In NYC this weekend
I will be in NY this weekend. I am staying at the UN Millennium Hotel, right next to the United Nations building.
I was wondering which places I should try our while I am in town.
Things I am looking for.
1st: My companions and myself are grad students in Boston so we are on a budget, so if I could find some reasonable but good places to eat that would be great.
2nd: Type of Food: Would like to try NY style Thin crust pizza, Chinese (any region) in Chinatown, Something Middle eastern, a good bagel place for breakfast one morning and also a couple late night recommendations would be appreciated as well.
3rd: If you could include a nice, chill place to get a drink that is not to stuffy as well that would be great.
Any other recommendations are appreciated.
OK, before checking the rest of the thread, I'll give you my own recommendations.
Thin crust pizza: Patsy's East Harlem, 1st Av. between 117th and 118th. Share two pizzas and salad for a hearty but not extremely huge lunch.
2. Chinese in Chinatown. Boy is that a large topic! But I think I'll recommend Great NY Noodletown, because it's cheap and reliably good and you won't have a horribly long wait like you probably would at Congee Village. It's Hong Kong style. Get any of the barbecued items, noodle soup or Congee or/and Ginger/Scallion Lo Mein. Or if you feel like spending slightly more, get a dish with flowering chives or pea shoots.
3. Something Middle-Eastern: Azuri Cafe, 51 St. near 10th Av. Kosher, not open Friday night or Saturday, so go Sunday. Others may recommend Taim or Taboon, but I haven't been to either, so I can't say anything.
4. Unstuffy place to get a drink: Max Fish, on the same block as Katz's (Ludlow between Houston and Stanton).
joe's on bleeker for pizza by the slice
late night - momofuko ssam bar so you avoid the dinner crowds
if you like scotch you can go to st. andrews for a drink in midtown
lots of good chill bars in the east village - hop devil grill for beers comes to mind but you can just walk around
CartwrightD - here's a Plan B for Chinatown on Sunday. Since there are only two of you, Dim Sum might be problematic. It's family style seating and you will likely get full before you can sample all that many different delicacies. Consider instead this mini tour:
Go to the Shanghai Cafe at 100 Mott Street. (north of Canal)
Order the Xiao Long Bao - or Shanghai soup dumplings. #2; Steamed tiny buns with pork on their menu - at $4.25 for 8. Ms. Gu is usually at the cashier area, she might even let you sit down on the right hand side there to eat them where they have 3-4 high stools at a stainless steel counter. Caution: hot soup inside the bun! They open at 11:00 a.m.
Then walk south on Mott to Big Wong King at 67 Mott Street. Order a small portion of their Cantonese style BBQ Roast Pork (Cha Shao Pork.) $5.95 (The large size is $11.95.) Devour outside on the street. Best BBQ roast pork in Chinatown. (Note that Amazing 66 is right across the street.)
After wiping your hands, continue walking south to Bayard Street and turn left. Proceed to Mei Lai Wah Coffee House which is at about #64. There is no address number on the storefront but it is diagonal from the Chinatown Ice Cream factory! It is one of Chinatown's oldest coffee/tea houses, started by two bachelor brothers from Taishan County (Guangdong Province) in the 1880's. May not have been remodeled since then! Snare a seat at the counter (seats 4-5) or at one of the tables. Order Cantonese style milk tea and two or more of their Baked BBQ Pork buns (.75 cents each.) You can also order some a la carte dim sum items that they keep right behind the counter. You might want to ask them for some vegies at this point since all you've been eating is protein and carbs! Hopefully they will not run have run out of the buns and their won't be 12 people by the till nervously trying to be the next in line. You might even want to order a dozen to go.
Still hungry? Pop into the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory!
You might consider doing this tour in reverse to have a better chance at Mei Lai Wah since both they and Big Wong King are open by 8:00 a.m.
Lastly, please tip well! 60% of the Chinese in Chinatown are foreign born with only a high school education and Chinatown wages are as low as 50% of the regional average.
For Dim Sum try Ping's Seafood at 22 Mott Street or Chatham Square Restaurant at 6 Chatham Square
Then if you are not stuffed and in the mood, stroll over to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory at 65 Bayard Street for a scoop of Ice Cream. Try the Ginger, Green Tea, Lychee or Red Bean.
For excellant Cantonese try Amazing 66 at 66 Mott Street. Has been well reviewed since Brian first posted about it in Nov. 2006.
They have a great lunch special served from 11am to 3:30 pm daily. You can select from 68 different Pork, Chicken, Beef or Vegie/Bean Curd dishes. Meal includes rice and a cup of soup. $4.95
It is mostly family style seating - meaning most of the tables seat 8; so unless you get there early or late, you'll likely have to share a table. They only have 4-5 tables for two.
Heaping portions served piping hot.
For Middle Eastern cuisine, closest to where you are staying is Byblos, on 39th St., just east of 3rd Av., which serves Lebanese food. I haven't been there in a very long time but have not heard any recent negative reports. A little further away is Ali Baba, on 34th St., b/t 2nd & 3rd Avs., which serves very tasty Turkish cuisine. Casaville, on 2nd Av., b/t 34th & 35th Sts., serves Moroccan cuisine. We haven't been there, so I can't comment on the food's quality. You can find menus for all of these restaurants on menupages.com.
I'm not a big bagel fan, so I can't give you a personal rec. However, some time ago, food maven Ed Levine wrote a long article in the "NY Times" about bagels. One place he judged to have an excellent version is Bagelry, on 3rd Av. & 30th St. Also, many Hounds give high marks to Ess-a-Bagel. Two outlets closest to you: 3rd Av. & 51st St., or 1st Av., & 21st St.
You and your pals should treat yourself to a pastrami sandwich. Katz's, on the LES, is *the* place for it. If you go, avoid table service. (That's for tourists! lol) Order at the counter. Each counterman has a tip cup. While not required, $1-$2 per sandwich is a tradition. He'll slice a piece for you to taste. Great pastrami should have some fat on it and be juicy. Sandwiches are huge!
If you don't feel like shlepping downtown, there are two places much closer to your hotel where the pastrami is very good: Sarge's, on 3rd Av., b/t 37th & 38th Sts, and the legendary 2nd Ave. Deli, which re-opened in Dec. on 33rd S., b/t Lex & 3rd.
Enjoy your visit to NYC and Bon Appetit!
Within walking distance, heading uptown you'll find Angelo's Pizza at 55th and Second Ave. Wonderful thin crust pizza. And one of the young bar crowds is currently hanging out at any one of 3 or 4 places at the corners of 2nd Ave and 54th Street. Midtown offices are only a block away - Citicorp and the like. Tal bagels is on 1st Avenue between 53rd and 54th St. International? Bagels (I never remember the name of the place) is on 2nd Ave. between 56th and 57th.
i'm too lazy to look up all the locations (they can easily be found on city search or menu pages)
pizza - john's in the west village
chinese - not spicy - big new wong on mott, shanghai café on mott, chatham sq
restaurant on chatham sq for dimsum
chinese spicy - wu liang ye (there's 3 locations, i go to the 1 of 48th), grand sichuan on lex (not in st. mark's sq, that one's ot so good)