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First time with limited time

Hello all, this is my first post.
I am going to be in NYC from March 20-23rd, staying at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway. I don't know the area, being from Chicago, but I heard it's right by Macy's and Penn Station. I was wondering if anyone could give me some yay's or nays on some of the places i'm going to.
I'll probably go to Kun Jip for late night eating since it's close by. Someone suggested Forte Baden Baden for the chicken since that is also close to the hotel.

-Yay or Nay for Momofuku Ssam Bar?
-il laboratorio del gelato for the licorice gelato. luv black licorice!
#1 dumpling. Someone suggested the tuna sandwich which I find very odd. any suggestions for soup dumplings? Joe's Shanghai? New Green Bo?
-Una Pizza Napoletana. Yay or Nay? I heard there's serious attitude problems here at times.
-Katz's or Carnegie Deli? Is Carnegie deli a touristy destination? I don't see it mentioned much here.
If anyone can suggest anything else within the manhattan area(especially a traditional NY slice....lombardi's? is that what would constitute a typical NYC pizza?), I would be ever so grateful! I don't have much time to go to too many places since I don't think I'll have very much free time. If any of these are not worth going to, please let me know, it would be a HUGE help.

Thanks in advance to everyone

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  1. Definitely yay on Momofuku Ssam Bar

    1. Just a heads up on the licorice gelato - they may not have it when you go - they rotate the flavors. That said, even the vanilla and chocolate are worth the trip IMHO.

      1 Reply
      1. Yes, your hotel is at B'way & 32nd St. Macy's is on 34th and Penn Station is on 33rd.

        The area known as "Little Korea" is right there. I like Kang Suh, which is on the corner of corner of B'way & 32nd (entrance on 32nd). Open 24/7.

        Yes! to Il Laboratorio del Gelato. But they rotate selections, so it's best to call and check to see if your favorite flavor is being offered the day you go there.


        I like the soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai. I've been to the Chinatown location, not the one midtown.

        Definitely Katz's! There are tourists there, but that doesn't bother us natives. We're there for the killer pastrami. Hold onto the ticket you get when you enter. Do counter service. Put $1 or $2 in the counterman's cup. He'll give you a piece to taste. It should have some fat and be juicy. If you agree, he'll make you a gigantic sandwich and give you a plate of pickles. He'll punch your ticket. Move to your left to get sides and drinks. Find a seat at one of the center tables. (The ones along the side are for table service.) On the way out, surrender your ticket and pay. Cash only.

        Enjoy your brief stay in NYC and Bon Appetit!

        Edited to add: Didn't see other posts with similar opinions before mine went up.

        1. Everything you suggest is a yay in my book. Please!! No Carnegie Deli. Must go to Katz's.

          Pizza is a huge debate on this board. Their are pizza places that you go to for "slices" and others are better known for their "whole pies". I tend to go to whatever is closest to my apartment which is Angelo's for a pie and Ultimate Pizza or John and Tony's for a slice (actually their whole pies are great too). These places are not the best, but are good none the less. UNA or Lombardi's for a pie would be my vote and something like Little Italy pizzzeria for a slice, which is sort of in your area.

          Both NGB and Joe's are equally good in my book for Soup Dumplings.

          I would suggest making the trip to the Time Warner building for a lunch or sweet stop at Bouchon Bakery.

          1. No Carnegie Deli...got it. Some of the flavors of gelato are intriguing. Honey Lavender? Mexican Cinnamon Basil? Cheddar Cheese??? Ugh, I just don't have enough time to explore!

            2 Replies
            1. re: mcfatty

              Yes - the cheddar cheese one just calls out to be served with apple pie - enjoy!

              1. re: mcfatty

                Oh, the gelato there is really fantastic stuff. Beware though, that Laboratorio closes at 6. It'll have to be an early-ish stop for you. My favorites are the fresh mint (so perfectly minty) and dark chocolate. Oh, and toasted sesame and toasted almond (not together). You can combine scoops of two different flavors, even in a small cup, to maximize exploration given your time constraints.

