Los Angelino's short visit to NYC in September..where to get...
1. a signature NY cheesecake?
2. A nice dinner for two? a not to be missed place. Nothing too too expensive, but good nonetheless. I eat anyting but nuts, peanuts and oysters, thanks to allergies. Something I can't get better versions of in LA.
(please, no pastrami wars started up...I love Langer's, you love Katz's, the world keeps revolving with love.)
3. A basic do it yourself salad bar (Any Whole Food's near Chelsea?)
4. great beer/microbrew spot.
1. S&S is by far the best cheesecake in ny. With a "short visit", I'll assume you won't be able to get up to the Bronx. But you can pick one up at Zabar's (Bway at 80th). They are amazing.
Enjoy your visit.
What is your budget for number 2? There is a Whole Foods in Chelsea, on 7th Avenue and 25th Street. Not too up on microbrews, but when I had a great hamburger at Stand, I noticed that they had a lot of microbrews on tap. Cafe d'Alsace, on the UES, has a huge selection of beers, and a "beer sommelier" I believe.
Check out Waterfront Ale House for microbrews. Try some NY Italian for your nice but not too expensive dinner -- this is something I miss in LA. I recently had an awesome meal at Apizz, though it might be pricier than you mean. I'm a fan of Le Zie in Chelsea, though it's more a solid neighborhood spot than destination dining. I'm sure others have suggestions in this vein. In addition to the Chelsea Whole Foods, there's also the Amish Market on 23rd with a decent salad bar.
PS: If you get a chance, try some falafel, shawarma, and (above all) hummus at Azuri Cafe. I'd be really curious to get your comparison with Hummus Bar in Torrance.
Diana; there is a place called Foods of New York (http://www.foodsofny.com/) and they do great walking/tasting tours in several neighborhoods. I lived in NY and went on their small (usually no more than twelve people) tours whenever visitors came in. They teach you a bit about the neighborhood (I did the Village) and point you to little hidden "gems" of restaraunts, and you get to taste food from all of them as a part of the tour. If I recall the tours are about three hours, full of fun discussion food and drink... and by Sept. it will have cooled down a bit so it is a perfect time to go on a walking and tasting tour... who knows, you might discover your own perfect little place for two!
Have you been to Katz's and disliked it? If not, I think you're doing yourself a disservice by not going. All New Yorkers should try Langer's when they're in LA, and all Angelenos should try Katz's when they're in NYC. The two styles of pastrami are so different I think it's absurd to even try and argue that one is better than the other. It would be like trying to argue that Italian food is better than French food. If you really love LA-style pastrami, you may find Katz's bland (I found Langer's excessively salty), but I think it would be a mistake to let Nora Ephron have the final word on something you've never tried yourself.
For your nice dinner, I'm pretty sure there's nothing like Degustation in LA... tiny restaurant, bar seating only, inventive, (predominantly) Spanish food.
Second Daveena's excellent point. It's worth it to try Katz's so you can form your own judgement. I find that Langers makes a tasty sandwich and that Katz's makes excellent pastrami.
Look into Shake Shack so you can compare to Father's Office.
Check out Yasuda (in front of the master himself) so you can compare to Mori and Zo.
Momofuku Ssam for dinner.
Bar Boulud for charcuterie.
Mary's Fish camp for the lobster roll and/or whole grilled branzino stuffed with herbs and garlic.
Peter Luger for steak and finish with the cheesecake mit schlag. Decadence upon decadence.
I actually prefer PL for lunch because I get a burger as an app, then a steak for 2, then pecan pie and sunday for dessert, decadence upon decadence upon decadence :). I maintain that PL makes the best burgers in NY btw and you can only get them at lunch.
Oh yeah, forgot the shrimp cocktail :).
I have to say I love the blueberry cheesecake at carnegie deli. It is awesome.
Babbo believe it or not, can be done for a decent price. There are excellent apps and pastas on the menu which have decent portion sizes (I eat alot btw) and are not absurdly priced. Any board search will get you the usual suspects as what to order.
How dare you insult the almighty K pastrami :).
Diana! you're coming to NY? it's nice to see an old LA "face" on the local board here :) I miss you guys [and i'm totally jonesing for my chocolate yogurt from Sno:LA].
you've gotten some great recs so far. in addition to Babbo, i'd also consider Lupa.
i think you'll be happy with the salad bar at the Chelsea WFM, but just a heads-up, the place a_and_w mentioned on 23rd isn't the Amish Market, it's Garden of Eden - on W. 23rd between 6th & 7th. it's a small gourmet market, and they have a good salad bar, as well as hot/prepared foods & deli counter.
oh, and LNG212's Zabar's suggestion is an absolute MUST, and not just for the S&S cheesecake. their smoked fish/appetizing selection is *amazing* - the only thing in LA that even comes close in terms of quality is Barney Greengrass...but Zabar's is better. pick up a few of your favorites - nova, sable, pickled herring, scallion cream cheese, etc. & some Kossar's bialys, then pop into H&H for bagels [conveniently located 1/2 block south of Zabar's on the same side of Broadway], and have yourself a feast!
