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Jul 12, 2006 06:21 PM

Strategic chowhound planning

Wll be in New York in November for about five days. Wanted to try eating places that are NY old established favorites. For instance, planning to try Katz for deli sandwiches. Any old established favorites that you New York Chowhounds could recommend- that you would take a visitor to experience the flavor of New York? Not looking for the pricy stuff- more the mom and pop or older eastablished neighborhood stuff.


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  1. I don't live in NYC and have never been. One day I'll get there and I'm gonna visit Papya King for a dog and a juice.
    I also wanna go to the Carnegie Deli.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Davwud

      Definitely skip Carnegie. It's strictly for the tourists.

      For a true NYC deli experience hit Katz's on the LES.

      1. re: selizara

        I greatly prefer Papaya King to Gray's so maybe you should try both while in town.

      2. Is Gray's Papaya all over the city? How's Ray's Pizza in Greenwich Village?

        2 Replies
        1. re: rc50

          Steer clear of Ray's, Original Rays, Famous Original Rays, etc., etc. Go up to East Harlem and get a regular pie (yes, I said pie) at Patsy's. Really old-school coal-oven pizza. If that's too far uptown, another classic place is Arturo's on West Houston St. Get the clam pie, it's miraculous!

          1. re: Pan

            Yes, Patsy's and Lombardi's blow all the Ray's out of the water. But I've noticed that the Greenwich Village Ray's (6 Av and 11 St) has much better slices than any other Ray's with the possible exception of the one at 27 Prince St. Any Ray's other than those two is inedible unless you are really drunk or really hungry, and even then you'd ponder long and hard before chowing down.

        2. Do a search for the LES eating tour (I forget who was the original author). It includes Katz's, Kossar's Bialys, the Doughnut Plant, Yonah Shimmel's Knishes, Laboratorio del Gelato, Dumpling House, and a stop for an egg cream (it might be Gem Spa). All within a few walkable blocks and doable in an afternoon for an intrepid hound. I've done it with guests, who rave at all the good cheap eats, and would recommend it to anyone.

          P.S. I'd probably throw in Despana, DiPalo's, Economy Candy, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, CeliCela, Lombardi's, a little Korean waffle with custard stall at Canal & Layfayette, and a few other places if you were REALLY ambitious.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Pupster

            RGR was the author of the LES tour.

            Other additions to the Old New York theme:

            Grand Central Oyster Bar

            Keens Chophouse

            McSorley's Ale House (go on a weekday mid-afternoon to avoid the crowds.) Oldest bar in NY. Get the cheese platter and the ham sandwhich with onions along with a couple of dark ales.

            Minetta Tavern - old style Italian restaurant from the 1930s
            with loads of atmosphere

            Chumley's on Bedford - an old speakeasy. Stick to the basic pub food.

              1. re: Deb Van D

                Hey, Pupster, Bob and Deb, Thanks for mentioning my (in)famous tour and, Deb, for posting that link. However, since that post, in the name of accuracy, I have made some changes. Plus, I've just added Economy Candy. Here is the updated version:

                Lower East Side Food Excursion

                For the quintessential NYC deli experiences, no place beats Katz's, on the corner of Houston (pronounced "how-stun") & Ludlow Sts. You're there specifically for the pastrami sandwich. When you enter, you will be given a ticket. Instead of opting for table service, do what the "natives" do and get on line for counter service. When you reach the counter, put a $1 for each sandwich in the counterman's tip cup and order pastrami on rye. He'll give you a piece to taste. If you like it (the best pastrami is juicy and has some fat on it), tell him o.k., and he'll make your sandwich, give you some sour pickles, and punch your ticket. Then, continue along the counter for sides – the cole slaw is good -- and drinks. Find seats at a table in the center of the room. (Tables along the wall have menus on them and are reserved for waiter service.) When you’re done, take your ticket to the cashier in front. It's cash only. Note: For the purposes of this tour, unless you have a gargantuan appetite, it would be best to share one sandwich in order to leave room for more tastings along the way.

