pre- or post-Cloisters recommendation
Planning a weekend visit, most likely on a Sunday. Can someone recommend some nearby places to eat? Would prefer something more representative of the neighborhood. Otherwise, I would just as soon eat in my neighborhood. So I guess the question really is, are there any places worth checking out? Open as to food type, would prefer to keep costs reasonable (not looking for anything special, just a basic place that might be worth a visit while we're already there). Also, since we don't really know the area I'd prefer a place that's not hard to get to.
re: racer x
Racer x, sorry for the confusing message. What I meant to write was that I'm more interested in an "ethnic" restaurant that might reflect the character of the area's population. I thought the neighborhood had a fairly large immigrant community (don't recall exactly from where anymore) so I was more interested to visit restaurants with dishes from those regions. New Leaf is an interesting idea, too. I like Scott Campbell, and am happy to see he has another venture.
Thanks for the suggestion.
There are several ethnic/cultural conclaves in the neighborhood (Yuppies affiliated with Columbia U health sciences; Jews who work at or attend Yeshiva U; older Jewish retirees, including some Holocaust survivors; middle-class Manhattanites of all stripes who have been priced out of the rest of Manhattan; younger generations of Latin American and Caribbean immigrants and their families).
The largest community is Dominican, and most of the restaurants serve Dominican food. I haven't eaten in the neighborhood in a few years, so my suggestions may not be up to date. But some popular places in the past have been Albert's Mofongo House, La Casa del Mofongo, La Nueva Espana, and, further south, El Malecon.
Rancho Jubilee, which is not exactly cheap but isn't too far from The Cloisters, has a kitschy Dominican decor that appeals to some who are nostalgic for life "back home."
Hispaniola is an upscale fusion (Latin, Asian, Euro) place on 181st, if you're willing to try something a little different. (I've never been there.)
Try searches on Inwood or Hudson Heights.
Alberto's mofongo house is decent, but make sure you order something with gravy. The dry mofongos are pretty darn dry.
I haven't tried it, but someone recently recommended Mamajuana Cafe to me. Perhaps other Chowhounds can comment.
It all depends on which side of Ft Tryon you enter to go to the Cloisters. The north end of the park has more options in terms of dining, but I think the south end might have some of the better and more varied options.
As well as the immigrant groups already mentioned, historically the area is also very Greek and Irish. One of NYC's best burgers in an Irish pub is at Piper's Kilt on 207th and Broadway. But I've never seen any Greek food in the area.
Recently there's been an influx of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador to the neighborhood. Mexican food is more readily available around 181st and St Nicholas, Salvadorean food is available along a wide north to south swath of Broadway just below the park. La Cabaña Salvadoreña on 187 & Broadway (total hole in the wall, on the slightly grimy side) has some amazing Salvadorean tamales.
New Leaf Cafe inside Ft Tryon is very very nice for brunch, I find that dinner there is NOT worth the price tag. The service is well meaning but completely inattentive and slow. The food is ambitious in intent, and doesn't deliver on taste or execution. BUT I'll say again, that brunch there is excellent, some of the most delicious and inventive omelets I've had anywhere.
i thought id reply to this since i went to the cloisters yesterday and then went to new leaf for brunch afterwards. i thought for 18.99 there would be more food, or at least more than 1 course. you had a pretty decent choice (i had duck confit with poached eggs and cheese grits) but it only came with coffee and a small gladd of OJ. I guess if I spending almost $20 for brunch I would think it would at least be 2 courses....not even a bread basket ! (muffin / bread basket was extra 8 or 9). Anyways, its a nice restaurant, great atmosphere but food wise I dont think its worth the $$.
New Leaf Restaurant & Bar
1 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040
Casa de Mofongo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! very good and reasonable-staff barely speaks english but you'll get by-very large restaurant but not packed during day time. you will love!