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Portland Chowhound visiting Gramercy/Chelsea

j
JessWil Jul 10, 2006 09:34 PM

I think those are the areas...staying at Broadway and 27th, working at Madison and E. 34th. Still confused by the neighborhood names...I've been there before, but stayed in a different hotel. Been to Dimple, which I love, but would like to try another Indian/Chaat place. Need to find good NY bagels, since bagels in Portland are terrible. Other than that I'm open. Mostly cheap since work is reimbursing (nonprofit), but I like all types of food. Any recommendations are much appreciated! Thank you all in advance.

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  1. p
    paperpest Jul 10, 2006 09:44 PM

    You are near Little India, Lexington Avenue between 29th and 27th St. Pongal is always reliable. Turkish Kitchen on 3rd avenue near 28th has a $14 lunch special. I used to love the Iskender kabab, found it over cooked the last time I was there, but I think overall still a good place for lunch. I don't recommend any Persian place in the city.

    1. p
      Pan Jul 10, 2006 11:38 PM

      You're also right around Koreatown. If you want Korean food, just do a search for "Korean."

      1. f
        foodforbrains Jul 10, 2006 11:47 PM

        Hi JessWil,

        Hey, you're coming right to my neighborhood...I live right next to Dimple. Here's a good start, although I don't have any bagel suggestions in the area:

        1) "Minar" South Indian cafeteria-style joint, very cheap, on 31st at 5th Ave. Wonderful South Indian specialties such as dosas and uttapam, along with outstanding versions of classics like Aloo Gobi and Saag Paneer. Wonderful samosas and good cheap lassis. Very nice family, too. My girlfriend and I go there every Saturday for breakfast...she's obsessed with their Saturday special which is a kind of smoky beans. Three-dish plate comes with rice or naan, of which I recommend the naan, which is unusually good.

        2) "Chennai Gardens" 27th at Lex. Perfect South Indian, albeit more expensive than Minar. Currently my favorite place for dosas, and they have an all-you-can eat buffet lunch on weekdays that you could not beat for deliciousness and value. (And health, I guess, if that matters to you.)

        3) "L'Express" Park Ave South at 20th. 24hr french bistro, which is a good thing to have near your apartment...Their Croque Monsieur is pretty crave-inducing. Pretty big place, sometimes crowded.

        4.) "Shake Shack" 23rd and Madison, in the middle of Madison Square Park. Fantastic burgers, hot dogs, sausages, fries, shakes, floats and ice-cream (technically frozen custard) sundaes. They also serve beer and wine, but the shakes are more intoxicating. Often slammed with food-obsessives willing to wait 20-40 mins in line, but if you go between between 9 and 11 pm it's a lot mellower.

        5.) "Grand Sichuan Int'l" 24th and 9th ave. A little bit more of a hike from where you're going to be, but the food is worth every appetite-building step. Stay away from the American part of the menu and order off the Sichuan sections -- if you like spicy food, try the Aui Zhou Spicy Chicken. Be wary of the little brown Sichuan peppercorns, though, they do VERY strange things to your palate, and the effect takes ten minutes to wear off.

        6.) "Flatiron Lounge" 19th btw 5th and 6th. Expensive but wonderful bar. Cocktails that would make anybody happy, and eventually, quite broke. I know you work for a non-profit (so do I), but maybe you could make just one little exception? I do, once in a while, and my taste buds and dopamine levels are always the better for it...

        7.) "Scopa" 28th and Madison. The deli part of this Italian restaurant (entrance on 28th for the deli) is a great place for a delectable and reasonably-priced sandwich to go. (You can walk down and sit in Madison Square Park to eat, much nicer than the tables they have at Scopa.) Everything else is too expensive to be worth it (salads, etc) but the sandwiches are worth each of the 6 or 7 dollars you'll pay.

        Have a fun trip! (Also, don't sweat not getting the nabe name figured out: currently, this is the last nameless neighborhood in Manhattan. Look at the Manhattan map in the back of a yellow cab and you'll see this neighborhood as an anonymous gray box. Top contenders for naming primacy include SoFi (for South Fifth - blech I say, but the condo developers like it), NoMad (for North of Madison Square Park -- my favorite) and the Textile District (due to prevalence of rug stores and fabric/textile/furniture showrooms -- my second-favorite.) By all means invent a name you like and insist that this is the right and accurate name while you are here...that is the way this game is played and anyone can be a winner!)

        4 Replies
        1. re: foodforbrains
          j
          JessWil Jul 11, 2006 02:59 AM

          Wow, thank you so much for all of the suggestions, and for not making me feel rather stooopid for not knowing the neighborhood. Thanks especially for the Indian suggestions -we can't get chaat here in Portland, and good naan is making my mouth water.
          Have you ever been to Daniel's bagels? I'm willing to try out a few places - even the not-so-great bagels are better than what you can find here.
          Anyway, thanks again! Truly appreciate the recs.

          1. re: JessWil
            a
            asdf Jul 11, 2006 04:02 AM

            For bagels, you should definitely consider Ess-A-Bagels on 21st and 1st Ave. Might be a small trek, but worth every step for its large and satisfying bagels. The everything bagel with lox and schmear should tie you over for breakfast and lunch. Enjoy!

            1. re: asdf
              t
              theannerska Jul 11, 2006 01:05 PM

              Ess-A-Bagel is definitely the best bagel - puts H&H and other "famous" places to shame.

          2. re: foodforbrains
            t
            toddyb Jul 11, 2006 04:08 AM

            Scopa and Scopa to go have closed. Had great paninis and would have been worth the visit.
            Happy Chowing

          3. s
            sailorbuoys Jul 11, 2006 03:12 AM

            You will also be about 15-20 minutes walking distance from Veselka, on 9th street and 2nd ave. Great pierogis, blintzes, soup, and more. open 24 hours and very reasonable. If you eat meat I suggest the cabbage soup. unreal.

            the day I went to shake shack I got there soon after they opened and there was no line.

            (ps I love love Portland! I will be there in August.)

            1. j
              JessWil Jul 11, 2006 03:50 AM

              Thanks Sailorbuoys - if you need any recs for Portland I'd be happy to oblige. The Pacific NW board is pretty comprehensive though, I think.

              1. j
                JessWil Jul 11, 2006 04:54 AM

                Every time I come to New York I have to get bagels. I have tried Ess-a, Pick-a-bagel, and H&H, and one in Brooklyn that I can't remember, but which was my favorite. Ess-a is okay - a little too big and doughy. I like Pick-a-bagel and will go back there if I can't find anything better. Thanks for the rec though!

                1 Reply
                1. re: JessWil
                  w
                  was_bk Jul 11, 2006 02:25 PM

                  you've tried most of the big bagel places with one glaring exception, Murray's (8th Ave @ 23rd st)

                  It's not as big and doughy as Ess A Bagel and, iirc not as costly as H&H. Give it a try

                  i enjoy them all depending on my mood

                  have a great visit

                2. j
                  JessWil Jul 11, 2006 03:04 PM

                  I haven't seen anyone mention Cuban or Puerto Rican food - any thoughts on either of those in the 'hoods where I'll be?
                  Thanks again everyone!!

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