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Singapore family seeking advise

My family (with 2 kids age 7 & 10) plans to visit Manhattan for a period of 10-14 days in late June/early July period. Will most likely stay at New York Palace, price is not an issue, willing to splurge if necessary (sorry, want to take advantage of weak US$...). I have done some research on past threads but still looking to complete the list before the departure. So want to thank in advanced to anyone who is willing to provide any advise.

First, this is the list that we target to visit after the research on past threads. Any opinion or suggestion is welcome:

Italian- Babbo's,
Fine dining- Jean Georges, (is there a problem to bring 2 kids?)
Steak- Striphouse,
Korean BBQ- Madangsui or Woo Lae Oak,
Sushi- Yashua, Kuruma Zushi or Kanoyama,
Izakaya- Totto or Aburia Kinnosuke,
Cantonese- Congee Village or Amazing 66, (need authentic Cantonese, not American Chinese, not willing to venture outside of Manhattan)
Cantonese comfort food- Great N.Y. Noodletown.

Second, this is a list of questions that I would appreciate to get any recommendation:

1. Where is the best Sunday brunch that is close to the hotel?
2. Any really good American seafood that focus on raw oysters, clam chowder and Maine lobster? Something like Swan Oyster Depot or Hog Island in San Francisco.
3. We would like to try NY style pizza. Di Fara and Grimaldi's seem too far. Do not want to wait 1 hour for Lombardi. What is the best alternative for pizza in Manhattan? Looking for just very good cheese and pepperoni, nothing fancy.
4. Where is the best place to bring the kids for ice cream?
5. Any good Southern BBQ place in Manhattan?
6. Any good Thai and Vietnam restaurants near the hotel?
7. Any good Greek gyros on street corners rather than restaurants?
8. Any good comfortable restaurant in Greenwich Village or Soho area after some shopping there?

Thanks again for any reply.

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  1. 2. Aquagrill
    3. Arturo's
    4. Shake Shack. They may have opened up the "B line" by now so you won't have to wait in the burger line to get a cup of ice cream. There actually aren't a lot of good traditional ice cream shops in NYC. Ronnybrook might be fun? Otherwise, try gelato at Cones.
    8. There are a TON of good comfortable restaurants in the village. Any specific food types you're looking for? I like Cornelia St. Cafe, Snack Taverna, Deborah, Jane, August, Po, Blue Ribbon Bakery, 'ino...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lucia

      The B line is indeed open; I saw it on Thursday.

      1. re: Lucia

        Hi Lucia:

        No specific food type. Need to accompany my wife for half a day shopping in Greenwich/Soho area, and I guessed need to have one or two meals before going back to the hotel. Seem like Aquagrill will just fit in.

      2. Hi FourSeasons,

        I think we had "met" a few times at the Japan and Hong Kong board! Here are some ideas for your questions:

        Your targeted places mostly sound fine. No problem of bringing kids to Jean Georges.

        I will go with Keens for steaks instead of Strip House as it has such a old-school "New York feel" to its and the steaks are delicious. It will give you an utterly unique New York experience that you can't find elsewhere. However, if you want more of a chic place (like Cut in LA), then Craftsteak will be my choice for the true Japanese Wagyu beef. They have not just great steaks but also a lot of seafood and sides and apps that are outstanding. The price is going to be huge, but so is the reward.

        For sushi, go to Yasuda if you care about the total sushi dimenions - sushi rice and the fish. Go to Kuruma Zushi if you care mostly about fish quality and ready to shell out A LOT of money.

        Izakaya - Totto is all about yakitori and chicken and rice dishes (their tori don is excellent!) are the standouts. Aburiya Kinnosuke is more fish focused and they are about robata and shichirin grills. The latter is definitly more "grown-up" so to speak.

        Cantonese - if you are going to NY Noodletown, then you can skip Congee Village and visit Amazing 66. Just a word of warning, since you frequent Hong Kong and the family is from Singapore, the Cantonese food here is not going to impress you. It will be a good option if you want some home food after a few days of gastronomic indulgence.

        1. For Sunday Brunch, I suggest Eleven Madison Park which you didn't include in your targeted list. It is a bit of a walk from your hotel, but a very short cab ride. Their brunch is just decadent and service is exceptional. The space is also beautiful and with the sunlight beaming in during brunch out in the summer, I can't image a better brunch place than EMP. After the brunch you can have a walk with your family at the Madison Park to enjoy the lovely weather.

        The perfect day doesn't have to end here. Now your kids can enjoy the decadent frozen custard at Shake Shack in the Madison Park. If they have the appetite, make sure to order the burgers as well. Definitely one of the best in Manhattan. (so this answered Q4)
        2) Aquagrill in Soho is great place for seafood just like you want
        3. For pizza, Artichoke just opened up in East Village and several hounds had already raved about it being a good alternative for Di Fara. I haven't tried yet, but may be something that you want to consider.

        If you are going to East Village, I highly recommend the LES Food Excursion created by RGR, our veteran Manhattan hound. This trip is perfect for experiencing everything New York and it is definitely fun way to spend an afternoon with the kids.

        5). For Southen BBQ, several options: Daisy May is my favorite but it is a bit out of the way. Hill Country is also a great option to enjoy Texas-style ribs with a quasi-texan decor. There is again a new BBQ place called Wildfire which also some recent rave reviews from other hounds (the pit master was from Hill Country). The decor is a bit of upscale so it depends on your preference.

        6. and 7. I will leave them to the experts.

        8). There are many places that you can go in Greenwich Village (West Village) / Soho. For comfy restaurants try Perilla or Little Owl in WV. Perry St is more sleek and chic but if you are visiting Jean Georges than you can skip. Greenwich village also have tons of smaller restaurants like Da Andrea or Po for pasta, Pearl Oyster bar for lobster roll, or Spotted Pig for gnudi and burgers. There are also great gelato like Grom, Cones, and L'Arte Del Gelato.

        In Soho, Blue Ribbon Bakery has great American comfort food and not to forget my favorite, the bone marrow appetizer! Again you can go to Aquagrill for seafood, and kill two birds with one stone!

        One place that I will say that you should definitely try is Momofuku Noodle / Ssam Bar. A lot of innovative dishes, great offal and fresh seafood. Got to love the pork buns!

        Hope you have a wonderful trip in NYC with your family!

