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Must EATS in NYC

slomosi Aug 25, 2008 12:36 AM

2 LA natives, my gf and i, will be coming to NYC in october, staying in the times square area for 5 days 4 nights. i've read many posts but still have a hard time deciding what to eat. What do you guys suggest in price ranges similar to the restaurants listed? We want to try NYC MUST EATS. this is what we have so far:

Katz's Deli
Either Babbo or Lupa
Peter Luger

Thanks a lot!! Can't wait!!

  1. a
    asnet Aug 29, 2008 03:22 PM

    Absolute Bagel 2788 Broadway @ 107 St. If you are going to bother to come to New York at all and drop several hundred dollars a night at some fleabag, you might as well eat The Real Thing. These are among the last true, chewy, tasty bagels, made by a Thai immigrant and his extended family, not the popular, puffy, Gentile bagelcake. Absolute also has a bagel pudding which is not always available, but is the deadliest StarchBomb in New York. After Absolute, for dessert, take the southbound Broadway bus to Ouest, Broadway & W. 84, for the creme fraiche panna cotta with passion fruit syrup. Check out Ouest’s entrees. Then, get back on the Broadway bus,and head south to EuroPan, Lincoln Square, for the chocolate cigar. Then read up on Chinatown dim sum spots and take your pick. I recommend Sun Say Kai at Canal & Baxter. No one should leave NYC without loading up on sportsbar or divebar french fries. The divebar fries I recommend are at Blue Donkey on Amsterdam btw. 83 & 84. The fastest-served fries are at O'Lunney's 145 W. 45 near Times Sq.

    1. Polecat Aug 26, 2008 10:59 AM

      As long as you're hitting Katz's, you'd do well to heed the advice of the above-poster who suggested close-by Russ & Daughter's. For that matter, head south a few blocks and get some bialys to go from Kossar's (on Grand Street, near Essex). That's as New York as you get. Enjoy, and please report back.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Polecat
        susiederkins Aug 26, 2008 06:11 PM

        Well, if you're also by Kossar's, you're also right by the Doughnut Plant. Get 'em while they're fresh!

        Second or third someone's Momofuku Ssam recommendation. Try for reservations at Momofuku Ko.

        1. re: susiederkins
          LNG212 Aug 26, 2008 06:46 PM

          And if you're doing Katz's, R&D, Kossar's and Doughnut Plant, then you're already well on your way to doing RGR's famous self-guided LES walking/noshing tour. Just do a search and you should find it.

          1. re: LNG212
            RGR Aug 26, 2008 09:25 PM

            Thanks for plugging my tour, LNG212! :-)

            Here's the link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/493333

            1. re: RGR
              eatfood Aug 29, 2008 09:05 AM

              RGR, how long does your "tour" take, approximately?

              1. re: eatfood
                RGR Aug 29, 2008 10:35 AM

                How long it takes depends on how busy the places are, and how fast an eater and walker you are. I'd say you should allot at least two hours (not including the Tenement tour).

                1. re: RGR
                  eatfood Aug 29, 2008 11:46 AM

                  Thanks, what's actually closed on Saturday?

                  1. re: eatfood
                    RGR Aug 29, 2008 02:27 PM

                    Kossar's Bialys and Guss's Pickles

      2. a
        ab81 Aug 26, 2008 10:38 AM

        Your NYC eating experience isn't complete without a bagel from ess-a-bagel. I recommend the everything with veggie cream cheese. There is one at 21st and 1st, another at 3rd ave between 50th and 51st.

        1. k
          kobetobiko Aug 25, 2008 08:51 PM

          Hi slomosi,

          I agree with your list so far except for Lombardi's. I don't think it is a must eat, as there are many other pizza places that are better. In terms of which is the best varies greatly in opinion, but I will suggest Una Pizza Napoletana

          Another Must Eat IMO is one of the Momofuku's. Either the Ssam Bar or the Noodle Bar as it is very tough to get reservation at Ko, but both Ssam Bar and Noodle Bar serve food that you can hardly get in any other cities. Do a search and you will find plenty of reviews on what to order (just don't order the ssam or noodle, ironically).

          I also second MMRuth's suggestion on Casa Mono (owned by Batali) for tapas. If you want something non-Batali, you can also try Degustation, a small cozy restaurant for french-inspired tapas. The uniqueness of this place is the an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs prepare your food. That will be quite an experience.

          7 Replies
          1. re: kobetobiko
            kathryn Aug 25, 2008 09:24 PM

            Una Pizza Napoletana is great with a few caveats: it's more expensive than other places ($20 per pie which feeds about one person), they make pizza and only pizza, there are no toppings (no sausage, no pepperoni, no BBQ chicken, and don't ask for hot pepper flakes or garlic powder,e tc.), and they have more limited hours than other places. They close when they run out of dough and are open Thursday through Sunday. No slices. BUT I love it. The pizza is first rate, especially if you are a crust person, and like simpler pizza where the quality of ingredients shines. Mmmmm.

            I second all of Kobetobiko's other recommendations, and would also add some bagels and smoked salmon to your list. Barney Greengrass for a sit-down time capsule of NY decades ago. Or Russ & Daughters if you want to taste some different kinds at a counter and get a bagel sandwich with cream cheese and smoked salmon to go.

