going in a month with two teenage daughters, suggestions please
Thanks in advance for your help. My wife and I lived in NYC in the early 90's (EV), going back with our daughters (12,16) for a week in early August.
Would like some suggestions to complete our chowhound tour. Budget not real important, our kids are adventurous and enjoy different types of cuisine and can handle some heat.
Will be staying at The Kimberly (50th & 3rd.)
Our plans so far include:
Katz's for pastramis
Probably Carnegie for the experience and decent deli (can't get anything passable here in South Texas)
Will meet my brother and his kids on Saturday, probably do Chinese (thinking of Wu Liang Ye, Grand Sechuan and New Green Bo, will probably do Chinese at least once more.)
Pizza- ?John's on Bleecker
Italian- ? Po tasting menu
? Lupa or Babbo - need rec's here
? Thai- I'd like to go out to Sripipai? spelling but not sure if we all want to schlep out there.
? Sushi- don't feel it warrants spending big bucks on the kids at a top place like Yasuda, open for suggestions. Maybe Le Miu?
Any other thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
although i've only been to babbo once, based on that experience i'd choose lupa. the food seems to be stronger across the board, it isn't as pricey, and i think that the atmosphere is more comfortable. it's also easier to get reservations.
i haven't tried le miu, but a friend who is a total sushi freak/snob had a business dinner there a few weeks ago and raved about it. esashi, down the road at ave a and 2nd, and takahachi, just a few doors down on a between 5th & 6th, are two other local places that i like quite a bit. both are cheaper than le miu, though le miu seems pretty reasonable (especially if the quality is as high as my friend claims).
Le Miu is good, but not top of the line. They are a budget alternative to the Nobu style, new style sushi with various sauces and garnishes. I recommend the $45 prix fixe (the $65 one is not appreciably better, so don't waste your cash.) The ambience is casual.
I'm not a fan of either Esashi or Takahachi, so my alternative recommendation is Ushi Wakamaru (for traditional high quality sushi though pricier) or Cube63 (also new style).
As for your other choices:
Katz's over Carnegie (Carnegie has had some iffy reports lately), you might hit Sarge's instead at 3rd & 37th
Lupa over Babbo (especially with kids) but Otto might even be better with kids (Batali pizza and pasta)
John's pizza is a good choice, though I prefer Lombardi's
Sripraphai is worth the subway ride (it's just off the subway entrance)
For breakfast, your hotel is right next to Ess-A-Bagel -- gorge while you can!
I have a reservation at Po for Friday night, I think we'll do the tasting menu.
Saturday will be going to New Green Bo with my brother and his kids and then for ice cream across the street.
Le Miu sounds like an interesting menu in a fun neighborhood to walk around in.
Appreciate other rec's
Sripraphai is excellent but most definitely a little trip (only 10 minutes over 59th St Bridge.)
Great Thai on 3rd Ave (28th) Jai Ya...one of the best in NYC
Also, if you want to travel a little and show the teenagers a real NY experience...go to Sea Thai in Williamsburg around 9:00 on THurs or Fri for wow people/food experience...and you will not believe how inexpensive it is..
Ess-a-bagel is definitely part of the plan. I used to live near the one on First and went at least once a week. One of the reasons for booking a hotel with a kitchen was to take advantage of Ess-a for breakfast.
Given how much we love Thai food, I think a visit to Sripraphai is in order. Any idea how much a car service or taxi would cost? I'm up for the subway, but my wife is a bit of a primmadona. She has no problem using it when the traffic dictates, but may prefer a car back in the evening. Anyone have directions from 50th and 3rd via subway?
Haven't seen much on Jai Ya on this board, I'll do a search. The general consensus seems to be that there's nothing even approaching Sripraphai in Manhattan.
thanks for all of your help, we're really looking forward to returning to NYC.
We'll probably go to both Katz' and Carnegie, I'm a sucker for Carnegie's pastrami with melted swiss. Anything will be better than the deli available here.
I think I'll make a res at Lupa.
Anyone else want to weigh in with Sushi suggestions? The kids (and wife) mostly like tuna, california rolls, eel. Not too much into the exotic things.
I have a lot of fond memories of John's on Bleeker from the old days, so I think we'll go, even if it's not the best at the moment, it's worlds ahead of anything here in San Antonio.
After spending roughly 2/3 of my life in SA I understand your pizza problems.
For Sushi Shimizu in the Washington Jefferson Hotel is usually real good.
Having lived in San Antonio for 13 years, now going to school in NYC, I know exactly what you mean about the lack of good pizza and deli (and Italian and French and...) options in SA. For a city of over a million people, the number of decent places to eat here is pathetic IMO. Anyhoo, in the hopes that you have an awesome return to NYC next month, here are a few of my recs:
Deli -- Gotta do Katz. Can't go wrong with that one. And if you enjoy Carnegie, stick with Carnegie, too. Not a popular place on these boards, but don't let the fellow chowhounds talk you out of going to a place you know you enjoy. A few other options you may consider would be Barney Greengrass on the UWS, or even perhaps Russ & Daughters on the LES.
