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Manhattan weekend visit food itinerary

A year after relocating, I'm visiting Manhattan again this Memorial day weekend to eat at my favorite joints. I'd love to hear feedback of my selection, updates on whether quality at any of these places has changed, or new interesting competition has sprung up, etc.

Without further ado, here's my itinerary:

Saturday
- Brunch at Balthazar
- Late lunch at NY Noodletown - soft shell crab, salt baked squid, and off-the-menu "watana-maoyofan" (white rice with curry beef strips and whisked lightly cooked egg swirl)
- After-lunch dessert at Ciao Bella - trying the hazelnut and/or lime flavors
- Pre-dinner slice of pizza at Ray's in SoHo
- Light dinner of yakitori at Astor Place (don't remember the name of the restaurant)
- After dinner drinks at AngelShare (secret entrance through another Yakitori place) - best apple sour martini
- Late dinner at 53rd and 6th gyro food cart

Sunday
- Pre-lunch snack at Chinese Mirch (indian chinese at 28th and Lex) - appetizers crispy okra and chicken lollipops
- Lunch at Roomali's (27th and Lex) - indian wraps with spicy chicken kabobs
- Late lunch snacks at Katz's Deli - half sandwich pastrami on rye and half sandwich corned beef on rye
- Pre-dinner at Cuban place on Lafayette St. next to Prince St. (hole in the wall) - best cuban pork
- Dinner at Les Halles (Anthony Bourdain's restaurant)
- After-dinner dessert at Serendipity 3 - frozen hot chocolate

Yes, I know I'm crazy (and will probably be sick of food), but I only have 2 days and I must eat at my favorite joints :)

Thanks for all feedback.

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  1. FYI Anthony Bourdain has not been associated with Les Hqalles for several years.
    Food at either location is really nothing special.
    But I do wish that someone would explain the attraction of Serendipity 3 to me. Yes, I've been there many times years ago, particularly for kid's birthdays. But now, as before, the place is a mob scene, overhyped and overpriced and the wait staff is uniformly rude, For my money there are probably several hundred better desserts to be had in NY then their frozen hot chocolate. Not to mention the fact that if that's what you really crave you can make your own- the recipe has been published many times.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ann900

      This is interesting. I watch his shows and I didn't know that he's not associated with either Les Halles anymore. Given this new information, I might have to switch to elsewhere. Would you recommend Bouchon? Or any other parisian cuisine restaurant instead?

      Thanks!

      1. re: prasnation

        I hope you realize that this is Bouchon Bakery in NYC and not Bouchon. Menu is really limited -- mostly salads, sandwiches, soups, quiche. But if that's what you're looking for, they do it well.

        1. re: prasnation

          There are very few other brasserie type restaurants, places that serve the type of food you get at Les Halles. Though the food there can be very ordinary, we still go there for certain dishes. The choucroute, boudin noir, smoked herring, and steak tartare are all very good. If you have liked it in the past, you will probably be fine, as I don't think it has gone downhill. It's just never been outstanding. Marseille is an excellent brasserie, but provencal and Moroccan in style. Cafe d'Alsace, which I have not been to, is supposed to be very good (same chef and owners as Marseille), and the menu may be more like Les Halles.

      2. > After-lunch dessert at Ciao Bella - trying the hazelnut and/or lime flavors

        I would substitute Il Laboratorio de Gelato.

        > - Light dinner of yakitori at Astor Place (don't remember the name of the restaurant)

        On Astor Place itself? Or part 3rd Avenue, onto St. Marks? Are you thinking of Oh! Taisho, perhaps?

        > After dinner drinks at AngelShare (secret entrance through another Yakitori place) - best apple sour martini

        Enter Angel's Share through Village Yokocho. 8 Stuyvesant St (between Third Ave and 9th St, second floor). If you like Angel's Share, you may want to check out Pegu Club, PDT, or Death & Co.

        5 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          Oh! Taisho, yes, exactly! On St. Marks, not on Astor Place.

          I haven't heard of either Pegu Club, PDT or Death & Co. - where are they located and what would you recommend getting there?

          Good tip on Il Laboratorio de Gelato, I'll have to look into that one.

          1. re: prasnation

            If you really want yakitori, you shouldn't waste your time at any of the Taisho places. You should concentrate on the Totto/Tory's restaurants in midtown, or Tori Shin in the UES.

            1. re: E Eto

              Interesting, what makes the yakitori at Totto/Tory's/Tori Shin restaurants better? Is it more authentic? How so?

              1. re: prasnation

                Yakitori Totto might rock your world. Yakitori Taisho and Oh! Taisho are delicious and fun, but the quality of ingredients at Totto is excellent. The chicken oyster skewer is my personal favorite.

                Also, as an aside, I think Death and Co. is closed temporarily. You'll definitely need reservations at PDT (next to Crif Dogs in the East Village).

            2. re: prasnation

              Pegu Club = Gin-Gin Mule, Jamaican Firefly, their namesake cocktail the Pegu Club
              PDT = just changed to their spring menu, but the only holdover from the winter menu is the Benton's Old Fashioned
              Death & Co = my fiance loves the Cinder or the Slainted Grouse, I like Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree or the Vipera

              http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...
              http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...
              http://www.peguclub.com/flash/ (no menu online)

          2. Thanks everyone for the great recommendations! We ended up hitting most of the places and a few of the ones that were recommended (Il Laboratorio de Gelato and Yakitori Totto).

            Interestingly, we found out that Katz's Deli is closed on Sundays (I didn't know that before). Thought it might be helpful for people to know incase they're planning a weekend trip to NYC.

            1 Reply
            1. Jeez, man, you're gonna be really uhh....FULL....hehe.

              Balthazar is ok, trendy and overpriced but decent food.
              NY Noodletown is good, try Big Wong's as an alternative.
              Nix Ciao Bella (mediocre gelato) and try Cones (really good artisanal ice cream) on Bleeker between 6th and 7th Ave.
              For yakitori, try Kenka or Yokkocho (upstairs), both are on/near St. Mark's/Astor.
              Angelshare is adjoined by Yokkocho, it's the same place.
              53rd and 6th foodcart is the jam! Good choice!

              Never heard of Chinese Mirch. If you want great Indian, try Banjara in East Village.
              Katz's Deli is tasty, but overpriced and heavy.
              I've been to several Cubans, but none of them stand out too much, so your guess is as good as mine.
              Don't know anything about Les Halles, but Bourdain is just doing TV now, I believe.
              No Serendipity. Try Chikalicious (yes, very girly) or go to Veniero's or Billy's Bakery instead.

              If you follow some of my suggestions, you won't regret it.