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Bay Ridge to impress a Manhattanite

  • m

We're having some friends over from Manhattan and this is a big deal for them because they do not cross the East River (unless it's to go to "the cool places" like DUMBO or Williamsburg). We need a nice restaurant that isn't too expensive but will make them realize there is more to the borough than something they read about in Time Out NY.

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  1. We really like Grand Sichuan House. See this thread:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/461890

    Also, Tanoreen is a Chowhound favorite:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/451445

    To compete with Manhattan in some other cuisines I'd say you've got to go to 5th Ave in Park Slope or Smith St. (IMO)

    1 Reply
    1. re: scooter

      I went to Grand Sichuan House last night. The food was as fabulous as usual but MrsT there is nothing cool or even nice about it, it just has really great food. I like St. Germaine on 3rd Avenue and 82nd Street. I like the food, the prices and the atmosphere at St. Germaine. La Maison du Coucous is also really good on 77th off 5th. Lovely decor, great food. The owner is a big sad sack though and feels it is okay to sit at your table and complain about business. But I personally would not discount that restaurant for this reason.

    2. We're actually trying to avoid the Slope and Smith St. and make them come to us for a change. I'm also tired of hearing the "Yo Vinny" jokes from them.

      So far those have all been my choices. I have been ordering take-out from Grand Sichuan every week since we moved here and I'm addicted. We've been ordering a different dish every time. I'm really all about the food. Not the decor, our friends are the type that like to think they're the the first to discover places. My husband and I are going to Tanoreen on Friday. Is it still BYOB? I keep wanting to go to St Germaine, but by the time my husband gets home from work, we get lazy and wind up going to Salty Dog.

      1. Grrrrr to the idea of trying to impress Manhattanites, but.....

        I second the suggestion of Tanoreen. I've never had a bad meal there and it's a warm room with friendly service. I always leave there feeling good. It's also a good place to order a bunch of stuff and share. How many in your group? Tanoreen will be moving into a bigger space soon but it's original space is not big.

        I'm also newly enjoying First Oasis on Fourth Ave near 92nd St. Good Middle Eastern food and cheap. And excellent service in a nice, warm room.

        Also, have you tried Tuscany Grill on Third Ave near 87th St? It's not cheap but not too expensive. You can find the menu online. I've only been there once but the food was very good and it was very friendly with nice ambiance.

        Also, right across the street from Tuscany Grill is Elia, a nice little Greek place. Not cheap either but good.

        As you can see, I don't like snooty attitudes at restaurants. I've had good food in all of the above and all in nice, warm rooms with good ambiance and very friendly service.

        1. I sent some people to Areo the other night ( they were from LA) and they loved it. Trust me, Bay Ridge was no where to be found in the guidebook that they were reading! While the food is on par with lots of places in Manhattan, it has that special Bay Ridge "touch".
          I like to take my friends to restaurants that are unique to Brooklyn- like LB Spumoni Gardens. I like St Germaine, but I don't think that it is special. Grand Sichuan is also a favorite, but I wouldn't take a visitor- the ambience simply leaves a lot to be desired.

          1 Reply
          1. re: carfreeinla

            We ate at St. Germain last night. I would describe the food as average at best and the service as very poor.

          2. recently went to turqua grill (93? and 3rd)
            excellent middle eastern/turkish food
            it was byob, but i think they've started serving beer
            also, friday nights, I think, they have a belly dancer
            the food was excellent each time I was there

            2 Replies
            1. re: bruklinboy

              Have had three very good meals at Petit Oven.
              I think it is still BYO as well. Venue is small so reservations are recommended.
              http://www.petit-oven.com/

              Second Tanoreen.
              Have not been to Aero, heard the food is good but might have that hey vinny vibe.
              Grand Sichuan is good (I frequent the place) but would not make me think it was worth leaving the city for.

              1. re: ChrisZ

                I think that the hey Vinny vibe is part of the charm of visiting Bay Ridge. You can get food like Cebu anywhere ( and don't think much of it). But a good place with Vinny Vibe is ever so much sweeter.
                How bout the Pearl Room? Sit at one of Donna the smiling waitresses' tables...

            2. I also would recommend Tuscany Grill, Tanoreen, Maison du Cous Cous and Elia. I have also had a couple of good steaks at Cebu. Another old school suggestion and a very "local" place is Sanchos for Spanish food. I love their sangria and paella.

              14 Replies
              1. re: ChowDiva

                My husband is dying to try Sanchos. I've been there before about 6 or 7 years ago. I haven't been there in a while. I passed by Cebu a few minutes ago and was curious about that place too.

                1. re: ChowDiva

                  I can't believe I forgot to mention Sancho's. I would definitely add Sancho's to my list above. I've been meaning to get to Maison du Couscous but haven't gotten there yet. Soon. Do they have wine or is it BYOB?

                  I've never been to Cebu yet but it looks appealing, is frequently crowded (at least outside) and I hear that their kitchen is open very late? What kind of food is Cebu and what price range is it?

                  1. re: Kitchop

                    If you take them to Cebu or Areo the Yo Vinny jokes will flourish. The food is good at both places but I can do without the vibe at those restaurants.

                    1. re: psnative

                      Only thing I don't like about Aero is the noise. Good solid choice.

                      1. re: psnative

                        OK, I have to ask. What's wrong with the Vinny vibe? Please tell me you're not looking for restaurants with a Park Slope vibe in Bay Ridge.

