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Apr 23, 2008 04:44 PM

Help me with my "12 places to eat in NY" game

In preparation for 12 weeks in Manhattan this summer, I'm trying to put together a list of 12 restaurants to try in NYC. I don't take it too seriously; it's just something I'm doing to learn about restaurants and get excited for moving. As you'll see, what I currently have is skewed towards higher-end restaurants, but not exclusively. It also skews towards Manhattan restaurants, but not exclusively. (Hope that's okay on this board!!)

My current list is in the order in which I'd like to try them. Again, I'm not really serious about that; it's just to make the game harder.

Le Bernardin
Cafe Boulud
Momofuku Ko
Dumpling House
Sushi Yasuda
Gordon Ramsay
Katz's Deli
Peter Luger
Di Fara
Per Se

Places that were considered (should any of them be promoted?):
wd-50, Dawat, AquaGrill, Fatty Crab, Grand Sichuan International, Blue Hill, Anthos, Bar Boulud, Cheburechnaya, Amy Ruth's, Great New York Noodletown, L'atelier, Jean Georges, Gramercy Tavern, Craft, Masa.

Places to which I have already been that could belong on a similar list:
Absolute Bagels, Grimaldi, Megu (I loved it when I went two years ago. Has it fallen out of fashion already?) Carnegie Deli, Corner Bistro, Steak Shack, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Gray's Papaya.

What places seem strange on my list (or on my list of reserves)? Is it weird that I have Gordon Ramsay on the list but not Jean Georges or ...? Is Sushi Yasuda reasonable for my only Japanese restaurant? I had never heard of it till I started doing research here.... Most importantly, what places are missing?!

I like "institutions" and places with lively atmospheres. When I read a review that says "I don't like Restaurant X because it is too crowded", I take that as a big endorsement of Restaurant X.

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  1. "I like,,,places with lively atmospheres."

    If so, you might as well skip Cafe Boulud. Although it is one of our favs, and the food is superb, it does not meet the criterion quoted above. I would describe the atmospherics as extremely civilized.

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Thanks for your reply! The "liveliness" isn't a necessity, just something I consider, and a definite tie-breaker between two similar places. Should I consider Bar Boulud instead?

      1. re: jtv

        funny, when you said Restaurant X I thought you were talking of a great restaurant in Rockland County.

        Add Tia Pol, Degustation, Yakitori Totto to that list

        1. re: jtv

          Hey, jtv,

          We haven't been to Bar Boulud yet, but from what I've read about it, neither the food nor the ambiance is similar to Cafe Boulud.

          While Cafe Boulud is much less formal than the flagship restaurant, Daniel, I have always thought the quality of CB's cuisine is quite the equal. We were at CB again a few weels ago for lunch and had the opportunity to try the cuisine of recently-hired Executive Chef Gavin Kaysen. I can say without hesitation that he is a true talent and is putting out food that is inventive without being extreme and seriously delicious!

          The reports, thus far, about the food at Bar Boulud have not been anywhere close to raves. So, as long as you don't mind a more sedate environment, I would go with Cafe Boulud.

      2. IMO, Dawat is totally skippable. There's better indian food to be had in Queens. Cheburechnaya should be promoted - it's awesome. The mushroom cheburek alone is worth the trip to Rego Park. You might also add Sripraphai.

        2 Replies
          1. re: biondanonima

            I agree with Sripraphai.
            If you want an Indian, add Tamarind (or Devi, I hear).

          2. Don't forget to eat a Bahn Mi at Saigon on Mott. The #1, spicy. Perfect for lunch and wandering around.

            1. For superb food and lively atmosphere, I think you should add Bar Blanc to your list.

              1. I would add Del Posto to the list.