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Dec 1, 2008 05:21 PM

First Time in NYC-Looking For Restaurant Recommendations!

My boyfriend and I are going to be in NYC from Dec 30-Jan 2 and we'll be staying at the Carlton Arms hotel which is on the corner of 25th St and 3rd Ave. I wouldn't call us foodies but we love good food and all cuisines. We're looking for some recommendations of places we must go to while we're in town, whether it be street carts, a little hole in the wall or a gourmet restaurant. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. do a search on the manhattan board for "kip's bay" and "gramercy park", the neighborhoods you are in / near. you'll find a lot of hits.

    among other things, you'll probably find referenes to casa mono (tapas joint) and penelope (best for brunch).

    it'll probably help you get suggestions if you narrow down your request by neighborhood, cuisines, and price range.

    8 Replies
    1. re: cimui

      We're pretty much open to go to any neighborhood within the city. As for cuisines we like Mexican, Asian (Korean BBQ, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Dim Sum), and French. We would like to have one nice dinner (100/pp w/o drinks), one prix fixe lunch, a few bargain places and then some mid range places. I hope that helps..

      1. re: siserila

        yup, that's great.

        you're in a perfect area for s. indian (look into saravannas and chennai garden / wander around 29th and lexington) and korean bbq (madansui in particular, but lots of other places on e. 32nd).

        walk or take the 6 train north to the east 40s for a lot of great japanese. aburriya kinosuke is good for a small plates meal, sushi yasuda excellent for sushi.

        i'd suggest yasuda for your really nice dinner. he'll stay within that price range.

        35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

        1. re: siserila

          if you like Dim Sum, you should check out Restaurant 84. I went there the other day and i must say the food and price is amazing. $1.80 for each Dim Sum dish!! can't go wrong with that! try their roast pork bun, it's the perfect little snack.

          Also, they have shabu shabu at night.

          hope this helps.

          Restaurant 84
          84 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002

        2. re: cimui

          I would only do the places for bbq on 32nd that use wood not gas. go to kanoyama for sushi, soba koh for soba, katz's for pastrami, golden unicorn for dim sum, Toon's for thai. E.6th st for lots of indian or closer to you 28th and lexington

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            What place(s) on 6th do you like? I live in the East Village and don't eat Indian food on 6th St.

            I disagree with your preferences on Korean BBQ. Madangsui is great because of the quality of the meat, etc. Wood vs. gas is not the only criterion.

            Oh, also, why Golden Unicorn? I haven't been there in years, but never really found a huge difference in quality between big eating halls like Golden Unicorn, Harmony Palace, and Jing Fong, whereas Dim Sum Go Go is quite a bit finer and more consistent.

            1. re: Pan

              Pan, you are right about the Korean, as far as wood vs gas is not the onoy criteria. Kan Suh was however better when they used wood years ago. The meat quality at 32 w 32 is good and they use wood.
              As far as dim sum,,, Golden Unicorn's quality as of late is excellent . far far far superior to the overrated Jing Fong. DimSum a GO GO loses the feel of dim sum having no carts. Some dishes are creative , the food is good, but you pay more for no reason. Good for those prefer shitake dumplings over chicken feet. Ive never been to harmony palace. 30 Pell formerly called Hong Gung and has had several names since used to be my favorite place, i have not been there in a year ,last time quality was poor. CHatham has good dim sum but no carts and limited variety. King Sea Food is definitely a good choice for dim sum, limited in tourists because the name doesnt imply dim sum, on weekend you can beat the crowd ,, it is a good size place but never have to wait, the variety is great. They have separate area where they prepare fresh turnip cakes and more , very good place.

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                I agree with you about Kang Suh. I appreciate your dim sum recommendations. Where's King Sea Food? That's one I don't know. I don't have any inordinate love for carts, though: I don't eat carts. And by the way, the chicken feet are pretty good at Dim Sum Go Go.

              2. re: Pan

                I would agree with staying away from the indians on E.6th Street as the quality is not good. I have a theory that all the food food comes out of one kitchen linked to all the restaurants by a tunnel..because no matter which one i eat in it all tastes the same!

          2. also search for places in "murray hill."

            1 Reply
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              good suggestion.

              here's a long thread:

              (i particularly like ali baba and ethos in kip's bay /murray hill.)

            2. one more suggestion...not a restaurant, but definitely check out Kalustyan's at 29th & Lex. amazing international spice/food market, and they have an indian deli upstairs.

              1 Reply
              1. Olana would be a very nice place for your special dinner, is only a few blocks from where you are staying, and will easily fit your budget. Eleven Madison Park would also qualify, and the food is wonderful. If you would like something more unusual, try Degustation, and have the 10-course tasting (only $75). You sit at a counter and watch the staff prepare the food in the open kitchen right in front of you, something you will not normally find other than at sushi bars.

                16 Replies
                1. re: rrems

                  EMP for a prix fixe lunch would work. (sadly no $100 dinners, there.)

                  1. re: cimui

                    The 3-course prix-fixe dinner is $88.

                    1. re: rrems

                      you're right -- looks like they still offer it. i'd heard they'd gotten rid of that option for some reason.

                      1. re: cimui

                        Thank you everyone for all the suggestions. I asked my boyfriend about our budget and instead of $100pp for dinner, we're going to raise it to 150-175pp. So that may give us a few more options for a nicer dinner.

                        One more thing, we're planning on going to a concert at MSG for NYE. Any suggestions for an early-ish dinner?

                        1. re: siserila

                          $100 pp without drinks should be quite enough, actually. rrems's suggestion of EMP is a very good one. three courses actually feels pretty substantial given that you also receive a plate of amuse bouches before the meal and a plate of mignardise after.

