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First trip to NYC...

My brother and I are treating each other to a Christmas holiday in NYC; staying at the Loew's Regency. I've been to NY many, many times, but this is my brother's first trip. I'd like to hear some suggestions re: restaurants to visit, so that he can have a true "NY" experience.
He loves the Food Channel and is a fabulous cook.
Places I've been and would try again if somebody thinks we should:

1. Cafe des Artistes
2. Cafe Luxembourg
3. Sardi's (pre-Broadway play)
4. Mesa Grill
5. BLT
6. Tabla
7. Mas
8. Bryant Park (fancier restaurant)

That's all that come to mind right now. Don't want to do anything "touristy." This trip is for my brother and I want him to be able to say he's 'done' the NY restaurant scene. We'll be there three nights; and if it helps, he's 48 and I'm 50. But we're quite immature :).
Thanks very much -

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  1. Sounds like you all are going to have a great time! Your list of restaurants is fine, but I suggest trying some great new places. What types of cuisines do you all like? Are you partial to one part of town, or are you willing to travel?
    BTW...you will LOVE The Regency!

    3 Replies
    1. re: LeahBaila

      Thanks, Leah - I should have added before my list that these were restaurants I had visited but didn't necessarily want to return to, unless someone had a strong (good) opinion about one of them. We're going to Mas for sure.
      I think we'd be willing to try all parts of the city and we eat everything! What about a fabulous sushi place?
      And you know what? I spent a week at the Regency in October (my best gal pals and I for my 50th b'day), and it was sooooo scrumptious! Can't wait to get back.
      And as MMRuth pointed out, we do need to make reservations ASAP.

      1. re: cathyrenee

        Though I personally haven't been, Sushi Yasuda is supposed to have the best in NYC. There's also the ultra-splurge, Masa, in the Time Warner Center/Columbus Circle.
        I would definately try: Eleven Madison Park (a true experience, even if you only go once in your life; impeccable service and interesting food), Pylos (fantastic Greek food that is perfect for the chilly weather), August (American food...great brunch and my favorite burger in town), Piano Due (lovely Italian food)...there's so many others! Are you looking for a particular meal? Lunch or brunch?

        1. re: LeahBaila

          definitely sushi yasuda...

          also:

          wallse
          veritas
          katz's deli
          da andrea
          corner bistro
          freemans (brunch)

    2. I would skip Sardis and Cafe des Artistes - IMO, touristy and mediocre food - and I don't think those would be included in the current "NY restaurant scene". That also goes for Mesa Grill - though there have been some postive (and also negative) reports of it lately. I'd suggest looking into Eleven Madison Park and Veritas for starters. There are also a lot of interesting restaurants on the Lower East Side - a neighborhood that has changed dramatically over the past couple of years, including Orchard:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/423117

      Some other threads to look at:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/413684

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/422417

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/407937

      As you probably know, Christmas is a v. popular time for visitors to NY, so I'd make sure to make reservations well ahead of time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MMRuth

        I agree completely about nixing Cafe des Artistes and Sardi's. CdA is well past its prime, and I don't think anyone ever went to Sardi's for the food. I'd also drop the restaurant in Bryant Park from consideration because of mediocre food. Sad, really, since the location is lovely.

        Re: Veritas. Although it's always been a favorite of ours, and every meal we've had there has been stellar, acc. to eater and other sources, Chef Scott Bryan is leaving to become chef at a new restaurant. Therefore, until we know who will be replacing him and how that chef's cuisine stacks up, I'm going to refrain from recommending Veritas

        I do, of course, heartily endorse your suggestion of Eleven Madison Park.

      2. Great places listed, though I might skip Sardi's...I would definitely add Balthazar for dinner and Otto's for lunch or dinner....I also recommend that you do a little "foodie tour" in the Village, stopping by Mamouns for incredible falafel/hummus/lamb/pita, and then proceeding to Faicco's for a rice ball, and ending at Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake...

        1. Sounds like a good list, but I'd agree with the others to skip Sardi's. I would also recommend trying Chumley's and Mary's Fish Camp, both in Greenwich Village. And if you're lucky you might get Amy Sedaris as your waitress at the Fish Camp. Another great place in the Village is Red Bamboo, a vegitarian joint. Their soy "chicken" tastes just like the real thing.

          12 Replies
          1. re: Doghouse Reilly

            Is Chumley's open again? I though it had closed down?

            1. re: MMRuth

              Don't get angry with me but I find the first 3 definitely "touristy."
              I'd much prefer:
              Le Bernardin
              Picholine
              Eleven Madison Avenue
              Vice Versa
              David Burke & Donatella

              1. re: idia

                idia - I think you mean "Eleven Madison Park"

                1. re: notafoodie

                  Oops! But of course I do! Thanks!

                  1. re: idia

                    Without being too technical, idia is correct. Eleven Madison Park's address is 11 Madison Ave.

                    1. re: RCC

                      Yes, 11 Madison Av. is its address, but it's not the restaurant's name. So, for visitors to the city, especially first-timers, having the correct name makes it easier for them to do searches on this and other food forums.

                2. re: idia

                  No, no - not angry at all. I clarified in a response to LeahBaila that those were places I had been, but didn't care to return to unless someone really thought a first-time visitor should experience them.
                  As of now, we have reservations for dinner at Aureole and Mas; ck'g into Spring Awakening, and if we go to a matinee there, I could use a good recommendation for lunch/brunch in the area ( I HATE riding in cabs and don't do subways - too little time to figure it out); also looking into Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola for Ann Calloway one evening, for the entertainment, not necessarily the food. Anybody been there?

                  1. re: cathyrenee

                    We went to Marseille before Spring Awakening (thanks again, RGR). You might want to do a search of this site. I probably posted a mini-review.

                    1. re: cathyrenee

                      Yes, as fdr says, Marseille is a good pre-theater brunch choice. The menu has a French/Mediterranean tilt. Attractive, bustling brasserie setting.

                      http://www.marseillenyc.com

                      I also like West Bank Cafe for brunch. I've had one of the best versions of the classic quiche there. Quiet, pleasant ambiance.

                      http://www.westbankcafe.com

                      Trattoria Trecolori, our favorite Italian restaurant in the Theater District, serves their regular menu for pre-matinee lunch. Pastas are especially delicious, and I love the tiramisu. Very nice atmospherics.

                      http://www.trattoriatrecolori.com

                      1. re: RGR

                        I'll ck out those recommendations - I appreciate your replies.

                  2. re: MMRuth

                    Last I heard Chumley's was supposed to open in Ocober, but don't quote me.

                    1. re: David W

                      I hope Chumley's re-opens soon. What a NYC gem! Great beer! Okay food (great lobster special in the summers).

                3. If your brother has never been here strongly suggest RGR's LES food tour (plus Shopsin's for a breakfast, in Essex Street Market). Agree with other posters' comments regarding your list. Also suggest Pylos (Greek) in EV. We went there Saturday night and it was delicious. Their grilled fish, sardines are very good and the apps too (skip the 3 cheeses in a clay pot). A favorite app is the haleumi with grapes and toasted pignolia nuts. It is consistent, lively and a bit noisy. They have Anny's Animus, a lovely organic wine. Chelsea Market might be fun. Maybe Degustation?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                    I, too, recommend RGR's LES food tour.

                    As for Pylos, I love the food, and the pita bread, especially, but service has been...lackluster the last few times I've been.