Restaurants you love that are rarely mentioned on Chowhound
- Brian S Sep 2, 2007 06:34 PM
A poster today mentioned a little bistro and brought back memories. I used to go there a lot. It had creative takes on traditional French bistro entrees, big portions, a congenial atmosphere, and low prices. I never see it mentioned on Chowhound and therefore I thought it had closed. But it's still going strong. Are there places YOU love that never get mentioned here? Tell me about them and maybe I'll eat there.
It was Casimir on Avenue B. And I havent been there in ten years so it may have changed a lot. But the point is that there are probably hundreds of restaurants like this. No, it's not going to make the NY Times critic think, "I wish they would let me award 5 stars"... but you get a delightful reasonably priced meal in a nice ambiance.
I hope more people post about places like this.
Waldy's Wood Fired Pizza and Penne on Sixth Ave. They make great sausage and red pepper pizza and a penne with roquefort cheese sauce. Waldy is Waldy Malouf.
Roberto Passon (9th/50th) is a great little Italian place in HK. Cafe Noir is a great late-night spot in Soho (French/Moroccan, but the best thing is the $9 goat cheese burger and fries). In Vino in the East Village is 'inoteca-esque, but less crowded, and less loud. Vice Versa on 51st btwn 8th and 9th is really, really great modern Italian with two different outside dining areas and a nice bar/lounge. Tasca, new place on near Christopher Street (i think) is a really nice tapas bar. For a rainy night at home, all hail Blockhead's Burritos!
As for Vice-Versa: I love the Vitello Tonnato, veal in a light, tuna-based mayonnaise (if you've never had it, you're going to love it) as an app, then stick with any pasta as your entree.
At Roberto, go during the fall and winter...get their poached egg with proscuitto over white asparagus, then for the entree, go for the venison papparadelle. They have a lot of nice, affordable ($30-$40) wines on their list as well.
Went to In Vino a few weeks ago and loved certain things -- their risotto special, for example, with mushrooms and more butter than I even want to imagine, was to die for. However prosciutto appetizer with peaches was way too ambitious for this early in the spring -- peaches were like apples, should have stuck with melon.
OG on east 6th serves delicious dumplings and other asian inspired dishes (mostly fish, some duck) in a very comfortable, welcoming environment. It's pretty quiet, we can always get a seat, and the prices are incredibly reasonable. Sometimes I wish they had a full bar and more wine and sake variety, but I've always been very happy with what I end up with.
I'll add to the people who said Nook. I'd also add Anissa in the West Village and my alltime favorite pizza place Friendly Gourmet Pizza on Nassau (it's only open for weekday lunch unfortunately).
Campagnola, First Ave at 74th. Old school, neighborhood Italian. Lively atmosphere, great food and first-class mait're d's, Frankie and (I think) Mario. Those guys know how to take care of you. And if you ever have the fortune to have Claudio as your waiter, you'll have some added entertainment.
As one who speaks Italian fluently, I always get a kick out of the "pretend Italian" waitstaff at places like Trattoria Dell Arte on 7th Ave. One said "buona sera" to me and I launched into Italian asking how he was doing that evening. He froze and admitted he didn't really speak. It's sad watching Italian culture become a marketing ploy (see: Mario Battali venues!). Getting lectured by a midwestern waiter at Babbo as to the uses of Pecorino was also fodder for humor!
For a great neighborhood bistro- Bandol on 78th between 3rd and Lex is fabulous. Truly feels like you are walking into a friend's home. The food and wine is wonderful- great mussels, salads and risotto. The staff is absolutely charming and most of the diners are from the neighborhood which makes for a delightful atmostphere.
A strong second for Persepolis, which I have mentioned on the board once or twice. A much better room/decor since they moved late last year, and the food has improved too. Persian (Iranian) food is very under-represented in NYC and Persepolis is a great place to check out if you've never had it before.
