Looking For The Best Of Everything Walkable From The Subway
I usually go to New York a couple of times a year. Of course, I have my favorite places to eat. But I wanted to hear from the best of you which restaurants/food stores you felt were the best in any particular category. I'll list mine, but I would certainly like to hear yours. One condition is that we never have a car when we are in town, so whatever listed needs to be walkable (within 10 blocks in a reasonably safe neighborhood) from the subway.
Pickles: Gus's (come on, there is no substitute)
Pastrami: Katz's (I know it's debatable, but I just don't like 2nd Ave, and Ben's is OK, but not close to Katz's)
Cuban: Little Havana, followed by Victor's
Corned Beef: Carnegie Deli (OK, touristy, but the Corned Beef is great)
Pizza: Still looking for great, but John's is good. Ray's is so-so
Rugalah: Ben Ash's (the only thing there I think is good)
Chinese Food: Wo Hop's
Pot Stickers: Dumpling House
Steak: Spark's (Peter Luger's tastes spoiled to me, though I do like their Strudel/Schlag combo)
Knishes: Maybe I don't like any except what my mother made. Don't like Yonah Schimmel's, Zabar's or Knish Nosh
Donuts: The Doughnut Plant
Blintzes: Stage Deli
Lemon Cupcakes: Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery
Hot Dogs: Not bowled over by Nathan's or Papaya Dog, which seems to be OK, but the only real attraction is that it is cheap.
Soul Food: Londel's
Well, that's my list. How about yours? I once had a great Indian meal at a nice restaurant on the Upper West Side, but it was back in 86, and I can't remember the name. So, I'd love to hear favorites. Indian? Spanish? Puerto Rican/Mofongo? Others?
For dumplings and pot stickers, look at Vanessa's on Eldridge. The one on 14th has the same menu for three times the prices. And if you're up for a trip to Queens, take the R/V to Elmhurst and walk east on Whitney for half a block to the first strip of shops. I don't know the name of the place, but they have excellent dumplings (fried or steamed) and hand-pulled noodle soup.
I also like the "Make Your Own" Sundae from Serendipity 3, using Chocolate Ice Cream, Hot Fudge and Peanut Butter Fudge. But they can be very rude and arrogant there, and they recently received a bad health dept. report, so this is on my "maybe not" list. I'll just learn how to make that Peanut Butter Fudge sauce myself and make it at home.
I think most Manhattan residents don't have a car, or aren't willing to deal with the hassle of parking/driving, so basically you're just "Looking for The Best Of Everything" in Manhattan.
For pizza, best in Manhattan right now is probably a toss up between Co. or Una Pizza Napoletana.
For rugalah, I've always been partial to Zabar's.
For Chinese: Grand Sichuan, Szechuan Gourmet, Chinatown Brasserie (upscale dim sum), Peking Duck House (just peking duck), the dumplings at TKettle, but a lot depends on what you're looking for (regional styles, particular dishes, etc.)