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NYC Itinerary - comments?

Trying to finalise the list of places for our 5 day pre-Christmas trip to the city. I don't for the life of me know where I will put it all. I will likely have to be barrelled back to the airport for the trip home!

I haven't had time to fit all this into some sort of schedule yet, but would appreciate any feedback/help. I will of course be reporting back here after all had been digested and cogitated.


Cafe Grumpy/Shake Shack
Washington Sq Dosa Cart Manny
Katzs - yay! (to kick off RGR's lower east side foody walking tour).


Jean Georges - Nougatine


Blue Smoke
Grimaldis or poss. Una Pizza Napoletana


Sugar sweet sunshine (tagged to LES tour)
Roccos for Cannoli
Bakerys in Chinatown?


Fairways - fancy a neb round one...look good.
Grays Papaya - a dog from the movies! :)

Still yet to decide on a dinner location for our Radio City night. On a previous thread we were rec'd Modern at Moma, Wu Liang Ye and Omido. Having a hard time choosing. Any others? St. Andrews?

Also yet to acquire somewhere to eat on our arrival night near Times Sq/Rock. May just nip to Le Parker Meridean for a burger?

As a full time curryhound, the only other thing I wouldn't mind drafting into the schedule is perhaps some authentic Indian. No chance of that near Midtown I guess?

Many thanks for all your help,

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  1. Skip Norma's; Balthazar is much better.

    There's a current thread on lunch at Jean Georges lunch in the main dining room vs. Nougatine that you might want to check out.

    Personally I'd skip Blue Smoke unless you have a huge craving for BBQ and live in a BBQ-starved town. You might also want to check out Hill Country.

    I also like UPN over Grimaldi's. But Una Pizza can be kinda expensive for pizza, and you also have to go on the early side, before they run out of dough. It's kinda hard to compare the two styles. One is Naples-style, one is New York-style.

    There's actually a number of pretty good Indian restaurants near Midtown East; there's a mini-restaurant row of them on East 58th street. I haven't been in a while but I'm sure CHers will chime in.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks Kathryn!

      Will probably do both Normas and Balthazars, although I hear you that I should expect better at Balthazar. Normas is just because we are staying at the Rock hotel for our first night...so is convenient to mosey to for brunch before we checkout and move on to the Chelsea Lodge. Its a shame Balthazar only seem to do their full brunch menu at weekends...as our stay doesn't cross a weekend day, but none the less, I'm looking forward to it.

      Some BBQ was defo on my todo list...as there isn't any at all over her in the UK. I will definately check out Hill Country.

      I quite fancied UPN over Grimaldis myself...the guy sure sounds devoted to his craft. I chuckle to myself when I hear that his pizzas are considered expensive. Over here, thats about how much it is for a PizzaHut pizza! It may be that we end up at Grimaldis as we can tie that in with a bridge walk...but if the chance arises...I will nip to UPN.

      Good news about the Indian restaurants in ME...look forward to hearing some recs!

      Thanks again! :)

    2. I went to Blue Fin in Times Square for a business lunch and really enjoyed it. A bit pricey, but not totally inaccessible. (Same people as Blue Smoke.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: NYCfoodgirl

        Not same people. Blue Fin is part of Steve Hanson's Be Our Guests; Blue Smoke is Danny Meyers group.

        1. re: chow_gal

          You're absolutely right. I stand corrected.

      2. just tried lupa on monday and i wasn't very impressed getting a table after the third try. our entrees were very salty. it's also hard to get a table unless you made reservations way in advance. otheriwise it's a 3 hr wait (so we were told) walk in on a sat evening at 5:30pm.
        wu liang ye is good if you like spicy, szechuan food. at times the place does get pack so you might want to make a reservation.

        1. Amy's is alright but I found the cupcake too small and the wrapper made it hard to eat. For Billy's the yellow cupcake I had was DRY but the chocolate one was fine.

          Veniero's has fine cannoli but they're pre-filled and could have been sitting around all day. Rocco's fills the shells after you order.

          1. My family of 4 just got back from a similar trip, so I can only give you what we did, liked, would do differently:

            Fri. late dinner: Blue Ribbon Bakery (literally everything's really good).
            Sat. lunch: Szechuan Gourmet (rabbit & tongue/tripe apps. were good, cumin lamb, fish heads in spicy broth)
            Sat. dinner: Casa Mono (I just love this place, esp. the duck egg w/ mojama, black truffle slices, over potatoes. Great dish)
            Sun. lunch prix fixe at Perry Street (try the tartare, poached snapper, gravlax dishes)
            Sun. dinner: Kampuchea Noodle Bar (Cambodian street food. All pretty good but hot and cold small plates the best, noodle dishes good, sandwhiches were my least favorite)
            Mon. lunch: Esca (one word: crudo. Order a few of them.)
            Mon. dinner: Babbo (Always a lovely dinner)
            Mon. lunches: dogs at Papya King before the Met, late lunch at Dosa Man, later lunch a crispy duck form Ka-Man on Canal
            Mon. dinner: Spotted Pig (All appetizers were good, then gnudi, gnudi, gnudi. Calf's liver w/ succotash was good, too)

            We ate really well. No place I wouldn't revisit. I didn't list all we ordered at each place for time reasons, but if you have any questions about any of the menus, I'd be happy to elaborate if I can.

