Signature dishes of various places in NY
Hello New York!
My girlfriend has a work assignment for 3 weeks in Manhattan, so I thought I would visit from Toronto for 10 days starting this friday. During the day, i will be randomly wandering and eating throughout the city by myself. I have complied a list from what i have read here... some places are the same type so i might not visit them all, but i get help for a couple things?
1) are the dishes/items i listed the ones they are known for? if not, or if there are more, can you possibly list them?
2) can you guys fill in the blanks on what i should be ordering for ones that r missing dishes?
3) will there be a problem with having no reservations for all of these places?
4) any more suggestions of places to eat? anything special or unique is good, dont have much high end places listed since i keep hearing they need reservations weeks in advanced.
Keen's:_____ Mutton chop, kings cut prime rib, scotch
papaya king:_____ hot dog and papaya drink
serendipity :____ frozen chocolate milk (girlfriend possibly may want, not me)
les halles:_____ steak frites, steak tartare (just to see bourdains old place)
momofuko (noodle bar):_____ momofuku ramen, Korean stuffed pork buns
Sushi Yasuda:_____ omakase
Barney Greengrass:_____ lox with cream cheese on bagel
hell's kitchen : _____ ( )
murry cheese :_____ stinky cheese: what is the stinkiest?
the spotted pig :_____ ( )
Shake Shack :_____ shack burger
russ and daughters:_____ smoked salmon with cream cheese on bagel
Perilla:_____ Spicy duck meatballs (harold from top chef seems cool)
Lombardi's :_____ pizza (possibly down hill)
Katz deli:_____ Pastrami on rye
Di Fara Pizza:____ a slice, a sicilian slice, and an artichoke slice
Chikalicious:_____ cupcake/ dessert tasting
Artichoke basille:_____ square slice
Donut Planet:_____ Cake donuts ONLY. Blackout. Or Tres Leches
H&H Bagels:_____ bagel (maybe too sweet)
Rocco's Pastry:_____ Canoli
Peter Luger's: _____ steak, bacon, hashbrown (sometimes bad though)
Yakitori totto:_____ ( )
Two little red hens:_____ cupcake?
Gramercy travern:_____ ( )
Bar Artisanal:_____ ( )
Chelsea market:_____ ( )
OTAFUKU takoyaki: _____ ( )
Heidelberg resturant:_____ pork shank
laboratoriodelgelato:_____ ( )
Lupa:_____ ( )
Eisenberg: ______ tuna sandwich and lime rickey (is eggcream ok here?)
Ray’s candy shop:______ egg cream
Crumbs : _____ cupcakes
Ess a bagel:_____ bagel
Pearl oyster bar:_____ lobster roll
crif dog: _____ deep fried hot dog
Mary's fish camp: ______ lobster roll/grilled whole fish
Grand central market: _____ ( )
amy ruth's: _____ chicken and waffles? (maybe willl look for more "soul food" places, i think harlem is supposed to be fairly safe to walk around in now during day these days?)
Eilieen's cheesecake: ________( )
Juiors's cheese cake:_________( ) one or the other
Probably will do RGR's LES tour on my first day here, ive gotten my body nice and lean now in preparation for fat fest...
you can usually get a table at keens without reservation...particularly for lunch. id get the mutton chop and a lagavulin 25yr distiller's edition...but thats just me. creme brulee for dessert. their oysters are great for starters...or if im gluttonous, i order their steak tartare with fries...their fries are excellent.
as for papaya king, any hot dog really works. i live by gray's papaya on 8th and 6th ave and those are just as solid. its more like a snack than a meal
id skip serendipity, les halles, and momofuku noodle bar...if yr going to do a momofuku, go to the ssam bar on 2nd ave. their lunch prix fixe is a good cheap way to get their best stuff including pork buns. les halles hasnt been good for 10 years.
Sushi Yasuda...reservations are necessary. if you cant get a space at the bar, dont go! if you cant get yasuda san, ask for hiro...awesome guy...get the peace passage oyster and whatever is recommended
the spotted pig...id avoid this place. its very inconsistent and very overrated. their burger when its good is great but that happens less and less lately.
shake Shack...double shack burger, fries and a chocolate shack...or a concrete...sooo good...the upper west side location has no line.
