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best of... in a day [Moved from Manhattan board]

My friend and I are coming to NY for four days on a food trip. Each day we want to focus on one food and taste the "best" of each, outer boroughs included. We are thinking pizza, hamburgers, bbq and are deciding on the last one.

Can anyone suggest some plans of action. Here is what we were thinking, but this is tentative:

Pizza- Nick's in Forest Hills, Full Moon on Arthur Ave (maybe a hero at mike's for fun), Pasty's in East Harlem, Una Pizza Naplotena, Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, Di Fara and possibly one in Staten Island.

Burgers- Dumont Burgers in Brooklyn, Spotted Pig, White Manna in Hackensack (suggestion of a friend), union square cafe, Burgers Joint, Molly's (at the suggestion of seemingly everyone on this board)

BBQ- dinosaur BBQ, daisy may's, R.U.B (need some more suggestions, especially in outer boroughs)

I feel like we have pizza under control, but burgers and bbq need more insight. Anyone suggest a 4th category? We were thinking something more upscale.

Thanks. I will try to write a trip report once our itinerary comes together.

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  1. Not sure how you are possible going to tray all these places in 4 days. Not only from a logistical standpoint but from a gastric capacity standpoint. However, my comments are;
    For pizza go with Eddies on Hillside Ave in Queens and Arturos on Houston in NYC
    Burgers - Royale on Ave C, certainly not Union Square cafe. Many hounds will say shake shack as well
    BBQ - I would add Hill Country and eliminate RUB. There is also a place in Queens where the old Pearsons used to be that is supposed to be the best but I cant remember the name.
    For a 4th catagory you need something sweet. I would go with ice cream/ices/gelato

    1 Reply
    1. re: princeofpork

      Thanks. Luckily we can pack it away, but we won't go crazy at each place. Should specify, we are going to keep it to 5 places a day so that we don't over exert ourselves logistically.

    2. personally, id get sick of eating the same food one after the other but to each his/her own.

      id add lucalis to yr pizza list in carroll gardens, brooklyn and totally remove una pizza napaletona which i feel is the biggest sham in nyc these days...terrible pie...so overpriced its comical.

      add corner bistro for burgers...west village...people say its overrated but i think its still the best.

      bbq...you need to go to hill country...about 5 blocks from RUB and in my opinion, much better. great pork ribs, amazing brisket and sausage.

      if yr looking for another food, what about sushi? eh, i cant believe im supporting this.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sam1

        You think una pizza is a sham, but like corner bistro? I would agree that una pizza is expensive and some might say over priced, but you cannot take anything away from the food which is excellent. Corner Bistro on the other hand imho is mediocre at best.

      2. I'll chime in and add my vote for Hill Country for BBQ's. My favorite burger is at Shake Shack.

        1. For burgers, I'd add August to the list.
          BBQ: Hill Country

          3 Replies
          1. re: LeahBaila

            How has nobody introduced Shake Shack or Corner Bistro for burgers?

            The last category - Tacos (Red Hook), dogs (Gray's Papaya)....

            Upscale - Pick up the best of NY article in New York magazine and Time Out New York. You'll have all the categories you need.

            I love your concept, btw. Don't let everyone worry you - if you plan the order of events right, you can fit even the outer boroughs in a day.

            1. re: aacharya

              Good call on tacos! I vote for Tulcingo del Valle

              1. re: aacharya

                For tacos, you can also go to Sunset Park...

                For burgers, you're going to burger joint inside the Parker Meridien, right? There also a few Burger Joint places that are different.

            2. Dinosaurs Tip: side items sucks. I think they're best for wings(not buffalo) over their ribs. Make reservation.

              R.U.B is aiite..nothing special.

              That is alot of pizza in one day. Most of those on your list only serve pies. Do you need any assistance in finishing those?

              Where are you coming from btw? This would help in choosing the 4th category.

              1. I don't know where you're coming from, but it seems a waste of a day to spend it tasting New York BBQ. Hill Country is the only one really worth a visit. All the others mentioned here - you'd just do better eating some other kind of food.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Wilfrid

                  I disagree about BBQ, especially if the person is coming from outside of US. While NYC is not the que capital of the world, it is the only place where you can get all regional styles pretty well executed. You can get wet ribs, you can get dry ribs and you can get smoked brisket without doing a cross-country trek.

                2. Thanks for the replies so far. We were thinking of something other than bbq since NY isn't exactly bbq country. We are open to suggestions. We are a bit hesitant to do dessert since a day of sweets is probably a bit excessive. Maybe bagels and nova or maybe a day of NY's best upscale and just do a bfast, lunch and dinner. Money isn't really a worry, so, like I said, we're open to anything.

