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staying at 49th & 1st --dining and/or bar recs?

t
twentyoystahs Dec 21, 2006 08:38 PM

Hi,
We're Bostonians coming into your fair city over New Year's weekend. We're staying at the Beekman Tower Hotel --technically mid-town but can easily zip down 1st to go downtown.

We're not planning to spend a ton of time in that particular area, but are looking for any recs around there for breakfast, dinner, or even a good bar to have a few cocktails and/or apps.

Tend toward more casual but am open to any/all suggestions. Thanks!

  1. r
    RGR Dec 21, 2006 08:46 PM

    Pampano, on 49th St., b/t 2nd & 3rd Avs., serves excellent modern Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on fish. Good service and very pleasing atmospherics. (Note: Placido Domingo is a co-owner.)

    http://www.modernmexican.com/pampano

    1. erica Dec 21, 2006 08:52 PM

      If you are looking for a coffee shop for breakfast, the Madison on the corner of First Avenue and 53rd street is very popular. Agree about Pampano for lunch or dinner.

      Yama has a good well-priced lunch on East 49th near 2nd Avenue. Japanese.

      5 Replies
      1. re: erica
        c
        centrejack Dec 22, 2006 02:54 AM

        I live at 51st and 1st. I like the UN dinner across the street from the hotel better than Madison. Love Pampano and Zarella. Also the Choux Factory is right across the street too and they have Japanese cream puffs and great coffee.

        1. re: centrejack
          erica Dec 22, 2006 12:49 PM

          I live on the same block and have never been to UN diner so will give it a try sometime!

          Has anyone in the neighborhood been to that new Japanese/Korean barbeque place on the corner of Third and 50th upstairs? Gyu-Kaku? Not sure if they are open yet for dinner but it looks interesting. There is a branch downtown.

          1. re: erica
            Woodside Al Dec 24, 2006 10:30 PM

            Madison is one of the few places in town that serves real hash browns, rather than the usual deadly NYC home fries that have been left on the grill since 6 AM. Definitely worth the walk.

            1. re: erica
              k
              KeikoT Dec 26, 2006 12:09 AM

              .

              1. re: erica
                k
                KeikoT Dec 26, 2006 12:09 AM

                heard that gyukaku in midtown is only open for lunch for the time being. i've been to the one near NYU and it's awesome. it's a chain in Japan that is really popular. concept is like Korean BBQ. you order the meat and cook it yourself. the kalbi is always a winner. i highly recommend it - great to go with a friend or two, to cook and chat and share a bunch of dishes.

          2. f
            fauchon Dec 21, 2006 08:53 PM

            Le Perigord on East 52nd Street is one of the dying breed of classic french restaurants...always high quality & fine service...+ an extraordinary & well priced wine list which the owner, Georges, has purchased & cellared over the years...not casual but not super formal or snooty, either...

            http://www.leperigord.com/cms/index.php

            1. e
              emmers Dec 21, 2006 08:57 PM

              Be sure to go to "Top of the Tower" in your hotel for a drink to check out the great views. Haven't been there in a few years but i remember the cheesy decor being worth the views! Mica Bar on 51st b/n 2nd and 3rd is also a nice place to have a drink, possibly some appetizers.

              You've got to check out Ess-A-Bagel on 3rd Ave at about 50th, 51st for some of the best bagels in the city. The Comfort Diner on 45th bn 2nd and 3rd is fun for a very casual brunch/breakfast.

              You'll be near Smith & Wollensky's, as well as several other steakhouses- Palm, Blair Perrone. Also, P.J. Clarke's on 55th and 3rd- great bar, famous burgers.

              And finally Zarela on 2nd and 50th is also good for Mexican (not to mention margaritas!)

              Enjoy your visit!

              4 Replies
              1. re: emmers
                t
                twentyoystahs Dec 21, 2006 09:05 PM

                Hey, thanks for the great recs. Already have some of these places on my list: PJ Clarke's, Zarela, Top of the Tower...
                Speaking of steakhouses, was thinking of trying to get to Peter Luger --have never been there, don't even know if we could get in at this late date. Is it still worth the trek?