        11 Replies
        1. re: kobetobiko

          Just adding a note. I saw a lot of people suggesting Lupa for the village choice. While I like Lupa, if you are planning to visit Babbo it is sort of redundant to go to Lupa. I will suggest something not Italian or Batali.

          1. re: kobetobiko

            lots of great indian, chinese and maylay in singapore. damn good french, too. not so much italian. besides, italian food is something we (new yorkers) do very well. lupa for lunch works just fine. it's not a babbo clone.

          2. re: kobetobiko

            2nding Kobetokibo, EMP and Shake Shack and Aquagrill are all great places.

            (Note that NYC is not a huge ice cream town. There are more quality gelato places around like Grom, Il Laboratorio de Gelato, Cones, and L'Arte than there are ice cream places. And if you see a Cold Stone Creamery, don't go inside! It's a chain that has sickeningly sweet flavors.)

            Note that Aquagrill is a bit on the casual side, but pretty popular, so make reservations if you're going for dinner on a weekend night. They'll definitely be fine with kids, and the waitstaff is extremely, extremely nice.

            Kanoyama is probably the cheapest out of your three sushi options, but it's not a large place, and pretty popular. Make reservations there if you're going Sunday through Thursday. They don't take reservations on Fridays and Saturdays, and the wait can be an hour or more for a party of four. There's also only a teeny bit of room inside to wait, so don't go if you have tired feet.

            Same for Artichoke. Actually, Artichoke is more of a takeout place, though, although you can eat standing up. I wouldn't put it on your itinerary until they straight out their hours and lines (some CHers have reported them not being open on the weekends until 7pm!). As an alternative, I might try Una Pizza Napoletana, Patsy's of East Harlem (though that's a trek uptown), or Luzzo's. Both have sit down service. I think your kids might like the open kitchen feel of Una Pizza Napoletana.

            Kobe, I think you mean Wildwood Barbecue, just north of Union Square. Not Wildfire. :)

            1. re: kathryn

              Hi kathryn,

              Yes, I meant Wildwood. Thanks for correcting! ;D

            2. re: kobetobiko

              Hi Kobetobiko:

              Yes, I remember we "met" at Farm House Causeway Bay in Hong Kong board, "bumped" into each other at Depachika in Japan board, and I have been a "fan" of your writings when I did my research in Manhattan board. Anyway, thanks so much for all the above recommendation.

              I picked Striphouse because it seemed to be the consensus favorite without any complain on past threads. I read that Keens is for the older crowd, I assume that meant above 60 years old. Not really into Wagyu beef in NYC as I go to Tokyo 2-3 times per year; I guess I am looking for real American-style Porterhouse or Rib eye steak in NYC.

              I am a bit intimidated to bring my 2 kids into fine dining areas like Jean Georges and EMP. They are not very well behaved, after all they have my genes. But just want to check again if both places are very formal and conservative.

              I am not expecting to have great Cantonese food in NYC. The layover there will be after a 10-14 days trip to Orlando, which I assume will be just hot dog, cheese burger and pizza everyday. My appetite will be homesick by the time I reach NYC, so we just really need to have some food that is closer to home cook food.

              Is Momofuku Noodle/Ssam a kids-friendly place? The website looks ultra chic, more like a place for yuppies.

              Thanks again!

              1. re: FourSeasons

                «The layover there will be after a 10-14 days trip to Orlando, which I assume will be just hot dog, cheese burger and pizza everyday.» I admit to never having been to Orlando (and Disney may make what I am going to say totally off the wall) but Florida while limited in scope is not a culinary wasteland. There is Caribbean (especially Cuban) food, and BBQ for example. I not that you have not posted on the Florida board. It might be worth your while.

                And while we're at it don't exclude the close in portions of the Brooklyn and Queens. They really are very close and often one subway stop away from Manhattan. Luger's, the River Café, Grimaldi's (while not my favorite is IMO better than any Pizza in Manhattan except for the harder to get to Patsy's of East Harlem) and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory could easily be on your list (but not to be discussed here).

                1. re: bobjbkln

                  Hi bobjbkln:

                  I am sure Orlando has some pretty awesome restaurants, but the objective of the trip is to spend as much time in the resorts as possible. Not exactly a culinary trip when the 2 kids would want to meet their favorite characters and rides throughout the trip. We have decided that the Orlando trip is for the kids and the NYC is for the adults. So will pay much more attention on the gourmet in NYC.

                  No offense to residents of Brooklyn and Queens, but coming all the way to NYC, we want to spend most of the time in Manhattan. i know Peter Luger and Grimaldi's are the best in town, but since this is not a long visit, we are not willing to spend much time on traffic, willing to accept the second or third best one in Manhattan instead so that we can spend more time here.

                2. re: FourSeasons

                  The porterhouse for two at Keen has always been excellent in my experience. I'm in my late 20s and have always felt comfortable eating there, it's not filled with senior citizens, this is Manhattan!

                  I think Noodle Bar is slightly more friendly than Ssam Bar. Ssam is more on the chic/hip side, whereas Noodle Bar is a little brighter and homier. I do see families in there on occasion, so they're not frowned upon, but I'd go on the earlier side. Or maybe to Noodle Bar for lunch. I don't know if they're considered restaurants "for yuppies," to me, it's just really damn good food.

                  1. re: FourSeasons

                    If you stay in Disney -- yeah, I think you'll be eating a lot of burgers and hot dogs. If you venture out of Disney, you've got The Ravenous Pig (a terrific gastro-pub, on par with some of the best casual places in NYC), Primo and Norman's (in order of how I rank them).

                    Momofuku is not the most kid-friendly place out there during the evenings -- very loud music, young people, kind of meat marketish. But I think it will be OK during the day.

                    1. re: FourSeasons

                      Hi 4Seasons,

                      see my responses about bringing kids to JG / EMP below.

                      Also another post for Cantonese comfort food.

                      1. re: FourSeasons

                        Hey, Four Seasons,

                        Jean Georges is definitely more formal, i.e., jackets required, than Eleven Madison. So, since you admit that your kids are not particularly well-behaved, I would certainly not take them to JG.

