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Celebration trip to NYC. Recs please.

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In celebration of my finishing my intern year of residency and my sister graduating art school and getting ready for her MFA, we've decided to take a roadtrip from Ohio to the Big Apple from 06/24 to 06/27 (wish it could be longer,) to see the things we've been missing out on during previous visits and check out some more wonderful dining. As I'm on call Sunday evening till Monday noon, we cannot leave until early Tuesday and will thus get into town around ~2pm.

The goal for Tuesday is an early pie stop at Lazzara followed by the Morgan Library, NY Public Library, and maybe a little shopping at Macy's, Lord + Taylor, etc. For dinner, I'm going to test my luck on Ko when the lottery opens up, but since that likely won't pan out I'm looking for another good option for dinner around 7-8pm in that area. We're staying with people in Queens, but I was thinking maybe Craft, Adour, Gramercy Tavern, or Cafe Boulud.

Wednesday we're heading early to Tribeca and the Chelsea Market. Going to check out Levine, Bravin Lee, Andrew Rosen, Merge galleries and some of the shopping. I figure there is plenty of good breakfast in the area, but if anyone knows of a place that serves awesome/unique pancakes or French Toast in that area that would be cool too. For lunch we have tentative plans for Moriomoto (Specifically for the Unagi and Foi bop and the Octopus Carpaccio) but could be swayed otherwise if locals know something better. After that, more browsing and maybe a cupcake from Magnolia. Dinner......Babbo! :-)

Thursday we're doing an early breakfast at Norma's and then swinging by Bouchon to grab some bread and/or sweets before heading north to the Natural History Museum. We're considering going further north after that to the Cloisters, or else cutting across the park to hit Frick, Tilton, and Neue Gallery and stopping in the park to eat our Bouchon picnic-style. Dinner reservations at the counter at L'atelier are 8:15pm.

Good choices? Changes you'd make? Foodie stops along these footpaths? Suggestions for the ones to which I'm not entirely committed? Any help is appreciated. Looking at ~40-50pp for lunch and ~75-100pp for dinner. Neither of us drink and neither prefer beef to chicken, pork, or especially fish.

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  1. French: Robuchon (at four seasons 57E57th st lunch at 60$), Jean georges (1 Central Park West lunch 12$ a dish), db bistro moderne on 44th street 42$ pre theater/lunch, bar boulud on broadway at 64th (charcuterie is excellent), Bernardin on 51th for seafood
    American: Momofuku Ko (korean inspired, very hard to book, 85$,east village), WD-50 (molecular gastronomy,LES), veritas (excellent wine list, 75$,20th street@broadway), Degustation in east village
    Thai: Vong 53rd@3rd av
    Pan asian: spice market meatpacking district

    Italian: Babbo, Lupa, Esca, Felidia
    Spanish: Casa mono
    Japanese : Sushi yasuda on 43rd is a must, Kai (try the wagyu beef) on Madison avenue and 68th, yakitori totto on 55th, soba tottoon 43rd,en japanese brasserie on hudson st at 10th st
    Libanese: illilli (haute libanese) 5thav at 29th
    Moroccan: Azza on 55th
    Steakhouse: try craftsteak (organic steak) in Chelsea 10th@16th
    Scandinavian : Aquavit on 55th

    1. If you are doing L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (my favorite in the city), then IMO you can skip Adour. While they are not exactly the same, I enjoyed my meals much better at Robuchon than at Adour.

      For dinner on Tuesday I suggest doing Eleven Madison Park or Craft instead of Gramercy Tavern or Cafe Boulud.

      For Wednesday lunch, I think you can do much better at Sushi Yasuda than at Morimoto for Japanese food. If you want Asian fusion, try Momofuku Ssam or Noodle Bar. I won't recommend Morimoto unless you are going for their true omakase, but it is approx $250 and is probably out of your price range. Otherwise Momofuku is a better option both pricewise and foodwise.

      Wed dinner at Babbo sounds perfect! You won't be disappointed.

      Hope you have a great trip in NYC!

      7 Replies
      1. re: kobetobiko

        Thanks. Keep in mind that we're on foot, but totally not opposed to walking a couple miles, I just thought Morimoto LOOKED cool and the bop sounds intriguing, plus all the galleries and Chelsea Market are right there. Don't know where Yasuda is.

        Any good breakfast spots you know in the Chelsea area, or would you recommend just picking things up in/around the market?

        I've heard the Momofuku places are interesting, but if we manage KO on Tuesday I don't suspect Ssam to top that.

        I've read a lot on Eleven Madison Park and it looks intriguing, but you're honestly the first I've seen to suggest Craft > Gramercy. Still up in the air on Tuesday night......so freakin many options!! Any thoughts on Tabla or Batali's Tapas place?

        In terms of Pizza on Teusday, is Lazzara worth the hype or should we consider Otto (also hype) for another Batali feast?

        Finally, looking in the areas we'll be, any unique sweet shoppes, cupcake places, bakeries, or coffee houses we should not miss?

        1. re: uhockey

          Morimoto, Del Posto, and Craftsteak are all big, new, fancy restaurants with interesting designs...pop your head in, but it might not be the best choice for lunch. Yasuda is in midtown.

          For breakfast in Chelsea, try Sarabeth's in Chelsea Market?

          Tabla is good but not as good as some of your other choices. Haven't been to Casa Mono.

          For pizza, if you want a NY pizza experience, Otto is not the place to go. They do their pizza on a griddle and the crust is more crackery.

          For coffee, if you are in/nearby Chelsea, stop at Cafe Grumpy or Ninth Street Espresso inside Chelsea Market.

          1. re: kathryn

            Will look into Sarabeth's. Still curious as to your statement on Craft portion sizes.

