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Lower East Side, Orchard St, Houston St??

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As a regular poster and foodie addict from Phily, I would love to get some advice from you NYC folks. This weekend, we are staying at Howard Johnson's Express on the Lower East Side. We are planning on having breakfast at Katz, and I am dying to bring some pickles home from Guss. My wife is a South Phila Italian and fairly conservative in her eating habits. I would appreciate some dinner recommendations with a focus on Italian not far from our hotel.
Thanks in advance!!

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  1. There are loads of Italian restos in the EV. But, the nearest Italian resto to your hotel would be Apizz on Elridge St. near the corner of Stanton. Everything is cooked in a wood burning oven there and maybe a good place to go too on a cold wintery night which unfortunately this weekend will be. It is also a perfect date place. Price would be moderately expensive. For cheaper Italian. Walk Northeast to the East Village and either go to Supper on East 2nd St. bet. Ave. A and B or Max on Ave. B between 3rd and 4th Sts. Loads of other italian choices nearby too.

    1. i vote for frankie's clinton spuntino. it's a very short walk from your hotel. check out the ny mag review here:http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

      1. Heard you may have trouble fitting anything into those rooms at the HJX let alone a pickle.:-0

        just kiddin'

        Everyone has their own opinion, but I say forget Katz's and make your way up Second Avenue to 9th Street and have breakfast at Vaselka's.

        15 Replies
        1. re: nycla3

          Why are you suggesting Veselka as a better alternative to Katz's? What's special about Veselka, as compared to other Ukranian or Polish restaurants or diners in the area? And what's not special about a pastrami sandwich at Katz's?

          1. re: Pan

            I think the point here was that Veselka is a better option for Breakfast.

            Tipsy

            1. re: TipsyMcStagger

              perhaps, but good luck getting a table (or service) there. Last visit they completely forgot someone in our party and made us wait and hour for food...

              1. re: erikka

                one incident should not condemn anyone. consensus opinions should....

                1. re: jsmitty

                  Consensus may be unachievable in many cases, but it seems to me that the only way to attempt it is for people to post their diverse opinions and experiences and find out if there is substantial coincidence among them.

                  1. re: jsmitty

                    Service is consistently awful during the 10 plus visits I've had over the past five years. Not a one-off.

                2. re: TipsyMcStagger

                  Do you think there are no better options for Ukranian or Polish food in the neighborhood? Teresa's, just to suggest one example? (Not that I think it's a must-go place for folks visiting from out of town or a better idea than Katz's, though. I don't.)

                  1. re: Pan

                    Teresa is by far the best Polish food to be had around there, but not necessarily something I'd recommend in place of Katz's for an out-of-towner! Veselka just looks nicer and has better foot traffic.

                    1. re: ballulah

                      I wouldn't recommend it to our visitor, either. But aren't we Chowhounds here? Isn't it at least 90% (OK, perhaps at least 75%?) about the food for us? Do most of us care more about how quickly they turn tables or the differences between the appearances of two cheap diner-like restaurants? For the record, I don't think Veselka will win any awards for gorgeous interior design, do you? :-)

                      1. re: Pan

                        Nah, it's just a bit glitzier since they remodelled with the high high ceilings (well, that was a "built-in") and that big mural thingy. Teresa also doesn't stay open as late as Veselka, and also doesn't get the indie rock star traffic (hahaha) if you care about these things. For late night, though, I prefer Odessa over Veselka, even though Odessa is borderline foul, the atmosphere is great.

                        1. re: ballulah

                          More than borderline foul, I think. As for atmosphere, you like all the weird East Village types, eh? (Note: I've lived in the East Village since 1996, and my brother lived here before that for some 13 years, so it takes one to know one. :-))

                3. re: Pan

                  Indeed! There's no reason you can't have a pastrami sandwich for breakfast.

                  A couple of weeks ago, we flew up from SC, got off the plane, dumped bags, and were eating a Katz pastrami by 10 a.m. Walked to Il Labratorio del Gelato next, then swung by Lombardi's where we were unfortunately a bit disappointed in the pizza. Stopped in Inoteca, looked great but they were booked solid for Sat. night and it looked like the kind of place that would be packed and standing room only for a long time.