                        With regard to EMP, regulars know that it is our favorite NYC restaurant, and we go there very often for lunch, dinner, and brunch. Despite its more casual ambiance than JG, I don't think it would be appropriate to bring your children there for lunch or dinner. However, if you could tame them just a bit, i.e., not allow them to run around, you might consider going to EMP for brunch. There's an even more relaxed vibe then, and it's when you're more likely to find families with children eating there. Also, I think the breakfast side of the menu is more kid-friendly, but if you adults want to indulge in Chef Humm's exquisite cuisine, you can do so by ordering from the lunch side of the menu.


                        A note about Keens. It is definitely *not* strictly for the over-60 crowd. It gets a mix of age groups, including families with children.


                    2. I know Singapore fairly well. So coming from that perspective, I would skip anything in Manhattan's Chinatown, especially if you want Cantonese. The Fuzhou cuisine, though, might be slightly different from what you can get in Singapore. Amazing 66 and Congee Village - while good here - are merely average when compared to what you can get in Singapore and HK. If you want comfort food I would actually recommend ramen - there's some kind of ramen war going on in NYC right now and Ippudo, which just opened, is really good. Superior to anything in Singapore.

                      If you don't wish to travel for pizza - Artichoke is a good choice, as someone else mentioned. But John's of Bleecker Street, while not as good, does offer a decent pie and you can sit (Artichoke is takeout only). You can probably combine that with some shopping in Greenwich Village. You may also want to check out Patsy's.

                      There are some decent Thai restaurants in Hell's Kitchen, around 9th/10th Avenues. Check out Pam's Real Thai for some good crispy duck. However, American-style Thai food is pretty different from Thai food in Singapore - it's heavier and focuses more exclusively on curries.

                      For sushi - Yasuda. And I would choose Totto over Aburiya Kinnosuke. AK definitely has more of an adult atmosphere and the portions are pretty small. I don't know if the kids would like the food.

                      For steak - I would break the "only in Manhattan" rule and take a cab out to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn. It's just across the bridge, and it's definitely the best steak in the city. For the amount of money you'll be spending on steak, I would pay for the best! That said, Keens is also pretty good and very atmospheric.

                      I like going to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory - it has some pretty awesome flavors, including some you might recognize, like dan tart (egg tart), pandan and black sesame flavors.

                      I'm not an expert on Southern BBQ but Hill Country has really good Texan BBQ. I've brought a lot of Singaporean friends there and they loved the experience (it has a very Texan honky tonk atmosphere). Get the brisket! And if you want to skip the lines, go early - by 6.30pm there's usually a small wait and by 7pm the wait can be an hour.

                      16 Replies
                      1. re: yt28

                        For pizza, I'd skip John's. It's become too cheesy after the last few years.

                        BTW, "Texan BBQ" is different from other BBQ in the US. Hill Country servies Texas style BBQ from the Lockhart/Central TX area. Traditionally this barbecue is served without sauce, and with no sides other than saltine crackers, pickles, and onions. It's mainly brisket and sausage focused. In fact, they import their sausage from a renowned place in Texas, and also import ice cream from Texas! Sauce is considered anathema from Central TX BBQ traditionalists, and if there is sauce, it can be an acquired taste as it's not sweet. If you want pulled pork...go elsewhere. But you like fatty brisket, jalapeno sausage, and giant beef ribs, go to Hill Country. You order by the pound and they give it to you on butcher paper, dripping with deliciousness.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          The BBQ ribs that I am familiar is Tony Roma's that has been here for many years. Just seem to be very different from your description. I have never been to Texas so may as well try it in NYC.

                        2. re: yt28

                          Hi yt28:

                          I never thought of ramen as an option. Thanks for that advise. We will be in Orlando for 2 weeks prior to coming to NYC, so we just need some comfort food like wanton noodle, char siew rice, hor fun, congee etc. Ramen would be a good alternative. So is Ippudo the best one in town now? Is there a long queue (a problem with the 2 kids beside me)?

                          1. re: FourSeasons

                            Wonton noodles are really good at Wonton Garden and Noodle Village (both in Chinatown along Mott Street). If you are hankering for some HK Cha Can Teng style food, XO Kitchen is pretty decent as well.
                            If you want Malaysian food, I like Sanur and Skyway. Sanur has decent curry puffs and nonya kueh, and on days I'm really homesick I go early and buy beehoon from them.
                            I visited Ippudo in its soft opening week and the wait for a table was 30 mins. Since then I heard prime-time waiting times are 90 mins. But New Yorkers do eat a little later, so if you head out before 7pm, it should not be a big problem.


                            1. re: xigua

                              Hi xigua:

                              Thanks your recommendation. Do Wonton Garden and Noodle Village serve other food such as hor fun, congee etc? If you have to select one from the above two and NY Noodletown, which one do you go to?
                              You sound like you are from either Malaysia or Singapore. I guessed it would be good to know from you where to go to if I were homesick in my appetite? Does Sanur serve Chicken Rice, Hokkien mie or Char Kway Teo?

                              1. re: FourSeasons

                                Bingo! I'm Singaporean =) Your kids have a really long vacation!
                                I do agree with kobetobiko that you'll have better wonton noodles in HK and Singapore but I still think Noodle village and Wonton Garden is very good. The noodles are nice and springy, and the wontons are packed with fresh tasting meat. I also like their beef brisket. I've seen other people order other stuff, but have not personally tried anything except of the soupy noodles and steamed vegetables. The soup in noodle village apparently does not come with MSG although I am a little skeptical about that.
                                Sanue sells all three, but the hokkien mee is the dark KL version, not the Singapore version. And one thing that's common amongst new york malaysian restaurant is that you'll find their chicken much better than the rice for chicken rice. Sad but true...
                                And do not go to congee village for congee... I felt so cheated by that watery flavorless mess the one time i ordered congee. Their other things are decent, but that place is mobbed every night.

                                1. re: xigua

                                  Hi xigua,

                                  I am hijacking this post here. Which restaurant in NYC will you recommend for the best Hainanese Chicken, Prawn Mee, and Curry Laksa? (they can be from different restaurants). I know these topics have been posted before but I want to know from a Singaporean's point of view.

                                  Thanks in advance!

