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Aug 14, 2008 04:31 PM

Critique my choices, please, and accept my thanks

You can't believe how many permutations and combinations my eating choices have gone through since I made my plans to come to New York. I'm like a kid in a candy store. I THINK I've pretty much added and rejected enough that I'm pretty secure about my choices, but will be interested in hearing comments.

My final list has been greatly influenced by the extension of RW. I WILL be back in New York again, and at that time we can go to everything I hoped to go to but replaced. There are just too many choices.

Anyway, background: Solo married 57 year old who loves New York, has been umpteen times (not to mention living 5 fabulous years in New Jersey at one point), focus of trip was seeing the Yankees play the Red Sox for the very last time, ever. Husband didn't want to come, so we decided I'd go alone. Very excited.

My final list:

Day one: Late arrival, quick pizza by hotel. Won't even say where, because a bad New York pizza is better than a good pizza where I live.

Day Two: RW lunch at Payard, quick dinner at Nanoosh followed by ice cream at Grom (sandwiching this between watching a tv show being taped and an 8 pm curtain).

Day Three: RW lunch at Cafe Boulud, followed by a matinee, followed by a leisurely Tasting Menu Royale at Picholine, using my $50 anniversary gift card.

Day Four: Pastrami at Second Ave. Deli, followed by junk at Yankees game, followed by RW dinner at Brasserie Ruhlman, followed by my farewell to New York high up at Top of the Rock.

Things I jettisoned for the RW and other bargains...L'Atelier, EMP (I only wanted to do one huge tasting menu, Picholine won out on value plus I love cheese and loved every course of their tasting menu), and I'm sorry to say I jettisoned a couple of ethnic choices. Also jettisoned a steak dinner at the Knickerbocker in favor of Brasserie Ruhlmann.

I feel I'm a little heavy on the gourmet, but what the heck, you only live once, and while we don't have a huge number of ethnic restaurants where we live, we have fewer high end choices.

Breakfast is included at my hotel daily, but I don't plan on eating a lot then, rather save my self for the good stuff.

To all of you who have put up with my endless questions, I really do thank you.

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  1. ok a few questions...

    what 'hood is the hotel? besides the named pizzeria's locals have faves that have zero name recognition and there may well be good NY pizza near your hotel.

    why 2nd ave deli over katz's?

    most importantly - you are coming in to root for the yankee's right? otherwise i'm gonna give you a bad pizza rec.....

    payard will not disappoint but don't miss the pastries, even if its lunch time.

    4 Replies
    1. re: thew

      Uh, uh, uh...I'll be honest and say I was BORN in Boston...but I moved away over 30 years ago (and do NOT let the fact that I went to my first Red Sox game for my 8th birthday influence your pizza recs)...but we were lucky enough to be at the 7th game of the famous Mets/Red Sox World Series (made possible only by the ball going through Bucky Dent's legs) and at that game I rooted for the Mets (much to the chagrin of our host banker who was also from Boston). My husband further has complicated matters this year by buying me a ticket on a Red Sox victory...but my heart belongs to Derek Jeter because he is a ringer for my son-in-law.

      Too much info and not really an answer? LOL.

      Anyway, I've been to Katz and Carnegie so 2A completes my triumverate.

      Hotel is boringly midtown, 46th between 6th and 7th. I don't want to travel far that night.

      1. re: Eujeanie

        i haven't been but patzeria pizzeria on 46 between 7 and 8th is supposed to be pretty good.

        (and you'd better root for the yankees, with that info)

        1. re: Eujeanie

          Little Italy on 45th between 5th and 6th makes a very good slice, and it's not too far away.

          (...and it was Bill Buckner, fwiw ;) ) Enjoy your stay!

        2. re: thew


          sorry to disagree but payard was really disappointing for me. The RW menu was limited and boring. We were there for dinner this year and it was roast chicken or pan seared fish (i can't remember which one, but it was a white fish). The fish was ok...thats' all i can say. I think it could have possibly been frozen...just wasn't very fresh.

          now with that said, if you are going for the pastries i think you will be pleased. i personally thought they were good but i cannot be one to comment on dessert cause i am NOT a dessert person.

        3. Re: pizza, I was once chastised harshly for daring to have a different opinion w/r to what NYC pizza is or isn't, but if you want a different take on that, V&T just above 110th St on Amsterdam is still around (since the 50s at least, I think) and while you have to order a whole pie, it was still very, very good the last time my brother & I grabbed one to eat in the car on the way home... Meatball and mushroom especially recommended by me, anyway.

          You say ethnic is hard to come by so fwiw, I'll mention that even most "neighborhood" Chinese restaurants here are far better than what you get in most places, especially the 'burbs (again, imo). Maybe I was just too heavily biased against NYC Thai by experiences in Chicago's Hyde Park, but while I (still, oy) have never managed to get out to Sripaphai (sp?) in Queens, it's widely hailed as excellent. For that matter, on a recent excursion to Astoria (also Queens, but not a long train ride from midtown Manhattan), I noticed a Thai place called "Poodhams" and subsequent searches on this forum suggest it's probably worth looking into. Last but not least, also "ethnic" but somewhat nicer than most re decor, Wu Liang Ye on 48th St near Rockefeller Center has excellent Szechuanese food though as recent threads attest, you do need to take some care in ordering to get the most out of it, re authenticity anyway.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MikeG

            Okay, so this is an old thread but I'm going to chime in anyway. We're staying at a friend's at CPW and 101st and she recommended V+T. It was a medium good pizza as the toppings we chose (sausage, pepperoni and black olives) were good and the crust was good. But the sauce was really blah. Really. It made the difference between a medium good and a REALLY good pizza. But still better than most of what we get in CA.

