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Aug 8, 2006 01:52 PM

Midwest Chowhound neaded to NYC-need recs [Moved from the Midwest Board]

I put a message on the Manhattan board, and while I got a few responses, the NYC chowhounds seem to be more intersted in talking to each other than helping out a visitor.

My DH and I are headed to NYC at the end of the month for a long weekend with a vegetarian couple. I know we are going to have to make some culinary adjustments, but my bet is it there are plenty of options for us.

So, please give me your ideas for out of the way joints, small family places, or must 'eats' that you have enjoyed in the past. I don't want tourist offerings, so don't bother with those.

To be clear, we are staying just off Times Square (super good internet deal) but we are more than capable of going anywhere.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Our absolute favorite is Blue Ribbon on Sullivan Street. It's a little pricey and I'm not sure of how vegetarian-friendly it would be, but the oysters and roasted bone marrow (obviously a no-go for your friends) are out of this world.

    Pazza Note (1375 6th Ave Btwn 55th & 56th St) is a great value for the area as well and another favorite. Cheap martinis during happy hour (2 for 1) and excellent pizzas including a roasted portobello.

    1. MayrMN, I read your post on the Manhattan board. As a long-time reader of that board, the problem, I think is that in a borough with 20,000 restaurants/food sources, unless you provide a 4 square block area with desired cuisine, it's a daunting task to narrow down the Manhattan list.

      I've been to a lot of Manhattan restaurants, but I've always had trouble viewing the world through a vegetarian's eyes. Maybe this omnivore can at least get you closer.

      First, search on "vegetarian" on the Manhattan board. I notice a few very good threads recently (a great one by "dawidoff" on July 24 here:


      Also do a search on Indian and you'll see a lot of discussion on vegetarian options.

      I think your vegetarian companions would do very well in Chinatown. Browse Chinatown Manhattan threads -- various places specialize in various items, but most Chinatown restaurants have at least 148,000 menu options. Lots of noodles, tofu, veggies, dumplings, soups that even a meat-lover would like.

      Italian would be another way to go. The LES (not Little Italy!) has a number of quaint, neighborhood Italian places. Plenty of posts on the Manhattan board. Depending on your price tolerance, you could go hog wild on Italian and still please the vegetarians.

      Here's another good thread I just found:

      If your companions are fish-eating vegetarians, that opens up about another 1,000 options. Take advantage of NYC Japanese and sushi places. Splurge -- it's worth it. Many posts on the Manhattan boards -- search on "omakase" or sushi.

      Also, search for bagels, bakeries, pizza and breakfast. Oh! And search for "falafel cart" in Manhattan. Seriously.

      Finally, don't worry if the places you find are clear across Manhattan. It's very easy to get around via cab or subway. My best trips to Manhattan are the ones where I have nothing planned beyond what I want to eat, and everything else falls into place. Pick one place in the West Village, one place in the Times Square area, one place on the LES, one place in Chinatown, one place around Central Park, etc. Dine and walk around.

      Good luck.

      1. Sripraphai has the best Thai food I've ever had and I try and go there when I'm in NYC. It's in Queens but steps from the 7 train which you can catch in Times Square so it's actually pretty accessible and definitely off the tourist map. I'm not too sure about the veg options but it would be worth it to your freinds if they ate from the dark side and tried the Pork with Basil and chilis. Yum

        1. One of the favorite things for my wife and I to do is to hit the Union Square Green Market (14th and Broadway ) and buy everything that we need to have a picnic right there in the park. They have wonderful produce, breads, cheeses and just about everything else that you'll need. It's open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Get there reasonably early for the best selection.

          Another place that we love is Cafe Asean (West Village, 10th Street between 6th and 7th), a cozy little pan-Asian place. A.S.E.A.N. stands for "Association of Southeastern Asian Nations" which is an official trade organization in southeast asia that includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. They have a garden out back that is a lovely place to have a meal.

          If you can get out to Queens, I agree with the Paz that Sripraphai is some excellent Thai food. There are thousands of other ethnic places in that area, too. If you don't mind a bit of a haul on the subway, and your friends are okay eating cheese, there's always a trip to the mecca of NY-style pizza, Di Fara's ( ). You could hop back on the train after you're done eating and take it to Coney Island for another truly NY experience.

          Have fun!

          1. i'm not sure if the menu has been changed, but when i was at sripraphai there were only a couple of dishes that were vegetarian.

            try lupa (sullivan st), one of mario batali's restaurants. the food is outstanding, and there are so many vegetable sides and starters that everyone will be happy. great atmosphere as well. i'd say it's a must.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wleatherette

              I had dancing visions of Lupa in mind when I was posting to this and the 20.21 thread (in addition to giving directions to THREE different friends traveling to NYC soon...can you sense my jealousy???). Their vegetarian antipasti is outstanding but I fear one whiff of the irresistable, rich, creamy Testa (head cheese) on the salumi "carne" could turn your vegetarian friends into serious ravaging carnivores. Oh man is that stuff good.

              p.s. Lupa is on Thompson, just north of Houston (170 Thompson St) Sometimes hard to get into, but they do take walk-ins and/or can usually seat you just after they open at 5:00.