                                  1. re: kobetobiko

                                    Hi kobe,
                                    np... If you're looking for the lemak laksa made with dried shrimp base, you probably will not find it in ny. What I've found are curry-based laksa, more akin to curry noodles you find in Thai restaurants. If those are what you like, Sanur's pretty good but a little too thick. Bo-Ky's curry noodles are probably better in that respect. If you have friends visiting Singapore anytime soon, you might want to get them to bring you a pack or two of the the Prima Deli Laksa Paste. A cop-out v. making your own curry paste, but it does the trick pretty well
                                    If the Prawn Mee you are thinking about is the soupy version and not the fried hokkien noodles, that's a dish that's surprisingly decently made here. I do remember likely the version at Singapore Cafe but admittedly have not been there in more than a year. The one at Jaya ain't bad too.
                                    Hainanese chicken is something most places do a decent job with too, but its the rice I have a problem with. No one has the right condiments in ny too, either lacking the ginger or the dark soy sauce. That said, Skyway's chicken is smooth and not overtly greasy.
                                    Hope this helps!

                                    1. re: xigua

                                      oh man...i havent had real prawn mee or curry laksa since that last time i was in singapore...thanks for the recs, i think im going to have to go get them this week

                                      agree with u on the hainanese chicken rice (re: the rice), i kind of gave up on that

                                      1. re: xigua

                                        Hi Xigua:

                                        Prima Paste has 2 franchises now in North America, one in Vancouver and the other one in San Jose. One may just turn out in NYC in future. I tried the one in Vancouver last year, and actually quite surprise it was quite decent.
                                        Yes, on Hainanese Chicken rice, most people tend to focus more on the chicken meat, but I actually think the rice is more important, it enhance the flavor of the meal.

                                        1. re: xigua

                                          Hi xigua,

                                          Thanks so much for your recommendations! I actually did have the prawn mee (the soupy version) at Singapore Cafe and thought that i was very good! I just didn't know if there are other places with better version, but I will be happy to stick with Singapore Cafe.

                                          I had a Asam Laksa as well at Singapore Cafe but I didn't like it. Perhaps it was authentic but I guess it wasn't what I expected. It was with minced fish meat and such. I think I should have ordered curry laksa (how many kinds of laksa are there???) The laksa at Jaiya has a lot of coconut milk, and I am not sure if that's authentic either.

                                          Have you ever tried New Malaysia in the arcade between Elizabeth street and (?) street? My friend said that they have a the best Hainanese Chinese Rice but I haven't tried. The one at Singapore Cafe / Jaya didn't do it for me. I think they have the Thai version of hainanese chicken rice which only serves with chili sauce and not ginger and dark soy sauce.

                                          Again, thank you so much for your post!

                                          1. re: kobetobiko

                                            the hainanese chicken at new malaysia is just okay, the chicken itself is fine, but the rice was way too bland

                                            1. re: kobetobiko

                                              I've tried New Malaysia and found it rather inconsistent. I've had good meals and not so great ones.
                                              I seriously have not found Singapore style Lemak Laksa in ny. Assam laksa is different, with sour tamarind-based broth. I like it though. The curry laksa in NY tend to be curry mee, with noodles topped with chicken curry, and not the ones made with dried shrimp in the curry mix.

                                              1. re: kobetobiko

                                                so i opt'd to try the prawn mee at sanur today, it was okay, but nothing special. the noodles were not very good, they were the type of noodles that take out places use in chow mein. there were 3 shrimps that were decent albeit slightly overcooked. the fishcakes were fine and the bean sprouts were good. they did put those fried onions on top which i always like. the broth was decent, but not amazing; it was spicy, slightly sweet and kind of fragrant in a way, but it was missing something which i cant put my finger on, so it wasn't flavorful enough.

                                                ill have to try the version at singapore cafe

                                      2. re: xigua

                                        I will have to say that the wonton in Manhattan Chintown completely underwhelmed me. It is even close to the average of what you can get in Hong Kong or Singapore, and hence I really will not recommend wonton (cantonese style, that is) in NYC Chinatown. Same applies to soup dumplings (xiao long baos).

                                        That said, I think the salt and pepper seafood, particular the soft shell crabs, at NY Noodletown is excellent. You don't even get it that often in Hong Kong. Their stir fries are ok and quite comforting.

                                        The best congee, IMO, is Big Wong King on Mott Street (67?). It serves the old school Hong Kong style congees which actually have "rice aroma". The versions at NY Noodletown, congee village, and XO Kitchen are waterdown versions. Flavor not as great, just more options for the ingredients. The beef chow fun at Big Wong is good too!

                                        If you want the Hong Kong bistro / cafe style food, Congee Village is definitely better than XO Kitchen. It is also better kids than Amazing 66 because you get all those desserts and bubble teas. A lot of Hong Kong bistro offerings!

                                        I also think that Ippudo is a great option if you are craving for ramen. By the time you visit, all the hype should have died and I won't worry about wait.

                                        Edit: 4 Season, just saw your new post. For me I will pick NY Noodletown for the salt and pepper soft shell crab + may be congee (not bad but not as good as Big Wong King). If you want congee and Cantonese style BBQ, then Big Wong King.

                                      3. re: FourSeasons

                                        For me, any kind of noodle soup or congee is comfort food! I think Ippudo is the best in town right now. It's not full during lunch time, and if you go before 6.30pm for dinner it shouldn't be more than a 15 minute wait, if any.

                                        Char siew rice is pretty common around Chinatown - it's hard to go wrong I think! There's a place around Grand and Mott or Bowery that always has enormous lines around lunchtime and it's packed full of succulent char siew for $2.50...unfortunately I can't recall the exact location or name but if you walk around that area there are plenty of stalls selling char siew rice.

                                    2. Hey there. Looks like you've got a good start on your planning. Here are my thoughts:

                                      "Italian- Babbo's"
                                      Good choice.

                                      "Korean BBQ- Madangsui or Woo Lae Oak"
                                      I don't know anything about Madangsui, but you should skip Woo Lae Oak. The scene is stupid, the service is problematic (seated 45 minutes late for reservation without so much as an acknowledgment, let alone an apology), and the food is not too good.

                                      "Sushi- Yashua, Kuruma Zushi or Kanoyama"
                                      Not Kanoyama. You'll do very well at the other two.

                                      "Izakaya- Totto or Aburia Kinnosuke"
                                      Have wanted to go to Totto for the longest time but still haven't made it. Kinnosuke is awesome.

                                      "Cantonese- Congee Village or Amazing 66, (need authentic Cantonese, not American"
                                      +1 for Amazing 66. Also +1 on the sentiment that you won't be that impressed with Cantonese food in Manhattan.

