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Visiting and eating for 1 week in NYC - what not to miss?

I'm looking for suggestions for where not to miss and/or where I can skip. I've visited NYC before, but my friend has not. She doesn't eat beef, and gears towards low-cholesterol food if possible. As for budget, it all depends on whether I think it's worth it...not over $100/pp usually. After weeks of research, here are the places I have in mind:

Day 1
(no rez.) dinner - Hatsuhana or Yakitori Totto

Day 2
lunch rez. - Telepan
dessert - La Maison du Chocolate and/or Minamoto Desserts
dessert - L'Arte Del Gelato
dinner rez. - Crispo, thinking of maybe switching to Tia Pol or Casa Mono

Day 3
breakfast - Clinton St. Bakery
dessert - Jacque Torres Choc. Haven
lunch rez. - Bouley
dessert - Il Lab Gelato, and/or Madeleine for macarons
dinner rez. - Lupa, thinking of walk-in at Babbo
dessert - olive oil gelato at Otto

Day 4
breakfast - Daniel's bagels
lunch rez. - Perry St.
dessert - Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and/or Ceci Cela
dinner rez. - Sushi Yasuda at the bar

Day 5
breakfast - Ess-A-Bagel
lunch rez. - Davidburke & Donatella
dinner - Wu Liang Ye

Day 6
breakfast - Bouchon
lunch rez. - Le Bernardin
dessert - Ciao Bella gelato
dinner - Sakagura

Day 7
breakfast - H&H bagels
lunch rez. - Jean Georges
dinner - maybe Lure Fishbar or Robert Passon

Day 7.5
breakfast - ??
lunch - Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station

I'm open to replace or add or delete some choices, and I'm sure I can add in a few more dessert places to see! :) How does this look and is there anywhere else I should consider?

(I've considered and opted to leave out due to prices, value: EMP, Veritas, Aquavit, Balthazar, Daniel, craft, Robuchon...)

Thanks!

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  1. hmm.. from the top of my head... some tips and suggestions:
    1. try breakfast at NORMA'S at the Parker Meridien Hotel. (the best in town, in my book)
    2. lunch at PEARL OYSTER BAR
    3. lunch at TABLA (interesting flavors!)
    4. instead of LURE, consider DEGUSTATION for something different and fun
    5. instead of CRISPO, if you want good spanish, try this sleeper hit i love called BOQUERIA near the flatiron. great catalan food, authentic and won't break your wallet.
    6. NOBU NEXT DOOR is good for late night dinners.

    all in all, a good cross section of restaurants! im getting hungry just thinking about it! hehe!

    ** LES BERNARDIN is one heck of a restaurant... but this will most probably break the $100 barrier... just in case you didn't know. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: doctorj

      If you go to Degustation, you can go to WD-50 after for the dessert tasting. Kyotofu is also good for dessert.

    2. Wow! Can I come to your lunches with you? They are hard to beat.
      As for your Asian-heavy dinners, I cannot offer you much help but I would definitely and positively keep your Crispo rez and change something else instead.
      A walk-in at Babbo? Mwahahahaha!
      Enjoy your stay in this wonderul Big A.

      1. Your menu seems skewed toward oriental. How about some Indian? I can recommend Chennai Garden on E 27th Street: "kosher vegetarian" and very fresh with a bargain lunch buffet.

        For dessert, find a restaurant in the East Village, and then go to Chikalicious on E 10th St for their prix fixe dessert menu ($12 for amous bouche, your choice of dessrt and petit fours.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gerrymander

          Since the o.p.'s list indicates he's doing desserts primarily after lunch, he would be much better off going to Chikalicious in the afternoon between 3 and 5, when it's bound to be less busy than in the evening after dinner. It's fun to sit at the counter, chat with Chika, and watch as she prepares your desserts. Note: Closed Mon. & Tues.

          http://www.chikalicious.com

          1. re: RGR

            No objection to a lunch dessert, but I've gone three times at 8-8:30 PM, and never had a problem with the waiting time...