Perilla...i love this place but i dont like the meatballs...his duck entree is great though
lombardi's...id skip it...too touristy. try veloce pizza or artichoke pizza...at artichoke, get the square slice only.
Katz deli...pastrami on club bread with mustard...dr browns black cherry soda
Di Fara Pizza...id avoid difara...its too difficult to get a slice there...i think artichoke's squares are just as good without the hassle.
Donut Planet...i actually like their yeast jelly donut the best.
Peter Luger's...i prefer keens these days but if you go, its steak for two med rare, german potatoes, and bacon
Gramercy travern...i always found gramercy to be completely boring. maybe i should give it another shot. id go for lunch over dinner.
Bar Artisanal...id go the original on park ave rather than this new outpost. id eat nothing but cheese though. everything else is rather meh.
Chelsea market...i only go here on rainy cold days. get a chocolate hazelnut milkshake at ronnybrook farms.
OTAFUKU takoyaki...ive only been here once but the octopus balls are great.
laboratoriodelgelato...ive never been. id rather get their ice cream at stand on 12th who put it in their milkshakes.
kossars...right by donut plant...
Eisenberg...tuna salad on rye with american cheese and a lime rickey...egg cream is fine here but lime rickey is the way to go.
Crumbs...this is a corporate cupcake shop...its very meh.
Pearl oyster bar...i prefer mary's fish camp due to the service issues ive had at pearls.
papaya king:_____ hot dog and papaya drink: I THOUGHT THE PAPAYA DRINK SUCKED, BUT...WHEN IN ROME...
hell's kitchen : _____ ( ) ARE YOU LOOKING FOR MEXICAN FOOD? HK IS OK, BUT I'D GO ELSEWHERE BEFORE HEADING THERE.
the spotted pig :_____ ( ) SCALLOPS ARE GOOD; BURGER IS TASTY
Artichoke basille:_____ square slice NOT SURE IF YOU'RE REFERRING TO THE "GRANDMA" SLICE, BUT IF YOU GO TO ARTICHOKE, WHETHER YOU END UP LOVING IT OR NOT, YOU GOTTA TRY THE ARTICHOKE SLICE
H&H Bagels:_____ bagel (maybe too sweet) I PREFER TAL BAGELS
Peter Luger's: _____ steak, bacon, hashbrown (sometimes bad though) AT LUNCH, PL MAKES A KILLER BURGER, GREAT ONION RINGS TOO
Bar Artisanal:_____ ( ) GRILLED CHEESE BITES, GOUGERES, CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Eisenberg: ______ tuna sandwich and lime rickey (is eggcream ok here?) GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH...SO SIMPLE, YET SO GOOD
Crumbs : _____ cupcakes BETTER CUPCAKES ELSEWHERE
Nice! I see you've done your homework.
Momofuku Noodle -- I find the ramen to be one of their weaker offerings as their noodles are too mushy for my taste. For ramen, I'd recommend Ramen Setayga or Ippudo (though Ippudo is a different type of ramen).
Spotted Pig -- agree with the gnudi; also huge fan of the chicken liver
Chikalicious -- note that the cupcakes are at Dessert Club across the street from Chikalicious. While perhaps not a signature, I love the cheesecake at Dessert Bar. Just wanted to warn you that it's not a typical NY cheesecake -- more of a light cheese custard topped with strawberries and crumble.
Yakitori Totto -- love, love the chicken hearts (and I usually hate the stuff)
Two Little Red Hens -- blackout cupcake
Shake Shack -- the UWS location's line tends to be shorter than the Madison Park one. But there can definitely be a line going around the block during certain times.
Il Labatorio del Gelato -- I like it but prefer Grom. I find that Il Lab's gelato is served way too cold, blunting the flavors. Of course, if you have patience (unlike me!) you can wait a little to let the flavors come around a bit.
Agree with those who say to skip Crumbs. And please don't think about Magnolia. Here is a good round-up of cupcakes in nymag.com.
And I believe a poster here did a pretty impressive cupcake tasting here. Can't find the link.
Awesome list! I agree with everyone else, skip Crumbs - their cupcakes are so-so. For cupcakes, people on the boards really like Sugar Sweet Sunshine (and I'm also a fan of Billy's Bakery).