            1. re: kathryn
              slomosi Aug 25, 2008 11:44 PM

              just a question on una pizza napoletana...is it more NY style or napoletana?

              1. re: slomosi
                tpigeon Aug 26, 2008 05:57 AM

                Naples. If you go to the momofukus, get the pork buns. They are awesome.

                1. re: slomosi
                  johnindabronx Aug 29, 2008 07:28 PM

                  Una pizza napolitano is a good but very basic ny style pizza, I've never been to naples so I do know neopolitan out side of the NYC take on it. By basic I mean very good ingredients and tlc but it lacks the crispy bite, tangy sauce, lovely crusty, crudeness and sweetness of true NYC coal oven pizza. I'd go with Lombardi's or the real original Patsy's at 114th and first ave.

                  1. re: johnindabronx
                    kathryn Aug 30, 2008 05:59 AM

                    NY style vs Naples style vs NY-Naples hybrid style

                    Una Pizza is NOT considered classic NY style nor NY-Naples style.

                    Patsy's is on 117th and 1st, not 114th. I like Patsy's a lot but it is way out of the way for a tourist, and I've heard reports of inconsistency.

              2. re: kobetobiko
                ScarletB Aug 27, 2008 08:45 PM

                If you had to choose to recommend to a visitor who comes from an Asian food deprived area, would you recommend Momofuku Noodle, Momofuku Ssam, or Yakitori Totto?


                1. re: ScarletB
                  kathryn Aug 28, 2008 08:30 AM

                  Totto may be the most authentically Asian (yakitori) as Momofuku Noodle and Momofuku Ssam are more like hybrid restaurants. The Momofukus are what happens when you take a Korean American guy who grew up in Virginia, get him into cooking, whisk him away to Japan for a while, then get him to work in a French restaurant, before he strikes it out on his own. You probably won't find anything else quite like them in the world. Note also that the noodles are the weakest part of the Noodle Bar menu. And the Ssams are the weakest part of the Ssam Bar menu.

              3. s
                steakrules85 Aug 25, 2008 07:58 PM

                All great recs.... If you like steak Keens, Strip House, BLT Prime, Old Homestead, and Uncle Jack's are all great.

                For breakfast I'd add in Clinton Street Bakery.

                1. kcijones001 Aug 25, 2008 01:27 PM

                  You have to go to cafe habana...I tell anyone visiting that it's a must...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kcijones001
                    slomosi Aug 25, 2008 07:50 PM

                    thanks a lot for the replies!!!

                    1. re: slomosi
                      tpigeon Aug 26, 2008 05:55 AM

                      If you do decide to go to Cafe Habana you must get their corn on the cob. It is by far the best thing they have there.

                  2. MMRuth Aug 25, 2008 04:28 AM

                    Here's a pretty recent thread from a visitor who did some great chowing:


                    And another:


                    I've only been to Katz's and Lupa's on your list, and certainly agree that they are worth visiting. You might enjoy a new Spanish place, Socarrat, or Casa Mono for great tapas, as well.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: MMRuth
                      ScarletB Aug 25, 2008 08:45 PM

                      Wow, those threads have me drooling. I will also be there for a few days in September. Can anyone tell me what the prices are like at Sushi Yasuda? Is it expensive compared to other sushi places in Manhattan? Is there a price difference between lunch and dinner?
                      I guess that question goes for other restaurants too - do you find price differences in general between lunch and dinner, or just different menus?

                      Also, on the whole, do restaurants close on Mondays? Where I live Sundays and Mondays are probably at 50% open, so you gotta do research before heading out.

                      Thanks a lot!

                      1. re: ScarletB
                        kathryn Aug 25, 2008 09:06 PM

                        Sushi Yasuda omakase price range

                        In my experience, I don't find a huge difference between lunch and dinner unless it's a nicer restaurant with a prix fixe menu. Restaurants in neighborhoods without a lot of lunch traffic will often have very affordable lunch prix fixe menugs.

                        Most restaurants are open every day in Manhattan but I always double check hours just in case (the theatre district and sushi spots come to mind). Some places do lunch and dinner on weekdays but only dinner on weekends. There are a handful of places closed on Mondays or Sundays but it's nowhere near 50% of restaurants that are closed.

                        1. re: kathryn
                          ScarletB Aug 26, 2008 07:02 PM

                          Thanks Kathryn!
                          We are trying to do this trip pretty cheaply, so I'm thinking sushi is probably out; it's just that review had my mouth watering and we love sushi!
                          But, for our one nicer meal we are thinking of Momofuku Ssam. How is their lunch, as compared to dinner? As good quality, nice menu, prices? Do we need reservations for lunch or dinner?

                          1. re: ScarletB
                            kathryn Aug 26, 2008 07:36 PM

                            They don't take reservations. Lunch has a smaller menu than dinner. The space's vibe and lighting seems more suited for dinner. Check out the menu at momofuku.com. The restaurant's menu is divided into small plates. You can spend as little as $25 here or much much more, dependent on how many plates you order. Some, like the cooked fishes or pork shoulder steak, are a normal sized entree for one. Myself, I like sharing, and end up ordering 5-6, more from the left side of the menu, leaning heavily on the raw bar recently as it is summer. And we usually end up $50-60pp.

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