We used to go to Savoy often when they first opened (very good, innovative food) and on New Year's Eve for many years. Then they opened the second floor and we found it went downhill (we had a bad New Year's Eve experience, food was sent back, we didn't get the corner table though we booked in October). Maybe I need to give it another try?
soba koh - gets mentioned every now and then, but i think that place is awesome
donguri - another awesome japanese place, maybe its bc its on the upper east, but definately one of the best japanese restaurants in the city (the homemade sesame tofu is amazing)
sushi ann - excellent sushi restaurant (must sit at the bar), probably doesn't get mentioned b/c it has somewhat of a business crowd
supper - pretty solid italian in the east village, i like brunch there too, i know better places like scallinatella, but they are much more expensive and totally different type of restaurant and food
joe junior's on 6th ave - solid american breakfast diner type food (eggs, home fries etc)
dimple - really solid chaat
I must recant my Village recommendation. I went again recently for the first time in about a year and it was mediocre, at best. The roasted chicken was fine, but no longer served with their great roasted potatoes (which they no longer have at all). The bread basket was a lesser quality. The soup tasted like it came from a can and the service was atrocious. To me, it looked like a restaurant cutting pennies before closing. Disappointing.
I have never seen Les Sans Culottes on 2nd Ave. mentioned here. Their charcuterie appetizer hung on a metal hanger is extraordinary and certainly quite enough to take the place of a full meal. A huge variety of breads, sausages, cheeses, veggies.... and then you order dinner. Excellent food, great service, a bit noisy but everyone has such a good time there, it's like eating with family. I love this restaurant.
SPIGA! I really like it this place. It's not perfect, but it's interesting--often eccentric. I love it for its sense of adventure, the fact that it isn't too terrified of failure to experiment.
There are all these dishes on the summer menu that come with sorbet or gelatin -- and often it works much to my surprise. Example: prosciutto with creamy goat's milk cheese and cantaloupe gelatin. The gelatin isn't at all appalling like Jello; it's creamy and purely cantaloupey as only something made out of the real thing can be. The prosciutto and cheese are both of high quality. It's a fantastic combination. (Mint sorbet with lamb and eggplant works a little less well...)
Marchi's Restaurant on East 31st street has been one of my favorite places since I was little. It has been open and run by the Marchi family for 80 years and they serve the same 5 course Italian prix fixe menu every day -- it is always terrific and special, and considering the amount and quality of the food along with the level of service, the price (around $60pp last time I was there) is extremely reasonable. There are lovely little tableside flourishes, like the waiter de-bones a whole fish in front of you before plating it, etc, etc. Marchi's is an leisurely, unpretentious old-time New York dining experience, perfect for a celebration -- which is probably why we've had so many of ours there.
I really love Kirara on Carmine St. I think of this place as a Nobu on a budget! Must definitely check out their jalepeno tempura (jalepenos, minced chicken, cream cheese...battered and wonderfully deep fried) and hamachi in pomegranate dressing. Sushi platters are also always very fresh (and affordable!) I did notice a slight decline in quality the last 2 times I went, but I think may have just been off-days?
I like to eats.
I also love Kirara!! I've had off visits, but nothing more serious than the rolls having too much rice. I actually think the owner is the culprit of this. Anyway, my husband and I have moved out of the neighborhood, but always try to eat there whenever we're around.
note: I think the filling in the jalapeño tempura is spicy tuna rather than minced chicken. the tuna gets cooked a tad when it is fried, so I can see where you'd pick up on that chicken texture.
Cornelia Street Cafe. Been on West 4th for 30 years. Good brunch deal. We used to go very week for dinner, then they changed chefs and we stopped. Have rediscovered it recently. Ambience is nice yet varied - outdoor seating, lively front room, or lovely, quieter back room with a fireplace. Good food, service and value. I think they have a prix fixe dinner.
re: Brian S
Cute fact about Cornelia St.- it's only one block long :)
As a resident of good 'ol Cornelia, I am proud to say that every one of our restaurants is worth a try- Cornelia St. Cafe, Po', Little Havana, Palma, Home, Pear Oyster Bar, and Le Gigot. Even our "border" places, Karavas Tavern on W. 4th and Sushi Mambo on Bleecker, have their merits (though there is much better sushi and falafel to be found in the 'hood).