Chinese -- Not a cuisine I know a heck of a lot about. I did enjoy Grand Sichuan over on 9th ave. when I went several months ago. You might also consider grabbing some Dim Sum in Chinatown (or better yet, Flushing). I hear New Green Bo is very good. For a quick snack, consider grabbing 5 dumplings for $1 and a warm scallion pancake. Also, instead of Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, you might consider a short walk to Il Laboratorio del Gelato for what to me is without question the best stuff in the city.
Pizza -- To me, this one is all about how far you're willing to travel. Don't wanna wander far from the hotel one day? Naples 45 in GCT makes one of the best Neapolitan style pies in the city. Want to head back to the EV for old times' sake? You could get a pie at Una Pizza Napoletana. Another Neapolitan style place, and among the best in the city IMO. Got some extra time on your hands and wanna track down the best pizza you can get your hands on? Make your way to Brooklyn and let a pie from Di Fara put a smile on your face. Other good options: Patsy's (East Harlem only), Grimaldi's, and yes, John's (not the best, but miles better than anything here in SA). Many like Lombardi's, too, but having lived in NY I'm sure you know all about that. Asking a NYer what's the best pizza in town is like asking someone to choose a favorite child. You just can't get a straight answer.
Italian -- Babbo and Lupa are both nice options. I prefer Babbo myself, but there are many who are just the opposite. I would also highly recommend L'Impero, which happens to be very close to your hotel. Their prix-fixe options is very reasonably priced considering the quality of the food. Easily as good as Babbo, if not better (although the two places are quite different).
Thai -- Haven't been to Sripraphai myself yet, but this place is very high on my list of places to check out. Almost everything I've heard about it suggests it is definitely worth the trip.
Sushi -- Sorry I can't help ya here, as I don't eat sushi often. To me, though, it seems as if Yasuda is the most widely praised sushi place on this board and others.
Random -- Just off the top of my head, a few places I'd consider checking out if I were spending a week in NYC...Telepan,Clinton Street Bakery, Otto, Sullivan Street Bakery, Bouchon Bakery (maybe for a CP picnic?), Fauchon, Gray's Papaya, La Pizza Fresca. I could go on and on, but I'll spare you the misery of reading any more :)
Wherever you end up, I hope you have a wonderful trip. And please report back. I'd love the hear the perspective of another SA 'hound about what you end up enjoying in NYC.
-- i highly recommend Lucien on First Ave, betw 1st and 2nd St...it's been open maybe 10 or so years, so perhaps since just after you moved...excellent French bistro and fun East Village scene which your daughters might enjoy...fine bouillabaise, grilled salmon, steak frites, escargot, chocolate cake...i've been there with teenagers who have loved it...
-- sushi...i'd say Ushi Wakamaru...very authentic...superb fish quality...good Japanese atmosphere...just a great place...reserve in advance...
-- definitely do Sripraphai...especially because it's really not so far from where you are...if subway: take the 7 train from Grand Central, get off at 61st St/Woodside...but i'd guess a car service would cost only 20-ish from where you are?...i recommend the southern-style curry, the broiled catfish salad, and well, just about everything...(do not eat Thai food in Manhattan: it's almost always disappointing)...
-- i'd say Lupa over Babbo...more fun especially on a family vacation, more things to share (lots of small antipasti choices)...i've had two meals at Babbo: one superb, one merely decent...
Enjoy, and please report back and tell us where you went...
Agreed, for pastrami, it's gotta be Katz's.
For pizza in Manhattan, I'd recommend the original East Harlem location of Patsy's. You can have a look at some photos here if you like:
And yes, I have been back recently, and it was just as good. This is old school New York coal oven thin crust pizza.
I haven't been to John's in ages, but I am very underwhelmed with Lombardi's. If you'd rather go somewhere downtown, I recommend Arturo's, and if you go there, get the clam pie. It's miraculous! It's like excellent pasta with clam sauce, except that the clam sauce is on a pizza crust. Lombardi's clam pizza was a sad joke the last time I had it. My comments at the time:
"Lombardi's is apparently famous for its clam pizza. Not to put too fine a point on it, it sucked! The clam pieces seemed to be mostly fiber and got stuck between my teeth, but though they weren't fishy, they really had little taste or, I suspect, nutritional value."
To be fair, I made that post on April 18, 2004, so it's conceivable that Lombardi's has improved since then, but I doubt it.
