from you.

              1. re: Mara G.

                It's not that "attitude is high" on this board ,
                Mara. Like I said in my previous post to Yvonne, it's
                best not to ask vague "where should I eat" questions.
                Helpful as you try to be, even you are asking her for
                more info about what she likes.

                I can also understand the long-time regulars'
                frustrations when yet another newbie comes along and
                asks that dreaded question. (BTW, this kind of
                reaction is common on other message boards too. Not
                that it makes it right). Jim even wrote in his "Read
                this before you post" instructions not to ask such

                Anyway, we live in NY, so some of us are entitled to
                be edgy once in a while :-)

                1. re: Gary Cheong

                  Sorry, Gary, but I have to go with Mara on this one. You say "even you are asking her for more info about what she likes" as if you'd trapped her in contradiction, but she wasn't talking about facts, she was talking about attitude, and yes, there is definitely some "high attitude" on this site. Not widespread, thank heavens, but the same few wiseacres can be relied on to stick lighted matches in the shoes of anyone naive enough to ask a too-general question in their sacred bailiwick. *Of course* people should read Jim's "Read this," *of course* they would do well to stop and think for a moment about what it is they want to know -- but does their overhasty posting really deserve the kind of stomping it routinely gets? The effect is 1) to momentarily boost the egos of the stompers (who probably see themselves trading quips with Bob and Dorothy at the Algonquin) and 2) to make it unlikely the unwary questioner will ever visit the site again. I guess it all depends whether you'd rather keep the site a private preserve for mavens or help as many people as possible discover the greatness of NY as a food city.

                  I too can understand the frustration you mention -- what I can't understand is the determination to take the trouble to give the hotfoot (thereby wasting time and attention even more than the original posting) rather than simply sighing and moving on.

                  Linguistic note: being "edgy" is not the same as being "a jerk."

                  1. re: steve d.

                    I'm not sure whether it really all "attitude" or just
                    plain crankiness at these questions. You believe it's
                    total attitude, and that's fine. I'm not defending
                    those guys but just trying to show it from another
                    viewpoint. Yes, I agree with you it's better to
                    just "sigh and move on".

                    Also, I'm not trying to trap Mara in a contradiction
                    at all. While it's great to be helpful and patient, I
                    wonder how long some of us (you included) will keep on
                    being this nice if the boards get peppered with more
                    and more of such vague questions. Hopefully most of
                    us will just sigh and move on.

                    1. re: Gary Cheong

                      Good point, Gary, but the appearance of such posts is an inevitable result of the increasing exposure given this website, and it seems to me the way to deal with it is to anticipate it and try to funnel these eager but unprepared would-be chowhounds into some area where they can be educated without annoying the rest of us. Perhaps a message board labeled "Where's a Good Place to Eat in NY"? (I know, I know, new boards await the coming of the millennium...) Maybe it could be divided by general area (Midtown and Village would presumably be the most in demand) and we could all post names and addresses of our faves there with perhaps a few words about ambience/price range. It would be easier and faster for the outsider than using Search (which would then be a useful followup if they wanted to know more about a particular place), and who knows, it might even be a convenient resource for us knowledgeable folk. Just an idea...

                      1. re: steve d.

                        Hey Steve. Lighten up. We wiseacres tend to be the ones who peek in at hotpost every time we boot up, and it's sort of fun to poke around at certain questions. (Basically two questions, as a matter of fact: 1) Where do I go for dinner in the theater district?; and 2) I'm coming to NYC--what's good?) This is, for crying out loud, New York City, and it's not as if we're telling the newbies (hee hee) to take the A train to the Natural History Museum.

                        Information is fine, but most of us who hang out here log onto Chowhound instead of Zagat for a reason. And I think Ms. Frank Language (among others) is really funny.

                        1. re: Al Pastor

                          Little did Yvonne know, when she posted her innocent
                          message, that it would start such debate. In fact,
                          it's a little ironic that here we are spinning in
                          controversy, and it doesn't appear that Yvonne has
                          chosen to return to this site. What's the message
                          here, I wonder?

                          I actually think that if it wouldn't be too much
                          trouble, Steve's idea of a board for NY food neophytes
                          is a terrific one. Many of us could have a great time
                          posting our personal favorites, and it would make this
                          site more accessible to a wider range of food lovers.
                          And then there would be plenty of room for the jaded
                          and the generous alike. Why not stop bickering and see
                          this as a growth opportunity? It seems the only person
                          who really lost out here is Yvonne, and that's a shame
                          and something I think most of us would not like to see
                          happen again.

                          1. re: Mara G.

