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Jun 6, 2008 09:00 AM

Best unhealthy meal?

For my dad's 60th bday, I'm taking him on a food tour of Manhattan, with a very specific focus: allowing him to indulge in all the terrible eating habits that my mother prohibits.

Partly this means lard-y treats, and partly it just means ethnic food of inscrutable origin. Mom won't touch much outside of French, Italian, or non-threatening Chinese. (They both eat quite well. Just nothing "weird.")

Suggestions? I have a long list of ideas, but they aren't yet cohering into a sensible tour. We have Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner, and Sunday breakfast. I plan to stick primarily around the lower half of Manhattan.

Random thoughts:

- Dad mentioned barbecue. Obviously not a NY specialty, but that doesn't really matter. I'm thinking Hill Country. Haven't been, but I used to live in Texas, curious to give it a shot.

- For breakfast, I'm thinking maybe Chinese. But not dim sum -- what place serves the best roast baby pig?

- Dad casually mentioned Ethiopian, which was sort of a shock. I wasn't aware he even knew what Ethiopian food was. Never been to an Ethiopian joint in NY. Do any stand out?

- Dad also mentioned Indian. To me, most Manhattan Indian seems pretty interchangeable. Recommendations welcome.

- I'm tempted to close the evening out with a late night pilgrimage to Crif Dogs. Dad loves him some hot dogs.

- I'm toying with the idea of classing up the expedition with a stopover at Momofuku Ssam. A plate of ham and some sweetbreads should be good for the cholesterol count.

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  1. Katz's, and order the fatty pastrami.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Martinez

      Katz's is an old standby, but it's not actually that unusual for Dad. We're Jewish, so certainly allowances are made (that's also why non-threatening Chinese is on the approved-by-mom food list).

    2. I know this is the manhattan board...but FETTE SAU in Williamsburg sounds like just what the doctor ordered. Think about it. Casual and fun enviroment, etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: thegreekone

        not only not in manhattan, but imo the worst bbq i've had in the city. absolutely over-hyped, and just disastrous.

        way uptown but well worth the trek: dinosaur bbq

      2. I had a great meal at Momofuku Ssam that definitely fits the bill - two of us - two orders of pork buns, pork banh mi, an order of ham (the Kentucky one), some hamachi (doesn't count!), and Crossabaw pork pate en croute.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MMRuth

          Actually the most unhealthy thing on the menu is probably the Bo Ssam. Especially if you eat mostly the skin. I know, I know, OP and father are only two people...

          Note to self: don't look at the solidified fat in the Bo Ssam leftovers before microwaving.

        2. Sammy's Romanian on Delanacy and Chrystie. Chicken livers with schmaltz, huge steaks, booze, rugelah....if Sammy's isn't the opitimy of triglycerides gone wild I don't know what is.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bigmackdaddy

            Good one. Sammy's is indeed a heart-stopper.

          2. I highly recommend the "Shack Stack" burger at Shake Shack - a delicious burger made with 2 cheeseburgers and a deep-fried portabello burger, and a large caramel shake.

            5 Replies
            1. re: LDubs

              Or a burger at Stand with the toasted marshmallow shake.

              1. re: LDubs

                Change the caramel shake for their concretes - they're insanely decadent, imo.


                1. re: LDubs

                  OMG. I didn't know that existed and I think I might cry. 2 burgers and a deep fried mushroom???? And a caramel shake?????? And I'm away from NYC for a month! ACH!

                  Anyway, to answer the OP's original question, I think it depends a bit on what you (or rather, your mother) consider unhealthy. Ridiculous amounts of food? Sugar shock? Cholesterol-laden heart attack on a plate?

                  For a good sugar fix, you might try Norma's in the Parker Meridien hotel for Sunday breakfast/brunch. It's not downtown, but I really can't think of anything sweeter and more indulgent than their chocolate decadence French toast. You won't want another dessert for 3 weeks.

                  If you want to pig out, what about a Churrascaria? All the red meat you can stuff down your gullet, and a really fun atmosphere to boot. Plataforma (in midtown) is great but I know there are several in lower Manhattan - I think Plataforma may even have a branch there.

                  If you just want grease, Katz's fatty pastrami is an obvious choice, but if you want to keep away from delis, there are surely other options (like Momofuku Ssam, etc). If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you could come on out to Queens and hit Rego Park - the Bukharian restaurants there are amazing and unique. A plate of garlic fries, 4 meat and/or mushroom chebureks (fried pies), some manti and an assortment of kebabs (lots of offal and PURE LAMB FAT) from Cheburechnaya should just about kill the two of you (and for less than $30!).

                  Unfortunately, the only good Ethiopian restaurant I know of is in midtown - 49th and 10th or somewhere around there, and I don't remember the name. The food was tasty but not particularly unhealthy, as I recall. As for Indian, do a search on this board for reviews of the restaurants on 6th St. - there are a zillion of them, and they are mostly quite mediocre, although there are a couple that are slightly better than others. I would skip barbecue if you're from Texas - you're likely to be disappointed. I've never found any bbq here that is much better than passable (and I'm not even a bbq connoisseur). Hope that helps! Have fun!

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    In that area you've got Queen of Sheba and Meskerem for the Ethiopian. They're both pretty decent. I agree -- not totally unhealthy but a bit oily.

                    Hard to find a decent version in NYC, but you may want to take your dad for poutine -- fries, gravy and cheese curds. Pomme Frites in the EV has it on their menu.

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      Meskerem, that's the one. The food was good and certainly different. Poutine would certainly fit the bill if there's an authentic version to be had here!