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May 14, 2008 11:37 AM

Boston Hound coming to NYC - mid town suggestions

Driving down to NYC this weekend. Will be staying in Hell's Kitchen area, going to Lincoln Center one night and walking the city other times. Our usual NYC haunts - Han Bat in Koreatown, Cafe Con Leche UWS, Seven Turkish Rest., Bright Food Shop (yes, I know it's closed, sigh.) As you can see, we usually choose food quality and authenticity over atmosphere. All kinds of cuisines appropriate, though one of us eats no meat or chicken, fish ok.

1. Friday night Hell's Kitchen walkable or close to Met because we're going to the museum first. Similar to above. Thinking Taboon, Bayan, wd. love something Latin, something only in NYC.

2. Sat. night - meeting a friend driving in from NJ. Should be comfortable and quiet as we haven't seen each other in a long time and want to talk, not scream. Tables not too jammed together. Friend's taste probably not as adventuresome as ours. We will be likely in Brooklyn in afternoon, so could meet somewhere on the subway line on the way home to HK. so long as our friend can find a parking lot and not have to drive too far off her route.

3. Sunday night Lincoln Center walkable. Going to 7PM show, want dinner ~9PM. Might walk up to Seven -- about 10 blocks not so bad, but any other similar (as in ethnic, not too $$$, not too loud) places? Our NYC friend suggested Gabriel's, but we can get Ital here, and she has a lot more money to spend than we do, so we need something she'll like and we can afford. If Ital wd. have to be amazing.

Many thanks for suggestions. Drooling already.


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  1. Hi rembelson and welcome back! For 1 and 3, I think you might like:

    1. Empanada Mama (a good number of vegetarian options) or Tehuitzingo (just a deli with a taco counter; they even have fried grasshopper tacos, I hear; not too many veggie options, but they do have egg and rice tacos, as well as potato and jalepeno)

    3. Pasha (Turkish) -- esp. affordable if you eat before the show and take advantage of the prix fixe menu; lots excellent appetizers that work well as small, tapas style shared plates.

    If you don't mind a bit more of a walk, Kefi (new-style Greek) at 79th is also affordable, with lots of vegetarian / pescatarian options, and great small plates. (cash only, no reservations)

    For #2, it would be helpful to know which subway line you're planning on taking and they run through Manhattan in very different places.

    695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

    70 West 71st Street, New York, NY 10023

    Empanada Mama
    763 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

    5 Replies
    1. re: cimui

      Just to note that rmbelson mentioned going to the Met *Museum*, not the Met Opera House, and Pasha and Kefi are on the UWS not too far from Lincoln Center, not near the museum, which is on the UES.

      1. re: RGR

        Yep -- that's why I mentioned Pasha and Kefi for #3, restaurants walkable from Lincoln Center.

        1. re: cimui

          Oops! Didn't read carefully enough and managed to overlook that 3. on your post. :-(

      2. re: cimui

        Turns out we won't be in B'klyn on Sat, so we're open to anywhere convenient for our friend who's driving. So subway line no longer matters.

        Thanks for the suggestions, I'll check them out.

        1. re: rmbelson

          Ok, I'm guessing she'll either take the George Washington Bridge (n. Manhattan on the west side) or Lincoln Tunnel (downtown, near Chinatown). I know Boston has much better Thai food than NYC does, but should you be in the mood, there is a very good restaurant called Thai Market in upper Manhattan (107th) that actually has very pleasant decor. It's not posh (no white tablecloths), but food is very high quality and inexpensive. Since there are three of you, you may want to get a wide range of small plates (appetizers and grilled items) There are lots of options for vegetarians and pescatarians. The restaurant is busy, but not too loud to hear one another. (downsides: not a good place to drink w/ its limited wine list and sickly sweet candy-like cocktails; best wine by the glass to go with a wide range of the food is the chateau st. michelle gewurztraminer; pours are more than generous)

      3. For Sat. evening, I would recommend Campanile, on 29th St., b/t Park Av. S. & Madison, a neighborhood "hidden gem." You will understand why I describe it that way once you (1) see the block where it's located and (2) have dinner there. Nothing fancy about the traditional Italian fare, but it's expertly prepared and delicious. Service is super friendly and efficient. The large space has an old-fashioned look with well-spaced tables. It's busier during the week, so when we were there a few Saturdays ago, our table was one of only 4 that were occupied during the entire evening. Busy or not, the noise level is always very conversation-friendly, there's a comfortable, relaxed feel, and they never rush you out.

        The 6 train stops one block away, on 28th, and your friend should be able to find a parking space on 29th right near (maybe even in front of) the restaurant.

        2 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          Where we ate:

          Friday - Turkish Cuisine 9th & 45th. Just what I wanted -- unassuming, good food, friendly staff. I had the mixed plate of adana kebab and boneless marinated chicken. Both succulent and carefully spiced. The chicken was mouth-tender. We began with the spicy humuus -- fantastic. Would go back anytime.
          Sat. - Madangsui - 35th @5th -- also great. The appetizers they served included a whole mackerel, a bowl of savory custard along with various kimchee and seaweed items. The apps at our usual, Han Bat are more roughhewn -- large chunks of things, which I prefer, but these all tasted great. Madangsui is more refined, tables not so close together, less rushed service, etc., better for those unused to Korean, which we had at the table. We shared a seafood pancake, fine though not memorable. I had my usual, a seafood soft tofu casserole. Lovely, though I think the one at Han Bat has more stuff in it. Others had table-barbecued chicken and beef -- I'm not much of a meat eater but these were tender and nicely spiced. A drinkable glass of house red, not often the case at Korean joints. I'd go back if I weren't in the mood for Han Bat's rough and tumble.
          Sunday - Trattoria Del Artes opposite Carnegie Hall. A last minute substitution as our friend's choice, Gabriel's was closed. Somewhat hectic, I guess the style of the place, decent food but I wouldn't rush back. Had a house salad, kind of skimpy for $11 (but what do I know, I'm a hick) and pasta with artichokes and clams in white sauce. I always find it strange when a not-cheap restaurant offers choice of red or white sauce, as if the chef doesn't know the best way to prepare what's available. The pasta itself was beautifully al dente, but the sauce, as I might have imagined, was a bit salty. We had a good time, nonetheless.

          Thanks to all for the suggestions.

          1. re: rmbelson

            you covered a lot of ground. thanks for reporting back. :)