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Jan 22, 2008 08:36 AM

Coming to town, but a little overwhelmed!...

Hi all, I'll be in NYC for 4 days starting Thursday Jan 27th, staying in Parkslope...basically, there are so many choices I'm having a hard time making any! I have a pretty good list of many cheap local spots, any more faves welcome, but want to hit one nicer place (but not too pricey, ie: Del Posto, Daniel, etc. are out this time...).. in Manhattan, lower is better but if it's that good I'll get there, will be myself and one other...thanks in advance!

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  1. Lower - (Washington Square area): Blue Hill
    Theater District: Vice Versa
    Chelsea/West Village: Crispo

    1. About how much do you want to spend for "nicer"? That would help with making suggestions, as well as an idea of some of the cheaper spots you're planning to check out. Any particular cuisines that you might not find in Ontario (Toronto?)?

      This was one of the places I was thinking of suggesting: (Le Gigot)

      10 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        In the $150 for 2 range (noting, probally a few pints each as opposed to a bottle of wine), here is my list so far...some things are listed because it was the best listing I could find around where I will be based,just so I have options...if anything is awful that I've listed please lemme know, I will post my impressions of all the places I get to try next week...really, I just want memorable food experiences, cheap/moderate whatever, if it's good I'm all for it...

        Casa Mono (lunch)
        bar Jamon (drinks & late snacks)
        Blue Ribbon Sushi (Brooklyn one probally)
        Spotted Pig
        Lobo (fried chicken & waffles brunch, just sounds so good!)
        Di Fara's & Peppino's
        Daisy Mae's (worth while bbq?,,something T.O. really lacks)
        Willie's Dawgs
        Jacks (fried chicken)
        Trattoria Mulino (good canaloni? cheap?)
        (west indian in Flatbush, any suggestions?)
        Momofuko SSAM (eat-hangout-stay late)
        Hotel Delmano (drinks only or food too?)
        Al Dila (cheap Italian, worth while?)
        High Steaks Cheese Steaks
        Shake shack (burgers)
        Fette Sau (bbq)

        ...thanks MMRuth, Le Gigot sounds like a good addition...I had Les Halles on my list but that's just because of AB, since I won't be throwing back pints and hitting the town with him after my meal, is there really any point?...though they do have an in house french butcher, good french food is pretty easy to come by...

        Much appreciated!


        1. re: Recyclor

          I'd skip Les Halles, though some have posted about decent meals there - don't think you'd be missing anything. I love Casa Mono, but unless you are more restrained than we are, it isn't cheap - but we do usually have a nice bottle of wine and a glass of sherry as well - and we usually go for a late lunch and skip dinner. Worth going into for the pressed tuna with the duck eggs on potatoes. Always enjoy Shake Shack, and Stand is another good hamburger place if it is just too cold. Haven't tried any of the others - haven't heard of some of them. You might want to try posting on the Outer Boroughs board for those places, if you haven't already.

          I love a lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar - about $25 and I think they have a pretty good beer selection. Also great fried oysters.

          I'll put my thinking cap on for other suggestions.

          Edit - Oh - and Stand has loads of micro brews on tap.

          1. re: Recyclor

            Read reviews of Les Halles here before going. I've never been, but reading the reviews here, I've been far from tempted. Lackluster food, poor service, loud/cramped setting seems the dominant experience.

            For your nicer options at that price range, I'd suggest Momofuku Ssam and Yakitori Totto. For the latter, reserve in advance (and they only take reservations btwn 5:30 and 7 pm) as it's very small. For casual, absolutely, do go to Di Fara's and Shake Shack, both great (in very different ways).

            1. re: Recyclor

              Hey, Recyclor,

              Daisy May's (note spelling) is definitely worth the trek to the far, far west side. In my view, *the* best ribs of the 'cue spots I've tried.


              You might also want to check out Hill Country for Texas-style bbq, especially the brisket. Fatty is best.


              For cheesesteaks, my pick is Carl's.


              I'm a weather weenie, so Shake Shack is not something I'd do in winter. But if you're willing to brave it, the burgers are excellent.

              For an awesome burger indoors, Pamplona's chef/owner Alex Urena has created one composed of beef, suckling pig, and chorizo. In fact, all his Spanish-inspired cuisine is wonderful.


              Re: Les Halles. You're right! No need to bother. Bourdain has not had anything to do with it for a long time, the food is sub-par, service sucks, the seating would make a sardine squirm, and the noise level is deafening.

              You might want to consider fitting in my (in)famous Lower East Side eating "tour," which will have you walking the streets of this interesting, historic neighborhood while sampling foods that are emblematic of NYC. Here it is:

              For opinions on the Brooklyn spots on your list, it's best to post on the Outer Boroughs board.

              LES Food Excursion

              For the quintessential NYC deli experiences, no place beats Katz's, on the corner of Houston (pronounced "how-stun") & Ludlow Sts. You're there specifically for the pastrami sandwich. When you enter, you will be given a ticket. Instead of opting for table service, do what the "natives" do and get on line for counter service. When you reach the counter, put a $1 for each sandwich in the counterman's tip cup – though not mandatory, it is a tradition -- and order pastrami on rye. He'll give you a piece to taste. If you like it (the best pastrami is juicy and has some fat on it), tell him o.k., and he'll make your sandwich, give you some sour pickles, and punch your ticket. Then, continue along the counter for sides – the cole slaw is good -- and drinks. Find seats at a table in the center of the room. (Tables along the wall have menus on them and are reserved for waiter service.) When you’re done, take your ticket to the cashier in front, where it’s cash only. To pay by credit card, go to the counter at the rear where the salamis are sold. Note: For the purposes of this tour, unless you have a gargantuan appetite, it would be best to share one sandwich in order to leave room for more tastings along the way.