                            You know, the good I see coming out of all this is
                            Steve's idea for a seperate board (or at least a
                            prominent FAQ page) to address this sort of question
                            about where to eat in NY. This idea might not have
                            popped up if we didn't have this thread going.

                            1. re: Mara G.

                              But people like Yvonne never seem to come back, even after all the earnest, talmudic dialogues on the merits of Roy Rogers vs. Blimpie's they seem to want so badly.

                              Boy...this thread is turning out to be more usenetalian than even I can tolerate.

                              1. re: Al Pastor

                                Well, I wasn't going to bother posting any more on this thread, since Jim's pro-asshole, anti-newbie response pretty much pulled the rug out from under my feet, but I feel I have to defend Yvonne (wherever she is) against Al Pastor's all-too-typical scattershot insult. I repeat below her original posting in its entirety; if anyone can find the slightest suggestion that she was after a discussion on "the merits of Roy Rogers vs. Blimpie's" I will eat one of my many hats. It sounds to me like she just wanted a good place to eat. Guess she'll have to ask elsewhere.

                                "I will be visiting New York July 13-20 and staying in
                                the theater and then Little Italy area. Would like
                                suggestions on interesting and good places to eat.
                                Being from the middle Georgia area we are used to very good food that isn't bland."

                                1. re: steve d.

                                  I wasn't going to bother to post AT ALL on this thread,
                                  but I find myself aligning with the pro-assholers.
                                  "READ THIS BEFORE YOU POST", big letters, bold type.
                                  Jezzy Crizzy, read the damn thing! If you still don't
                                  get it, being from the middle Georgia area where you
                                  are used to very good food that isn't bland, we'll
                                  forgive and move on. pat

                              2. re: Mara G.

                                I suspect she got the information she was looking for
                                by searching our archives as suggested.
                                We are lucky that the chowhound boards are set up so
                                well for searching and have such a flexible hotposts
                                mechanism; its also terrific to have a culture which
                                includes so many witty, committed and discriminating
                                folks. Sure, there are outburst of irritation from
                                time to time; it can be a real temptation which is
                                mostly avoided. But we're right to try to maintain
                                standards, and refer newbies to the archive if their
                                query is too broad or has been addressed again and
                                again - they will get much more and better information
                                that way, and hopefully, they will want to come back
                                and report what they discovered.

                            2. re: steve d.

                              I like this idea of a special board for "Where to Eat
                              In NYC" a lot. That would be a wonderful way to
                              address those kinds of newbie questions. Perhaps Jim
                              can make this happen when we get Chowhound 2.0 set up.

                              1. re: steve d.

                                Thanks for the suggestions, everybody. Much

                                But I'm not sure we need a separate board for "Where to
                                Eat in NYC", as that's sort of the raison d'etre of the
                                whole darned site in the first place!

                                But I understand that what you guys are suggesting is a
                                board for inexperienced posters. Consider this, though:

                                1. Inexperienced folks who post questions already
                                answered at length (i.e. haven't done legwork to peruse
                                previous threads), given a new board, would merely find
                                themselves leaving messages nobody would read or reply
                                to. What's the point? You suggest leaving info there
                                for them to read, but...Steve...THEY DON'T **READ**
                                EXISTING INFO! That's the problem! Our present boards
                                ALREADY contain tons of helpful guidance for them! We
                                couldn't hope to do better!

                                2. Inexperienced folks who ask interesting, fresh, and/
                                or more specific questions are certainly welcome to do
                                so on these boards, and perhaps stir up good
                                conversation. Even if it's a novice question; we're
                                pretty helpful folks...if someone posts "what's a
                                tamale?", they'd surely receive kind explanation and
                                not leave many bored readers in the process. We don't
                                need every posting to be super-arcane and savvy...we
                                just don't want to be aggravated by relentless demands
                                for custom chow advice newbies who've not put in the
                                time consulting prior discussion.

                                One solution would be to require a verifiable email
                                address from each poster, so that I could delete such
                                queries and email the posters private guidance re:
                                using the site. But that would require registration-to-
                                post, which would cut down drastically on traffic

                                So I just post The Usual Plea once in a while and hope
                                newbies see it. Redundant though they are, we don't get
                                more than a few such postings per week. And for every
                                few upper west side brunchers who come stumbling in, we
                                also pull in a Wonki or Jen.