                                      "Chinese, not willing to venture outside of Manhattan)"
                                      Grand Sichuan

                                      "2. Any really good American seafood that focus on raw oysters, clam chowder and Maine lobster? Something like Swan Oyster Depot or Hog Island in San Francisco."

                                      I think a better route than Blue water or Aquagrill would be Pearl Oytster Bar, Mary's Fish Camp, or Ed's Lobster Bar. The latter two are essentially clones of the former. The food at those places is more in line with what you're asking for and, imo, just plain better. Also I enjoy the more casual atmosphere and I think you will too. Ed's is usually my choice because it's easier to get into and the best seating is at the bar which is my preferred place to eat. But with kids, and staying in the WV, Pearl or Mary's are a better fit.

                                      4. Where is the best place to bring the kids for ice cream?

                                      The best Ice Cream in the city is either Labradorio Del Gelato or Otto. But they're maybe not best in terms of entertaining kids. The other replies have good suggestions.

                                      "5. Any good Southern BBQ place in Manhattan?"

                                      Although it has some detractors, I think you can't miss Hill Country. Their BBQ is simply phenomenal, and really the only credible BBQ in NYC. I hope this doesn't draw flames, but I think people who dislike Hill Country either caught it on an off night (every BBQ place is going to have some off nights) or just don't understand the concept of Texas BBQ. I put it up there as one of the top NYC dining destinations (except for people from BBQ rich regions).

                                      "7. Any good Greek gyros on street corners rather than restaurants?"

                                      "8. Any good comfortable restaurant in Greenwich Village or Soho area after some shopping there?"
                                      Lupa is great and a comfortable place in the afternoon. Slammed at night. Blue Ribbon and Blue Ribbon Bakery are also very good. And for a quick 'sandwich', Blue Ribbon Bake shop. Also, Melampo has good Italian sandwiches.

                                      The LES food tour is a good use of time and appetite. If you don't want to do the whole tour, at least go to Katz's.

                                      And yes, get to one of the Momofukus!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: zEli173

                                        Aquagrill does have a HUGE variety of oysters, so if you're into oysters, I'd go there. They had 26 different varieties last time I went.

                                        Il Laboratorio de Gelato (more of a takeout joint) and Otto (restaurant) are gelato places, not ice cream. But I do love both of them. If you go to Otto, the olive oil gelato is a must try.

                                        Since there are many Blue Ribbons:
                                        Blue Ribbon = Blue Ribbon Brasserie, in Soho, only open for dinner (4pm I think) but open until 4am. (Blue Ribbon Sushi, a whole other beast, is just up the block from the Brasserie but is not considered one of the top sushi places in NYC)
                                        Blue Ribbon Bakery = West Village, open for lunch/brunch and dinner, very popular, but larger than the Brasserie
                                        Blue Ribbon Market = West Village, across the street from 'ino, just west of 6th Avenue, takeout shop.

                                        1. re: zEli173

                                          The Blue Ribbon Bakery suggestion is a good one, I think. The booths are spacious and comfortable, good for children. The menu has a really good cross section of American / New Yorky comfort foods. They have great, homemade country style pates and foie gras terrine, great cured meats (rivaling Batali's, I think), a nice rendition of sweetbreads and good fried chicken.

                                          1. re: zEli173

                                            Hi zEli173, kathryn, cimui:

                                            Thanks for the recommendation. Blue Ribbon Bakery is heavily recommended in this thread; I think I may just fit in this place and Aquagrill together on the same day when we are in Soho area.

                                          2. Seems like you're fitting in a lot of eating on your trip.

                                            Korean BBQ -- I would do Madangsui and make sure you order at least one order of the plain beef as opposed to the marinated.

                                            I would get rid of Congee Village and just do Amazing 66. As kobe said, if you frequent Hong Kong, it's not going to be amazing for you. But it's still good. Congee Village -- I never liked it very much except for the congee.

                                            I agree with those who said Aquagrill for your American seafood. And it can be the good comfortable restaurant you're looking for after shopping in Soho.

                                            Pizza -- I like Arturo's. If you plan on doing the Times Square thing, you also have John's Pizza there. Not the best, but not terrible. I've taken some tourists there and they seem to like the atmosphere (it used to be a church). I wouldn't do Artichoke unless you're going to go there when it's dark (literally) as they have very inconsistent opening times. And I've heard reports of waits -- probably not as long as Lombardis, though. And there is no place to eat there unless you bring it to Union Square Park and eat outside.

                                            Izakaya -- my preferce would be for Totto, especially if you're bringing your kids. I love the chicken heart and kobe beef tongue there.

                                            Thai near hotel -- the closest decent place would be on the West side on 9th Ave called Wondee Siam in the 50s.

                                            I don't know any Greek gyro stands, but you may be interested in doing one of those "halal" chicken carts -- it's a very New York thing. It's curried chicken and/or lamb served over rice. But I'm wondering if this is too similar to things you can get in Singapore.

                                            I hope you enjoy your stay.

                                            12 Replies
                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                              The best breakfast in NYC is at a restaurant called Norma's at Le Parker Meridian Hotel on 57th Street.

                                              The best barbecue is at Blue Smoke on 26th St. We also like Virgil's on 44th St,

                                              My fav Italian restaurant is Carmines. Go to the one on 91st abd Broadway. It's not as hectic and much less noisy.

                                              For steak, take the cab ride to Williamsburg and enjoy Peter Luger's Steakhouse. Their french fries are absolutely deliscious. Also, endulge and enjoy their chocolate mousse pie with the freshly whipped cream. They make a great cocktail as well.

                                              My recommendation for pizza is Lombardy's. It's worth the wait.

                                              1. re: donnaag

                                                Lombardi's is too soggy/wet and not worth the wait, unfortunately. Neither is Norma's -- everything there is gimmicky, too sweet, and of a giant portion size (which would be fine if it were higher quality or less expensive, but it's not).

                                                1. re: donnaag

                                                  I have to disagree with you about Blue Smoke's bbq (though the burger and the deviled eggs are delicious). Daisy May's BBQ, on the corner 11th Av. & 46th St., is my #1 pick, and both Hill Country and RUB are much better than BS. As for Virgil's, I think it's mediocre.

                                                  1. re: donnaag

                                                    As an out of towner I like Virgil's for lunch (pulled pork sandwich) and the location is fun as it is in the middle of Times Square next to ABC studios..

