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Apr 8, 2009 08:21 AM

Restaurant recommendaions - very clear likes/dislikes. Hope you can help!

There are many great tips here on the boards already and I have read many of the "best of NYC" (e.g. TOP "essential" New York Restaurants $ to $$$$) ones. But I was hoping you could help me find some restaurants that match my personal preferences.... I have 10 days in New York City (and Fairfield, CT) so long lists are welcome :)

Thanks in advance!

I'm in to:
- Japanese: black cod miso, tuna tataki, wagyu beef, soft shell crab and anything with ponzu sauce ;)
- Steak: specifically 'bistecca alla fiorentina' (I believe you call it T-Bone or Porterhouse)
- Bakery and deserts: blueberry pancakes, green-tea ice-cream, rhubarb tarts (Paul's in Paris style if you happen to know these), taro buns.
- Thai: the basics... pad thai, tom yum.
- Lebanese: anything from falafel with taboulleh, tahine, humus and labneh to lamb with pomegranate.
- Moroccan: tajines, pastilla.
- Italian: from artichoke a la giuda (fried) to a good pizza with eggplant.
- Russian/Ukrainian: borsht, pelmeni, blini, vareniki, pirozhki.
- Spanish (ajo blanco, good jamon, manchego and anchovies) or Mexican, but prefer to eat that locally....

I try to avoid:
- French / New American: foie gras, marrow, caviar.
- Going to restaurants requiring a suit / dinner jacket
- Making reservations weeks ahead
- Paying more than $100 per person

I haven't tried yet:
- Vietnamese
- Korean (besides some kimchi)
- Argentinian (besides empanadas)

So I hope this helps shape your suggestions!

Lastly, one specific question: is Nobu (any of the 3) in New York really that much worse than in London or Milan?


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  1. Hmmm.... I realize I should have made the title more catchy, but I hope there is still some people out there willing to help me out :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: yosemite44

      yosemite44, you might want to make a preliminary list of restaurant possibilities from your research on the Board's best lists . . . .does the $100 or less pp include tax and tip? Are you limited to any neighborhoods? What restaurants have you already been to in NYC?

      When Nobu first opened it was cutting edge (Kobe did a post on this awhile back). I haven't been in a long time and it was good, just not that innovative.

      1. re: financialdistrictresident

        I haven't been to many places in NYC. I did spend a semester at Fairfield University and therefore quite some time in the city.... however, on a student budget - so that was quite different.

        In terms of neighbourhoods - I would prefer Manhattan, as I will stay in CT for most of my trip and it's easier to get back from Manhattan.

        In terms of money - Ideally the $100 would include tax and tips, but that can change depending on the dollar/euro exchange rate ;)

    2. For Thai, I really like Jaiya Thai on 28th and 3rd Ave.
      For great spanish food, Casa Mono or Boqueria both serve excellent spanish tapas/ raciones.

      Blueberry Pancakes: Clinton St. Baking Co.

      But while you are in NYC, you may want to branch out and go "off-list" and get things that NYC restaurants specialize in. For instance the Pastrami at Sarges/ Katz's is something you can only get here. For steak I highly recommend wolfgangs, peter lugers or Keens. You can also go to keens and get the Mutton chop, also a classic NYC experience.

      There are hundreds of excellent italian restaurants in the city, although I'll leave it to others to recommend which ones have the specific dishes you are looking for.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Spends Rent on Food

        Thanks for the Thai and Spanish tips! Clinton St. Baking was already on my lists as they seem to excel in blueberry pancakes :)

        And of course I am open to go off-list, so thanks for those tips as well !

        1. re: yosemite44

          I think Clinton Street is overrated (and you get to wait in a long line too). One woman's opinion. Try Shopsin's in the Essex Street Market (Lower East Side aka LES neighborhood) instead. As soon as I get my pink slip I'm heading to Shopsin's for slutty pancakes . . . .

          Also suggest you do RGR's LES walking tour. Enjoy and have fun!

        2. re: Spends Rent on Food

          In terms of Ukrainian, you can try Ukrainian National Home for a sit-down dinner (2nd Ave btw St Marks and 9th) Stage for counter service (2nd Ave, btw 7th and and St. Marks) and Streecha (on 7th St between 2nd and 3rd avenues) The later is only open on weekends from 12-3 but it's very is prepared by women from the Ukrainian church across the street. The borscht and varenyky are very good at all these places.

          1. re: ukitali

            Based on your responses and all the other great input I got on this website I narrowed down my choices to the following, hope you can help me fine-tune it!

            - Middle Eastern: Taim or Moustache. Which one would you pick?

            - Japanese. Sakagura is a no-brainer: close to Grand Central (we'll be staying in CT for some nights), special location and great reviews. But I'm still not sure what other Japanese places to go to: Nobu (Original, 57?), Sushi Azabu, Yakitori Totto, Hagi, Megu, Ippudo. I prefer a wider menu than just sushi & sashimi so Azabu is off... but what about the other ones?

            - Specials. I am definitely going to Momofuku Ssam and Milk Bar - to see what the hype is about... and because we have no pork buns in Europe :)

            - Vietnamese. Here is where I am still guessing the most. Most of you seem to say that bahn mi (another thing we don't have over here) is good almost anywhere in NYC (Siagon, Nicky's, Doyers)... is that really the case?

            - Latin American. Here I am torn between Macondo (trendy), La Esquina (trendy but mixed reviews), Cafe Habana (the corn on the cob) and Empanada Mama. Or should I include an entirely different one?

            Ow, and I'll definitely try the Pastrami on Rye at Katz and the porterhouse at Peter Luger!

            Thanks for the advice....!

            1. re: yosemite44

              taim is much more casual; essentially a take out sandwich place. moustache is more of a sit down restaurant, and i love moustache--exquisitely fresh food, brightly flavored.

              banh mi is awesome, period, but much much better at saigon than nicky's imho.

              yakitori totto is awesome, and the food is delicious.

        3. i strongly suggest the prix-fixe $35 5-6 course meal at matsugen in tribeca...beautiful restaurant, great service, and a nice night out. food is outstanding and the prix-fixe is a total steal. bottles of quality whites are $30-40. the prix fixe includes sushi, cooked japanese, excellent ramen noodles and more. i usually add a few extra sushi items though.

          also, check out ippudo on 4th ave. best ramen in nyc hands down. try the hirata pork buns...much better than momofuku ssam. gets very crowded but you can make reservations in person. i suggest you go downtown, drop by and put your name down and then shop or get a drink in the area and come back. get extra pork belly in your soup!

          not a huge italian steak fan...but i suggest favorite steakhouse and a nyc institution. i prefer it to peter lugers these days.

          for spanish, casa mono may be a nice idea.