              When you exit Katz’s, turn left and continue along the same side of Houston St. You will come to Russ & Daughters, famous for all sorts of smoked fish and many other goodies. It's not a restaurant, but they make sandwiches to go.

              After leaving the Russes, continue west a couple of blocks until you reach Yonah Schimmel's. Get a tasty potato knish, and make sure to ask them to heat it up.

              Now it’s time for the quintessential NY drink – the egg cream. So, reverse yourself and head east on Houston until you come to Avenue A. (Note: Avenue A becomes Essex St. on the south side of Houston.) Turn left on A and head north until you get to the block between 7th St. and St. Mark’s Place. Look for a hole-in-the-wall candy shop, closer to 7th, with an overhead sign jutting into the street that says, “Belgian Fries.” (The place’s official name is Ray’s, but there is no signage to that effect.) One of the women behind the counter will make you a delicious chocolate egg cream.

              When you’re finished licking your lips, go back to Houston St. and make a left (east) one block to Norfolk St. Turn right and walk down Norfolk until it ends at Grand St. Two places to look for at the corner of Grand and Norfolk: Kossar's, for freshly baked bialys (another very NY food) and the Donut Plant (self-explanatory).

              Next, walking west along Grand St., you will come to Orchard St. Turn right. At 87 Orchard, snack on a pickle from Gus's World Famous Pickles.

              Then, continue to 97 Orchard, b/t Broome & Delancey, where you will find the Tenement Museum. The tour will show you what life was like for immigrants to NYC at the beginning of the 20th century. (
              Once you have finished the tour, Il Laboratorio del Gelato, right next door at 95 Orchard, is a must for some of the best gelato anywhere.

              If your sweet tooth is still not completely satisfied, the final stop on this tour should do it. Continue ahead (north) on Orchard, crossing Delancey, then one more block to Rivington St. Make a right and you will find Economy Candy at 145 Rivington.

              Note: It’s best not to take this tour on a Saturday since some of the spots are closed because of religious observance. Also, Donut Plant is closed on Mondays.

              Enjoy your visit to NYC and Bon Appetit!

              1. re: RGR

                you should make sure to have a meal at Al Di La. i wouldn't say that it is cheap eats. it is a two star rated joint and is right up there with some of the best italian you will get in the city. i would also suggest that you put Franny's on the list. they are serving some of the best pizza in NYC.

                you might also try Suba. it is one of the best new restaurants in the city and worth the trip.

              2. re: Recyclor

                Ooh, instead of Daisy Mae's, I'd go for Hill Country or RUB. Definitely better, imho. Both are in the 20s. And if you're out in Park Slope, Smoke Joint is close by in Fort Greene.

                The pizza place in Park Slope might be Franny's. You can do a search about it in the Outer Boroughs. I liked it, but have heard complaints about the price.

                For affordable Italian, Al Di La is great, as is the $25 prix fixe dinner at Tempo.

                Second Momofuku Ssam, Yakitori Totto, and Crispo!

                If you're a Bourdain fan, he seems to like Prune in the Lower East Side.

                1. re: Recyclor

                  Hagi: Drinks and dinner. also good late night.
                  Blue Ribbon: drinks and bone marrow (my favorite dish). I prefer this over sushi. Their sushi is good but i can get good sushi anywhere.

                  Maybe you can do a high end lunch and bar dinner at night. There are deals during lunch.

                  1. re: Recyclor

                    If you're coming from anywhere near bar-b-que country, skip Daisy Mae's or any NYC bar-b-que.

                    Likewise, the shakeshack has its fans and it is a decent cheap burger but not anything special. There's so many better things to do while you're here.

                    1. re: mahalan

                      Recyclor mentioned upthread about coming from a place lacking in "worthwhile" bbq. While the 'cue in NYC may not be as stellar as what one finds in bbq country, some of it's still pretty good.

                      1. re: RGR

                        Good idea DE, nice lunch and a bar dinner sounds great, brilliant!...I'm coming down from Toronto, BBQ is attempted but not done well, after the rib fest I went to last summer I've seen the light, and I'm jones'n!!...thanks aswell for the Shake Shack point mahalan, if I'm near by and hungry I'll hit it but not worth a special trip I gather...

                2. WOW! Thanks everyone, awsome tips, I need to plan a second trip already!! I really appreciate all your thoughts...


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Recyclor

                    Saw your post on Site Talk and couldn't have you thinking we were inhospitable down here!

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      All good! I was just coming clean, I read it and realized I had just done that and wanted to promise to give back what I could after my trip...

                  2. For your "nicer" dinner I would suggest Perilla.

                    1. I always head to NYC with a list of places and I never make it to half of them. It's good to have a list of places you can count on...don't get me wrong. But nothing beats walking through town and letting you eyes and nose make the decision for you.

                      That being said, if you plan to do a little "thrift" shopping on Canal Street try The Excellent Dumpling House (just south of Canal on Lafayette). Fantastic food at good prices (although a little greasy). But don't get too comfortable. They're always busy and they're all about turning tables.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Blackness

                        Good point Blackness, and thanks for the dumpling tip...