Beyoglu on 81st and 3rd is a great turkish/mediterrainean restaurant; the appetizers are great (particularly octopus salad, eggplant and tomato), the lamb or whole grilled fish delicious, and I actually walked out of there for dinner for three (apps, a salad, entrees for all, and everyone had a drink, or maybe it was a bolle of wine) for $80 w/ the tax and tip. Nice, lively atmosphere, great for outdoor dining in the summer. Oh, and their bread is AMAZING, you'll eat several loaves.
Those two restaurants have to be among the MOST mentioned on this board. They are definitely not under the radar by any means.
I'll second/third/fourth/etc the recs above for Le Pere Pinard (I love that place, and the prixe fixe is hard to beat), Cornelia St. Cafe - though I see it on this board quite a bit, especially for brunch, and Palancinka (sp?) - the best time to go is on a sunny day when the dining room is flooded with sunlight and it gets all warm and cozy.
Another place that still seems under the radar is Lamazou, the sandwich/specialty food shop on 3rd Ave. They have the greatest sandwiches there. I can't stand it when sandwich fillings all spill out and you're left with more bread than fillings at the end. Their sandwiches are perfectly put together.
Punch at Broadway and 20th. Great food, nice atmosphere, excellent service. Not expensive, either. I first ate there in 1999 and enjoyed it, but forgot about it until a few years ago. Now I go there regularly. It's been through a few changes of chef and menu but is always interesting and delicious.
I don't think I've ever heard Cafe du Soleil (106th-ish and B'way) mentioned, either. I tend not to go for French bistro food in the U.S. b/c it's so often bad (simple dishes need great ingredients and maybe a lot of places don't have access to, or aren't willing to pay for, great ingredients). This place is a nice exception. The various roasted chickens are flavorful from the skin to the bone; the mashed potatoes, fries, and rosemary pototates are really damn tasty (some of the best in nyc, IMO); the burger royale (of pulp fiction fame) is pretty decent; and they have decent wines by the glass, served at the correct temperature on the occasions I had them.
I've had several lovely meals at Casa. Very intimate, quaint Brazilian place on Bedford and Commerce. Delicious beef Stroganoff. Good for couples or small groups. Not for children or larger parties because there's barely any waiting room and the restaurant itself is teeny.
And I absolutely love Omai (Vietnamese) on 9th in Chelsea. The wok seared monkfish appetizer is fantastic. Though its hard to get a table at this place (Th, F, Sat) without a res.
Havent been to either in a while if anyone has recent updates on the quality.
We've been to Gnocco several times on Tompkins Square Park. A nice affordable Italian meal with very helpful staff.
I'm not going to say I love any of these places, but I'm in like.
Stage Restaurant in the EV.
Daddy-O for a good burger -- interesting interpretation, it's like a grown up Whopper.
Prem-On for above average Thai.
I linked as many as I could find -
200 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028
Pearl Oyster Bar
18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014
31 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014
164 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014
309 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003
18 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014
Le Pere Pinard
175 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
172 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
409 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016
309 E 83rd St, New York, NY 10028
1407 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021
70 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012
741 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10019
239 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011
13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014
325 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019
Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014
Cafe du Soleil
2723 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
72 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014
158 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
337 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10009
105 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012
63 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014
38 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022
746 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019
138 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012
88 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
200 W 84th St, New York, NY 10024
800 6th Ave, New York, NY 10001
33 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014
1382 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021
538 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10020
862 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019
32 Grand St, New York, NY 10013
215 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10009
130 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
507 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
44 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014
30 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014
28 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10003
255 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
190 1st Ave, New York, NY 10009
913 Broadway, New York, NY 10010
Elephant and Castle
68 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011
59 Nassau St, New York, NY 10038
181 E 78th St, New York, NY 10075
156 E 2nd St, New York, NY 10009
11 W 30th St, New York, NY 10001
Le Veau d'Or
129 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022
Les Sans Culottes
1085 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022
Les Sans Culottes
311 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
251 E 31st St, New York, NY 10016
So glad you asked because I love Takahachi on Avenue A and rarely see it recommended to posters craving for sushi or Japanese. I find it to be way above average Japanese that is more than fairly priced. I never have doubted or experienced less than excellent quality seafood whether it's sashimi or cooked. I, with a friend (or BF -- every one of 'em throughout the last 7 years ;) ) can walk out paying less than $100, gluttonously stuffed, and with a nice buzz because dinner usually means 4 or 5 hot Sakes for us... . My only "complaint" is the restaurant often runs out of the Hamachi kama by about 9 o'clock which would prompt me to give a dirty glare to BF about him showing up late. Seriously, as soon as I am seated I ask the waitress to please put my name on one yummy collar!
