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Jun 29, 2008 01:21 AM

Foodie visit to New York


We are two self confessed foodies and wine lovers and going to be in New York from the 12th – 15th July and looking for food and wine related suggestions for our trip?

I’m ideally looking for restaurant suggestions, perhaps one ‘fine dining’ experience (with modern influence, not too old or stuffy), some sushi\Asian restaurant suggestions and some general ‘must visit’ places. We are a couple in our early 30’s and budget shouldn’t be a problem. We will be staying in the meatpacking district, but will travel all over Manhattan to dine, so there is no need to suggest local restaurants.

We dined at El Bulli earlier this year and love that style of cooking with unusual combinations of textures and flavours. I have a lunch reservation at Per Se, although not 100% we will take it. I’ve been reading about Eleven Madison Park which looks very good, so I’ve made a reservation there to be on the safe side.

I’d also like any suggestions of farmers markets (we are there Sat – Tue) which we could visit, also any fine food delis and any other food related experiences.

Many thanks in advance for all suggestions.


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  1. I just got back from my own foodie trip to NYC and can definitely say don't miss Babbo. The food, the atmosphere, and the service are incredible. The goose liver ravioli, the pumpkin lune, and the grilled octopus are amongst my favorite dishes all time.

    Eleven Madison Park was excellent and the lunch gourmand menu was fantastic and a great steal at $55. Similarly, Gramercy Tavern was incredibly accomidating (my mom didn't want the tasting menu but I did and they allowed it without question) and the food was perfect. Additionally, Nancy's desserts are second to none I've ever tasted.

    For a fun/cheap time, I strongly suggest Momofuku as the food is great and two people can leave stuffed to the gills on less than $75 w/tax and tip. Plus, it is within walking distance of Dessert Truck!

    For side attractions, Crumbs Cupcakes are top notch, and Magnolia is great for the scene and Hummingbird Cupcake. The Chelsea Market is a great foodie stop as well, and Thomas Keller's Bouchon (if only for the grilled cheese and a Nutter Butter or TKO) is a GREAT stop if you're near Time Warner Center.

    All told, I've been to NYC thrice now and tried some great places, similarly I've been to LA and Vegas quite a few times. Each time I visit I try to sample all-new places. With that said, the only restaurants I've been to that demand repeat visits on subsequent trips are Il Mulino and Babbo in NYC, Griddle Cafe in LA, and Nero's in Vegas.

    3 Replies
    1. re: uhockey

      Lots of great suggestions here. For sushi, I'd recommend Yasuda.

      I prefer going to Bleecker Street and relatively nearby places to visiting Chelsea Market - to me, it has a bit of a mall-like feeling to it. On Bleecker (between 6th and 7th Avenues, you have Murray's Cheese, Faicco's, Ottomanelli, Amy's Bread ... if you are up for a walk, you can head over to Despana (Spanish market) and then down to DiPalo (Italian market). That then puts you right in Chinatown. Just off Bleecker, on Cornelia Street, is Pearl Oyster Bar, where you could get a great lobster roll as well.

      1. re: uhockey

        In terms of farmer's markets, we usually shop at the on at Union Square on Saturdays - also there M/W/F.

        1. re: uhockey

          Babbo is amazing but you may be too late to make a a reservation. They always get booked up a month in advance. It is worthwhile seeing if you can try to get a walk-in table by arriving at 5pm for dinner, or calling to see if there are cancellations. It is an extremely popular restaurant for good reason: great jaw-dropping food at prices that are reasonable for a restaurant of that quality.

          uhockey, are you recommending Momofuku Noodle Bar or Momofuku Ssam Bar? I am getting you are referring to Momofuku Ssam Bar. For any out of town foodie, that's a must-visit to me. And I find that the desserts are on par with a lot of great dessert places around town, including the Dessert Truck.

          I don't really like Crumbs or Magnolia's cupcakes. I suppose out of the famous ones, I like Sugar Sweet Sunshine or Billy's best (only chocolate at Billy's). Have also heard great things about Little Red Hens but never tried it.

          Chelsea Market is a fun foodie stop, but I think the Union Square Greenmarket (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, from 8am to 6pm) might be more interesting, if the weather is nice.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Momofuku Ssam Bar is great recommendation - definitely a unique experience. You could probably do dinner there for about $50

            Since you mentioned El Bulli, I think you might be interested in checking out wd-50, which has some very creative foods.

            Bleecker Street is a great spot for looking at food, but it can get a bit crowded and somewhat touristy. I actually like Chelsea Market. It is an indoor fancy food mall, but it's ALL about the food. (For a cheap bite, the Thai place in the Chelsea food market is probably one of the better Thai places in Manhattan.)