                1. re: twentyoystahs
                  e
                  emmers Dec 21, 2006 09:17 PM

                  Shameful to admit- I'm a native New Yorker but I've never been to Luger! I do hear that it's lost some of its luster. I would say try calling- if you can get in (maybe doubtful for the time of year), go for the experience. If not, I would suggest MarkJoseph as a very good alternative. It's all the way down in the Financial District (261 Water St.), but it's one of the original 'offshoots' of Peter Luger and I've had some very good steak there.

                  1. re: emmers
                    s
                    susan robin Dec 25, 2006 01:45 AM

                    it is cash only unless you have a house charge or make arrangements in advance. i like the palm better but luger an experience.

                  2. re: twentyoystahs
                    c
                    Captain Dec 21, 2006 09:28 PM

                    You will probably have a tough time getting into Luger's. It is definitely worth it, so long as you can deal with the beer hall atmosphere. I once witnessed most of the main room chanting, loudly, as if they were at a game and cheering, and they were cheering at the time. If I could not get into Luger's, and I wanted a steak, I'd go to Keen's.

                2. c
                  Captain Dec 21, 2006 09:16 PM

                  Well, first of all, do not "zip down 1st" because 1st Ave. goes uptown. Head over to 2nd Ave. and then zip downtown. You will find a number of casual bars on 2nd Ave. right near your hotel. I used to frequent the area, but now I am only there upon occasion. However, the Press Box on 2nd btw. 49th & 50th has a decent selection of beer and bar food, although I have not heard good things about things further into the menu. Kate Kearney's is across 2nd Ave. on 49th, and I used to really like it, but it has been years since I was in it. Thady Con's is on the west side of 2nd about 48th (something in my memory asks if it is still open) and is made to look like a pub in Ireland. There are a number of other bars in the area, Divine Bar, Turtle Bay, etc. Pick one you like the looks of.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Captain
                    k
                    kiworan79 Dec 21, 2006 09:56 PM

                    I second the recommendation for the Press Box. Great bartenders, cheap drinks, and nice decor. A casual, but classy Irish pub.

                    1. re: Captain
                      Up With Olives Dec 22, 2006 03:21 PM

                      It appears Thady Con's is gone.

                    2. Andrew P. Dec 21, 2006 09:17 PM

                      I strongly recommend against any attempt to zip downtown on 1st Avenue. It's a one-way street going uptown. :)

                      Anyway, definitely go to Top of the Tower for a drink. If you can stand it, spend a minute on the outdoor terrace looking around.

                      Divine Bar East is close by, has a zillion wines by the glass, and tasty appetizers. http://divinebar.citysearch.com/

                      Smith & Wollensky (49th & 3rd) and the Palm (45th and 2nd) are great for big steaky dinners. There are now several "upscale" Mexican restaurants on or near 3rd Avenue and 49th street (Dos Caminos on 50th & 3rd, Pampano on 49th & 3rd, Mama Mexico across from Pampano).

                      I had a pretty good Thai meal once at Pooket (weird Anglicization of Phuket?) on 50th and 2nd, and the table next to me was four Thai guys, which I think is a ringing endorsement in good-Thai-food-deprived Manhattan.

                      Also, Sip Sak on 49th and 2nd is great for Turkish. Just don't piss off the crazy owner.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Andrew P.
                        e
                        emmers Dec 21, 2006 09:55 PM

                        i had heard divine bar east closed, which is why i didn't include it. thought i heard that a while ago, so i would think their website would be updated by now, so hopefully i am wrong!

                        also- had a very tasty brunch at the new dos caminos on 50th and 3rd about a month ago.

                        anyone know anything about smorgas chef on 48th or 49th and 2nd?

                        this also probably not the world's best recommendation but i like lasagna (yes, that's the name) on 51st and 2nd.

                        1. re: emmers
                          Andrew P. Dec 21, 2006 10:04 PM

                          According to the guy who answered the phone there just now, Divine Bar East is still open. Try the artichoke - parmesan dip.