          2. What the heck is RW????? Can't figure it out. And why was it extended???

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bill Strzempek

              Restaurant Week. Some restaurants are continuing their Restaurant Week specials for the rest of the summer.

              1. re: Lucia

                Ah. Duh.
                For pizza you MUST go to Angelo's. I live on 45th and 8th. It is the best pie in Manhattan; we order hundreds of them every year at my office too. However, if you like a slice, the slices at the back of the Bread Factory on 8th and 55th Street are pretty good, especially when fresh from the oven. Check out for more pix, etc. There are two within a short walk of your hotel, or better yet, have one delivered and sit back and relax with some wine.

                Angelo’s on 53rd Street
                1697 Broadway
                New York, NY

                Angelo’s on 57th Street
                117 West 57th Street
                New York, NY 10019

            2. I'd personally skip Brasserie Ruhlman. The food is nothing particularly special and the service is sometimes very spacey. The Modern Dining Room, Insieme, and Aquavit are all good choices in the area. And you might like Bar Americain or Del Frisco's (which I actually like better than the Knickerbocker). If you strongly prefer to stay in the Rock Center, look into Morrell's Wine Bar.

              8 Replies
              1. re: cimui

                SKIP: Brasserie Ruhlman
                Payard: eh for lunch but pastries great.
                Nanoosh? 'hound who has lived in NYC for 16 years, and I've never heard of it.

                1. re: chow_gal

                  Hahaha yes I just spaced on the "Buck" name - we were at home watching the 6th game and DYING because we thought we wouldn't get go to our first and only WS game...

                  Great ideas everyone...I also wasn't sure about Brasserie Ruhlmann - it looks gorgeous (I love art deco), but with so many saying to skip it I'll take heed.

                  I've been to Mesa Grill (liked it very much) but really didn't want to repeat a Flay restaurant, also already been to the Modern, Del Frisco's (in Dallas), never heard of Insieme (I'll look it up), and don't want to drink too much so a Wine Bar is not really what I'm looking for, nor is Aquavit for some reason (I just never had a desire to go there, I don't like the stark, Scandinavian look and while I know Samuelsson is a great chef I just am sort of eh about it).

                  The reason I chose the Knickerbocker (and there's still no reason why I can't go there) was because they specialize in a steak for one, which includes 2 sides - most steakhouses it's good to go with others because you share the enormous side dishes - I don't want a trough of creamed spinach on the table with just me there. Plus, it's a New York original, not part of a chain.

                  Nanoosh is just a hummus/wrap/salad place, nothing fancy, but fast which I'll need that day. And just a few blocks from GROM which I just read about here.

                  I think Payard looks very pretty inside - and it will be in the neighborhood - I'm going to the Frick one day and the Met the next (I don't like to OD on two museums a day) that's why the back to back days on the UES.

                  Anyway...consensus seems to be to skip Brasserie Ruhlmann - that's ok, maybe I can stop there for a drink at the bar before Top of the Rock just to see the decor?

                  Thanks so much for the help.

                  1. re: Eujeanie

                    Oh, and thanks for the pizza recs! The only two I could find (that had mention on the internet) near my hotel were either a Famous Original Ray's or Bella Napoli on 49th btwn 6th and 7th.

                    1. re: Eujeanie

                      Well, I think I've found the ultimate solution: I want a steak, I want to be near Rock Center, I want a New York steakhouse, and I want a RW bargain:

                      How about Bobby Van's on 50th? This is one mini-chain I've never been to, and I was thinking that their RW "sirloin" would be an 8 oz. top or something - nope, it's a full 16 oz. NY Strip (my favorite cut). Sounds like we found a winner.

                      1. re: Eujeanie

                        Hmm, I've only had it for lunch, but didn't think Bobby Van's was great. Not terrible, but somewhere in the solid middle of the pack.

                        Kobe Club just a few blocks north of the Rock Center is also serving RW dinner. It gets mixed reviews on this board and I have not personally tried it -- but the RW menu looks pretty good to me!


                        Perhaps others who have eaten there can give additional comments.

                        1. re: Eujeanie

                          Blech. Visitng NYC you could do soooo much better. This will disappoint. You are not going to get a good steak on the RW menus. You're going to have to get your steak taken care of when not on the RW menu. Del Frisco's is right there.

                          1. re: chow_gal

                            yeah, i like the steak at DF's, too -- but OP mentioned that she wants a more local restaurant / mini chain.

                      2. re: Eujeanie

                        >>and don't want to drink too much so a Wine Bar is not really what I'm looking for,

                        Btw, Morrell's isn't just about wine, though it has a nice list. The food is surprisingly decent -- just overpriced since it is Rock Center.