                                                    1. re: donnaag

                                                      Hi donnaag:

                                                      Thanks your post. I know Lombardy's is really good, but with 2 kids beside me, waiting for 1 hour is really not fun with them complaining every other minute. I think I will opt for Una Pizza or others instead.

                                                      1. re: FourSeasons

                                                        Una Pizza Napoletana doesn't make NYC-style pizza, just so you're aware. It's very strictly Neapolitan, expensive, and there's often a very long wait there, too.

                                                        1. re: scrittrice

                                                          Oddly, I walked right in this Saturday night at around 7pm and the place was about 1/3 full! Even when we left around 8ish, there were still empty seats. Not sure what is going on here...But early is definitely better.

                                                          1. re: kathryn

                                                            Maybe the warm weather, or maybe just that the initial madness has worn off. I just thought the OP should be aware, since s/he's not willing to wait at Lombardi's...

                                                    2. re: Miss Needle

                                                      "Izakaya -- my preferce would be for Totto, especially if you're bringing your kids. I love the chicken heart and kobe beef tongue there."

                                                      I agree. Totto is probably a bit more kid friendly than aburiya kinnosuke -- unless you manage to score a booth at the latter. I strongly second the chicken heart and kobe beef tongue at Totto -- also my two favorite items, there!!

                                                      If you want the rice platters with doner meat sliced into it, do try the two carts at 53rd and 6th ave., on the east and west sides of the st. I have only really sampled the carts within a 5-8 block radius of there, but for that small area, the 53rd / 6th carts are best. Others who probably know better than me will tell you that these carts are (among) the best in Manhattan.

                                                      1. re: cimui

                                                        When I was at Aburiya Kinnosuke, some kids knocked down the screens dividing the private rooms and sent them crashing down onto the diners - not once but twice. I don't think it's a good place for children!

                                                      2. re: Miss Needle

                                                        Hi Miss Needle:

                                                        Thanks your post. You are the second person to recommend chicken hearts and Kobe tongue in Totto. I never knew that Americans are into internal organs now. I have always loved beef tongue, I guess I will have to try the one at Totto. And based on yt28's comment that Aburiya is not kids friendly, I would have to choose Totto over Aburiya.

                                                        1. re: FourSeasons

                                                          Hi 4Seasons,

                                                          Me again! Hope you don't get annoyed by me yet...

                                                          If you are visiting Totto, I highly recommend the tori-negi don. It is a rice bowl topped with chicken and tons of scallions, and a raw egg. It is the ultimate comfort food for me as my mom used to make this for me all the time at home when I was small. As long as you (and your kids) are ok with raw eggs, I think they will enjoy it very much.

                                                          I like all the exotic yakitori like hiza nankotsu (the knee bones) and all kinds of offals, but don't forget the mushroom and vegetables. They are great and good for your kids to have some greens~

                                                      3. howdy fourseasons,

                                                        you've done your homework.

                                                        two thoughts: substitute keens for strip house and consider per se for your sunday brunch.

                                                        pizza is a hot button here. una pizza napoletana is pricey but good. very authentic. others will disagree. be aware it's only open thursday-sunday. i think they open at 5 p.m. bring cash.

                                                        the village is chock-a-block full of good, tiny places. burgers are good at corner bistro, extraordinary at spotted pig. lupa is one of my "goto" lunch spots. many more places.

                                                        my take is that shaffer city has the best oysters in town. i know jay shaffer has been renovating the place and i'm not sure he's reopened yet. give them a call to be safe.

                                                        best of luck.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: steve h.

                                                          Hi Steve h.:

                                                          Thanks! You are the second person to ask me to substitute keens for Strip house. But when I did the reading on past thread, it seem that Strip house was the unanimous choice without much complains (even Peter Lugar received some complains, I recall). I read Keens was for older crowd. So that is why I selected Striphouse.

                                                        2. For brunch - you're on Madison and 50th...Hmm.

                                                          I don't know about East Midtown, but would you be able to travel a little bit uptown, to, say the Upper East Side?

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: kathryn

                                                            We just had a great brunch at Penelope's (Lexington and 30th). It gets packed after 10 am but with kids you might go early. The breakfast sandwich was gourmet version of the fast food type and so good. It is annoying the way fast food can spoil so many good food concepts. Penelope's appears to make everything form scratch. The curried chicken salad was amazing.

                                                            1. re: kathryn

                                                              Not really a problem as long as it is within 15 minutes cab ride.

                                                            2. FourSeasons, welcome! I'm excited to finally have a chance to try and reciprocate in some small way for all your help with Singapore restaurants.

                                                              You have a great list compiled, already. I don't think two well behaved children are a problem at any restaurant, Jean Georges, included. I've only been there twice, but on one visit, the table next to mine was dining there with a semi-well behaved four year old. No one seemed disturbed.

                                                              There've been some good suggestions and comments so far and I'll repeat a few of them:

                                                              1. Where is the best Sunday brunch that is close to the hotel?

                                                              Aquavit (Scandinavian; 55th between Park and Madison) is, by far, my favorite Sunday brunch spot in the area, and probably all of Manhattan. It's pricey, but not so bad if you treat it as your primary meal of the day. It's buffet style and you will, despite yourself, want to try a little bit of everything. Trying just a little bit of everything will stuff you to the gills.

                                                              2 & 3 (skip; I don't feel qualified to respond since I don't love oysters or pizza as much as many others)

                                                              I do think the Lobster Place in Chelsea Market (more a shop than a restaurant) has good (rich, clam-filled) clam chowder for takeout, but I'm not enough of a connaisseur to know whether or not it's the best Manhattan has to offer.

                                                              4. Where is the best place to bring the kids for ice cream?

                                                              Grom has, I think, the best gelato in the city. There are now two locations, one on the upper west side (B'way and 76th), one in the west village near the corner of Carmine / Bleeker / 7th Ave (it's a weird intersection). For straight up ice cream, I love Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. The flavors are interesting -- though probably not as interesting as in Singapore ... no durian, for instance -- and the texture is pretty good. Ronnybrook Farm's Milk Bar in Chelsea Market also makes good ice cream with lovely mouthfeel. No exotic flavors, though. The Milk Bar is probably the nicest place to sit down and eat.