                When you exit Katz’s, turn left and continue along the same side of Houston St. You will come to Russ & Daughters, famous for all sorts of smoked fish and many other goodies. It's not a restaurant, but they make sandwiches to go.

                After leaving the Russes, continue west a couple of blocks until you reach Yonah Schimmel's. Get a tasty potato knish, and make sure to ask them to heat it up.

                Now it’s time for the quintessential NY drink – the egg cream. So, reverse yourself and head east on Houston until you come to Avenue A. (Note: Avenue A becomes Essex St. on the south side of Houston.) Turn left on A and head north until you get to the block between 7th St. and St. Mark’s Place. Look for a hole-in-the-wall candy shop, closer to 7th, with an overhead sign jutting into the street that says, “Belgian Fries.” (The place’s official name is Ray’s, but there is no signage to that effect.) One of the women behind the counter will make you a delicious chocolate egg cream.

                When you’re finished licking your lips, go back to Houston St. and make a left (east) one block to Norfolk St. Turn right and walk down Norfolk until it ends at Grand St. Two places to look for at the corner of Grand and Norfolk: Kossar's, for freshly baked bialys (another very NY food) and the Donut Plant (self-explanatory).

                Next, walking west along Grand St., you will come to Orchard St. Turn right. At 87 Orchard, snack on a pickle from Gus's World Famous Pickles.

                Then, continue to 97 Orchard, b/t Broome & Delancey, where you will find the Tenement Museum. The tour will show you what life was like for immigrants to NYC at the beginning of the 20th century. (
                Once you have finished the tour, Il Laboratorio del Gelato, right next door at 95 Orchard, is a must for some of the best gelato anywhere.

                If your sweet tooth is still not completely satisfied, the final stop on this tour should do it. Continue ahead (north) on Orchard, crossing Delancey, then one more block to Rivington St. Make a right and you will find Economy Candy at 145 Rivington.

                Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

                1. re: RGR

                  Thanks for the update, ma'am, and I hope to link to the New and Improved version next time (but no promises). It's still a nice tramp.

                  1. re: RGR

                    As long as you're on Delancey what's everybody's take on Sammy's Roumanian? This isn't something you're going to find outside of NYC. Skirt steaks that are folded over cause they're too long to fit on the big oval plate... The big chunk of ice with the vodka bottle frozen in it... Schmalz on the table in syrup containers... incredible chicken livers where they mix the grebenes and schmalz right at the table... sweetbreads done right... I know it's not everybody's thing, and it's actually pretty expensive - especially since it's really a dive. And I understand that there's another Roumanian place in town somewhere that's supposed to be really good. But you want to talk about quintessential lower east side... my grandfather had to be eating something like this (maybe on a really good day in the garment district...)!

                    1. re: RGR

                      Great Post, I will definitely do the tour when I am in NYC this month. Thanks!!

                  2. re: Bob Martinez

                    You could do a whole thing just on NYC historic bars.

                    Gotta include Ear Inn, White Horse Tavern, Cedar Tavern.

                2. I also wanna go to Jacques Torres Chocolate.

                  Major chocoholic

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Davwud

                    The 1st (and last) stop on the chocolate shop tour should be Kee's Chocolates in Soho.

                    fyi, this board is full of many posts rightfully singing her praises.

                    1. re: was_bk

                      Ditto to both places. They're rightfully great chocolate shops in NYC.

                      Honestly, NYC is becoming a chocolate city, if you get my drift. There's the premier chocolates from France (e.g. La Maison du Chocolat, Richart, Michel Cluzeil), Switzerland (Teucher), etc. and the rise of local chocolatiers (Kee's). NYC is becoming a microcosm of the world's (expensive) chocolate. But it's oh so good for the chocoholic.

                      1. re: chocokitty

                        I'd include the Pierre Marcolini (from Belgium) store on Park and 58th.

                        1. re: RCC

                          I had no idea Pierre Marcolini had a store in NYC! I went to the one in Tokyo a couple of years ago and found it to be amazing (posted about it). Does the one here sell anything besides chocolate? The one in Tokyo had ice cream, and a small cafe that sold hot chocolate and ice cream sundaes.