As someone who lives in Harlem and has tried most of the chicken and waffle places, I think Amy Ruth's is okay, but not my favorite. I always feel kind of gross after having their chicken and waffles, to be honest! I like Melba's a lot, mostly for her eggnog waffles with strawberry butter. Really great - the chicken is pretty good but the waffles are very memorable! Harlem is fine, just be reasonable - take the main streets to feel the safest. Melba's is on 114th and Frederick Douglass Blvd - 114th between FDB and Adam Clayton Powell is not the greatest street to walk down!
Also, in terms of bagels, H&H is fine, but might not be a destination-type place.
Perilla - agree, ordered the duck meatballs because they are known as his specialty but actually it was my least favorite dish. Everything else was AMAZING.
Enjoy your trip!
Barney Greengrass: Nova instead of lox (unless you like salt), sturgeon (they are the Sturgeon King after all)
HK: There is better Mexican to be had in the city
Shake Shack: Concrete or frozen custard
Russ & Daughters: chopped liver
Rocco's: I'd skip. I think it is mainly tourists and suburbanites that keep the place open without reason.
Chelsea Market: I never understood why tourists go there. There isn't anything that's really must-eat/see there, though it is good for bargains on produce, wasabi peanuts and some cookware. Ronnybrook might be unique enough for a peek.
Heidelberg: Skip. Better to visit Lederhosen (Schweinshax'n) or Zum Schneider (Obatzda and Wurst).
Crif dogs: Spicy redneck
Grand Central Market: I didn't realize this was a tourist destination; it's more a place to get food while at work or on your way back home to CT. Kogelin Hams could be interesting for its variety. The Murray's Cheese is smaller than the shop you will likely visit.
Amy Ruth's/Harlem: You are quite safe walking around and the lines out the door at Amy Ruth's will certainly keep you safe from anything untoward.
Thanks for the responses! i will need to update/replace some places on my current list...
->For Rocco's, i didnt know that was a tourist trap, I really like canolis though, where else could you get a good one?
-> the markets, i just like walking around them, are there better markets around?
If you just enjoy walking around markets, then Chelsea Market is definitely a place to stop by. I have seen tourists stop by the markets in Chinatown, but have mixed feelings as it sometimes feels like a menagerie when tourists are staring and giggling at the exotica in your basket (I once had tourists follow me as I bought fish, gawking at my every move). The Union Square Market should be a very exciting stop for you on a Friday or Saturday.
As for cannoli, I will leave that recommendation to someone else as I'm not a big fan, though my friends like the ones at Bruno's Pasticceria.
Ah that explains the big lot full of cars.
For the OP:
serendipity :____ frozen chocolate milk (girlfriend possibly may want, not me) - not worth the wait. seriously.
Shake Shack :_____ shack burger. I think it's one of the most overrated thing in NYC. And their frozen custard isn't authentic to Midwestern standards.
Katz deli:_____ Pastrami on rye. You can also go to 2nd Ave Deli for a hot pastrami that is IMO tastier.
Artichoke basille:_Sicilian or grandma_ square slice
Donut Planet:_____ Cake donuts ONLY. Blackout. Or Tres Leches - black out over tres leches
Two little red hens:_blackout_ cupcake. my fave in NYC
Chelsea market:_L'Arte de Gelato has decent gelato. I like the berry flavors and they have a caramel one w/ pine nuts.
Ess a bagel:_SESAME or EVERYTHING_ bagel. It's huge esp w/ schmear. Easily filling enough for a meal.
I don't think you're going to find a market like St. Lawrence Market in your home city. I would say Chelsea Market is a better bet than Grand Central. You can walk through Grand Central Market in about two minutes. Maybe you would be better off exploring some stores like Zabars.
And there's a farmer's market in Union Square on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat (with Sat having the most vendors). As it's late summer, the market is in full swing.
From you list..
Keens - Porterhouse for two, King's cut prime rib, french fries, creamed spinach, mushrooms, hot fudge sundae, cobbler (if they have it), coffee cantata.
Doughnut Plant- Definitely blackout and tres leches.
Peter Luger- Steak for two (bloody rare, charred crust), french fries (well done), onion rings, cream spinach, bacon, Holy Cow hot fudge sundae of course with lots of schlag, pecan pie, apple strudel, yeah everything is great this is my favorite restaurant ever.
