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Visiting New York -- Alone

Good day all,

I'll be visiting New York the first week of September. My home is in Toronto. I am coming alone and will be staying at the West Side YMCA (West 63rd St.). I am looking for recommendation on places to eat that would be reasonable for a single diner.

I have a decent amount of money to spend since I saved on accommodations -- any suggestion is welcome on that front. I'm going to the Gug, to MOMA, to the MMFA and then for a drive through the city on my last day. Suggestions mostly in Manhattan would be preferred -- but, I'm not stuck on any particular location in Manhattan. Cabs are cheap in NYC (I know, not as cheap as last year though).

As for specific requests:

I am particularly looking for seafood recommendations to take advantage of being closer to the coast. Last time I was in NYC I went to Mary's Fish Camp and it was very good with excellent food, prices and service. I would certainly go again (and might). Part of why I went to Mary's was for their Fried Clams as I had look on Chowhound looking for recs. for traditional fried whole belly-clams. Mary's clams were good -- but they were light-fried in a tempura style batter. I'm looking for more traditional Maritime style (Shediac-style) fried clams -- usually battered and crumbed and then fried. So, a seafood place with a maritime/new england style and fried clams on the menu.

I am also looking for a recommendation for Mexican. Toronto has most every ethnicity covered; but, our Mexican options leave something to be desired (the only good places is so painfully slow I don't go to it).

Maybe Turkish?

I enjoyed eating at The Modern in the MOMA last time. I doubt I'd like to do it alone though. Someplace a little livelier with a similar, classic 'noveau French' menu and nice white wines (Rhineland Reislings preferred) by the glass. Please, somewhere with either a torchon of Foie or other Foie on the menu. I hope this is obtainable.

If there was a good Northern, Yunannese or Sichaun Chinese restaurant that serves portions appropriate for a single diner. There is tons of Cantonese places in Toronto and I have found a few northern and sichaun places -- but, none that portion appropriately for single diner. Heck, I'd probably take really good Cantonese that fit the bill too.

Japanese that is different that I could get in Toronto. Either someplace serving top-notch Kaiseki or a very good sushi place with an interest in fresh fish (and not just the usual stuff too).

Anywhere else you're dying to recommend for my situation.

Thank you all for your time and efforts. I will post back on where I go when I return.

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  1. You didn't mention tapas, but I'd recommend the bar at Boqueria -- 19th Street between 6th and 5th -- as a pleasant place to sit by oneself and be comfortable in your solititude or in chatting with others near you -- either way goes. But go early. It gets very crowded. Food is very good and atmosphere is surprisingly friendly for such a trendy place. This is one of the only trendy bars I can think of where a woman could sit by herself without being harrassed -- you didn't identify your gender, but it is a factor (alas) in answering your question.

    For Japanese, Meriken on 7th Ave and 21st (give or take a block) has good, fresh sushi and some unusual menu items (though I don't know how different from Toronto options) and would be an easy place to sit solo for male or female.

    1 Reply
    1. re: simkhele

      FYI--Ian, Meriken is closed and it is now Momoya. Don't go out of your way for it, trust me. Most hounds will tell you NYC lacks great Mexican food but I love this little joint in the East Village called Itzocan. It is teeny tiny and you will def feel comfortable sitting alone. Also, a super fun nabe to walk around in before/after dinner. Itzocan is on E 9th between 1st and A. Good Australian ice cream place around the corner on St Mark's between 1st and A. Have fun!

    2. Try the Pearl Oyster Bar so you can compare it to Mary's Fish Camp and let us know your thoughts!

      1 Reply
      1. re: MellieMac

        Will do -- I remember (now that you mention it) that Pearl was on my short list for last year and I just never made it (plus, I came with someone who wasn't into seafood too much and thought one seafood meal in three days was enough ).

      2. Tides, on the Lower East Side, is a teensy fish/seafood "shack" with excellent food. Fried clams are on the menu though I don't know how they're prepared since I don't eat clams. The decor includes a truly unique ceiling.

        http://www.tidesseafood.com

        Two places for very good Turkish cuisine: Turkish Kitchen, on 3rd Av., b/t 27th & 28th Sts., and Ali Baba, on 34th St., b/t 2nd & 3rd Avs.

        http://www.turkishkitchenny.com
        http://www.alibabaturkishcuisine.com

        As a foie gras addict, I recommend the following:

        At Veritas, on 20th St., b/t B'way & Park Av. S., Chef Scott Bryan's New American cuisine is first rate, and his seared foie gras preparations are always delicious. The restaurant is known for its wine list, one of the most extraordinary in the city. There is bar dining.