                          1. re: Andrew P.
                            e
                            emmers Dec 21, 2006 10:24 PM

                            great- i'm very happy to hear that! thanks for checking.

                            1. re: emmers
                              h
                              haleyjen Dec 22, 2006 02:40 PM

                              It is still open. The baked brie is insane!

                          2. re: emmers
                            c
                            centrejack Dec 22, 2006 02:57 AM

                            I have eaten at Smorgas chef - I like the brunch or lunch. I like it but it is not my kind o fthing for a nice dinner.

                        2. h
                          haleyjen Dec 21, 2006 09:24 PM

                          Nino's on 48th and 2nd (I think), has pretty good Italian.

                          1. s
                            surly Dec 21, 2006 09:35 PM

                            get brunch at norma's. located inside the parker meridien hotel on w. 57th st between 6th & 7th aves in midtown. lines are insane, but i think you can now make reservations through openatable.com (but not by phone, unfortunately). terrific breakfast and brunch, and only open until 3pm. also inside the same hotel is the burger joint - while also being a tourist trap, serves a terrific burger and decent shakes.

                            zip burger and goodburger and two burger joints closer to your hotel, but i like the burger joint much more.

                            there are also lots of casual japanese eats on the east side, too. ramen houses like menchanko-tei, for instance. or eating/drinking places like riki or donburi-ya. none of these are outstanding, but if you're looking for something casual and cheap, they're worth considering. and sakagura's a great all-around restaurant with the best sake list in the city. fyi it's hidden in the basement of an anonymous building on e. 43rd st. and if you really want to splurge, go to sushi yasuda for some of the best sushi around.

                            overall, though, your immediate area isn't the greatest chow neighborhood in the city. lots of great dining options downtown and in the outer boroughs if you're feeling up to it.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: surly
                              k
                              kenito799 Dec 22, 2006 04:44 PM

                              outstanding Japanese (yakitori/izakaya) casual if you are interested: Tory's, e 52nd just west of 2nd

                              1. re: kenito799
                                s
                                surly Dec 24, 2006 04:00 AM

                                yeah i heard rumblings about this place, and then meehan's review came out in the times recently. some people are saying it's as good as yakitori totto. definitely going to try it out soon; thanks for mentioning this place.

                                1. re: surly
                                  k
                                  kenito799 Dec 24, 2006 09:49 PM

                                  Tory's is essentially an east side branch of Totto--menus are almost the same. both are great!

                            2. f
                              food Dec 21, 2006 10:24 PM

                              Sip Sak. Turkisk food. Its very good amd well priced. Its on 2nd ave between 49-50 ths street? or one block either way.

                              1. t
                                Todd Dec 21, 2006 11:23 PM

                                I'm surprised everyone keeps mentioning Smith&Wollensky and the Palm, as I'd say if you're looking for a steak dinner in the area Spark's is the place to go...it's on 46th btwn 2nd and 3rd

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Todd
                                  c
                                  centrejack Dec 22, 2006 02:59 AM

                                  If I were doing the steakhouse thing I would probably go to Maloney and Porcelli on 50th and Madison - the pork dish they specialize in is great.

                                2. s
                                  susan robin Dec 24, 2006 10:54 PM

                                  i love avra on east 48th,wonderful greek food. a little pricey but a very comfortable restaurant for dinner.

                                  1. BoloJungle Dec 25, 2006 03:05 AM

                                    OK, I'm pretty much batting ZERO in Chowhound, but I have 2 very emphatic things to say: one (and forgive me if this has already been mentioned), for amazing sushi and other Japanese, check out Sushi Yasuda on 43rd btwn 2nd and 3rd. A wonderful experience and among the best sushi in Manhattan (I'd say "the BEST" but people get emotional about their sushi).

                                    Also, I can't let the above passing comment abouit Avbra go uncghallenged. It is a GREAT place with excellent Greek fare and seafood in general. It is my one of my favorites in NYC and certainly the best Greek this side of Astoria...

                                    OK, I'm done. Merry Christmas.

                                    1. BoloJungle Dec 25, 2006 03:05 AM

                                      oops - should be "Avra"

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