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Apr 27, 2009 12:24 PM

Murray Hill eats

My husband and I will be in town this weekend for the TD Bank Five Boro Bike tour. We're staying in the Murray HIll neighborhood and are looking for a simple dinner Saturday night. Something within walking distance, no entree's over $20, BYOB is fine. Doesn't matter what type of food. Suggestions?

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  1. Ali Baba on East 34th between Second & Third Aves...great Turkish food. it's a neighborhood favorite, and within your designated price range...

    Ali Baba Turkish Cuisine
    212 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

    2 Replies
    1. I'd recommend Saravanaas, 26th and Lexington, except that whether you'd consider their spicy, tasty, oily vegetarian food (savory pancakes, etc.) "simple" seems highly questionable to me. They don't meet my definition of "simple," either. Then again, I'm not sure Ali Baba does.

      You know what I'd suggest for you? 2nd Av. Deli. You can get simple Jewish deli food there, and they'll make it lean for you, if you so desire. Their lean pastrami is quite acceptable, though I find it tastier with some more fat. You can get good matzo ball soup there, and their kasha varnishkes are very tasty. The place serves up comfort food. They even give you very good house-made cole slaw with no mayo on it as a free side.

      13 Replies
      1. re: Pan

        2nd Ave Deli is way overpriced. If you aren't kosher, hit up Sarges a couple blocks up on 3rd ave.

        1. re: travpard

          I remain personally unfamiliar with Sarge's, but while I rather agree that the prices can be shockingly high at 2nd Av. Deli, they do fit within Bridget's budget and their food may meet her needs. But maybe Sarge's is better for similar food; I couldn't say.

          1. re: Pan

            2nd ave deli is far superior to Sarge's.

            1. re: foodwhisperer

              Whether 2nd Av. Deli is "far superior" to Sarge's is a matter of personal opinion. My experiences say otherwise, especially with regard to the pastrami.

              1. re: RGR

                Count me in as preferring 2nd Ave Deli's pastrami to Sarge's. As someone who has eaten a lot at both places, for the quality, 2nd Ave Deli wins. And it's worth paying a slight bit more.

                I once ordered the fatty pastrami and it was way too fatty even for me, especially now that I have GERD.

        2. re: Pan

          I disagree with you about the pastrami, Pan. During our one visit to the 2nd Av. Deli, I ordered my pastrami "extra-fatty." What I got was pastrami with practically no fat on it. Blech! I shudder to think what would the state of the pastrami would be if one ordered it "lean." I suspect, shoe leather! I do agree that the chicken/matzo ball soup is fine, and the round potato knish is delicious. I also took home a piece of knoblewurst, and it was excellent.

          *The* place to have pastrami in Murray Hill is definitely Sarge's. A different style from Katz's but equally delicious. And consistently so. The chicken with matzo ball soup is as good as 2nd Avenue's, and the cole slaw is first-rate. They've re-done the interior, so it's not as grungy as it used to be (though I kind of miss that), and it's more spacious and comfortable than 2nd Avenue.

          1. re: RGR

            Your experiences with 2nd Av. Deli's pastrami are very different from mine. I'm not sure what accounts for that, but there it is.

          2. re: Pan

            "They don't meet my definition of "simple," either. Then again, I'm not sure Ali Baba does."
            what's complicated about spreads, salads & kebabs? and before someone blasts me, yes, i *know* that's an over-simplification and that there's more to Turkish cuisine (and Ali Baba's menu) than that...but it's not as though they're preparing everything in immersion circulators or topping all the dishes with foams or 12-ingredient gastriques. i'm just sayin'...

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I fully agree, goodhealthgourmet. There isn't anything particularly complicated about a lot of the food being served at Ali Baba. Many dishes served there are things a reasonably adept home cook can whip up. I make a very respectable baba ghanoush, and there's nothing hard about grilling lamb chops.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                No, not like that. I was thinking that it might not be simple to digest before a bike tour. But individuals - and their systems - are all different.

                1. re: Pan

                  aha, totally not what i thought you meant. still, a simple kebab platter with rice & salad would be a great dinner the night before a long ride.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I don't think so, but as I said, individuals and their digestive systems are all different.

              2. re: Pan

                I'd avoid Saravanaas to the point of walking around the block. I just went and can't believe that's the best of south India food.

                My review:

              3. Les Halles is pretty reasonable - French/steak bistro. Not too expensive. It's not BYOB but if you're not drinking too much it's fine.

                Also, Penelope on 30th and Lex is adorable and affordable. They may have a bar - you might have to call to check about BYOB.

                4 Replies
                1. re: LBNJNY

                  Except the food at Les Halles is bad and the environment is even worse.

                  1. re: ESNY

                    Les Halles is awful in every way that counts to: food, service, seating, and noise level.

                    1. re: RGR

                      In the spirit of "For every opinion, there is an equal and opposite opinion", I respectfully disagree 100% with ESNY and RGR. I have had superb meals at Les Halles and excellent service. I can be noisy but I have yet to find it to be unbearable,

                      1. re: Fydeaux

                        A long Les Halles thread from last summer (their outdoor seating is a plus) including our lunch experience:


                        Inconsistent . . . .

                        Serge is in Murray Hill and I believe they have a prix fixe dinner. There might be pasta for the cyclists. We went again last month.

                2. you will be right by koreatown