I do heartily recommend Grand Sichuan, and the best location is 9th Av. just north of 50 St. If you go to New Green Bo, be careful to avoid dishes like Jalapeno Chicken, and stick with Shanghainese specialties. Or do what I do: Go across the street to Yeah Shanghai, which is also bigger (you won't wait on line) and has actual nice decor in the back, while charging prices that I figure are just as low as NGB. And some time ago, I concluded that Yeah has the most consistently good Shanghainese food on that block, and became a regular. There are many good dishes there, but if you all are adventurous enough to order things like eel, your dining experience will be even better.
If you want to go somewhere Cantonese, my top recommendation would be Congee Village, on Allen St. just south of Delancey, but get reservations if you go on a weekend (including Friday night). Otherwise, there's always Great (or Greater, or whatever) New York Noodletown, on Bowery and Bayard (one block south of Canal St.), which is a darn good Cantonese diner, essentially, and open late. Get the ginger/scallion lo mein, but don't ignore the higher-priced specials on the card on the table, such as things with flowering chives or pea shoots.
I think your wife should get over her reluctance to take the subway and take the 7 train to 61 St. and back for the outing to Sripraphai. It's a beautiful trip with great views coming and going. But if she really can't stand going back on the subway, consider the Q32 bus, which runs down Roosevelt Av. and ultimately across the Queensboro Bridge, terminating at Penn Station. Bus schedule:
If all else fails, I was out in Jackson Heights when one of my dining partners had to get back to Manhattan right away. He was able to almost immediately hail a livery cab (non-medallion, non-meter, and black rather than yellow, but legal). I do not know what price he negotiated.
Ok, I think I'll call Lupa and try to get a table.
I definitely want to try Sripraphai. If we take the subway, where do we go once we get off at 61 st? We can always take a cab back, with four of us, it won't be a whole lot more than the subway.
Ushi Wakamura sounds like it may be the ticket for sushi, any other opinions?
I called New Green Bo, and they said if I call early in the day, they will reserve a table for the 8 of us. We'll most like hit Grand Sichuan and/or Wu Liang Ye since we love spicy food.
thanks for all of your help, it's starting to come together. We're really looking forward to getting back to the city, even in August (can't be any hotter than here).
The easiest way to find out exactly where to go when you get off the subway is to input the street address into the New York City Map Portal. I'd give you the link, but you can just google that. Once you get your map, select to view subway stops. Simple as that. If you don't have the street address of Sripraphai, you can go to www.superpages.com and input that name and "Woodside, NY."
i totally second simon's rec of lucien if you find yourselves in the village looking for a bistro-type meal. in addition to the very reliable food, the staff there are fantastic. it's one of the few places that i've been to that actually lives up to the ideal of treating everyone like a regular. it's a great lunch/brunch option, as well.
definitely do a search here for recommended items at new green bo. as pan points out, the menu can be tricky as some things are much, much better than others.
Ok, I've scored a reservation at Lupa for the 8th, I'll be sure to search for some rec's of what to order, but if anyone wants to chime in with their suggestions, have at it!
For the six nights it's looking like:
New Green Bo (I'll make some notes before we go on what to order, but which dumplings are the best?)
Wu Liang Ye or Grand Sichuan
Japanese- either Le Miu, Ushi Wakamura or ? Haven't been able to find much on Ushi, do they have a website?
John's on Bleecker (too many memories not to go)
Carnegie (ditto on the memories, can't let the kids miss the rude waitstaff there)
Katz's- I love pastrami
random places for the rest
Ess-a-bagel in the room, need to get my fill of whitefish and lox
Thanks for all of your help!
Ushi Wakamaru's phone number: 212-228-4181 (it's on my speed dial...lol)...they are located on the north side of Houston St. between Sullivan and MacDougal...
While i've never eaten at Le Mui (and several people here have said the fish quality is very good), i've walked by it a few times and peeked in: the vibe seemed a little icky to me (loud, non-Japanese bartenders/servers, wannabe trendy: like it's trying to be a Japanese version of Pastis) and the menu posted outside features a lot of fusiony rolls and such, which i find distasteful (merely my opinion, and a purely exterior viewpoint at that)...
Ushi Wakamaru has mostly Japanese clientele, and extremely high quality fish in a lowkey comfortable setting...in my opinion, it'd be a perfect place to introduce your daughters to authentic sushi...
"While i've never eaten at Le Mui (and several people here have said the fish quality is very good), i've walked by it a few times and peeked in: the vibe seemed a little icky to me (loud, non-Japanese bartenders/servers, wannabe trendy: like it's trying to be a Japanese version of Pastis) and the menu posted outside features a lot of fusiony rolls and such, which i find distasteful (merely my opinion, and a purely exterior viewpoint at that)..."
You might want to reserve judgement until you've actually EATEN there.