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Recommendations for another weekend in NYC...?

I've enlisted the chowhound guidance for my past trips to NYC and have thoroughly appreciated all the info posted. I just wanted to say thank you!

I have been making a regular visit up there very 3-4 months over the past year and I admit, I can never get enough NY. My last trip was in August and as hot as it was, I dragged my little brother with me to all the restaurants on the itinerary and we ate readily. Every meal we had was memorable in its own unique way. My brother, who is only 17, had fallen in love with NY and thinks the food there tops all (We are native Californians so that is saying a lot). I think I've just spoiled him for all the dining experiences to come :o)

That said, I'm itching to return back to NYC in early Dec for another weekend of eating (unfortunately, no brother this time). Below are all the restaurants I've visited over the years up until now. I would like to enlist y'alls opinion as to what other restaurants to add to the list/to try for this upcoming trip. As a given, I would like to try Masa, Sushi Yasuda, Le Bernadin, Daniel, and Per Se someday. But not until I find dining companions who would be willing to shell out the dough. For now, something along the lines of those below would be fantastic, both for food and for drinks. Any cuisine and/or concept is welcomed. What would you recommend?

Places I've tried....

Food
______________

Aquavit
Babbo
Bar 89
Bar Masa
Bond St.
Bouchon Bakery
Cafe Lalo
Craft
Jean Georges
Lady M's Bakery
Landmarc
Lupa
Mercer Kitchen
Momofuku
Morimoto
Noho Star
Nougatine
Olives
Payard
Pommes Frites
Sfoglia
Spice Market
Stanton Social
Thor
Veselka
Yakitori Totto

Drinks
______________
Angel's Share
Buddakan
Chocolate Bar
Campbell Apartment
Gama
Pegu Club
Red Bench
Tao

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  1. I highly recomend two spots..one for dinner one for lunch..A great cold weather dinner is the Old Homestead just ouside the meat packing district. Get the gotham rib steak.its their signature steak and is incredible. Bring your appetite and dont forget the hash browns and spinach. After dinner you can walk off the meal by walking to chelsea brewing (@chealsea piers) and have a fresh brewed beer on the water.

    For lunch..figure out a way to get to corona queens and get a mama's special at Leo's latticini, or Mama's sub shop as the cops,fireman and most regulars call it. After buying the special say goodbye to Mama who is likely sitting at a table in the corner and walk two doors down to leo's bakery. They have tables and backyard seating if its nice enough..or you can take your sandwich to a local park as I usually do. Once you eat a Mama's special you will find your way back any chance you can get. It is the best sandwich you will have ever eaten..Just dont say anything bad about the Mets while you are in there. .

    1. If you liked Momofuku Noodle Bar, I think you'd like Momofuku Ssam Bar. I see you're visiting in December... Momofuku Ko (his 3rd restaurant!) might be open by then.

      Your list of restaurants is pretty long! Can you tell us which ones were your favorites?

      If you liked Angel's Share and Pegu Club, then I would try PDT, Death & Co, Brandy Library, Little Branch...there's a ton of serious cocktail places that are open now.

      5 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Thanks Reap and Kathryn for the heads up. I've been to both the Noodle bar and Ssam Bar to pick up food to go but I've never actually had a sit down dinner there. I would love to someday if I could find someone who'd do it with me. And the new Ko...have you heard what kind of food will be served there? I know there are many people that think David Chang and his restaurants are overrated but I think he deserves his spot on the culinary scene for taking a chance and branching out with his own brand of style. So kudos to him.

        Thanks for the recs for the cocktails. I've heard of Death & Co but haven't heard of the other ones yet. I think I will have to venture out and try a few of those soon. Like mama always said, there's always room for another cocktail...shrimp? :oP

        Considering I don't live in NYC, I think I've really only skimmed the surface of the culinary scene. I wish I lived there so that I could really immerse myself in that food. You all are extremely fortunate to have such fantastic food at your beckon call. There is so much food everywhere and much of it is actually good. I live in FL so you can clearly see why I go to NYC to eat. Thank goodness the flight is short from here!