        2. Hi sjeats,

          Having been to all the restaurants that are on your list, I think you have a great plan! There were some suggestions from other hounds, and I will provide my thoughts here:

          - Day 1: Looks great; If you are doing Yasuda then Totto is better. Hatsuhana is great for sushi but there is no need to do sushi twice. Save it for Yasuda

          - Day 2: Since you are thinking about Lupa / Babbo, again, no need to do Crisp; Try Tia Pol or Boqueria for tapas. I am not a fan of Casa Mono because of the poor service and the extremely crowded seating

          - Day 3: Bouley is great for lunch, but at that price point you can also do EMP lunch tasting, or Cafe Boulud (Restaurant Week prix-fixe lunch at $24). I am not saying one is better than the other, but at this price point you have a lot of options for lunch. If you do go to Bouley, order the cod dish which I think is one of the best dishes on their menu.
          For dinner, try your very best to get to Babbo. Lupa is just not of the same league. Just get to Babbo at 5 or 5:30 and enjoy! You will not regret it.

          Day 4 / Day 5 sound good. Again, if lunch at Davidburke & Donatella is due to their attractive prix-fixe, I will go with Cafe Boulud, or even Fleur de Sel. Both offer much better quality than D&D.

          Also, not sure if you have particular reason to choose Wu Liang Ye, but IMO it is not worth going out for. I will suggest Momofuku Ssam Bar intead. Much more innovative and delicious! (plenty of reviews on this site)

          Day 6: Same comments for Lunch as Day 3. Lunch at Le Bernardin is around $60 before drinks, tax, and tips.

          Day 7: Agree with the suggestion on Degustation and suggestion of dessert tasting at WD 50. Really don't need to bother with Lure (it's ok, but not special)

          Day 7.5: Just a note the going to Oyster Bar is more of a NYC experience, so don't put high hope on the food. Their oyster pan roast is quite good though.

          Will have to disagree with the suggestion of Nobu Next Door. It is not what it used to be and has become a touristy joint with mediocre food. Norma's is highly praised by some, but too me it is again more for tourists than anything.

          Also, please note that a few of these restaurants are not open on Sunday: Yasuda, Degustion, Le Bernardin. Some serve brunch menu on Sat / Sun so lunch menu (or prix-fixe) may not be available. You may want to check menupages.com to confirm.

          If you have any more questions, please feel free to post and I am sure we can all help.

          I hope you have a wonderful trip!

          1. Personally, I would drop Le Bernardin from that list. We have never been so disappointed in a restaurant as we (4 people) were at Le Bernardin. And we have heard a lot of similar opinions from fellow New York diners.

            The food at LB is so overrated (bland is not synonymous with subtle ), and the service is plainly, bad. The only positive thing about Le Bernardin was the sommelier, who was brilliant -and very professional.
            (My husband dined at LB when the original chef and founder, Gilbert Le Coze, was in charge. My husband thought the place was great back then. Not so anymore.)

            I would go to Eleven Madison Park instead, even if it meant spending a lot more money. I would actually go almost anywhere instead.

            Also, for a more reasonably priced alternative: Gramercy Tavern has a "new chef", who used to work as executive chef at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. After a shaky beginning, he has found his groove at GM, and we just recently had an amazing lunch there. We sat "just" at the Tavern bar (counter) and had a blast. (The staff at GT is just amazingly sweet).
            Fresh ingredients, amazing, subtle flavors, everything was amazingly good! The Carrot & Farro "Risotto", Pine nyts & soy beans was amazing: I had to use a piece of bread to 'lick" the last drop of broth from my plate. We both also loved our Arctic Char, haricot vert, Shiitake Mushrooms & Sweet Garlic Broth. (Again I had to have the last drop of that broth, it was so tasty.)

            I second Tabla and Pearl Oyster Bar. I know lots of people find Spice Market boring and "out" (of style), but my daughter and I enjoyed a terrific lunch there, mostly by picking a lot of different "small" plates -and choosing a great wine to go with that.