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Murray Hill eats

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Bridget1720 Apr 27, 2009 12:24 PM

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. goodhealthgourmet RE: Bridget1720 Apr 27, 2009 12:35 PM

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

    http://www.alibabaturkishcuisine.com/

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
      LeahBaila RE: goodhealthgourmet Apr 27, 2009 01:32 PM

      Second that.

      www.thelunchbelle.com

      1. re: LeahBaila
        t
        travpard RE: LeahBaila Apr 27, 2009 06:41 PM

        Third

    2. p
      Pan RE: Bridget1720 Apr 27, 2009 10:09 PM

      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
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        travpard RE: Pan Apr 28, 2009 01:34 PM

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

        1. re: travpard
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          Pan RE: travpard Apr 28, 2009 10:51 PM

          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
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            foodwhisperer RE: Pan Apr 29, 2009 09:42 PM

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

            1. re: foodwhisperer
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              RGR RE: foodwhisperer Apr 30, 2009 08:58 AM

              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
                w
                windycity RE: RGR May 1, 2009 06:33 PM

                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
          r
          RGR RE: Pan Apr 28, 2009 01:48 PM

          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
            p
            Pan RE: RGR Apr 28, 2009 10:47 PM

            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
            goodhealthgourmet RE: Pan Apr 28, 2009 02:07 PM

            "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
              r
              RGR RE: goodhealthgourmet Apr 28, 2009 02:23 PM

              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
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                Pan RE: goodhealthgourmet Apr 28, 2009 10:49 PM

                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
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: Pan Apr 29, 2009 11:37 AM

                  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
                    p
                    Pan RE: goodhealthgourmet Apr 29, 2009 01:34 PM

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

              2. re: Pan
                alwayscooking RE: Pan May 1, 2009 01:58 PM

                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: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/616404

              3. l
                LBNJNY RE: Bridget1720 Apr 28, 2009 01:46 PM

                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. www.penelopenyc.com.

                4 Replies
                1. re: LBNJNY
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                  ESNY RE: LBNJNY Apr 28, 2009 02:35 PM

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

                  1. re: ESNY
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                    RGR RE: ESNY Apr 28, 2009 05:17 PM

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

                    1. re: RGR
                      f
                      Fydeaux RE: RGR Apr 30, 2009 09:20 AM

                      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
                        financialdistrictresident RE: Fydeaux May 1, 2009 02:22 PM

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

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/498072

                        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. www.brasseriecafecreme.com

                2. thew RE: Bridget1720 Apr 28, 2009 02:26 PM

                  you will be right by koreatown

                  1. subinai RE: Bridget1720 Apr 28, 2009 02:58 PM

                    waterfront ale house!

                    1. b
                      bob96 RE: Bridget1720 Apr 29, 2009 12:29 AM

                      Haven't been for a while, but Da Ciro (Lex/33) might be a good choice--straightforward pastas, plus brick oven pizza, and a special robiola cheese-stuffed focaccia.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bob96
                        m
                        maxinem RE: bob96 May 1, 2009 03:48 PM

                        Da Ciro is still great. We eat there about once a week. The pastas are good and the baby chicken cooked in the wood burning oven is the best!

                      2. thew RE: Bridget1720 Apr 29, 2009 05:01 AM

                        dhaba on 27th(?) and lex is good indian

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: thew
                          LeahBaila RE: thew Apr 29, 2009 06:18 AM

                          Dhaba is great...Second that.

                          www.thelunchbelle.com

                        2. s
                          silencespeak RE: Bridget1720 Apr 29, 2009 05:51 AM

                          Along with Ali Baba, Tiffin Wallah (South Indian) is another neighborhood favorite, particularly for their famous $6 all you can eat vegetarian/vegan lunch buffet. It's a fantastic deal and very tasty.

                          1. Motosport RE: Bridget1720 Apr 29, 2009 06:50 AM

                            We live in Murray Hill. Our favorite inexpensive places:
                            BYBLOS 39th just East of 3rd Ave. Great authentic Syrian/Lebanese food
                            Fagiolinis 39th and Lex excellent inexpensive Italian
                            Sams Place 39th and Lex excellent inexpensive Italian
                            Josies 37 and 3rd eclectic with lots of reasonable entrees
                            El Rio Grande 3rd ave between 37 and 38 great Mexican outdoor dining
                            Hane sushi om 38th and 3rd
                            Dukes 37 and 3rd low key BBQ and Ribs
                            Blue Smoke for BBQ and Ribs in the 20's bet Lex and Park

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Motosport
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                              RGR RE: Motosport Apr 29, 2009 07:52 AM

                              We've not been to Byblos in ages. I particularly liked the mixed mezzes plate and the grilled lamb chops. One of these days, we'll have to get back there.

                              I think Blue Smoke's bbq is just o.k., but the burger is first-rate.

                              I've been wanting to try Fagiolini and have it on my "go to" list. Do you have any particular favorites there?