            Also, this probably belongs in the Outer Boroughs, but if you are looking for Thai, Srirpraphai out in Woodside Queens is probably a not to miss spot. We took my boyfriend's brother to a bevy of good eats last December and Srirpraphai was his favorite spot).

            Babbo is great. Seats at the bar are not reserved and there is also a 4-top that is available for walk-ins. Suggest that you get there early. I like eating at bars and the full menu is there. It can get pretty crowded and loud at the bar, but the food is great. (Pumpkin lune ravioli, beef cheek ravioli are my favorites. The sweetbread is excellent and the warm lamb's tongue vinaigrette is a favorite of many chowhounders)

            Pearl Oyster Bar is very good, but it's a bit more straightforward New England style seafood. For seafood, I prefer Tides - stylish small space and great seafood.

            I don't like Magnolia Bakery - for cupcakes, I prefer Sugar Sweet Sunshine. You'll find that there are some pretty strong reactions from CH'ers on Magnolia - they all either love it or hate.

            Also, for a unique experience, head over to Chikalicious for dessert. Dessert only, for an extra $7 or s, you can get a wine pairing with your dessert. (What you should do is to hit up Momofuku Ssam Bar for dinner and then head over to Chikalicious.)

            Finally, be sure to check out which has the menus that you can check out and see if it whets your appetites.

            4 Replies
            1. re: susiederkins

              WD-50 also has a fantastic dessert program, so that might be one way to fit into a busy schedule. Go for desserts only. They have a tasting menu, or you can order a few and share.

              1. re: kathryn

                Thank you to everyone for the great suggestions.

                I think I’m going to scrap Per Se, which was a lunch reservation (still wait listed for dinner). I’m not sure I want to have a long fine dining lunch and would prefer that for dinner. I also wasn’t planning on taking very smart clothes on my trip (I’m off the beach from NY!)

                I’ve made a dinner reservation at EMP and plan to visit the Union Square Farmers Market on Monday and a stroll down Blecker. Going to try and make it to Momofuku Ssam one evening (do they take reservations?) and then Chikalicious for dessert and matching wines.

                I’m a little unsure as to whether I dine at WD-50 instead of EMP…. Decisions decisions!!

                Anything I’ve missed?!

                1. re: chrishow

                  Degustation is creative, amazing food in a unique atmosphere - highly recommended. My brother (a chef) and I went to both Degustation and Momofuku Ssam when he visited recently and Degustation blew Momofuku away.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    Momofuku Ssam Bar does not take reservations.

                    Chikalicious does not take reservations either. Make sure they are open when you are in town; last year they took some time off in July for summer vacation.

                    WD-50 and EMP completely different in terms of atmosphere, style, service, and food. I think if you want an amazing gourmet experience, with the best service in NYC, go with EMP. If you want something challenging, strange, weird food that plays with what you think food should be, go to WD-50 but be forewarned that some of the flavor combinations are very odd. At times, WD-50's food is too conceptual for my taste. I'd rather it taste good than turn solids into liquids into powders and gels.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I was in NYC last week and had prix fixe lunches at Bouley, Eleven Madison Park, Jean Georges and Tocqueville. Both Bouley and Eleven are mind blowingly good. JG was excellent as well but the place had a busy feel to it that was somewhat offputting. Tocqueville was good but clearly not in the same league as these others. I had a very enjoyable dinner at Babbo's, be sure to order their mint love letter. I also tried Momofuku Ssam Bar and found it fun but not a particularly good value even if its prices are on the low side. The steamed pork bun was perfect but not that different from steamed pork bun at top notch Chinese places. I'd say the same for the sliced beef tendon dish and the fried skate wings altho the remoulade sauce it came with does make it different. The only unusual dish I had there was their Santa Barbara Uni with caviar which was excellent. I'm glad I went but I was expecting more. In terms of sheer excellence, I'd say don't miss Bouley and Eleven. As we were leaving Bouley, the maitre handed us each a small lemon butter pound cake present. I ate it two days later and it was still moist, rich, incredibly lemony and the best pound cake I've ever had. Move over Sara Lee.

                2 Replies
                1. re: poggibonzzi

                  Agreed on the EMP lunch, but honestly my experience at Gramercy Tavern blew EMP out of the water. Truly a 'meal to remember' in all ways. I wrote a review of both. Definitey planning to check out Bouley and JG on my next visit.

                  1. re: uhockey

                    Gramercy was on our list but there was only so many meals during our stay in NYC. I'm penicilling it and Perry Street and checking this board for more suggestions for my next trip. So much great food, so little time.