                                                              5. Any good Southern BBQ place in Manhattan?

                                                              Dinosaur Barbecue (W. 131) has very respectable St. Louis style ribs (sauced) and Texas style brisket. I think it is now better than Daisy May's BBQ, which has gone downhill in the past year, IMO. I also recommend it because you can find several different styles of BBQ on the menu, all competently prepared at worst and very, very well prepared at best. Service can be a little slow, but they seem to be relatively kid friendly.

                                                              I haven't yet tried Wildwood.

                                                              6. Any good Thai and Vietnam restaurants near the hotel?

                                                              I am willing to bet you can get much better Thai and Vietnamese at home. Although Wondee Siam is alright for NYC (and probably the best Thai restaurant in the area), the quality of the ingredients is really not all that high and food is unidimensional and indelicately made.

                                                              7. Any good Greek gyros on street corners rather than restaurants?

                                                              My favorite is Yatagan's (a teeny, hole in the wall takeout place, just a half step above st. cart status) on Macdougal St. in the West Village. It's south of W. 3rd St. The meat is always succulent and tender.

                                                              8. Any good comfortable restaurant in Greenwich Village or Soho area after some shopping there?

                                                              A LOT.... you may want to narrow down your requirements. What cuisines are you most interested in?

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: cimui

                                                                "For straight up ice cream, I love Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. The flavors are interesting -- though probably not as interesting as in Singapore ... no durian, for instance -- and the texture is pretty good."

                                                                There IS durian ice cream! Though not as good as in Singapore - it tasted very synthetic. The pandan ice cream is excellent though.

                                                                1. re: cimui

                                                                  Hi cimui:

                                                                  Long time no "write". I am glad you still remember me. I am sure I will enjoy the food in NYC as much as you did in Singapore. Having said that, this is not really a gourmet trip for me, handling the 2 kids means that I have to make certain compromise on meal selection. Hopefully, they won't "ruin" my appetite. :)

                                                                  Your list is rather challenging. I don't see the same place except Chinatown Ice Cream Factory that has been recommended by others. More options for me!!! Thanks!

                                                                  Oh, you may be surprised but I have never liked durian since I was young. Just can't stand the smell; my family members were not happy when I banned the fruit from our place.

                                                                  1. re: FourSeasons

                                                                    Ok. I'll add my vote of dissension just so you have a different perspective. I don't think Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is all that great. For me, the only thing that I like about it is that you can get certain exotic flavors like black sesame, lychee, etc, and I'm thinking that you could probably get a few of those flavors in Singapore. I think the texture is not very smooth -- it's on the icy side. I do agree with those that said Grom, Otto, Il Lab and L'arte del Gelato. Great texture, intense flavors. But they're gelato and not ice cream. If you want ice cream, I like cimui's suggestion of Ronnybrook in Manhattan. And technically not ice cream but still yummy is Shake Shack's frozen custard.

                                                                    Oh, and if you want a pizza place by the slice (not ultra-thin) but very good, I would recommend Bleecker Street Pizza in Greenwich Village. No long waits, seating in the back.

                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                      Hi Miss Needle,

                                                                      I completely agree with you on the assessement of Chinatown Ice Cream factory. The so called "exotic" flavors are nothing exotic if you are from Asia. Even gelato is widely available in Asia now, I still think that they are better in the US, and the flavor options are more diverse. For instance, the olive oil gelato you get in Otto is very rare to find in Hong Kong. I love the salted caramal frrozen custard (also very hard to find in my experience) at Shake Shack.

                                                                      1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                        Ooh, I haven't tried the salted caramel at Shake Shack yet but must do so when the weather gets warmer. The salted caramel from Haagen Daaz didn't quite do it for me.

                                                                2. Hello FourSeasons!

                                                                  Nice choices you have there! Allow me to give you a couple more options and suggestions.. hope this helps.

                                                                  Fine Dining - I would also look into Per Se. It really is an amazing place. Not only is the food good,but the service, the view, and atmosphere are incredible. I for one really enjoyed my meal there.
                                                                  Steakhouse - I am also in agreement that you should go over to Peter Luger's. Or at the very least Wolfgang's.
                                                                  Korean - I've always liked Shilla, over in Koreatown.
                                                                  Sushi - Definitely make time for Sushi Yasuda.
                                                                  Cantonese - I am also in agreement that you can get much better Cantonese food in Singapore.. though I DO like Congee Village and Great NY Noodletown. They hit the spot when you're looking for something familiar to eat.

                                                                  1. Sunday Brunch - Norma's at Le Parker Meridian.
                                                                  2. American Seafood - hmm... Pearl Oyster Bar for clam chowder, lobster rolls, etc.
                                                                  3. Pizza - ayayay. tough choice... I like Pizza Gruppo.
                                                                  4. Ice Cream with the kids - everyone gave you nice gourmet spots.. maybe you might be interested in something more "child oriented" -- Serendipity 3 for all these ice cream concoctions, Dylan's Candy Bar for ice cream and all the candy you could possibly want, and Ciao Bella at the food court of Grand Central Station.
                                                                  5. Southern BBQ - Daisy May's is pretty yummy!
                                                                  6. Thai/Viet near NY Palace - not really. I'd go to Chinatown.
                                                                  7. Greek gyros on the street - not really.
                                                                  8. Comfy restaurant in the Village or Soho area - hmm.. Otto is a nice place to stop by for a quick bite.. in Soho, try the Mercer Kitchen.. has it's quiet time. :)

                                                                  Enjoy the city!

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: doctorj

                                                                    Hi doctorj:

                                                                    I went to Per Se 2 years ago with very high expectation, thinking it would be the best meal of my life. But while I enjoyed the meal, it fell below my expectation. Food was good, service and view were good, but it just was not "incredible" to me.

                                                                    The 3 ice cream places you recommend look interesting.

                                                                    Interestingly, Sushi Yasuda seem to be the unanimous choice by everyone on this thread. I have tried the very famous Sushi Mizutani, Kanesaka, Kyubei and Jiro in Tokyo so look forward to compare Yasuda with the very best in this business.

                                                                    Thanks for therecommendation!

                                                                    1. re: FourSeasons

                                                                      I haven't had the ice cream at Dylan's candy bar, but I think it's a great place for your kids. Kind of like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

                                                                      1. re: FourSeasons

                                                                        Hi 4seasons,

                                                                        Per Se is great but IMO it may not be the best place to visit when you are bringing a 7 and a 10 year old. I am sure that they have good culinary taste (judging from the family genes ;D) but Per Se is still a very expensive place and I will wait until they grow up a little. Probably a better place for you and your wife.