        That said, my most memorable dining experiences thus far has to be at Jean Georges and Yakitori Totto. Both could not be farther away from each other but both brilliant in their own right. For fine dining at its best, Jean Georges is it. Lovely restaurant, polished service, classic French technique with a nouveau French flair ...This is Jean Georges reflected at his best. Yakitori Totto gives you authentic yakitori in its purist form. Food is unadorned and presented simply. Everything is delicious. My favorite there are the Chicken Meatballs, the various grilled chicken parts, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus, the incredible Seaweed Salad composed of mutiple kinds of seaweed, and the best Chicken Soup I've had outside of my own home. Both restaurants challenged my palate in ways none has done so before.

        That said, I enjoy all the other restaurants as well. For Italian, I love Lupa for the pastas and Babbo more for their meat dishes. If you ever go to Babbo, I highly recommend you ordering the Veal Loin wrapped in Pancetta. The most superb piece of Veal I've ever tried. As for breakfast, I enjoy Sfoglia a lot. It's quiet during the morning hours so it is easy to get a seat. Enjoy a Fritatta and a pot of hot tea at your table and you'll feel like you're somewhere in Tuscany.

        For Japanese, I have yet to experience the best restaurants so I cannot vouch for much except for what I've tried. I recently went to Morimoto, admittingly for the scene. Surprisingly, the food was actually pretty good even if it's overpriced. I loved the Kakuni, Rock Shrimp Tempura, and Halibut there. If there is the dessert of Banana Mousse coated in chocolate served with a macaroon, order it. That dessert is outstanding.

        For Brunch, who can beat East Village? I would love to try Clinton St. someday when the line isn't too long. :oP What I've tried so far is Stanton Social. It's fun here because you can try many little dishes. I loved the Lobster Benedict and the Monte Cristo there the most. The fried Pierogies with the Truffle Creme Fraiche is also pretty awesome. Thor at the Hotel Rivington has a ridiculously inexpensive brunch-- 3 dishes plus two drinks for like 25 bucks. If you go there, I highly recommend ordering the Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms. It is really good.

        For pastries, Bouchon is great. I love the Cheddar and Bacon Scones there the most. But I think the Croissants with the various fillings are delicious as well. If you just want to indulge is sweet excess, Cafe Lalo will give you that and more. So many things to choose from, you won't know what to pick. It's definitely a fun place to visit if you're in the UWS.

        What about you? What are your favorite places to dine at in the city?

        1. re: santorinii

          Crispo
          Gotham Bar & Grill
          Vice Versa
          Esca
          Daniel Burke & Donatella
          Shun Lee West

          1. re: idia

            Crispo for sure! The Spaghetti "Shrimp Fra Diavola" is one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had. Don't even get me started on the Salumi Tasting and their amazing fresh mozzarella!

            What about Keens (I know it's not the "hippest" place). By far one of my favorite restaurants in the city. It is pricey, though.

          2. re: santorinii

            Definitely have a sit down meal at either of the Momofukus. Right now I am partial to Ssam Bar as it is more spacious and also less crowded! Sit at the bar; I see single diners there all the time. The Amish cheddar shortcake with ham-flavored whipped cream is amazing. Ko is meant to be a little more upscale and formal I think, but as it hasn't opened yet...who knows?!

            If you are a sushi fan, you should make a reservation to eat at Sushi Yasuda, and sit at the bar, in front of Yasuda. Be prepared to drop a fair amount of cash, though.

            For brunch, what about Prune? Balthazar? Tasting Room? Five Points? I've got a brunch cheatsheet on here somewhere... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/445794

            Have you checked out Grandaisy? What about Ceci-Cela for croissants? Financier?

            1. re: kathryn

              kathryn, really like you brunch cheat sheet. Your Balthazar suggestion got me thinking . . .Balthazar/Artisanal/Pastis - maybe the prix fixe dinner at Artisanal if OP is in the mood for a lively, noisy French bistro?