                  We are coming from australia (both from the States and I have been to NY twice).

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: tenpercenter27

                    Ok, I guess we're thinking along the same lines. A day of upscale NY would be great; both for the luxury of it and because the day will be less "the same" then the pizza or burger days. As for pizza I would definitely recommend a trip out to DiFara's (Brooklyn) and Arturo's (my favorite is basil, garlic and prosciutto-- although the plain is great too) in Manhattan. For burgers I would definitely suggest going to Dumont Burger is Williamsburg (it's basically perfect in every way, in my opinion). If you go to Corner Bistro, which is definitely the quintessential NY burger, if only for history you must do the Bistro Burger (cheese and bacon)! If you end up doing the upscale NY I would 100% make dinner at Eleven Madison Park.

                    1. re: jdream

                      For upscale, I know there are probably too many combos to reccomend. Now, I was just thinking maybe a day of pizza, a day of burgers and two days of upscale/ quintessiental ny eats.

                      I definitely am thinking one of Boulud's restaurants ( I had the DB burger last time I was here and it was great). I have been to french laundry, so going to Per se is probably unecessary, although i certainly wouldn't mind. I will probably go for Eleven Madison Park or Babbo. What would everyone suggest for breakfast/ brunch? I've been to Norma's and was not at all impressed.

                      1. re: tenpercenter27

                        I'm also a non-fan of Norma's; good concept but poor execution. Eh.

                        My favorites:

                        French Toast -- Pastis (brioche) or Neptune Room/Jane (creme brulee battered), 9th Street Market is also very good and less indulgent. They are very generous with the fruit compote there.

                        Waffles -- Balthazar (sour cream and nuts) or Devin Tavern (oatmeal, and it comes with strawberry butter). Good Enough to Eat also has bacon IN their waffles, but I like the bacon more than the waffles there.

                        Pancakes -- Clinton Street Baking Company is second to none! I love their maple butter and fresh Maine blueberries. Although Prune does a good rendition of a giant, oven-baked dutch pancake. Five Points and Sarabeth's both do a lemon ricotta pancake, if your tastes swing that way. So does Shopsin's but I think it's off the menu and Kenny grumbles if you ask for it. But if you're at Shopsin's anyway, get the slutty cakes. I keep meaning to try the pancakes at Little Owl as the place is adorable and the pancakes look so good! Oh, and Morandi does excellent crepes.

                        Egg dishes -- Classic NY: eggs scrambled with lox at Barney Greengrass. More traditional? Eggs in a puff pasty at Nice Matin or Goldie Lox at Sarabeth's, or nestled a breakfast sandwich at Clinton Street Baking company, on their famous buttermilk biscuits and melty cheese and crispy bacon and excellent tomato jam. The skillet eggs at Cookshop are also quite good if you like your eggs sunny side up. I believe they are local NY state eggs. For a new take on eggs benedict, go to Blue Ribbon Bakery for the Blue Benedict with Serrano Ham, Jarlsberg, Tomato. Both Neptune Room and Devin Tavern have very good lobster benedicts.

                        Bread baskets -- Balthazar (love their fruit foccacia and their chocolate bread - Pastis gets the same basket, too), Devin Tavern (excellent muffins, not so much the croissants). Blue Ribbon Bakery's is also quite good (challah!) but you might have to ask for their famous bacon bread. On the UWS, Nice Matin, Ouest (it was so good I wanted them to wrap it so I could take it home). Cafe at Country is pretty good, too, had a fabulous raspberry tart-type item. I still need to try the bread basket at Five Points.

                        Drinks - Norma's, actually has fantastic, freshly squeezed OJ and free refills, basically the only thing I liked there. Jane has very good lemonade. Little Owl also has good lemonade. And if you go to Five Points, Prune, or Sarabeth's, get their custom juice blends.

                        Bloody Marys -- I'm not a fan but my boyfriend likes 'em at Great Jones Cafe (spicy) and Devin Tavern (fresh tomato juice and horseradish). Devin Tavern has probably the best in town and I don't even like Bloodys! Oh, Prune has the crazy blood mary menu list for your nontraditional Bloodys -- a lot of people like the Chicago style one with a bunch of different pickled veggies. We haven't been to Essex yet but I hear they are good there too.

                        Donuts and the like -- I like the buttermilk beignets at Cookshop, and the churros at Five Points (get them with mexican hot chocolate). Jane has good donuts on the menu was well. And I've heard Prune has great marveilles, still haven't tried them.

                        Bacon -- Cookshop has this amazing house-made, double-smoked, Berkshire pork bacon that's included with one of the entrees. It's different from their regular bacon. I also like Balthazar (thin-cut and juicy), Good Enough to Eat (thick cut and a little tough but good). Clinton St. Baking Company also has pretty good bacon, as does Morandi (it's boar bacon apparently).

