First time in manhattan, need comfort food
- mlukan Aug 21, 2007 05:43 PM
Hi everyone, coming to Manhattan for my first time from toronto canada. My girlfriend and I love comfort food, but a little more upper class comfort food. Im wanting to go out for a $300 meal at somewhere that has fancy comfort food excluding the cost of wine because we don't drink it. I hate to trouble you guys but I have one more thing to ask. We are coming during christmas time and I just wanted to know what too go see during christmas time in manhattan? Thanks
Most "comfort food" restaurants don't charge $150pp for food alone. You'd be hard-pressed to even approach $50 at most places. The Spotted Pig, probably NYC's favorite comfort spot, for all its hype comes to $60 if you order the two most expensive items on the menu. If it's Canadian comfort food you're looking for, there is a Canadian gastropub called the Inn LW12 in the meatpacking district.
7 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014
314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014
Without hearing more about what kind of comfort food you want, typically I think of things like mac and cheese, meatloaf, burgers, chicken soup, etc.
So along these lines - for really great mac and cheese, try Nolita House. You can also go to Cafeteria whose menu is basically all comfort-type foods. The food at Cafeteria is good, not out of this world but pretty good. Neither place will approach the $300 mark by a long shot - unless you order everything on the menu.
As for Christmas in Manhattan, if you want food-related suggestions then no problem. But if you are looking for tourist destinations, that isn't the point of these boards so you won't likely get many suggestions (not because we don't want to be helpful, it's because those kinds of posts get flagged by the CH moderators anyways telling us to stay on the topic of food).
Union Square Cafe. No culinary heights there, but you'll certainly find comfort food in an upscale environment, most of it well-prepared. Maroons if you're looking for a few notches below upscale.
While it certainly won't run anywhere near $300 you might want to also check out brunch at Clinton Street Bakery. I've only been there for breakfast/brunch but they do a great job with comfort food. My brother had dinner there as well and said it was delicious and had a home-made feel to it.
Second this. Blue Ribbon Bakery on Bedford, too, will also serve you well for "upper class comfort food." I especially love the bread basket, sweetbreads entree, and the nice array of appetizers. The really big selling point for you might be that BRB has a well-executed selection of comfort food from a lot of different regions: New Yorky matzoh ball soup (and New York pigeon? Sure are lots in Central Park!) to Cajun shrimp and grilled catfish to southern fried chicken and succotash -- with stuff like caviar and (a great) foie gras terrine mixed in for fun.
They have a great brunch, as well, if you're willing to stand in line, in the cold. (No reservations.)
For comfort food with a French twist, look into Ouest. Food is hearty, delicious, rich and filling -- perfect for winter.
If you're coming during Christmas, make your hotel and restaurant reservations NOW. I mean it. The holidays in NYC are crowded and full of tourists. The street crossings get so packed they actually can't get traffic through. Forget the holidays: better yet, come in February. Just kidding.
You must mean $300 CDN for comfort food, right? Because you don't have to spend that much in Manhattan.
Beppe has wonderful, upscale Italian comfort food, they make their own pastas and the atmosphere is cosy. Not red sauce Italian, but a lovely place. I'd also recommend Artisanal, although it's noisy and busy, but if you go at an off time you can select from lots and lots of cheeses and bistro food. Also try any Sarabeth's which is as comforting as a restaurant gets, and Popover's definitely has comfort food.
As for what to see, just take a walk up Fifth Avenue, go to Rockefeller Center, maybe have a meal or drinks at the Rock Center Cafe, walk up Madison to see the stores, and definitely go to the Metropolitan Museum to see their gorgeous decorations. Check on line for any concerts that might be happening: tons of sacred music and jazz is performed at the holidays, at places like Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center. You'll have an amazing time.
Even if the OP was thinking $300 in Canadian dollars it still translates to about $280 US which is more than necessary to have a satisfying, comforting meal.
But you're reminding me of another possibility for Italian with good atmosphere - Crispo. Most of their pasta dishes are the basics (carbonara, orrechiette with sausage and broccoli rabe, etc) but done extremely well. Atmosphere is great too.
Just like other hounds, it is hard to define "comfort food" as it means different thing to different people. I see it as food that is hearty and fresh, and is cooked with heart. With that in mind, I like:
Prune - great bistro food a notch better than the classic - think awesome sweetbread, burger (yes, I like their burgers!), bone marrows (yum!)
Little Owl - "upscale" (? to some degree) American food in a small cozy restaurant - think meatball sliders, big succulent pork chops, and crispy chicken. HUGE portion.
Yakitori Totto - the place is no where "comforting", but the food can be considered comfort food for those who grew up in Japan. The negitori don, with a few other cooked dishes and yakitori, are for sure comfort food for me.
Babbo - ok, i know some people will disagree, but pasta to me is very "comforting". After the pasta tasting at Babbo, I am usually so full and satisfied that I will go and take a nap - comforting indeed!
Blue Hill - I always go to this place if I want a satisfying, somewhat comforting meal (in an upscale setting). The food is always fresh, and the preparation is simple yet sophisticated. I can feel the nature when I dine there (ok, I mean the food only). To me it is comfort food because it makes me feel satisfied.
Momofuku Noodle Bar- what's more comforting than a piping hot bowl of ramen? But the noodle and the soup were not the stars here (actually they are kind of mediocre). It is the pork and the eggs and the topping that contribute to the comfort food definition. Add some pork buns and vegetables, now that's comfort food. The sister restaurant Momofuku Ssam Bar has the amazing Bo Ssam (which is a roast pork shoulder) that is definitely comfort food, but since there are only you and your gf, I don't think you can finish it (it is for 6-8 people). If you need help, I will be there ;D
Since you are from Toronto I am not going to recommend any Chinese food as you have much better ones in Toronto.
None of these places will cost you $300 since you don't drink alcohol. Babbo and Blue Hill are the most expensive ones, but probably will only cost $200+. So you can save some money for street food and snacks!
Drop us a line if you have more questions.
Hope you have a wonderful trip in NYC!
Wow thanks for all your posts. You have already been very helpful. Let me clarify myself on the comfort food topic. My kinda comfort food is chicken and gravy, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, steak and cheese, ribs, pastas, chocolaty deserts. Like a fancy southern/TexMex. I know im being pretty broad but i know you can help me out. Thanks so much again, im now a chowhound addict.
Ahah. Got it. Based on your description, places I think you'd like:
The 21 Club
Blue Ribbon Bakery (again)
As in so many other areas of cuisine, China mastered the knockyoudown comfort breakfast centuries ago. Try almost any unglitzed, minimum neon, probably a little on the dark/gloomy side, place in Chinatown. I would go for the steamed buns --- pork, chicken, seafood --- congee and lots of hot tea. And whatever else turns up.