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One weekend only in NYC, help!

Hey all,

Haven't been to NYC in years, but wanted to make sure we have all wonderful meals throughout the weekend. Can you guys help pick some spots?

I have a table at Morimoto (I know, I know) for dinner, but other than that, can someone help?! Tried calling for a reservation at Babbo but to no avail. Not looking to get crazy at places like Per Se, Daniel, etc.. but a scale back from those types.

We must eat:

Pizza (Sit down but true NY style)
American / Steak

Any particular brunch spots as well?

Going through Yelp and Opentable is like navigating a maze. Any help from the locals will be greatly greatly appreciated and if you ever need suggestions in Chicago, I'm your guy!


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  1. For Sushi, look into Sushi Yasuda (expensive, but not more than Morimoto), or Kanoyama or Sushi Azuba.

    Co. is great for sit down pizza, but not so much NY style.
    Gramercy Tavern or Blue Hill for American, Keens for steak or Peter Luger for Steak.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ian9139

      If OP is worried about cost, I would definitely look into Kanoyama, Sushi Azabu (it's Azabu not Azuba), or Ushiwakamaru. Reservations highly recommended.

      I also like Co., but agree that it is Naples style not NY style. Patsy's of East Harlem is more NY style because it was a coal fired oven, if you are willing to go that far uptown.

    2. It's not sushi, but I highly recommend Momofuku Ssam (or any other) for the amazing steamed pork buns among other things.

      For brunch/breakfast, we really the Popover cafe. I highly recommend looking at some local nyc food blogs. do a google search or check out sites like eaterny or the NYT food and wine section online.

      Happy eating.

      Leah Klein
      Boston Family Foodie (formerly of NYC with a foodie mom still eating her way through the city)

      1. Quick thoughts: "Sugiyama" for japanese. "Craftsteak" for steak. "Churrascaria" - fun place for steak/meat feast. "Clinton" restaurant downtown or "Norma's" (inside the hotel) for brunch (or breakfast).

        1 Reply
        1. re: elskin

          Sugiyama is Japanese, but not sushi, per se.

          For brunch, elskin is mentioning "Clinton Street Baking Company." I would avoid Norma's if you are not looking to spend a lot of money.

        2. For steak, definitely Keens, which has been in its 36th St. location since 1885. Thus, in addition to delicious steaks, chops (including the signature mutton chop), sides, etc., there is the unmatchable Old New York ambiance.


          Posto, on the corner of 2nd Av. & 18th St., has very good thin crust pizza.


          For brunch, Aquavit's Sunday smorgasbord is excellent, especially if you like herring, salmon, and smoked fish.


          1 Reply
          1. Nothing wrong with Morimoto as long as you stick with the cooked dishes. Sushi isn't their strength, so go to Sushi Yasuda or 15 East for sushi.

            As for Babbo, you can always line up at 5pm outside of the restaurant to grab a spot at the bar. It's still a great experience and the food there is fantastic!

            I will definitely second RGR's suggestion of Keens for steak. For American, Gramercy Tavern is a landmark in Manhattan, and you may also consider Craft (which you can have steaks and American at the same time). For brunch, perhaps Balthazar (French) or Barney Greengrass (lox ) which are classic NYC establishments that no visitors should miss?

            Please remember to go to Katz's for pastrami! You haven't visited NYC if you haven't been to Katz's!

            1 Reply
            1. re: kobetobiko

              For Babbo, I would make sure I actually go there before 5pm as a lot other people know about that tip as well. Note that they open the bar area half an hour or so before they serve dinner. You can dine at the bar. And there are a handful of tables reserved for walk-ins. Arriving before they open the doors will get you first chance at those tables and those bar seats.

              Babbo serves dinner during the following hours:
              Mon - Sat: 5:30 -11:30PM
              Sunday: 5:00 -11:00PM

            2. make sure you grab a ny hotdog from someplace like papaya king on 3rd ave/e86th st.

              it's how a hotdog was made to be served, not piled high with distractions ;)

              wash it done with a papaya drink. that's it!

                1. re: kathryn

                  All these places sound great. As for Italian, Im hearing Celeste. Can anyone confirm or deny? Balthazar for Brunch sounds fantastic, can anyone recommend something in SoHo? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh so many places to eat, so little time!!!

                  1. re: QMTrader

                    For steak, I have to add Strip House. Italian, Convivio. American, if you feel like Upper West Side, Ouest is a good option. 11 Madison also very good but probably a little more expensive. Enjoy!

                    1. re: QMTrader

                      I found Celeste very underwhelming when I went with my family. It's fairly cheap, and therefore absolutely crushed, because it's on the Upper West Side. But it is by no means great. If you wanted to go to Babbo, you'd really be barking up the wrong tree to settle for Celeste. If you want to save some money, Lupa is for my money an excellent 2-star restaurant, by comparison with Babbo, an excellent 3-star restaurant (caveat: due to price, I've been to Lupa probably around a dozen times but to Babbo only once so far, and other hounds have had different experiences at the latter than my brother and I did). Otherwise, consider some of the other upscale Italian restaurants people recommend on this board - none of which I could personally give you pro and con on, not having tried them. But keep in mind that cheap restaurants with rare exceptions simply don't use ingredients of comparable quality or take comparable care of them to a place like Babbo - where I had easily my best meal in New York for a few years (to give one comparison, it blew away a lovely, memorable meal with wine pairings selected by the bartender at the Enoteca of Al Di La in Park Slope a couple of years earlier), until my recent meal at Degustation.

                      Balthazar is in Soho, and I do recommend it.

                  2. My favorite sushi in the city is Sushi of Gari - the omakase there is to die for. 3 locations, the Upper West Side is by far the nicest and not difficult to get a reservation (at the sushi bar). I second the Strip House recommendation - their truffled cream spinach is off the charts. Balthazaar for brunch is great - always a good meal and atmosphere. Pizza - Lombardi's in Soho is classic.

                    1. New York style pizza:

                      I don't like Lombardi's (or didn't a few years ago, the last, and I mean LAST time I went there).

                      I recommend Patsy's in East Harlem (1st Av. between 117th and 118th Sts.). If you prefer to be downtown, Arturo's pizza is not as thin as Patsy's, but it's good, and I particularly recommend their clam pizza (it may not be on the menu as such, but they'll be happy to make it for you - and by the way, the last time I tried the vaunted clam pizza at Lombardi's, it was a totally dry mess) - plus, there's good live jazz there. Arturo's is on the corner of West Houston and Thompson.