                                Meanwhile, bear in mind that this site is more a
                                community than an Ask The Experts service. That being
                                the case, the errant wisecrack is entirely appropriate.
                                My mission is to provide a hangout for hardcore hounds
                                (and open-minded hound wannabes), period. We're
                                generous to newbies who are considerate enough to check
                                out site culture before posting, but this community has
                                no responsibility whatsoever to steer every tourist to
                                the Olive Garden nearest their motel...or even to take
                                such requests seriously. If they'd read through the
                                site, they'd find a world beyond Olive Garden. If
                                they're too busy to read...well, we're probably too
                                busy to advise!

                                Wisecracks and irreverence are GOOD. These boards are
                                way too serious and polite. I'd prefer more
                                rollickingness, myself...

                                re: your comment that it's unlikely that unwary
                                questioners will ever visit the site again...this is
                                the case regardless of peoples' response. More than
                                half the newbie questioners showered with advice have
                                never been heard from again. I suspect most don't even
                                return to check replies.

                                Those whose postings demonstrate at least a vague
                                recognition of what the site's about--i.e. they've been
                                reading along at least to some degree--deserve serious
                                reply regardless of the naivete of their questions. But
                                people who've blown in (usually via search engine
                                inquiries for "midtown", "brunch", etc) and ask
                                questions contrary to the chowhound spirit and who've
                                clearly browsed neither the message boards nor anything
                                else, generally are unlikely to have any future
                                attraction to the site, come what may. They're like
                                quasi-spammers, so we may as well amuse ourselves.

                                1. re: Jim Leff

                                  Jim -- if not a board for newbies, how about a very
                                  prominent FAQ Page for newbies wanting to know where
                                  to eat in NY? Something one could spot coming into
                                  the site, unless he/she is legally blind.

                                  1. re: Gary Cheong

                                    Gary, the Posting Guidelines are about as in-your-face as we could possibly make anything...and yet few seem to read 'em. The problem, once again, is failure to read, failure to feel around the site, failure to give the slightest regard to prevailing culture on the site. The solution isn't to offer 'em MORE stuff to skip reading!

                                    It's an unsolvable problem, given our ever-increasing audience. Even if we made a greater and greater percentage of posters aware of posting etiquette, we'll still have a constant or increasing number of inappropriate postings....because 2% of an audience of 100,000 amounts to more actual fringey people than 10% of an audience of 1000. Talk to Xeno...

                                    Meantime, just ignore stuff! C''re forced to disregard like 99% of content when surfing the Internet, but there's a MUCH better signal-to-noise ratio here. I'm sure we can all put up with the occasional boring well as the occasional wise ass reply.


            2. Yvonne -- we really are a helpful bunch here. It's
              just like Josh said in his post -- READ thru many of
              the posts on this board, get some ideas, and then ask
              some specific questions rather than an open-ended
              question like "what interesting places should I eat
              at?". How would we know what your likes and dislikes
              are? You'll get "suggestions" like Tad's, Sbarro's
              and Olive Garden from the regulars who are a wee bit
              tired of seeing the same old queries over and over

              > Being from the middle Georgia area we are used to
              > very good food that isn't bland.

              Like us New Yorkers (who happen to live in this
              country's food capital) are not ???

              1. Don't listen to those knuckleheads, Yvonne. As Gary and Josh said, Al and Frank are just bored by the same old questions being asked over and over.

                As I told a new message poster last week, there are tens of thousands of messages on these boards, many of them pertaining to your situation. All the collected wisdom contained therein was provided on a volunteer basis by very smart, savvy eaters. So some of them get annoyed when a new face pops up and asks for custom advice on the same old topics, seemingly ignoring the vast storehouse of knowledge they've painstakingly built up here.

                This place is about give and take, and the givers have limited time/patience. So we do ask people to poke around a bit before piping up...though people with new, timely, or unusual concerns are warmly invited to post anytime. Also, y'all (I'm talking over your head to the populace at large), if you get good advice here, please give back with reports of your eating experiences, ok? Post finds as well as queries, please!

                Oh, quick bit of advice: forget about eating in Little Italy (unless you want Malaysian). It's a touristy nightmare.


                1. also forget all the tourist traps in and near the
                  theatre district....if it even remotely looks like a
         farther afield...
                  my suggestion for gastronomicallt
                  adventurous-on-a-budget these days is to stroll up and
                  down 9th ave(1 block west-facing new jersey)from where
                  you'll probably be staying...
                  you can try some wonderful fast food, not so
                  wonderfully served slow food, some just tasty delites
         all depends on what mood hits you...
                  the boundaries (loose) are about 42 st street south to
                  about 57 st north...there's turkish,mideastern, true
                  italian, great burgers, vietnamese(I think that's on 44
                  off 8th Ave tho)....but remember, we're a safe city
         the stroll will be satisfying AND safe....and,
                  your stomach will thank you....