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Murray Hill/ Kip's Bay: Chow wasteland or secret treasure trove?

I know Wu Liang Ye is on Lex. there, (though many posters here prefer the other branches), and 2nd Ave Deli may be moving to 33rd & 2nd Ave. I noted Molly's Burgers is close. There's a great lunch spot on 2nd Ave between 33rd & 34th, name unknown. One can fairly easily walk down to East Village spots, but what else is there in the East 30's? We prefer simpler spots to corporate, expense account type venues.

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  1. El Parador, I really like it, and I think it is very underrated. The service and food is good, and they let you linger over drinks before shoving menus into your face. Alex is one of the managers and he is most helpful. Not totally authentic mexican or spanish, but an old neighborhood standby that still has some verve. I recommend an early movie at Kips Bay AMC followed by dinner at El Parador. I have placed a review somewhere on chowhound. If you do a search you can find it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: centrejack

      Totally agree about El P (as we like to call it). You could also try Waterfront on 2nd & 30th by the movie theater for good pub grub & beer. I like Ali Baba on 34th betw. 2nd & 3rd as well.

    2. Ethos, Vezzo, Penelope, Pizza 33, Ali Baba, Carl's...plenty more should chime in

      1 Reply
      1. re: Todd

        Da Ciro, Lexington between 33 & 34th. Authentic Italian,
        wood-burning oven, http://daciro.com/index2.htm

        Pasticcio, 3rd Avenue betw. 30 & 31st www.pasticcionyc.com

        On balance, though, Murray Hill is not a culinary paradise
        by any means

      2. Waterfront - 30th and 2nd - pulled pork, burgers, other specials. Plus, Sam's Famous hot sauce might be my favorite hot sauce ever.
        Penelope on 30th and lex is a great casual spot
        Saravannas on 26th and Lex for the best Southern Indian vegetarian.
        Grand Sichuan on 33rd and Lex - not the best of the locations (and not related to the others) but definitely passable. Dan dan noodles, dried and sauteed string beans, braised beef filet in chili sauce.

        1. It's been a while since I've lived in that neighborhood, but Molly's Shebeen (3rd Avenue in the low twenties) was a cozy wintertime place with a fire and sawdust on the floor. I would get the chicken pot pie. That's not the "Molly's Burgers" that's closing is it?

          Also, Tatany (3rd Avenue in the 20s)served up fresh and succulent sushi.

          1. El Parador, Ethos, Ali Baba, La Giara and Phoenix Garden are among my regular deliveries. I think that each is good to very good. There are other places on the immediate outskirts but you asked for east 30s. Nothing new--the area is just not a culinary destination. RGR seems to have an investment in this part of town and will no doubt offer other suggestions.

            2 Replies
            1. re: dbird

              I forgot all about Phoenix Garden - that is a great restaurant and the staff is incredibly helpful. I think it is one of the best chinese options in midtown. Is it still as affordable? Is it still BYOB? - I haven't been there in a couple of years.

              1. re: centrejack

                Glad you like PG too; I don't consider it great, but very passable. Today in the rain, on the other hand, I succumbed to a plausible on line menu and a couple recommendations (shills?) for Saigon Taste delivery and had one of the worst meals ever, threw it out and phoned in desperation for a falafel sandwich from Ali Baba. Along with the order (mixed appetizer, 'crystal' dumpling--which I should have realized was a dead giveaway but it's always a complex negotiation; I thought they might be attempting to translate a real Vietnamese dish about which I was unfamiliar--and pho) I received one of those menus from which I run screaming: Saigon Taste featuring egg rolls, pad thai and sushi. There must be a dozen interchangeable restaurants in the neighborhood that share a chef and a printer, both favoring garish presentations, and entirely clueless. Usually I see them coming miles away and am thoroughly annoyed at myself for falling for this one.