                It is not unreasonable to get a gelato, then walk over to Saigon Banh Mi, for a spicy classic pork banh mi, one of my absolute favorite foods in Manhattan. It is unreasonable to follow a trip to Katz's with gelato (which is a shame given its proximity), as it is unreasonable to imagine eating anything at all following a trip to Katz's.

              2. Hi Mcfatty, seems like most people are right on the money, and here is my view:

                - Definitely Yay for Momofuku Ssam Bar, but only for dinner / late night. Lunch is so-so (small selection)
                - Yay for il laboratorio del gelato
                - Yay for soup dumplings @ Joe's Shanghai; Nay for New Green Bo (skins too thick)
                - Nay Una Pizza Napoletana.
                - Yay for Katz's; Nay for Carnegie Deli
                - For pizza, not exactly a NY style pizza, but I recommend Otto for a pie (lardo pizza!). You MUST also get Olive Oil gelato at Otto (as you mentioned gelato above). Otto can get two 2 things in one - fits with your limited time!

                Have a wonderful trip!

                1. It's funny that Carnegie deli seems to never be recommended. But every time I see it on TV, it's packed with people. Is it the novelty of a towering sandwich that lures people there? Kobe, thanks for the tip. Any tip that allows me more time to explore other places is greatly appreciated!
                  What makes Bouchon Bakery worth going to? I've never really been a big pastry person but if people think it's worth it, I'd think about going there. I'll probably be visiting Central P ark anyways.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mcfatty

                    Towering sandwiches are not limited to Carnegie. As I hope you will find out, the sandwiches at Katz's are not exactly teensy.

                    As to why Carnegie is so busy, it's in the Times Square area, which is where many tourists choose to stay. Like yourself, they've probably seen Carnegie on the tee vee. Or, they check their guidebooks for Times Square/Theater District and see the listings for Carnegie and the Stage. Convenient, so they head to those, not realizing that there's far superior deli to be had elsewhere in Manhattan. Also, many tourists don't think about going to a neighborhood like the Lower East Side since, with the exception of the Tenement Museum, there are no major landmarks or sightseeing spots. Thus, they miss out on lots of superb eating possibilities there, one of which is Katz's.

                    If you have the time, you might consider taking my (in)famous Lower East Side eating "tour." In addition to Katz's and Il Laboratorio, it includes stops at a number of other well-known spots. Here it is:

                    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. (www.tenement.org
                    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.

                    Note: It’s best not to take this tour on a Saturday since some of the spots are closed because of religious observance. Also, Donut Plant is closed on Mondays.

                    Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

                    1. re: mcfatty

                      If you're going to Central Park, it may be worth it, but if not, and especially if you're not a big pastry fan, I'd say Bouchon is skippable. I've gotten some excellent and some so-so pastries there. I also hate the Time Warner building overall--it feels very corporate and sterile and soulless to me, and gooey eggy almondy brioche, no matter how good, doesn't quite warrant a trip there as far as i'm concerned.

                      1. re: rose water

                        I guess I'll pass then. Thank you for your thoughts rose. I am in the same boat as you, I really hate these huge, sterile buildings that all look the same. Here in Chicago, it seems like there's a new condo, or news of a proposed condo, going up every day. The new Trump Towers is already making a few enemies here with their antics.

                      2. re: mcfatty

                        Its not just the pastry, but the foie gras terrine sold in a mason jar that just perfect. You get a handfull of small crusty baguettes with the foie gras and that is all you need. If you be here in the spring this would make for a great picnic in Central Park.

                      3. You seem to be right on the money with all your ideas. I'm throwing in my 2 cents on Lombardi's, and it's yes definitely, and it's not a slice place it's a red checkered tablecloth, pies only place. It's a great area for a little strolling before and afterward. If you go for lunch or late afternoon it would be perfectly feasible to walk to Il Laboratorio, I'm guessing it's about 10 minutes away by foot. Just head south one block and walk east towards the Williamsburg Bridge, it's on the other side of Delancey on Orchard.

                        1. Hoping I can pick your brains a little more. My friends and I decided to go to Joe's Shanghai for dinner on Thurs night. Besides the soup dumplings(which we will probably get a mountain load of), is there a "must-have" dish there? There will be about 12 of us so I'm hoping people can suggest a bunch of different items.
                          And did I read this right? is a half chicken order at Forte Baden Baden really $15?!? sheesh...