                              1. re: RGR
                                Motosport RE: RGR May 4, 2009 12:30 PM

                                At Fagiolini's I usually get whtever is on the "Special" menu. Maybe it is not excellent as I said but for the price it can't be beat. We have gone there many times and with small groups. No one ever complains.

                            2. m
                              mbs RE: Bridget1720 Apr 29, 2009 07:04 AM

                              Fav's:
                              El Parador
                              Ali Baba
                              Sam's Place
                              Vezzo
                              Sarge's
                              Tony's, Iron or Amber for Japanese

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: mbs
                                r
                                RGR RE: mbs Apr 29, 2009 07:54 AM

                                I had read many raves about El Parador, but I'm sorry to say that when we finally tried it, the food was very disappointing. I had a shrimp dish that barely managed to rise above mediocre.

                                1. re: RGR
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                                  mbs RE: RGR Apr 29, 2009 08:01 AM

                                  Sorry to hear that...I have been back to El Parador over 20 times and love it every time....great Margaritas and even better service..I have taken people who have ordered things and didnt love a particular dish...I'd say try it again!

                                  For fagiolini, I have been twice...nothing special-Food is OK, very hot in there...I prefer Sam's Place which is right across the street

                                  1. re: mbs
                                    r
                                    RGR RE: mbs Apr 29, 2009 09:30 AM

                                    I'm really not too inclined to return to El Parador. And now that you say the food at Fagiolini is nothing special, I'll probably skip it.

                                    I've passed Sam's Place many times but have never thought about trying it. From looking at the website, it appears it's old school Italian-American. What dishes do you think they do especially well?.

                                    1. re: RGR
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                                      mbs RE: RGR Apr 29, 2009 09:42 AM

                                      Sam's had been around forever! The owner is very friendly...on the floor every single time I have been. He even takes orders, comes over to say hi to everyone....you can tell everyone there has been there many times.
                                      They will let you bring your own wine *not sure if there is a fee because we just order off their wine list...
                                      They bring you salami, fresh parmesean and olives to start which are delish!
                                      My boyfriend has ordered the Veal Piedmontese every single time....and cleans his plate every time...
                                      They will make you ANYTHING you want, I get the chicken paillard which is not on the menu, but is to die for...they are known for their pastas, veals and chickens....
                                      the stracciatella soup is also good!

                                      1. re: mbs
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                                        RGR RE: mbs Apr 29, 2009 11:19 AM

                                        Thanks, mbs. We occasionally do like to chow down on well-prepared "oldie but goodie"-style Italian fare, and I love it when the owner cares enough to be on the premises regularly, making sure patrons are taken care of. I will definitely give Sam's a try.

                                      2. re: RGR
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                                        G3B RE: RGR Apr 30, 2009 12:37 PM

                                        I can't seem to find their website and googled it but was unsuccesful and their menu is not on menupages. Could you please let me know what their website address is. Thanks.

                                        1. re: G3B
                                          goodhealthgourmet RE: G3B Apr 30, 2009 01:24 PM

                                          not sure how your Google search didn't turn up anything...

                                          http://www.menupix.com/ny/restaurants.php?id=302770
                                          http://www.allmenus.com/ny/new-york/258881-sams-place/menu/
                                          http://www.greatrestaurantsmag.com/NYC/restaurant_view/183
                                          http://www.menutopia.com/GetMenu.m?vendorId=2772&RestaurantName=Sams%20Place&Market=Manhattan
                                          http://www.grubhub.com/details.jsp?cu...

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
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                                            G3B RE: goodhealthgourmet Apr 30, 2009 02:43 PM

                                            thanks, but i thought that the restaurant had a website. these i found. appreciate the help.

                                            1. re: G3B
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                                              mbs RE: G3B Apr 30, 2009 07:45 PM

                                              Sams does not have a website, and the menu on all the sites that goodhealth listed is not the actual menu presented.
                                              either way, they will make you any traditional italian dish you ask for

                                              1. re: mbs
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                                                G3B RE: mbs May 1, 2009 04:47 AM

                                                thanks for the information.

                                                1. re: mbs
                                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: mbs May 1, 2009 02:20 PM

                                                  the Menupix link contains a *photo* of the actual menu...of course there's always a possibility that they've updated or changed their menu since then, but that one is likely the most accurate of all the menus i found.

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
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                                                    G3B RE: goodhealthgourmet May 1, 2009 06:51 PM

                                                    thanks, prices are very reasonable so i am wondering if this could be an old menu, but it is probably the closest i am going to get. appreciate the info.

                                      3. re: RGR
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                                        City Kid RE: RGR Apr 29, 2009 09:55 AM

                                        I totally agree with RGR about El Parador. I had dinner there not long ago because I was in the area and while it may have been good at one time, standards for Mexican and other Latin food have risen significantly in recent years. Based on my experience, the food was not good -- wouldn't return.

