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NYC bound and need a restaurant plan...help?

My boyfriend and I are going up to NYC in January and I'm trying to put a restaurant plan together. Need some help from the dedicated Chowhounders:
--I want lunch at some really great place (where we really couldn't probably afford the dinner)
--One great dinner (maybe French?) that's great food and good ambiance and isn't super stuffy. We'll lay down some cash for this, but nothing super outrageous.
--I'm thinking I also need a good Bahn Mi place for lunch one of the other days.
--Where's a really great classic cocktail kind of place. Not for food, but just for a drink.
--An interesting, funky, great food place in the village?
--Best pizza...got to have the pizza.

What am I missing? And, I promise to report back!

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  1. fleur de sel has a prix fixe lunch that people here love. never been, so can't comment.

    saigon banh mi is my favorite. banh mi so one is a decent alternative, with good veggie options. if you do a search, you'll see lots and lots of discussion.

    pizza in manhattan--patsy's in east harlem. in brooklyn, difara's or grimaldi's (check the outer boroughs board).

    here's a recent quality cocktails thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... . angel share is great.

    east village? west village? cuisine type?

    2 Replies
    1. re: rose water

      Thanks! As for cuisine type, how about some new american style food, but with a really interesting take on it?

    2. --I want lunch at some really great place (where we really couldn't probably afford the dinner)

      Gotham Bar & Grill does a prix fixe lunch; i think Gotham is phenomenal.
      Spotted Pig -- it's delish, and not expensive, but impossible to get into at night (just tried to go for dinner on Tues, and the wait was 2 hours), so maybe better luck at lunch.

      --One great dinner (maybe French?) that's great food and good ambiance and isn't super stuffy. We'll lay down some cash for this, but nothing super outrageous.

      Le Bernardin (but almost impossible to make a ressy)
      Jean Georges

      --Where's a really great classic cocktail kind of place. Not for food, but just for a drink.

      Milk & Honey (Lower East Side) or any of Sasha Petraske's quintessential cocktail spots (Little Branch - West Village; Eastside Company - LES). They're all slightly difficult to find and barely have signs. Sasha uses fresh-squeezed juices, proper garnishes and the best ice. Who knew ice could make such a difference?

      --An interesting, funky, great food place in the village?

      Degustation in the East Village. I love the food and I love Jack Lamb (owner/host).
      Peasant in NoLIta. Italian, food is amazing.

      --Best pizza...got to have the pizza.

      Grimaldi's in Brooklyn. Go during the day (if it's nice you can walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to the restaurant), the wait at night can be close to 2 hours.

      Franny's in Brooklyn is also really really good.

      I haven't tried Una Pizza Napoletena in the East Village (I think 12th/1st Ave), but I've only heard good things.

      As for what you're missing: burgers -- Shake Shack, altho i think it's closed in january. Otherwise, Burger Joint at the parker meridien. dim sum -- dim sum go go is way better than most of the other spots, despite the lack of carts.
      Momofuku Noodle Bar in the east village. Falai on the lower east side. Artisanal for fondue. Tia Pol for amazing tapas.

      lobster rolls at pearl oyster bar (or mermaid inn or mary's fish camp). oyster pan roast at grand central oyster bar. sushi..... oh my, the sushi... ushi wakamaru on houston is fab and less expensive than the more hyped Yasuda or less conventional Gari.

      There's just so much amazing food in NYC.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sister2

        Shake Shack closed last week and won't reopen till March 21.

      2. For lunch, try Le Bernardin, Bouley or Gotham. All of these restaurants are on opentable.com and all have fixed price lunch options. For pizza I like Angelo's on 57th.

        1 Reply
        1. re: socal boy

          i second the reco for burger joint at the parker meridian. you gotta check this out. the burgs are great and don't forget the fries and a brownie. when you're done, you can carve your names on the wall. you'll see what i mean when you go.

        2. Pegu on Houston for cocktails is a must.

          1. Employees Only on Hudson Street (West Village) is a great spot for classic cocktails and a really nice tableside steak tartare. But Pegu's cocktails really can't be beat.

            1. Dim sum, great idea! DC's chinatown (china-block, more like it) is pathetic. What's a great Chinese place?

              1 Reply
              1. re: vb_lady

                Chinatown Brasserie (Great Jones and Lafayette Sts.) has the best dim sum I've had in the U.S., but it's expensive - $8-12 per plate (4 small dumplings or their equivalents). I've heard good things about Oriental Garden's dim sum from experienced people I respect, but have yet to try it. Oriental Garden is on Elizabeth St. between Bayard and Canal.