        2. you should totally do yasuda...its actually not as unreasonable and frankly, eating at the bar alone is a great treat...sort of like a massage. just remember to have the uni, the peace passage oyster, the white king salmon, and the scallop guts.

          definitely go to 'ino for panini, cheese, and truffled egg toast. go to blue ribbon bakery for the rillettes and anything else you feel like...the bakery is the only blue ribbon i endorse. try da andrea for solid italian in the west village. bouley for a fine dining experience or bouley upstairs for a fun but crowded and cramped cheap version of bouley. freemans for brunch, little owl or market table for dinner, and try perilla.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sam1

            Seconding ino, Blue Ribbon Bakey, Little Owl...

            1. re: Spiritchaser

              Great recommendations. Keep 'em coming folks!

              First off, Sushi Yasuda...Trust me, I have been dreaming of a meal there. I would have eaten there but my cousin, who is a sushi fanatic, will be coming to NY with me in February so I want to hold that meal until then. But thank you for confirming how great that restaurant is. Makes me want to go there for sure.

              I have read lots of good reviews of Little Owl and I like the concept of the restaurant. Blue Hill sounds great as well. Between the two, which is better?

              Any branch of Boulud is a consideration. I have mostly held out on his restaurants because he has a Cafe Boulud down here in West Palm Beach. But I have been thinking about Daniel and may consider it for this visit.

              I love brunch. I want to go to Prune or Clinton St but they don't accept reservations which is a problem since my visits to NYC are short and I can't afford to stand in line for 1-2 hours. I found out that Five Points is on OpenTable so I'm going to try to make a reservation through there. Blue Ribbon Bakery also has a good menu. Hmm, choices, choices...

              I'm curious about Fatty Crab and A Voce. Have y'all gone to either? If so, would you recommend a meal there?

              As for Bouley, I had contemplated going there for the tasting menu. Have any of you done that? If so, is it worth it?

              1. re: santorinii

                ive actually only gone to bouley a la carte, and its fantastic every time. i would usually recommend veritas but the head chef left recently and my dinner there last week was disappointing.

                blue hill and little owl are pretty different. blue hill is a bit more formal and while i like their other location in tarrytown, ny, i dont really like the west village one. there's better options for the money.

                little owl is ridiculously sold out but if you go at 5:30-6 or later on a weekday, you can get in with only a little wait. its not the greatest restaurant in the world but its solid food, cute place, friendly service on one of those beautiful tiny west village streets. it just sort of has the buzz. they opened a place on carmine called market table. i have reservations this weekend but the food is apparently good.

                blue ribbon bakery is a good time...try it.

                1. re: sam1

                  That is exactly how I would describe Little Owl. Great location, cute space, good menu, and a good neighborhood restaurant that has more buzz than it can handle.

                2. re: santorinii

                  If Daniel is in the running now that is a must. Tasting menu w/ wine pairing is the way to go. We all know about opinions so I'll just say that in MY opinion Daniel is the best fine dining in NYC.

                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                    Little Owl sounds great. I think I'll definitely have to try the restaurant then. Are there any dishes you would recommend to try there?

                    I usually am up on the food scene in NY but I was unaware of the new Market Table opening. You must report back on your experience!

                    My friend in NY went to Daniel recently and raved about how amazing the food was. So with your confirmation, I think I shall make it a go. What were your favorite dishes there at Daniel?

                    1. re: santorinii

                      Our most recent visit I had the tasting menu and my girlfriend (a vegetarian) had the vegetarian tasting menu. The trio of lamb is wonderful and the Foie Gras terrine is unbelievable. But I honestly mean it when I say I have never had anything there that I wouldn't gladly have again.

                      1. re: santorinii

                        Not sure if anyone else mentioned it (and I can't believe I didn't already) but you have got to try Telepan.

                    2. re: santorinii

                      In my opinion Clinton Street (LES not EV) is not worth a 1-2 hour wait. It's basically a diner with good, quality food. Famous for their blueberry pancakes. You can make it yourself at home if you have basic cooking skills and save $20. Go on a week day when there is no wait. Save your money and use it for an amazing prix fixe lunch or dinner instead!