                                        1. re: City Kid
                                          LeahBaila RE: City Kid Apr 29, 2009 10:09 AM

                                          I'm not a fan of places that have both Latin food and Mexican food on the menu. I prefer restaurants that specialize in one or the other.

                                          www.thelunchbelle.com

                                          1. re: LeahBaila
                                            m
                                            mbs RE: LeahBaila Apr 29, 2009 10:51 AM

                                            maybe El Parador just tastes so good cause it is across the street from my apartment, but Alex the manager/part owner happens to be the most accommodating guy.....and like I said, after a few of their Margaritas anything tastes good :)

                                            1. re: mbs
                                              LeahBaila RE: mbs Apr 29, 2009 11:08 AM

                                              Tis very true, mbs! :)

                                              www.thelunchbelle.com

                                    2. janethepain RE: Bridget1720 Apr 29, 2009 09:50 AM

                                      I live in this 'hood, and I have to say, it kinda sucks for food (but I grew up in the EV so maybe i'm a bit spoiled). Vezzo is really good for pizza (we always order the fafandone with sweet Italian sausage and sun-dried tomatoes), Ethos is decent (love their dip platter, and their bread is great), went once recently to Ali Baba - I really enjoyed my manti and bread but bf never wants to go back there because he said the place seemed really dirty, Umi for decent cheap(er) sushi, Dhaba for their amazing Sunday Indian buffet.... that's all I can think of.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: janethepain
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                                        Pan RE: janethepain Apr 29, 2009 01:37 PM

                                        I think Vezzo is a good idea. Well-made cracker-crust pizza with good ingredients, and it's really inexpensive.

                                        1. re: janethepain
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                                          LES_Crawler RE: janethepain Apr 30, 2009 10:09 AM

                                          You're making me super-sad. That neighborhood is great for food! There's a Grand Sichuan (my fave of the bunch, but it might just be because it's the first one I ate in), Tiffin Wallah is the most interesting cheap Indian food in Manhattan, Chinese Mirch is a really interesting mix of Indian and Chinese food that has some misses on the menu but a lot of hits, Blue Smoke is trashy but if you're ever in the mood for fake cheese and giant portions it's great, Resto is really good, one of the best beer selections on the East Side is at the Waterfront Ale House, Les Halles does a great breakfast, if you want steak there's Primehouse or Wolfgang's, people are mixed on La Giara but I think it's a good Italian place if not incredibly inventive, Artisanal has the worst service in the city but the best cheese and Kalustyan's on its own redeems the neighborhood.

                                          Then there's that old school, family run Italian place with the set menu and the back garden whose name I always forget that's not supposed to be great food but it's supposed to be a really fun experience. Ack, I am wracking my brains and can't think of the name.

                                          1. re: LES_Crawler
                                            r
                                            RGR RE: LES_Crawler Apr 30, 2009 01:37 PM

                                            That would probably be Marchi's. We've never been.

                                            http://www.marchirestaurant.com

                                            Tried La Giara once. Not poor, but not good enough to warrant another visit.

                                            Blue Smoke "trashy"?!

                                            1. re: RGR
                                              l
                                              LES_Crawler RE: RGR May 1, 2009 07:36 AM

                                              I thought La Giara was decent and if I needed a reliable place in Murray Hill for a dinner with folks I'd go there again. Maybe I'm overestimating (over-remembering?).

                                              And thank you! Marchi's is it! I've been dying to try it for the sheer retro value if nothing else.

                                              I mean "trashy" with affection. I don't eat tons of meat so usually I wind up at the bar of Blue Smoke having snacks and cocktails and they serve the trashiest but most addictive cheese fries. It's cheese sauce rather than actual cheese and to me that's low budget cooking. But I keep eating them. I know it's wrong to like them, but I do like them.

                                              1. re: LES_Crawler
                                                r
                                                RGR RE: LES_Crawler May 1, 2009 01:54 PM

                                                I've also thought about trying Marchi's for exactly the same reason but have never gotten around to it. Now that the warm weather months are here, and al fresco dining beckons, sitting in the garden while checking out the food sounds tempting.

                                                Thanks for decoding "trashy." :-) I'm not all that crazy about Blue Smoke's bbq -- though it's far from awful -- but the burger is terrific!

                                        2. s
                                          Shazza RE: Bridget1720 Apr 29, 2009 03:05 PM

                                          If your decision isn't already made: one more cuisine/restaurant to throw into the equation: Ethos - great for Mediterranean/Greek food.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Shazza
                                            r
                                            RGR RE: Shazza Apr 30, 2009 08:55 AM

                                            While I like the food at Ethos, the seating is exceedingly cramped (unless you can snag one of the few booths), and the noise level is LOUD!

                                          2. financialdistrictresident RE: Bridget1720 May 3, 2009 01:28 PM

                                            Bridget1720, hope you had a good tour despite the rainy weather.

                                            Where did you end up?

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