            1. re: uhockey

              Craft has a tasting menu but the regular menu has everything "family style" -- meant for sharing. You wouldn't get to try that many dishes if you went with only two people. Plus, I find their menu tends on the heavier side due to the many braised and roasted proteins.

              My review of several weeks ago:
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/520342

              1. re: uhockey

                Sarabeth's location in the chelsea market does not have as much of a seating area as the other locations.

          2. re: kobetobiko

            I like both GT and Craft but Craft is much more difficult to do with two people given the portion sizes.

            I believe the chef's omakase at Morimoto is only available at dinner? When I did it, I was told they did two seatings, something like 6:30 and 9pm.

            1. re: kathryn

              Craft portion sizes are large or small? What about GT?

              We're not doing Omakase at Morimoto, just a couple dishes at lunch.

          3. Isn't Shopsin's now located in the Chelsea Market? or is it the Essex St. Market? in any case, their "slutty pancakes" intrigue me and are on top of my to-try list when it comes to breakfast foods...

            4 Replies
            1. re: biondanonima

              Shopsin's is in Essex St. Market

              1. re: kobetobiko

                Oh poo - that's not really close to the Chelsea market area then, is it? :) Still, if the OP is into NYC attitude and pumpkin-pistacchio-etc pancakes, it might be worth the trip.

                1. re: biondanonima

                  Just ate the pumpkin-pistacio waffles at Sarabeths, hubbie had lemon-ricotta pancakes. Food was great, albiet very pricey, $50 with tip for 2. Did not like the dried out apple chicken sausage.

                  1. re: jme1beachbum

                    In my experience, that's pretty much par for the course for a nicer sit-down brunch/breakfast in NYC. Two breakfast entrees ($12-15), 2 cups of coffee, one side, plus tax and tip..

            2. I just had a fabulous dinner at Gotham. Hadn't been there in a while. The decor is starting to wear thin, but I had a fabulous piece of black cod. Apricot souffle crisp dessert was a winner. If you want a Danny Meyer restaurant, I would go to Tabla. I find it more interesting than Eleven Mad, though I haven't been back since they changed chefs.

              If you want to say you've been before they close - try going to Florent in the Meatpacking district for breakfast or lunch. The food isn't outstanding, but they make a good breakfast. He was/is an original. The place closes end of June. I, for one, will miss it when it's gone. If you're going to the Neue - go to their cafe for strudel. Yum.
              I think the cupcakes at Magnolia are dreadful. But that's my opinion. There's a cupcake/cake place on 9th and 21st? Billy's. It's very cute. I would pass on the cupcakes and stop in at 3 Tarts on 9th and 20th. Interesting little sweet "bites" in a gift shop type setting. No place to sit. If you're into brownie's - Fat Witch - inside of Chelsea Market. Try the ones with cherries.
              Have a great trip. Congrats to both of you. The Morgan - can't wait to see the Guston!

              6 Replies
              1. re: Snapper52

                Tabla is fine but EMP is ethereal, especially if you get the Gourmand tasting menu. Chef Humm is a master.

                1. re: Snapper52

                  Eleven Madison is like night and day since they changed chefs.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    I'm impressed by the reviews and we'll actually be in the area. The menu interests me greatly.

                    1. re: uhockey

                      I have it on good authority that EMP's Gourmand menu is scheduled to change on June 25th.

                      1. re: RGR

                        Interesting, since that would likely be the day before we attended. I rather like the current offerings and though I'm sure the next menu will be equally interesting, it'd be a shame if too much beef appeared on the menu as I'd likely have to be that annoying 'substitutions' guy. Thanks for the headsup.

                        1. re: uhockey

                          Hey, unhockey,

                          Since the current menu includes beef, my guess is that it may be replaced by something else. Also, quite a few of the current dishes are holdovers from the winter menu, so I'm also guessing they will be gone in favor of totally new ones. Furthermore, it will be the summer menu, and since Chef Humm cooks seasonally, it's bound to reflect that.

                          We have dined many, many times at EMP (regulars here know it's our favorite NYC restaurant), so rest assured that whatever Chef Humm does with the Gourmand, it will be spectacular!

                2. I would take Gramercy over any of the danny meyer spots...craft is very "earthy" and might be too much in this weather

                  1. also, while cafe bolud is amazing, it is VERY stuffy, older crowd

                    1. number one son turned 33 so deb and i took him to sushi yasuda this evening (sushi bar). memorable meal. if you haven't been, i suggest you place this establishment very high on your stack.

                      1. Had my best dinner in NY at Morimotos last week. And that includes Babbo. The chairs in the lounge are slighty uncomfortable, but once the food starts coming you forget about that! Calamari salad, tempura rock shrimp, and surf and turf (stunning hamachi in s&t!) among the best dishes our group ate. Sushi was also great, and they have very creative and delicious drinks.

                        1. I would get rid of Norma's for breakfast and maybe go to Barney Greengrass for their smoked fish sandwich on a bagel and then you go take the subway to bouchon. I think Norma's is way overpriced and I have never had a good experience there.

                          1. You've received some good suggestions. I'd just add that going to Magnolia Bakery for the EXPERIENCE is worth it. I finally went after four other NYC visits and was happy even though cupcakes were marginal. I had a better (red velvet) cupcake at Sugar Sweet Sunshine in the East Village (may not still be there).
                            If you go to Tabla (I've been) I would suggest sitting the the bar area downstairs. My friend and I were up stairs near the railing and looked down to see people having more 'fun" in the lower level! Interesting gourmet twist on Indian food. Have you been to Balthazzar in Soho? You might like it for lunch or dinner. I also like Mercer Kitchen in Soho. (I'd choose those over Craft)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: shellie

                              Downstairs at Tabla is the more casual Bread Bar. Entirely different menu.

                              http://www.tablanyc.com