                        Big country breakfast (biscuits, gravy, eggs, etc.): I've had good ones at The Neptune Room and Devin Tavern, as well as Alias.

                        Sandwiches: Prune make a mean deep-fried Monte Cristo sandwich. I also like the lobster grilled cheese at Devin Tavern -- tiny, delicate, delicious. Five Points also has an open-faced Berkshire pork sandwich which is great but their menu changes a lot. Oh, and Blue Ribbon Bakery does a great duck club sandwich with homemade waffle chips. See also aforementioned breakfast sandwich at Clinton Street Baking Co., and have heard good things about breakfast sandwich at Frankie's Sputino 17 down the street.

                        Other, quirky items: Alias on the Lower East Side has goedda which everyone needs to try at least once in their life. Oh, and fried chicken and waffles. At the Cafe at Country, you can get BBQ pulled pork in grits, for a change of pace. At Prune, I like the coddled eggs and salad dish, as well as the sausages and oysters platter. At Blue Ribbon Bakery, a lot of their lunchy/appetizer items are available; we usually spring for the bone marrow.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          wow! Thanks Kathryn. Obviously you are a breakfast person.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            Hi Kathryn, Great descriptive post. I'm totally starving now.

                            Thanks for all your suggestions.

                      2. re: tenpercenter27

                        Australia? How about a little bit of mexican food fitted into your bbq day? Im no connoisseur in that category but perhaps u can search?

                      3. I'm going to think up some suggestion for the others... but just to throw it out there... I would not come to NY and do BBQ. Sushi? Could get pricey but there is some great sushi in NY.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jdream

                          OK so BBQ is out. How about a day of street cart meals (must be a weekday). What can get more NY than that. A Rafiq cart, sabrett hot dog, Jamaican cart in Hells Kitchen, some ices up in harlem. Sounds perfect.

                        2. You have to go to J. G. Melon's for a burger -- 3rd Ave & 74th. Best burger in NYC.

                          1. How about a day of Asian street food - Chinatown, Flushing, Vietnamese places in Brooklyn and the Bronx? You could eat street food and then sit down for something in at least the first two neighborhoods (I'd recommend a congee breakfast in Flushing).

                            1. For burgers, I'd add Blue Smoke to the list. Corner Bistro is quintessential NY but there is a 50% chance of getting a mediocre precooked burger, so I'd say don't press your luck. If you are coming before mid-November I'd say you have to hit Shake Shack in Madison Sq park. if you go at an off-time or if its not nice out there shouldn't be too bad a line. During the week, any time after 2 or 3ish should be good. Also, Peter Lugers in Williamsburg brooklyn

                              I like the street cart recommendation - although you'd eat a lot different types of food if you hit the best carts. Kwik Meal, Dosa Man, Taco Trucks, Red Hook Ball Fields. If you do this, skip the dirty water dogs/nuts/street pretzels.

                              If you want to try bagels, you can go to H&H, Ess-a-Bagel, Murrays, maybe throw a Kossar Bialy in there, etc.

                              Other ideas would be NY delis (pastrami) - Katz's, 2nd Ave Deli (depending if its open when you come in), Carnegie (Shutter), and there are plenty of recommendations in outerboroughs and NJ.

                              My favorite, but might be a little much, would be to get steaks - Peter Lugers, Keens, BLT, Sparks. You might keel over after this day though.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ESNY

                                haha, I think a day of great steaks, while sounding good in theory, would not be a good idea.

                                We are coming in two weeks, so we can make shake shack. As for bagels, I find H&H way overrated. The street cart idea could be a great cultural experience and I would skip the pretzels/ dirty water dogs.

                                1. re: tenpercenter27

                                  I don't particularly like H&H, either. I'm an Ess-a-bagel man all the way. But if anyone was doing a bagel tour, I think it has to be on the list.

                              2. Don't miss Corner Bistro for a Bistro Burger. Go late night for the shortest wait. I can't believe anyone could call it overrated, but I guess there's always someone who wants to take down the champ...;)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: joeyz

                                  No one else has mentioned it but Donovan's in Woodside gets consistently high marks for their burgers. My favorite is the bacon, blue cheese burger; rare.

                                2. I can't believe that no one has suggested Katz's. Go for the Pastrami on Rye or Club and a Brooklyn Lager.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: bobjbkln

                                    yes, and RGR's LES walking tour. that would be something.

                                  2. Elia's Corner for best Greek Seafood in Astoria then across the street to Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall. Hope ten percenter is not your tipping policy...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: winepunkguy

                                      haha, nope not by tippng poicy. No beer garden for me, I don't drink, but good suggestion.