                        1. re: Kitchop

                          Agreed! One of the main reasons I fled PS after 23 years! Vinny always wears it on his sleeve ( or his muscle tee).
                          But to Areo- I do agree that the noise on certain nights can be a turnoff- thats why I like The Pearl Room

                          1. re: carfreeinla

                            The only time we visited the Pearl Room (for a birthday dinner) they were playing shlocky 80s hits on the stereo system (including "Total Eclipse of the Heart"). I'm sorry, but that's a deal breaker!

                            1. re: scooter

                              well, I would take that as a good sign- you could hear the music. my issue with some of the other BR places- and Areo and Tanoreen are the worst offenders- the noise level is so high, it makes the experience painful. But I can appreciate your issues with the musical selections. I look at it as part of the "charm"...

                          2. re: Kitchop

                            I'm with you. Or rather, I'm witchyou. Why not go over the top and take them to Embers? On your way over tell your friends that there are occasional shootings there and it's really important not to look at the face of the trigger man. Just watch their faces. And the steak is really pretty good.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/242415

                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                              Now I am curious- I haven't been to any of the local steak houses and my DH has been thinking of trying one- its hard for me to rationalize given my Weber. The thread that you referenced was really old- anything really worth trying? Forget impressing "tourists"- I am a local.

                              1. re: carfreeinla

                                I haven't been back to Embers since 2005. It still gets occasional positive mentions on the board. Since you live in the area I'd give it a shot. The prices, especially compared to other steakhouses, are gentle.

                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                  What I wrote 2 weeks ago on "The Ribeye at Peter Luger's" thread, when someone compared the 2:

                                  "Embers is not Lugers. This I am sure of. I've been going to Lugers for much of my 55 years and it's still unbeatable for porterhouse (and maybe the bacon... and the lunch burgers). If you're really into steak, this is the place & I cant agree with Brklynbobby. But Embers is good quality for the money, has a nice room, friendly owners, reliable valet service and a "clientele" that (maybe except for me and my friends) is not generally obnoxious and loud. I've been going there (Embers)for most of their 25 years in business and was there on Saturday night with my wife and 2 other couples. The food was excellent... t-bones for 2 for the other couples (each done to their specs.), prime rib for me (w/white horseradish, baked potato and an app. of salad w/blue cheese dressing), and 2 very nice pork chops for my wife (w/apple sauce, baked potato and a mediocre Caesar salad), one of which made a great lunch on Sunday. We got out of there for under $100/couple after having 2 bottles of decent wine ($40/bottle), some bourbons for 1 of us (Makers Mark) and some coffees. They started with the butcher shop next door (now closed, but does that explain their wholesale meat contacts? yes, it does) & the original owners are still always there, smiling and welcoming. I still recommend it. But, no, it's not Lugers. And Chestnut isnt Eleven Madison Park & Queen isnt Babbo. It's good though".

                                  1. re: Steve R

                                    OK you got me. Next rainy day when I can't grill...

                                    1. re: carfreeinla

                                      I forgot all about Embers. I went there a few times with my parents. They preferred going for steaks at Bally Bunion. For years I've been curious about Hunter's. I remember it used to be Penny Lane--I never went there, but I spent many hours waiting for the S7 in front of it.

                    2. Another vote for Tanoreen.

                      Petit Oven is nice, but I don't think it fits what you're looking for on this occasion.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MRich

                        Agnanti Meze has excellent Greek food and a very very nice atmosphere. 78th and 5th.

                      2. If you are looking for by far the best Italian food , I would suggest Gino's on 75th and third in Bay Ridge. It is a bit noisy and crowded , but ahh its is well worth it. No matter what restaurant my friend and I go to Manhattan, Brooklyn etc she always says," Ginos ruins me for all others !" Your friends will love the food, you will love the prices

                        1. If you are looking for by far the best Italian food , I would suggest Gino's on 75th and third in Bay Ridge. It is a bit noisy and crowded , but ahh its is well worth it. No matter what restaurant my friend and I go to manhattan, brooklyn etc she always says, Ginos ruins me for all others !

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: mstech

                            I second Tanoreen, Tuscany Grill and Agnanti. Elia is a very nice place -- probably the nicest space of any of these -- but I think the Greek food isn't quite as good as Agnanti. Ponte Vecchio is excellent red sauce Italian and a great scene, but a bit overpriced for what it is.
                            Grand Sichuan and First Oasis have excellent food -- particularly Grand Sichuan, which is really stunningly good and hot --but the atmosphere is pretty much zero. You can't miss with the first three, however.
                            Another good place that I rarely see written about on these boards is Kim Chee, a solid Korean restaurant on 3rd ave and 93rd or 94th. Grills in the table and an enormous menu. Not quite on the level of Korean places in Flushing, but very tasty.
                            Also, I don't want to start a fight, but I think Gino's is very mediocre. Tuscany Grill and Ponte Vecchio are far better.

                            1. re: ropa vieja

                              How did no one mention Chianti? The place has grown in leaps and bounds since it opened all those years ago. The atmosphere is nice, and the food is unbelievable. And you can still find a few "Vinnys" there, but they way the place is laid out, you can still find a quite corner.

                              1. re: SammuelLKitte

                                "The atmosphere is nice, and the food is unbelievable. "
                                I'd agree about the atmosphere but with respect, the food is ok but hardly anything I'd consider 'unbelievable'