i'l say it again. ZABAR'S.
the WFM in NY aren't bad, depends which ones you go to. most aren't as good as the ones in SoCal [but i'm probably biased because i miss Cali, period]. the Chelsea location is easiest for you based on your request, but it's definitely not the best. it's the original one, and the smallest. bigger selection at the salad & hot bars at some other locations. i was pretty impressed with the one in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. if you happen to be in TriBeCa, i'd suggest popping into the brand new WFM that just opened there [i haven't been yet], or the biggest one - on Houston St. on the LES. i don't love the Union Square store, it feels somehow like they have less product there and i'm not crazy about the prepared foods & salad bar selections.
ok, that is WAY too much detail for what should be your lowest culinary priority while you're here :)
I imagine Brooklyn BRewery is rather far? Is it worth a trip? I mean, I know it has amazing beer, and we don't get it in LA...
Re: #2. You haven't answered MMRuth's question with regard to the cost for your "nice dinner for two." You say "not too too expensive," but since opinions on what that means can vary considerably, it would helpful if you would give us a per person budget for food only [drinks, tax (nearly 9%) & tip (20%) additional].
We have not been to L.A. in ages, so I'm not familiar with the current restaurant scene there. As far as Manhattan is concerned, there are many excellent restaurants where your budget can work.
Convivio (fka L'Impero), a casual, yet elegant, Italian restaurant, immediately comes to mind. While we have yet to go there, we had delicious dinners at L'Impero, and since the same chef is charge, it doesn't surprise me that reports about the food at Convivio have been very positive. In addition to the a la carte menu, which includes small plates ("sfizi'), they are offering a prix-fixe for $59pp. The website is still under construction, but you can view the menu on Menupages.
Union Square Cafe is another great option. It has been around for a long time but remains extremely popular for good reasons. It's a Danny Meyer restaurant, where service is always a hallmark; the decor is pleasant; there's an upbeat vibe; and, most important, the seasonal American cuisine with Italian leanings is solidly prepared and delicious.
I'll go with what I know, BEER.
in terms of just ale houses, the blind tiger, and DBA are probably the best pair of beer bars in Manhattan, and the ginger man in midtown is also excellent, but it can get kind of a fratboy vibe in the evening.
If you like Belgian beers, Resto is freaking great. I personally love the food (the burger and beef cheek carbonade mmmmmm.... though the fries are a bit weak), but it gets mixed reviews here. But they have an amazing selection of belgians, and a staff that really knows their beers. When I ordered a Rodenbach (Belgian sour) they actually knew enough to warn me that flemish reds are a different breed.
If you can stand some hipsters and long lines, Barcade in Billy burg is fun, good selection of beers, always something nice on cask, and it's filled with 80's arcade machines in various states of disrepair.
Brooklyn is the american Cask ale paradise, if that's your deal, i'm sure you could find more info on the outer boroughs boards.
111 East 29th Street, New York, NY 10016
11 E 36th St, New York, NY 10016
41 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
388 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
This is a very good list for beer bars. DBA is great though it can get a bit crowded on the weekends.
I saw Blind Tiger was recommended a few posts above and that place also is good but I got tired of fighting crowds even at 6pm.
The other place I'll add to this is Spitzer's Corner which has both great beer and terrific food. Yeah there are crowds there but there is far more seating to be had compared to Blind Tiger.
Would you consider changing the nice dinner for two to an even nicer LUNCH for two? Some of our top restaurants have sweet lunch deals. You can, for example, get a three course lunch for $24 at Perry Street, not far from Chelsea, for $29 at Fleur de Sel, and for not much more at Jean-Georges.
There are do it yourself salad bars on every block in NYC. Most are run by Koreans, who are perhaps inspired by panchan. They vary in quality.
I don't personally know of great microbrew places but DBA is famous.
you have a ton of options. do a board search to see what everyone has to say about these:
some people might suggest Aquagrill, but "knowing" you as i do, don't bother - i doubt the experience would hold a candle to the exceptional treatment [and food] you get from MC & crew at Providence.
ETA: and not to worry, you'll still have nearby access to a WFM salad bar - East Houston @ Bowery ;) there's also Gourmet Garage @ Mercer & Broome. no salad bar, but great produce, breads, cheeses, etc.
Any more suggestions? Other types of cuisines besides Italian? For one dinner out in NY, I gotta have a good one! Can't afford Daniel or the ilk, most likely (but mention them anyhow)
What cuisines are done best in NY?
Chinese I got the San Gabriel Valley here or can drive to SF ,so, no contest-so it won't be Chinese.
Italian not yet mentioned?
what's to love?
Little Havana is a cute little Cuban place with great food http://www.thevillager.com/villager_1... and is a part of "restaraunt row" which includes Le Gigot, a wonderful and tiny French restaraunt http://www.legigotrestaurant.com/ . Most of the restaraunts on Cornelia Street are small, intimate and great for two. It's not far from where you are staying and the whole neighborhood is very walkable. Have fun!