                          other great places i love in town: the modern dining room in midtown, ouest on the uws (kind of a pain for you to get to), gramercy tavern (also with a good-value prix fixe and very close to you on e. 20). the weather isn't all that conducive to sushi and sashimi, but it is the season for fantastic uni, so you might want to bundle up and think about paying soto a visit. it's in the w. village. (b/d/f/v to w. 4th st. stop)

                          my only suggestion for MSG: eat in another neighborhood and then go. good food is not impossible to find nearby, but it's hard.

                          1. re: cimui

                            I think we'll definitely go to Eleven Madison Park. What is the suggested attire or what can you get away with wearing there?

                            1. re: siserila

                              a lot of folks like to go there partly in order to dress up. there's a grand ballroom feel to the place with its enormously high ceilings and oversized vases. that said, last time i took my college aged little brother, he insisted on wearing his standard uniform of wrinkled khakis, a t-shirt (solid color) and sambas with white sport socks. the wait staff was perfectly nice to him. i'd feel comfortable in anything from a suit for work (could just be a shell with skirt or trousers) to a cocktail dress.

                              1. re: cimui

                                Do you think nice jeans and a nice collared shirt would be acceptable?

                                1. re: siserila

                                  I really would not wear jeans to EMP and I don't remember seeing anyone do so when I've been there, though it doesn't look like it's explicitly prohibited. EMP's website just says "We ask that you wear proper attire. No shorts, t-shirts, or sneakers are allowed."

                                  BTW, if you want to do additional research, I've found that one of the better ways to search is to focus on a cuisine. There are lots of posts out there debating the "best bbq in nyc" or "best korea" or "best sushi", etc...

                                  Hope you have a really enjoyable visit, siserila.

                                  1. re: siserila

                                    For dinner at a "nice " restaurant in NY, most places are not casual. Many diners come directly from work, and business attire, suit and tie for men, dress or suit for women,is the norm.

                                    In the $100 price range pp of your French pick, most people will be dressed for a special evening out. Many restautrants have a dress code. YTou might want to ask when you call and reserve.

                                    1. re: Fleur

                                      Dress code: "No shirt, no shoes, no service." Just kidding. But seriously, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like most restaurants in New York nowadays have guidelines, more than actual dress codes such that if you show up wearing jeans, they will bar you from entry or otherwise give you grief. The days of "jackets required" are largely past. But yeah, a phone call before you go never hurts, that's for sure.

                                      1. re: Pan

                                        Pan, I think you are right about "guidelines" for many places. Jackets are required for men at places like RIVER CAFE.

                                        IMO, it is nice to dress up for dinner at a really nice restaurant. At many of the top restaurants in NY, people go to celebrate a special occasion, or are tourists. It seems to me that aside from my own personal taste, it is out of respect for the other diners that people dress appropriately.

                                        People make reservations long in advance for DEL POSTO or CHANTERELLE, or similar restaurants to celebrate a special birthday, engagement, anniversary, and arrive to find other diners dressed like slobs. Not a pretty picture.

                                        1. re: Fleur

                                          Fleur, I beg to differ on the respect for other diners you should dress up. In the days of Lutecel where they required not only a jacket but a tie also , and the Russian Tea Room would give you an embarrassing waiter's jacket if you didnt have a jacket ,, the "uniform" of jacket and tie is an absurdity ,,, In some places that required jackets , celebreties would wear just sweaters, especially Bill Cosby. I agree on drawing the line with no tank tops , shorts, etc ,, but even the no jeeans rule is kind of stupid. If you wear jeans and sport jacket it dresses it up , yet it is still jeans,, so "no jeans" doesnt even make sense.. I think if you want good food, and you arent dressed "properly" money talks,, if you pay you can play. If you feel embarrassed dressing unlike other patrons , then it is your choice to leave. Restaurants should serve all who want to eat there. They can discriminate against women in Saris, men in turbans or jalabas ,, dress from other countries based on a jacket required rule ,, or I've seen "no hats' in a few restaurants , specifically aimed at minorities who they knew would wear hats,,,, its about the food , not the dress. and if you have the money to eat at the "fancy" places,, go and enjoy ,,, I personally went to one of those places with jeans and sweat shirt recently ,, ordinarily id have dressed better, but i was real casual , running around uptown (the stuffy area) , and was hungry ,, I asked the maitre d" if its ok the way im dressed, that i was hungry and was in mood for caviar,,,, they welcomed me , as slobby as I was dressed,, they economy is certainly loosening dress codes, business is not being turned away ,,, So wear what you want and eat what you want ,,

                            2. re: siserila

                              I'm not sure when Madangsui opens (are they 24 hours, like most other Korean restaurants in the neighborhood?), but they serve delicious Korean barbeque at more like $50/person, with an excellent 8-dish banchan (complimentary side dishes) plus a free bowl of dwaenjang jigae (spicy, hearty soup based on spicy bean paste). Good service, moderately upscale ambiance (for example, compared to the diner-like atmosphere of a place like Han Bat, but not a real high-end place like Jean-Georges), but a good value and not expensive. 35 St. between 5th and 6th Avs.

                              1. re: Pan

                                Thank you everyone for the suggestions. The help has been much appreciated.

                                1. re: siserila

                                  We enjoyed Turkish Kitchen, which is on Third Ave between 27th & 28th. As far as something near MSG, the is Khean's Chophouse for steaks as one choice. Also, if it turns out the weather is good and you want to walk from your hotel to the Garden, you can stop at Artisinal which is on 32nd(?) right off Park Ave.

                    2. Gramercy Tavern...Wolfgangs