            Time for clear broth....

            1. Thanks to all respondants for the food for thought!

              Okay, heres where we are at. On the BBQ front, thinking of switching out Blue Smoke for ChowDivas friends place - Georgia's on LES, after reading some very promising reviews.

              We are *still* swithering with where to go on Radio City night. At present we are thinking about trying to turn up at Gramercy Tavern. My dilemma is whether this will be busy in keeping with the season (Dec 19th, meal to be finished no later than 7pm). Do you think this would be okay, or are we better heading somewhere with a reservation?

              On the curry front, will quite possibly give Dawat a try on our first night. In spite of the the decor, I like the sound of their Madhur Jaffrey inspired fare. Thanks MMRuth.

              And so to the big dilemma. We are ditching Lupa. Less than favourable opinions here...and many other places I have read numerous reports of over salted food. So we have Crispo or Babbo. Or Il vagabondo.....or....oh I really dont know!! Its too confusing. We just want top notch, authentic Italian in a nice setting. Again, we will go anywhere that casual dress is acceptable.

              Also, Nougatine for lunch. I was following the other thread, but just to be clear...am I right in saying that the food in Nougatine is of an equivalent standard to than in JG dining room (albeit of a more limited selection)? And casual dress is fine here, right?

              I am slightly sad that we can only dine where our attire will let us....I would like very much to try the dining rooms at the places we are bar eating due to our clothes...but such are the way of things. Will bring some posh togs next time.

              Thanks again for all your help. Much appreciated.


              8 Replies
              1. re: ooglewoogle

                Well - in terms of Jean Georges - they do have perfectly decent navy blazers in every size imaginable - so if you wanted to go there and have decent shirt/pants/shoes, that could still be an option.

                1. re: ooglewoogle

                  For your Radio City night-take a look at Insieme-I've eaten there several times now, and it's very good-it doesn't open until 5:30, but it's only one avenue block away, and they are good about getting you out if you tell them your time needs. http://restaurantinsieme.com/
                  I think you'd be taking a chance going to Gramercy Tavern-you may not get in, and then you have to get uptown (don't think a cab would be fast.
                  )And you know you need to call one month to the day to get a reservation at Babbo, right? Call at 10:00 and be prepared to redail or wait.

                  1. re: David W

                    Gramercy Tavern has the Tavern Room that serves continuously from lunch until 10 or so. If you really really want to eat there, I'd swing by for an early dinner, let the hostess know that you need to be in Midtown by curtain time, and make sure you allow enough travel time to get from GT to Rockefeller Center. Traffic will be bad, so I would take the subway.

                    Good luck getting into Babbo!

                    1. re: kathryn

                      You can also call before heading over there and they are usually helpful about telling you if there are tables/wait time - and if you are lucky, might put your name on the list.

                    2. re: David W

                      Insieme does indeed look very nice, thanks for the rec. Their reservation list seems to run to 4 weeks max on opentable, so hopefully will be able to get something tomorrow when the book opens for our date. May also book Wu Liang Ye and decide closer to the time.

                      Managed to get a reservation at Babbo today! It took wifie quite a while on redial, but we managed to get a time that suits...so its all good! Really looking forward to that :)

                      Nougatine all booked for lunch also, so we are starting to look in pretty good shape.

                      Many thanks again for all your help!

                      1. re: ooglewoogle

                        Congratulations on the Babbo reservation and good luck with your trip. If you decide to go to Wu Liang Ye - I've posted some dishes I've liked there and would be happy to link to it for you.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Thanks MM! And yes, link-me-do. I would love to read your rec's for Wu Liang Ye.


                  2. First of all I doubt you will have room for SSS if you are doing the LES tour unless you can either eat like me or seriously restrict your consumption.

                    I would recommend patisserie claude for a bakery and Barney Greengrass - particularly eggs lox and nova (soft scrambled) with 2 plain untoasted bagles - for breakfast

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: tpigeon

                      Both wonderful suggestions - I agree.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        At SSS, get a cupcake to go, then! :)