By the way Brian_S, about Casimir, many many years ago their mussels salad and a glass of wine was my favorite meal.
I am a really big fan of the vaca frita at Guantanamera (used to be called Azucar) on 8th and 56th. Really good black beans and rice. I upset my mother when I told her it was better than hers :)
Eating Place on 1st in the 90's somewhere - excellent spicy Chinese, delivery prompt - a cut above the usual neighbourhood Schezuan.
Adding links (can't for the life of me find Eating Place, though):
1113 1st Ave, New York, NY 10065
85 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
396 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
939 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10019
In the interest of keeping this very valuable thread alive, I have conjured up a few favorites of mine that I don't see mentioned too often:
*Cafe Henri on Bedford St. in the West Village: very relaxed French cafe; open late, and they don't mind if you stay for hours and read their many magazines lined up along the wall; wines by the glass; a generous selection of crepes, both sweet and savory.
*Hispaniola on W. 181st in Washington Heights: modern, upscale restaurant on two floors with a comfortable bar area and creative, delicious cocktails; menu specializes in "New World" cuisines, with an emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean.
*Moustache on Bedford in the West Village: cozy, neighborhood Middle Eastern; very affordable; nice selection of salads, spreads, and pitas, as well as some entrees.
*Bar Six on Sixth Ave. @ 12th: French/Moroccan fare in shabby chic digs that make you forget you're in NYC and feel more like a '60s Parisian bistro; delicious French onion soup and tagine dishes, affordable wines by the glass; lively atmosphere.
*Shima Sushi on 2nd Ave. @ 12th: excellent neighborhood sushi placethat won't break the bank; great selection of fresh fish, creative preparations, and pleasant service.
Daddy-O on Bedford St. W. Village: dimly-lit and more like a bar/lounge than a restaurant; hip, eclectic music selections as well as sports on TVs in opposite corners; talented bartenders and a fantastic selection of rare top shelf liquors, especially rum and tequila; great late night menu includes the best fried jumbo shrimp in the city, blackened chicken sandwich and my favorite burger (with a side of tater tots).
Vvvindaloo, I just 'discovered' Bar Six today, while looking for a dog friendly place nearish to Union Square, without too long of a wait. Sat at the little bistro tables in front and had a pretty solid brunch. Bloody Marys were kind of crummy, but the food wasn't bad at all. I had a well made fluffy omelet filled with very nice, house-roasted roasted tomatoes and artichokes, a wonderful, freshly made biscuit that I was sad to part from after only a small nibble (damn the wheat intolerance!), ok homefries (underfried by my standards, but nicely seasoned with restraint wrt spices and butter) and parsnip soup du jour (simple and great!). Service was absolutely lovely. I'll be back to try the tagines.
Union Square Cafe
21 East 16th St., New York, NY 10003
502 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Roberto Passon was a disappointment my one lunch there: the waiter was out to lunch, and the carpaccio was straight from the fridge, cold plate and all.
Annisa is terrific; if anything, the quality of the cooking is better lately than before.
I just had a bite at Charlot Sunday; it's off Madison at 69th, near the Frick. A creditable Niçoise, a tired watercress soup (it doesn't keep), great bread, trés Française room, a safe haven on a cold day.
'Ino, on Bedford St, if you can get in, is fun: inventive but simple dishes.
I've been to Savoy over several years, and always been disapointed: it's heart is in the right place, but the cooking isn't up to the materials. The bar scene, though, is great: civilized, interesting, homey.
(Sorry if this is a duplication; I got nearly to the end and then my post disappeared :()
Zucco: Le French Diner!. Simply amazing! Its a favorite for my girlfriend and I. Tiny french restaurant on Orchard and Houston. Maybe eights seats at the bar in front of the kitchen and three tables. The owner is always there setting the mood on his ipod. Mussels, steak a poivre, and hamburger on a baguette are second to none. Just don't ask for ketchup! Highly recommended
188 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002