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        Can you make their maple butter at home, though?

                        You can also get the pancakes for dinner. Hint, hint.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          Maybe :) I'm from Upstate NY so I keep real maple syrup in my fridge . . .

                  2. I ate at both Snack Taverna and Fatty Crab this week and LOVED them both. Both good NYC dining experiences (read: small and mostly local crowds).

                    You might also want to try some of the better east village neighborhood restaurants (although they mostly don't take reservations). For italian, I'd suggest Perbacco or Frank. For seafood, Mermaid Inn.

                    Other suggestions:

                    Sushi - Sotto or 15 East. Both new and awesome
                    Seafood - Pearl Oyster Bar or Mary's fish camp
                    BBQ - Hill Country or R.U.B.

                    My experience with friends visiting from out of town is that, while its always nice to take them to the real fancy places, they often prefer to find places that are more neighborhood-oriented and maybe less well-known but equally tasty. Makes for a better story and more pleasant and casual evening.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Ianbro

                      I've read about Telepan in the past. The current menu sounds good...very regional, seasonal type of cooking. What are the exceptional standouts at that restaurant?

                      Ianbro, I'm glad you had a good time at Fatty Crab. Even though I mostly go for fine dining in NYC, I like to throw in a restaurant that's got something spicy and unique to try. Fatty Crab seems to fit the bill. I think this is a for sure restaurant to add to the list. What were your favorite dishes there?

                      I've been playing around with the concept of pure seafood joints and have read up on both Pearl and Mary's. I'm leaning more towards Pearl's. I have a soft spot for great Lobster Rolls. :o) We'll see though. There are so many restaurants to try and I don't have a big enough stomach to try them all! I need to have my stomach stretched. :oP

                      1. re: santorinii

                        Def. crispy pork belly with pickled watermelon and also the spare rib entree. table next to me had the crab, which looked amazing if you can get over picking it apart with your hands.

                        In terms of fine dining, the suggestions of everyone else are very good. I actually like Cafe Boulud better than Daniel, though.

                        1. re: Ianbro

                          Oh that sounds so good! I wish I can have those right now... sooo hungry. BTW, I love, love, love pork belly. And pickled watermelon...that's so southern! I would really like to try the Chilli Crab...I'm not huge on getting my fingers dirty but I'll do it if it's worth it. I'm excited!

                          Why do you like Cafe Boulud better? Is it because the ambiance is less stuffy, the food better, both, or other reasons?

                          1. re: santorinii

                            IMO Cafe Boulud doesn't fall into the same category as the flagship restaurant from an atmpsphere perspective. They are both incredible food wise, but CB is less polished. Think Mercedes and Rolls Royce, both fine autos but...

                            1. re: santorinii

                              I actuqally liked the food better at CB. Also preferred the atmosphere.

                              Maybe it was just what I had. It just struck me as lighter fare and more enjoyable and seasonal.

                              1. re: santorinii

                                hey...just checking in...little owl is known for their pork chop and its quite good. their meatball sliders are okay but messy. if they have the strawberry rhubarb pie, get it.

                                as for pearl's...i strongly urge you to go to ed's lobster bar instead. pearl's is more famous and older but the service is hella rushed and the lobster roll is like lobster goo. all liquid mayo...like they made it in a bucket and slapped it on a roll.

                                ed's is clean, friendly, and has by far a better lobster roll. i couldnt stop eating the buttered roll...it was awesome.

                                telepan is good but if you have too many restaurants, id suggest going to lunch instead. its nearly the same menu for a lot less $. get the lobster bolognese and any lamb dish.

                              2. re: Ianbro

                                Don't you need a small mallet to eat authentic chili crab? Maybe I'm thinking pepper crab?

                              3. re: santorinii

                                Must have the smoked trout app and although the desserts are all good choices the most incredible is the port custard and fig dish.