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First time visit to NYC, where should we eat?

Hello everyone,

My boyfriend (chef) and I work in the London restaurant industry (Vinoteca - www.vinoteca.co.uk). We will be in NYC at the end of July for two nights, where should we eat? We don't want anything too expensive, we want to enjoy some places that the local NY foodies love, please help!

Thanks, Caitlin & Ross

P.S we are staying in the flat iron district and we are big wine lovers, so a good wine list would be great too!

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  1. Cru - 5th btwn 9th and 10th www.cru-nyc.com

    Beppe - 22nd btwn bdway and Park - www.beppenyc.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: notsochubbychubette

      I heard a RUMOR that Cru is closing, it was a RUMOR but probably won't be open in a few weeks. None the less I feel though the wine list is one of the best in town, dinner it is not a good value. The food quality is sliding while the menu is confused and lacks identity.

      On the brighter side there are some great deals out there right now especially for lunch. I would suggest: Blue Ribbon, Corton a little pricey but extraordinary value and topnotch restaurant, and Degustation in the village.

      Just a suggestion though you could eat at some excellent restaurants for lunch, Bouley I think it's a 6 course lunch for $48 and then have a casual dinner, or Jean-Georges for I think $28, I always loved lunch at Chanterelle too. Lunch in NYC is a great value!!!

    2. Casa Mono, in Gramercy-Mario batali's restaurant, amazing, open kitchen delicious, great wine list, and Market table in the West Village is beautiful and a great example of quaint non-pretentious foodie NYC spot..

      5 Replies
      1. re: scattoni

        Thanks to all of you for the suggestions, I read that CRU's head chef is leaving at the end of June, which makes me a little weary as whether or not the food would be up to scratch...what are your thoughts? Lunch suggestions from Chef Peter are great, we will definitely consider this option...I have heard about Pastis from a few people here in London, what are your thoughts? We want something that is very 'New York', not sure if French is the way to go, but what do I know, I've never been! Any more ideas would be great! Thanks again! Caitlin

        1. re: caitlinferguson

          Pastis is an exceptional restaurant, with beautiful people in a beautiful setting. However it is a brasserie, the food is good but the experience would not be unique to NY. Ironically here in NY 10 Downing is a great restaurant. It is not English, it's only the restaurants address!! Another one would be Allegretti.

          Enjoy!!

          1. re: ChefPeter

            I wouldn't travel 3000 miles to go to Pastis. I don't think the food is particularly special. The other suggestions are good.

            Saam Bar is of the moment, it serves good, interesting food, and is a decent value. Plus, it's open for lunch

            1. re: caitlinferguson

              I haven't had the experience myself, but a friend who had a meal prepared at Cru by the chef de cuisine said it was as good as Shea's food. Admittedly, he was dining with the owner, but he was with the owner the nights Shea cooked for them, too.

          2. Try Flex mussels. It's not cheap, but not over the top expesive either. They have fantastic mussel and fish dishes - extremely fresh.
            174 East 82nd St
            212 717 7772
            www.flexmussels.com

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            Flex Mussels
            174 East 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028

            1. Hey, Caitlin & Ross,

              Glad to hear you'll be making your first visit to NYC.

              People's idea of what "not too expensive" means can differ considerably depending on how deep their wallets are. So, it would help if you would provide a per person budget for *food only*, keeping in mind that you will have to add the cost of wine, tax (nearly 9%) and tip (20%). Also, what are you cuisine preferences? Any avoids? These specifics will help us make appropriate suggestions.

              P.S. I would never consider eating at a restaurant where the chef has just left.

              2 Replies
              1. re: RGR

                Hello, Thanks for your response, and you're right, I should have been a bit more clear as to what 'expensive' means to us. We are willing to spend more than the average person on a meal (as you my fellow foodies can understand!), and we are lucky to have pounds to spend, which will of course make things cheaper overall. I would say that we would want to spend up to $150 each for a nice meal including wine, is that too much or too little, it is very hard to wrap my head around how much things will cost in New York. We are willing to splurge for one of the meals, but it does seem that lunch is the best way to get good value. I would say that we are mostly looking to have some NY takes on European food, and are maybe not so keen on any Asian cuisine, but then again, I keep hearing about Momofuko, and it would be great to have some good Chinese, Korean or Japanese, which is something we never have here in London. My boyfriend is from New Zeland and I don't think he has ever had any authentic Mexican, so that could be a good one to try. As you can see we love everything, and I am finding it hard to make any choices, there is so much choice! Thanks for your help everyone, and please do keep reccomending, I'll be sure to let you know how it goes! Thanks, Caitlin

                1. re: caitlinferguson

                  for the splurge, consider:
                  Blue Hill
                  Peter Lugar
                  Craft
                  Gramercy Tavern
                  Sushi Yasuda
                  Minetta Tavern

              2. It is important to know what you think of as expensive, but these are what I think of as good-value, unique restaurants for NYC.

                Jean-George ($28 pp at lunch is a steal)
                Perry St ($24 pp at lunch is a steal)
                Lupa (less crowded at lunch)
                The Spotted Pig (also better for lunch, but maybe too British/familiar in atmosphere)
                Red Egg (recent raves, long dim sum happy hour)
                Sushi Yasuda (a splurge, but phenomenal and I hear sushi is way overpriced in the UK)
                Degustation (only open for dinner)
                Momofuku Ssam or Noodle (sometimes long waits)
                Ippudo (better than Momofuku for ramen, at Momofuku Noodle order other stuff)
                Co. (new style NY pizza)

                I'd call these destination value restaurants, some more casual/cheap include Saigon Banh Mi, Taim, Moustache... many more