        At Eleven Madison Park, Chef Daniel Humm is serving an absolutely sensational layered foie gras torchon with bing cherries, accompanied by a small dish of foie gras creme brulee that is to-die-for! You can dine at the bar there, but you would have to check to see if the foie gras is on the bar menu.

        http://www.elevenmadisonpark.com

        Tocqueville, on 15th St., b/t 5th Av. & Union Sq. W., has a luscious foie gras torchon on the menu. A very generous portion for $22 and definitely worth it!

        http://www.tocquevillerestaurant.com

        5 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          I love Tides, but I wouldn't recommend it for dining alone.

          1. re: BaconBits

            I went to Tides once alone & it was ok. I'd recommend Pearl Oyster Bar instead though!

            1. re: BaconBits

              Well, sure, Tides doesn't have a bar. But many people have no problem dining solo at a table.

            2. re: RGR

              Thank you very much, Eleven Madison park looks very tempting and has a very, very nice wine list (Vin Jeune -- by the glass! As well as some Spaetlese Reislings).

              Tides looks good too. I don't mind dining alone at a table.

              Thank you particularly for providing me with the links. How very thoughtful.

              1. re: RGR

                I like Crema better than Suenos, but have never been to RH. Crema has a bar area where you can eat as well.

                Tocqueville is running a great greenmarket prix fixe all summer for dinner as well, if you find yourself there!

              2. Suenos is Mexican fusion, not Mexican, strictly speaking. But it's great.
                http://www.suenosnyc.com/
                Incredible vegetable enchiladas, and I heard very, very good things (mostly happy noises, since the people in question were having quiet foodgasms rather than talking) about the pork and shrimp dishes, like the stuffed chilies rellenos. The dessert -- guava and banana empanadas -- almost made me cry, it was so good.
                Also, though it may be a bit "bright" and crowded/loud for dining alone, Pio Pio does fabulous Peruvian on the Upper West Side.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Whippet

                  Thanks. I remember seeing Suenos on Opening Soon and thinking that the chef-owner looked the sort of nice, decent person worth patronizing if the food was good. It is certainly now on my short list.

                  1. re: Atahualpa

                    In my experience, Suenos can be pretty uneven. It's a nice space, but on my last visit food was pretty mediocre.

                    1. re: Atahualpa

                      For modern Mexican cuisine, I would recommend Maya or its sister restaurant, Pampano (same chef). At both, you will find inventive, delicious food, excellent mojitos, and friendly, efficient service. Maya's decor has Mexican flair, while Pampano's interior is stylishly contemporary. Pampano also has a very charming terrace on the second floor for al fresco dining during fine weather.

                      http://www.modernmexican.com

                      1. re: Atahualpa

                        i agree re SUENOS has slipped a lot. i have gone back to eating at ROCKING HORSE nearby and now only drink up the happy hour margs at SUENOS.

                        in fact this is timely as we ate at RH tonight. i had a refreshing special watermelon marg, a side of mixed greens salad w/ lime and for a small main a wonderful tamal w/ avocado and shrimp (whoops do they call them prawns in canada?).

                    2. I love Rocking Hors, in chelsea, for Mexican, very fresh and yummy drinks. I'm also a fan of both locations of La Palapa, though the west village might be better for a solo diner as there is a nice small bar area, I'm not sure of the east village local. I don't know how authentic they are, but again the food is fresh, service is friendly, the prices are fair and the margaritas are great.

                      Tides does have very good fried clams and oysters. They are the traditional style and you get a large portion. Also very nice service.

                      My favorite foie gras in the city is Jean George's brulee. (It may also be on the menu at tit's cheaper naugaten room where you can get one of the best lunch deals in the city, for truly top notch food. It is casual and there is bar seating. (I liked the foie gras at EMP but it was a bit too rich and creamy for me and I found it complicated to eat).

                      Have a great trip!