                                                                        That said, I think Jean Georges and EMP are not over the top for kids. In fact I have seen kids and families there quite a few times I dined there, so I definitely do not think it will be out of place (as long as they will sit down and not scream).

                                                                        As for Yasuda, I will say that it is excellent but don't expect Kyubei. Masa is more of the kyubei level in my opinion, and Yasuda is more causal and of good value and great for family.

                                                                        1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                          Hi Kobetobiko:

                                                                          I went to Per Se 2 years ago. Wrote it just 2 posts above this. I don't think I will go back there on this trip as I prefer to experience new places.

                                                                          I may bring the kids for Sunday brunch at EMP but will most likely pay the hotel's nanny service to take care of the kids in the hotel room if we end up for dinner at Jean Georges.

                                                                          I was told Masa cost about $400-500 per person. I just find it too expensive when I don't even pay that type of prices for extremely good food in Tokyo. Even places like Koju/Kikunoi/Ryugin/Banreki are about $200-300 per head, and quite frankly, I am pretty sure they are better than Masa. I would rather spend that money in Tokyo instead so will skip Masa on this trip.

                                                                          Kobe, you are really a gourmet expert. it seem like you have tried every restaurant in NYC, from the very best to the hole in the wall. I am so grateful to you for all your suggestions. Thank you so much again.

                                                                          1. re: FourSeasons

                                                                            Hi 4Seasons,

                                                                            You are too nice and I am truly flatttered. There are plenty of true gourmet experts on the board, not to mention how much I learnt from you in your posts!

                                                                            I think you already have most of the dining places mapped out for your trip, so you just need to make some reservations ahead of time, particularly those high-demand restaurants (like Babbo). You probably already know, but you can make reservation online at opentable.com. Menupages.com also has a lot of the restaurant menus posted for your review.

                                                                            I sincerely hope that you will have a wonderful trip in NYC! Afterall, food tastes better when you share with your family and loved ones! ;D

                                                                            1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                              I do not know anything about opentable.com and menupages.com. Thanks for telling me. I was actually thinking of asking the hotel concierge to make the reservation after I confirm the hotel booking.

                                                                              Just for my curiosity, how long in advanced do I need to book Babbo, Jean Georges, and Sunday brunch at EMP? I assume I can book the others on my list after my arrival.

                                                                              1. re: FourSeasons


                                                                                We were able to secure a table at Jean Georges two days before the date we wanted. However, we were willing to take very early or late. We ended up with a 9:45 p.m. res but arrived a few minutes early and were seated almost immediately. For end of June/early July, one month in advance should be more than adequate. Note that you have to call JG directly because it is not on OpenTable.

                                                                                With regard to brunch at EMP, we usually call either the day before or even the same morning. During summer weekends, things are relatively slow (lots of NYers leave town) and getting a brunch reservation there is quite easy. It's a huge place, and I don't recall ever seeing it totally full at brunch at any time of the year. You can book it through OpenTable, but you can wait until you get here if you want to see how things shake out for you.

                                                                                As for Babbo, they have a one-month-in-advance to the day reservations policy. Not on OpenTable.

                                                                                1. re: RGR

                                                                                  For Babbo, good luck, and prepare to spend some time on the phone.


                                                                    2. 3. Pizza - For good pizza, sometimes the wait is worth it. If you go for an early dinner (since pizza might not last long enough into the night), you can always go for supper later at night
                                                                      4. Ice cream - Coldstone is good. If you're going to indulge too, Shake Shack (someone mentioned that) has good shakes. And don't forget Krispy Kreme. Although SG has that doughnut craze/fad going on now, these are a different breed.
                                                                      5. BBQ - Dinosaur (already mentioned) is good. A little out of the way, but very good.
                                                                      6. Chinatown around Canal Street has some Vietnamese restaurants.'Bo Ky Restaurant' (80 Bayard Street) has the usual soup noodles (pig innards with pork meat - ba chor mee) - I'm assuming you can eat pork since you asked about Korean/Vietnamese/Thai places

                                                                      Since Singaporeans are a big fan of buffet (or known as AYCE here), maybe find an Indian buffet that's common for the lunch crowd, or even Western/American food buffet. Churrascaria is a good AYCE meal too

                                                                      Hope this helps! Enjoy your stay in NYC :)

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: rodtan

                                                                        Imo, Coldstone's ice cream is blech!

                                                                          1. re: RGR

                                                                            My kids actually quite like Coldstone. It is not available in Singapore, but we tried it in the Roppongi Hill area in Tokyo. A very long queue line in freezing cold temperature in December so business was really good there.

                                                                          1. Italian- Babbo's - agreed
                                                                            Fine dining- Jean Georges - wouldn't disagree although there are alot of other restaurants that fit the bill (if $s are not an issue, Per Se would probably be the experience although i dont know how two kids would stand up there)
                                                                            Steak- Striphouse - a good choice although i think the porterhouse and bacon at Ben & Jack's is more of an experience (and i also like that cut the best) as it is exactly what Peter Luger's is, which is probably the most NY steak
                                                                            Korean BBQ- Madangsui - by far the best bbq (don't go to Woo Lae Oak)
                                                                            Sushi- Yasuda definitely (Kuruma might have slightly better fish quality, but literally twice as expensive and doesn't have variety like eel which is amazing at yasuda, plus yasuda's rice is better...Kanoyama doesnt even come close to either)
                                                                            Izakaya- Totto or Aburia Kinnosuke - they're different as Totto is really a yakitori place (i'd hit totto)
                                                                            Cantonese- Congee Village or Amazing 66 - both are authentic, i'd probably go with Amazing 66 (i assume u can speak chinese, it always makes thing better...definitely get the roasted chicken)
                                                                            Cantonese comfort food- Great N.Y. Noodletown - love this place for bbq meats, salt & pepper squid and the flowering chive dishes

                                                                            1. Can't think of anywhere close to your hotel; i think Clinton Street is awesome and so is Prune, but get ready for a wait
                                                                            2. Aquagrill
                                                                            3. Aside from your recs, this isn't my forte
                                                                            4. Not my forte
                                                                            5. Hill Country
                                                                            6. No
                                                                            7. 53rd and 6th, but doesn't open until 8pm or so
                                                                            8. Blue Ribbon Bakery