Need help re: Times Square area (and, perhaps, Lupa)
The wife & I (Houstonians) are bringing our 11 year old daughter to NYC for an upcoming weekend. On Saturday, we'll do the MoMA, then Top of the Rock before heading back to our hotel at 48th & 8th. On Sunday, we'll see the Met, stroll a bit through Central Park, then catch the 3:00pm Hairspray show on Broadway.
1. Saturday dinner--where's a good place for dinner? We'll be walking from the MoMA to Rockefeller Center and back to the hotel, so we probably don't want a place that requires/needs reservations, and we likely won't be dressed up. We're adventurous diners.
2. Sunday morning--Is there a good deli/breakfast place where we can get great bagels, etc. near 48th & Broadway....or near the Met (we can wait if it is worth it)?
3. Sunday dinner--post Hairspray show...Cascina?...Becco? I'm looking for the best italian available in the area, since I'm pretty sure my wife & daughter won't be in the mood to make the trek south for Bianca, Lupa, Lombardi's, John's or any of the places I'd really like to try.
4. Assuming I can talk wife/daughter into exponentially better italian after the show...how long is it really going to take me to get from W. 52nd to Lupa (via the "1" train), and will the food really be that much better? Would I need to make reservations now?
All suggestions are welcome!
Re: Saturday dinner. If you are planning to eat dinner earlier than 8 p.m. in the area between MoMA and your hotel, you will be running into one of *the* busiest times in restaurants, i.e., the Saturday pre-theater dining crowd, which means restaurants are packed and walking in without a reservation is iffy. After 8, things quiet down considerably, and you can probably walk into a lot of places and get a table. That said...
Since it appears you are considering Italian for Sunday, I'd recommend Marseille, on the corner of 9th Av. & 44th St., for excellent French/Mediterranean cuisine served in an attractive, bustling brasserie setting, or Uncle Nick's, on 9th, b/t 50th & 51st Sts., a taverna-style Greek restaurant with very tasty food.
Uncle Nick's on Menupages: http://www.menupages.com/restaurantdetails.asp?areaid=0&restaurantid=3879&neighborhoodid=0&cuisineid=0
For Sunday dinner, I'm not a fan of Becco (mediocre pastas, extremely cramped seating, and insanely high noise level) and, while Cascina is fine, my favorite Italian in that area is Trattoria Trecolori, on 47th St., b/t B'way & 8th Av. Well-prepared, delicious homestyle fare, especially the pastas. And the tiramisu is seriously delicious! Friendly, efficient service. Attractive decor and comfortable seating.
If you want good chinese food, try Joe's Shanghi - 24 W. 56th (between 6th/Ave of Americas and 5th). it is very close to MOMA. This location is more "americanized dining" but I find the food just as good as thier Pell Street location. You must have the soup dumplings.
As a former NYorker (I now live in Boston), I crave this place about once a week.
Well, Wu Liang Ye is another nearby Chinese (Szechuan). 36 W 48th St. (btw 5th & 6th) We've really enjoyed it, and it has generally positive buzz. I haven't gotten to Joe's (either in Midtown, Chinatown, or Flushing), (but you will read disparaging comments about it here on chowhound.)
(doh: should've read through the whole thread first, see below.)
Wu Liang Ye
36 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036
1) I had dinner at the Lever House the other night, and the food was great and it wasn't crowded at all, so you should be able to get a table. It's also very close. It's very expensive though. There's also a surprisingly good Japanese place that makes its own soba, and it's reasonable. I think it's called Soba Nippon. In any case, there's a bunch of good Japanese in that area.
3. Becco has mixed reviews on this site, but I have to say, I like it. I'm a big Bastianich fan.
4. I like Lupa, but I prefer Babbo or Otto, both also Batali restaurants. You can take the 1 to Houston for Lupa or Christopher St for the other 2. If you get lucky with trains, it can take as little as 20 minutes door to door. If you're unlucky, it will take you 30-35 minutes. You could also just walk crosstown to Felidia.
Good luck and have a great time!
For your Saturday dinner, if you're into hot and pretty authentic Sichuan cuisine, I'd suggest Wu Liang Ye on 48th between 6th (Ave. of the Americas) and 7th. It won't be crowded and your casual attire will be fine. The chicken w/ capsicum is spicy but addictive!
Sunday Italian dinner near the theater district, you might want to try Esca. It's in the area. I'm not sure how late they're open. Southern Italian w/ an emphasis on seafood. If you're set on Lupa after the show, you've got two choices either the subway or a cab. If you choose the subway, it should take you about 10-20 minutes to get there. If you choose to hail a cab, realize they're nearly impossible to find in the theater district after shows let out and that the traffic that time of night is ridiculous. It could take an hour or more to hail a cab, get out of midtown, and into the village at that time.