Please help out a Toronto Chowhound coming to Manhattan...
A friend & I will be in New York from July 30 to Aug 6th. I've been given the responsibility for picking all the restaurants and I need help from my fellow Chowhounds.
For the most part I'd like to focus on food that we can't get or don't do well in Toronto as well as my Chowhound picks (Degustation, Sushi Yasuda, Balthazar. Will I be able to get reservations at this late date?)
We'll be going to one of the Best Fuzhuo restaurants (leaning towards Forsythe St not Eldridge St) since we don't get Fujian in Toronto and a lot of latin food. I want to try the fish tacos at Pinche Taqueria. Would you recommend Dos Caminos or Tulcingo del Valle? What are your recommendations for empanadas and cuban?
It's likely that we're going to stay in Manhattan for the entire time. So, while I'm sure there's great latin options in Spanish Harlem and the outer boroughs we're not likely to be out there on this trip. (but why would you post those recs on this board anyways....)
What other food choices would you recommend?
You will definitely be able to get reservations at Degustation, Sushi Yasuda and Balthazar at this time. I think all of these are good picks for you.
Dos Caminos and Tulcingo del Valle are two totally different types of places. The first is more upscale gringo-ized Mexican. Tulcingo is a very casual, more authentic Mexican restaurant. It really depends on what you're looking for. Food is good at both places, but for very different reasons.
You may also want to look at momofuku ssam or momofuku noodle (but don't order the ramen in spite of the name). Forget about momofuku ko -- reservations are really hard to come by. David Chang does some interesting things with food -- things I haven't found elsewhere in N. America.
Spanish Harlem is in Manhattan, in the 90's, on the upper Upper East Side.
Pio Pio is a mini-chain that serves Peruvian fare. They're especially known for their very tasty chicken. Portions are generous, and prices are very reasonable. There are 4 locations in Manhattan. One of them is in Spanish Harlem (1st Av., b/t 90th &b 91st Sts.), but the one I've been to is on 34th St., b/t 2nd & 3rd Avs.
Pampano, on 49th St., b/t 2nd & 3rd Avs., serves delicious modern Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on fish and seafood. There is a delightful terrace on the second floor for al fresco dining. A little on the pricey side, but worth it. Pampano also has a take-out Taqueria nearby, but I've never tried it.
Here's a thread with some options in Spanish Harlem: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/540313
I also think that Itzocan Bistro is a very interesting, and delicious, twist on Mexican - Mexican ingredients with some French techniques. Socarrat might be a nice option as well for paella - byob though. I also like Zebu Grill. For more upscale Mexican, look into Pampano - emphasis on seafood - good prix fixe at lunch.