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Jul 16, 2008 12:37 PM

chef's first trip to nyc. please help

hello all chowhounds

next month my boyfriend and i will be in nyc for a week - staying in brooklyn with friends and hopefully covering a lot of ground. he's been a cook for 15 years in various kitchens in new orleans where he's from and savannah, ga where we now live. this will be his first trip to new york and i want to be sure he gets as much out of it as possible.

meals we have planned:
dinner at the spotted pig
dinner at mas
lunch at citrus
lunch at craftbar
brunch at les halles
dinner at fleur de sel
brunch at cafe boulud

the other meals will be filled by falafel, pizza, etc. w/o any real advance planning. [and after seeing streetfoodenthusiast's amazing post on tamales, we will definitely be heading that way!!]

i was hoping to get advice on any food/cookware/specialty shops we should not miss. also, of course any other suggestions for eating.

one thing i'm excited for him to do is artisinal... probably just a flight and cheese pairing one afternoon. i would love suggestions for things i most likely haven't heard about as an infrequent visitor over the past 10 years...

thank you all in advance!

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  1. My fave kitchen shop is Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg. Def worth a stop.

    2 Replies
    1. re: malibu

      thank you malibu!

      i keep hearing about a cook's companion also. any thoughts?

      1. re: cotney32

        Yes, Cook Comp is in Cobble Hill. I have only visited once, I think their prices might be somewhat better than Brooklyn Kitchen . I tend to stick to Brooklyn Kitchen because i love it and it's near my house. They have vintage cookware as well. They also do one off classes on some evenings, not that your BF needs that obvs, but it's pretty fun!

    2. Reconsider Citrus--It is OK for cocktails midday, but the food is nothing special at all. It does have a fun bar atmosphere for drinking and chatting.

      You don't have bakeries on your list--shame. Try Levain, Buttercup Bakeshop, H & H Bages, Absolute Bagels, William Greenberg etc...many many others abound in Manhattan.

      There are many posts on cookware shopping in NYC, but to get you started, go to:
      Zabar's (upstairs)
      Bridge Kitchenware
      Broadway Panhandler.

      Grocery/Specialty Food Shopping
      Zabar's (reasonable)
      Dean & Deluca (expensive)
      Fairway (reasonable)
      Chinatown shops

      11 Replies
      1. re: Ora

        Bridge, sadly, has moved to New Jersey. From what I've read about them, the OP could do better than both Citrus and Les Halles, but I'm no help when it comes to brunch. I'll try to find some old threads about speciality stores - Bleecker St., Di Palo, Despana, etc.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Thanks for the update--indeed, this is sad news! I usually just go to Zabars.

        2. re: Ora

          Got to throw Murrays Cheese in there as well

          1. re: ginsbera

            murrays looks amazing. thank you ginsbera.

          2. re: Ora

            A link to more links, about food shopping/cookware shops:


            1. re: Ora

              Sorry I keep replying, but I can't seem to get to my replies to edit them.

              I'd go to Momofuku Ssam for lunch if you can - pork buns, a variety of fantastic hams, great banh mi, and more.

              1. re: MMRuth

                MMRuth, thank you for all the help!

              2. re: Ora

                Thank you for the review on Citrus... menu looks interesting but things are not always what they seem :)

                I was thinking of Bouchon Bakery and H&H. Hadn't heard of the others. Would definitely love recommendations for beautiful bread.

                I've been to Dean&Deluca, the Vinegar Factory, etc. in the past - I'm sure we'll hit those. I really want to get Shane into shops that wouldn't necessarily make it into guidebooks and "best of" publications...

                Citarella looks like a lot of fun from what I can see online. That's another one I've never heard of. Thank you Ora!

                1. re: cotney32

                  If I were you, I'd go to some of the smaller shops in some of the links I posted to, and maybe Dean & Deluca. Citarella is my general "go to" grocery store and, while I feel fortunate to have it, and it's a lot better than a lot of grocery stores in other parts of the country, I don't think it's worth the trip. The fish is beautiful though. If you are on the UES, I'd go to Eli's rather than the Vinegar Factory - it's sort of the ne plus ultra of the Eli Zabar establishments.

                  Some of the smaller places:

                  On Bleecker St.:

                  Murray's Cheese
                  Faicco's (Italian, emphasis on pork)
                  Ottomanelli (butcher)
                  Florence Meat Market (butcher, on Jones St. off Bleecker)
                  There's also Amy's Breads there, and Grom for gelato, as well as Cones and a nearby L'Arte di Gelato.

                  Ideal Cheese (Midtown)
                  Di Palo (Little Italy verging on Chinatown)
                  Despana (Spanish - Broome Street - close to the Prince St. D&D, Di Palo's, and close enough to Bleecker St.)
                  Chinatown - if you want a specific suggestion or two, let me know.
                  Artisanal (I think that's a great choice for some wine and cheese, and to look at the cheese.)
                  Saxelby in Essex Market - for the cheese store that carries only U.S. cheese
                  Sullivan Street for bread
                  Kee's Chocolates for, well, fantastic chocolates

                2. re: Ora

                  any difference in the citarella offerings at different locations? looks like greenwich, chelsea, harlem, etc. ...

                  1. re: cotney32

                    I think there are four locations:

                    Upper East Side (the one I usually go to)
                    Harlem (Haven't been)
                    Upper West Side (the original one?)
                    Greenwich Village (where Balduccis used to be)

                    I'm not sure how different they are - the one on the UES may be smaller, but I think the fish is always beautiful there. The UWS one, as far as I can tell, has a much smaller produce selection. It is right next door to Fairway, and down Broadway from H&H bagels and Zabar's, if you decide to head to that area.

                    The GV one is quite close to all the places I mentioned on Bleecker St.

                    The UES one is maybe five blocks south of Eli's on Third Avenue. Not an awful lot else along there that I can think of off hand, though you could then check out Schaller & Weber (great German butcher) on 2nd Avenue & 85th, and Two Little Red Hens for baked goods on that block. Then walk to 86th & Third, get a Gray's Papaya hot dog, and walk up to Kitchen Arts & Letters. William Greenberg is on Madison Avenue in the 80s, as is Lobel's ( - very high quality beef, v. expensive, wonderful aroma of roast chicken when you walk by). There's also a D&D at 85th & Madison, but not as good as the Prince St. location, IMO.

                3. I think Spotted Pig dinner is a good choice. Haven't been to the others (well, FdeS for lunch, which I like), but I'd reconsider Craftbar for lunch. Food is very hit or miss. Maybe try Gramercy Tavern instead (or any number of other nearby restaurants like Casa Mono or Boqueria).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Lucia

                    Casa Mono is a great idea - I do like it better than Boqueria, though I've only been to the latter once and did think that the mushroom croquetas were amazing.

                    Casa Mono:


                    1. re: MMRuth

                      I agree w/you that Casa Mono is better than Boqueria.

                  2. Do Craft instead of Craftbar. Is Colicchio even involved with the latter anymore?

                    1. Kitchen Arts & Letters
                      1435 Lexington Ave., nr. 93rd St


                      By far the best cookbook store in the city. A must for any visiting chef.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: rabuck

                        That's a great suggestion - don't know why I didn't think of that, particularly since it is so near me.

                        1. re: rabuck

                          WOW thank you for that rabuck! i have never heard of Kitchen Arts & Letters and it looks like it will be a huge hit!! ...looks like we would get into lots of trouble in there! :)

                          1. re: cotney32

                            An additional recommendation for cookbooks is Bonnie Slotnick for used cookbooks. She has some treasures and is close enough to Spotted pig and bleecker street. Just confirm hours before you go.