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: mcfatty

                            Until you mentioned FBB, I had never heard of it. :-o Looking at their menu on menupages.com, under "Entrees," I see two portion sizes for rotisserie chicken with sauteed vegetables: small = $14.95 and large = $18.95.


                            1. re: RGR

                              FBB was reviewed by peter meehan in the times a few weeks ago. Its a Korean bar with killer chicken. see this link: http://events.nytimes.com/2006/09/20/...

                              1. re: MaspethMaven

                                Aha! Thanks for that, MaspethMaven. I don't read the Times' restaurant reviews as religiously as I used to.

                            2. re: mcfatty

                              Hi mcfatty,

                              If you are going to Joe's Shanghai, there aren't any "must-have" dishes other than the soup dumplings. Having that said, there are better dishes which I have included below: (assuming pork fat and heavy sauce are welcomed by you and your friends)
                              - Braised pork shoulder - this will be a big dish with a whole pig shoulder. If you order this you may want to order less of others
                              -Szechuan Beef Tendon Noodle Soup - If you like the tender yet chewy texture of tendon
                              -Lion's Head (Stewed Pork Balls)
                              - Braised Duck or Peking Style Chicken
                              - Spicy Whole Yellow Fish or Fried Sweet & Sour Whole Yellow Fish
                              - Scallion Pancake
                              These are dishes on the "safe" side (less likely to screw up). General rule is to avoid Cantonese dishes (just like you should avoid ordering Shanghai dishes in Cantonese restaurants unless it is their signature dishes). Seafood (except for yell fish) is not a specialty in Shanghai cuisine, so sticking with pork or chicken/duck will be better.

                              Hope you have a wonderful trip!

                              1. re: kobetobiko

                                I ordered the crispy yellow fish fillets on my last visit, it's served with a side of spice powder, I'm guessing 5 Spice. It was very tasty, but extremely filling (fried and battered) and an extremely large portion. If you're here in the right season (right about now) ask them if they have pea shoots that day; if yes, order a plateful to share with the table. I also randomly liked the turnip short cakes on the appetizer menu, but they seemed more of a dessert pastry. Kobetobiko is right, there aren't many "must haves" on Joe's menu other than the soup dumplings, the food isn't bad it's just not WOW.

                                If you have time and space in your stomach afterwards, go around the corner and order a few roast pork rice crepes from Big Wong King on Mott Street between Canal and Bayard (closer to Canal).

                              2. re: mcfatty

                                We ALWAYS get an order of Shanghai Flat Noodles with 8 ingredients and a big bowl of hot and sour soup...oh and the baby bok choy with garlic.

                                Lastly, always the pork SD's and never pork and crab, which always seem fishy to me.

                                (Scallion pancake is good here too)

                                1. re: jenniebnyc

                                  I LOVE the pork and crab, and the pork alone soup dumplings don't do much for me! Hahaha.

                                2. re: mcfatty

                                  Don't even talk about $15 for half a chicken...
                                  Chicken Nugget & French Fries 12.95
                                  Mozzarella Cheese Stick & Onion Ring 12.95
                                  Can someone defend their pricing?

                                3. I feel like this trip is going to have me going from place to place, one right after the other, shoveling food into my mouth like Kobayashi. I think I'm going to like NYC......

                                  1. yes to Momofuku Ssam Bar
                                    yes to il Laboratorio del Gelato
                                    yes to Katz; no to Carnegie (blech)
                                    go to Brooklyn for pizza but can't speak on UPN (haven't been).
                                    Lombardi's does not have slices

                                    1. YES to Forte Baden Baden. the one in New Jersey was the best but they closed down. you will never taste chicken this good anywhere!!

                                      1. I'll probably try to pick up a few things to keep in my room for a snack. the foie gras terrine sounds good...might have to get some. I was thinking about Beard Papa's cream puffs too. I think there's one not too far from the hotel and I happen to ove cream puffs. But since those are made fresh, would they taste good if I saved some for later?