                The best banh mi I've had is at Banh Mi Saigon Bakery, on Mott St. between Grand and Hester (it's a crystal and jewelry shop in front, a lunch counter in back), not the place on Broome. I actually prefer their banh mi ga (chicken sandwich) to the banh mi (pork sandwich), and always ask for it spicy (lots of jalapeno slices).

              2. Boy, where to start?

                A great lunch that's in a super-cool place? The Spotted Pig in the West Village. They have a delicious burger and their gnudi will invade your dreams. They also have homemade cask ale like you can only find in England. It's fantastic. Really, one of my favorite restaurants.

                Pizza- unless you're traveling to Brooklyn (Franny's, Di Fara, Grimaldi's) you're probably looking in NYC so I say Lombardi's (it was the first, 1905).

                There's great Banh Mi on Mott and Broome in a little Vietnamese deli across from an old fire-house, it's managed to elude all the critics so I'm hesitant to tell anyone about their amazing $3.00 sandwiches.

                The Brandy Library is a nice place for drinks.

                And, if you've never had soup dumplings (not dumplings in soup but soup inside the dumpling) you must go to Joe's Shanghai on Pell St. in Chinatown. Eight giant, steaming hot, savory dumplings for like $4. Everytime someone visits I take them there...which means everytime they return I have to take them there again since they love it so much. Their "prawns in meat sauce" entree is great too.

                I hope some of this helps.

                1. My favorites for prix fixe lunch are Jean-Georges and Aureole with Bouley close behind. All much more affordable than at dinner.

                  1. Without fading into all of the debate, one place to have a drink for a few days is simply not enough. A New York has several "classic" styles of drinking establishments, even different styles at which to have cocktails. One of the aforementioned of Sasha Petraske's is a good choice for a cocktail made very well.

                    However, one would be remiss to miss having a drink on Grand Central's Oyster Bar, which has a great selection of wines, beers and spirits (I can find a better selection of spirits or wine or beer, but not all three together), some decent food (search for some threads, a pan roast or stew is good, other things not), something to nosh on the bar gratis, and a nice atmosphere imo.

                    If you were with or were a drinker of whiskeys, I'd be steering you either to Hole in One or the bar at Keens, dependent on price. Hole in One is awesome for it's selection, but really expensive. Keens can charges for a single drink, but it won't kill you.

                    I'd have a drink in the Rise Bar, at the Ritz near Battery Park. Wonderful view of New York Harbor.

                    And that's before I begin thinking about a place to have few pints. Whittling down those choices would not be easy.

                    1. Okay, I'm checking back in after my NY trip.

                      Went to Enoteca Barbone http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...
                      on Avenue B in the East Village. Fantastic! One of the wishes on this trip was to eat the mid-priced excellent Italian food that you just don’t find in DC. Italian here is either the super fancy or really kind of lame variety. There are a few good pizza places, but nothing with a good mix of dishes at a not exorbitant price.

                      We opted for the tasting menu, truly a bargain at $40. The owner helped us pick out a great red wine after assuring us that it would go with all of the dishes. (Italian wine list could be written in hieroglyphics for all I understand about wines from the various regions). The first course was fried quail egg over the softest, yummiest polenta and topped with shaved truffles. To the side were kicky strips of pickled radish, which balanced out the richness in the dish. The second dish was raviolis stuffed with roasted beets and finished off with a butter poppy seed dressing. The second pasta course was the pappardelle with braised short rib ragu. Utterly amazing. The short ribs were rich, the pasta perfect. This was so good and exactly what we wanted. The secondi course was a roasted quail with lentils – rich with deep flavor in the lentils. To finish it all off, hazelnut semifreddo with espresso poured on top.

                      The owner took very good care of us. We had originally ordered a manhattan and negroni, but the waitress wasn’t sure what a negroni was. That’s a little odd considering it’s an Italian place, but kind of a throw back drink. We opted for two manhattans, but the both came out with campari. I can’t stand campari and the look on my face must have given away my displeasure. The owner came by and asked what we had ordered, took one look at the way too red drinks and said he’s fix us a negroni and an actual manhattan. He came by to introduce each course and answer any questions.

                      I would highly recommend this place. It's small, but intimate and was a pleasure.

                      More on other locations to come.