                  Later we took a long walk to the Village and hit Pearl's Oysterbar, Murray's cheese and Amy's bread.

                  Sunday morning, we enjoyed Prune, between 1st and 2nd, near Houston. Be in line when they open at 10.

                  1. re: Pan

                    The answer is in my post..."Everyone has their own opinion..." And all posts in forums are personal.

                    I love Veselka and recommended it. And I like Teresa's, too for that matter. And REALLY love B&H as well. All for different reasons.

                    And I know Veselka's can be challenging, but I've had too many good experiences...and the first time I get bad service, I'm not going to run away...

                    1. re: nycla3

                      I've been to Teresa's only once, but still fondly remember the tripe soup.

                      1. re: nycla3

                        What do you like best and least about each of those three restaurants?

                  2. My favorite Italian option in that area would be 'Inoteca. Small plates, great truffled egg toast. Lupa is also in walking distance (well, maybe a long-ish walk, but the weather is nice) and gets great reviews (I've never been). I really don't like Supper--attitude and underwhelming food both times I was there. Max's is good local comfort Italian, but not worth a special trip.

                    To give you feedback that you didn't ask for, I prefer the Pickle Guys on Essex over Guss's (warning: neither is open on Saturdays). And if you head down that way, definitely do get gelato at Il Laboratorio--great, great stuff.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rose water

                      the truffled eff toast may be one of the best dishes in all of nyc!

                    2. As much as I love Katz's, I've never had the breakfasts there. For all I know, they're great, but if you've never tried the pastrami on rye, I would suggest you make some more room for it, or just go for lunch.

                      For a cheaper breakfast alternative, you might want to saunter over to Grand Street, a half block east of Essex Street, not far from your digs, and pick up a few of Kossar's Bialys, perhaps the only true bialy left in town. You could also pick up some lox or whitefish at Russ & Daughter's, right up the street from HJ, bring it back to your room, and have yourself a party right there.

                      Enjoy.
                      P.

                      1. Apizz for Italian
                        The Orchard for Italian-style American
                        Clinton Street Baking Company for well-prepared southern-style food
                        Azul Bistro for steaks

                        1. I agree with Polecat's idea...go to Katz's for lunch. For breakfast, I enjoy Casanis' ($11) brunch, Clinton Street if you go early, if not don't bother, the lines are atrocious, the egg and cheese sandwiches at Saxelby's in the Essex Market, or honestly, the Olympic Coffee Shop on Delancey!

                          1. What about a walk to the Donut Plant for a breakfast of donuts. It's a bit of a schlep, but not outrageously so.

                            I would also suggest stopping at Bereket on Houston and Orchard for some very good baklava (I love it for breakfast).

                            For Italian in that area I am partial to Il Bagatto (2nd St between Aves A & B). Not sure if it's a foodie destination, but the lasagna, if you're lucky enough to get there on the right day before they run out, is really heavenly. If your wife is a conservative eater, she will be happy here, the menu is made up of well executed standards.
                            http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

                            You're also very very close to Lombardi's for one of New York's best pizzas, although perhaps not THE best, definitely one of them.

                            1. There was a nice segment today on The Leonard Lopate show called "Tastes of the Lower East Side." The owners of Russ and Daughters were in the studio among others.

                              Definitely worth a listen!

                              http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/epis...

                              Tipsy

                              1. If, you can get to CLinton St. Baking company by 9:30am...you are almost sure of getting a spot once it opens at 10 (they usually start sitting people a few minutes before 10am...it's usually packed by 10:05 am and the wait can be really long after that...best thing there are their blueberry pancakes and anything with bacon. but, overall there brunch menu is pretty good.

                                1. I had an excellent meal at Falai a couple weeks back--might be worth trying for dinner. Frankies is reliable and a bit boring. The Donut Plant gets slammed quite a bit but they're good in my book and worth a visit.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: erikka

                                    i agree about the donut plant. a little oozing grease on a donut is just fine!