Amy Ruth's- Chicken and waffles, cheddar cheese grits, candied yams.
Got back from NY, some short comments/reviews in parts
- Katz - very busy at 2pm on friday even... ordered a pastrami on rye. Decent sandwhich, but the pastrami wasnt even warm... maybe it is my canadian side, but i prefer a swarttz brisket better... forgot to order a fatty pastrami though, so maybe they gave me too lean a cut
- lab de gelato - couldnt order the more interesting flavours as you needed to buy a tub.. tasted mint and avocado gelatos, they werent very flavour packed, just tasted sweet textures...
- Keen's steakhouse - ordered mutton chop, they recommend medium so i got that... it was well done... i didnt send it back though, cause i am dumb... found it a bit dry, and probably would have preferred a piece of steak over mutton.. the crab cakes and scallop appetizers werent too special, but i didnt expect much from them.. the creamed spinish made me queasy but that was because i didnt sleep the night before and was semi naseaous already
- egg cream from Ray's candy shop - liked it, first time ive been refreshed from a chocolate drink... wonder why they dont have this elsewhere
-lime rickey from Eisenberg - prefer egg creams to lime rickeys
-macarons from whole foods - was raining so i hid in there and tried it, not that great
- magnolia cupcake - didnt really want it but GF felt like something sweet... dry cupcake
- gray's papaya - recession special - hot dog was tasty, nice and firm with good flavour, the bun was kinda powdery though and the papaya drink seems to be made from powder too
- yakitori totto - delicious, everything is well cooked here, perfectly tender with hints of charcoal flavouring... like the chicken hearts best... too bad i realized they charged me an extra 12 dollars for 2 items i didnt have later on... kinda annoyed me and made me not go back there.
shake shack - stack shack burger, chocolate shake - probably the longest i have ever waited for a burger, but i think it was worth... greasy cheesey meated goodness...
madeline passtiere - macarons - im not sure wat a proper macaron is supposed to be like, but i like it crispy and chewy in the middle... these werent crispy and was filled with a cream in the middle so i didnt enjoy it...
Murray's bagel - NY seems to have some very chewy doughs... high gluten content in the flour? again, my canadian side likes montreal style bagels better on its own, but i think these bagels would be better as a sandwhich.
Lupa - head cheese, shoulder part i forget, mmm bucati ameraicani and caccaitsomething... (sorry forget the names) ... enjoyable experience, great pasta... head cheese was underseasoned though... the blackberry gelato and nectarine sorbet were the best i have ever had, such an amazingly smooth texture... too bad they dont have that olive oil one people here talk about
peter luger's - i was by myself so i didnt want to get the porterhouse for 2 by myself, had the rib steak... nice char on the steak, soaking in butter, but meat wasnt too flavourful or tender... maybe they gave me one of their garbage cuts saved for tourist... kinda disapointed.
kossar's baily - very yeasty tasting, didnt enjoy
ferrera - mini canoli, chocolate canoli - horrible, soft shell, filed with cream
cafe polermo - canoli - i tried a few manhattan canolis and now i understand why there werent many recommendations for them... polermo had the best of the worst... prefilled, something seemed missing in the taste... but at least it wasnt cream filled...
eileen's cheesecake - gf loved the cheesecakes there, very soft and creamy, very distintive from what you usualy get in a cheesecake
Yonnah Shimmels - knish - very full when i tried a bite, kinda ambivalent to them... reminds me of a vegetarian potato samosa without the spices.
russ and daughters - chopped liver - kind of bitter tasting... i was hopig i would get some new flavour/textural experience from it... not for me
perilla - spicy duck meat balls: i like them, but i think the soft pasta thing really makes them feel cheap like you would get out of a can... 3 little pigs, berkshire pork in pastry, wild boar, and hamshire pork pattie... all were interesting and very tasty, espcially liked how tender the boar was, thoguht the tart sauce with the berkshire pork didnt work very well though... the duck breast main was kinda boring for me, but i dont really like duck breasts so could be just that bias
Artichoke - artichoke and spinash slice - very tasty, though wont make any superfood lists as it was super greasy on top... is the bottom supposed to be semi burnt? it didnt taste too burnt, just wondering if that is wat is meant when you ask for a "well done" pizza
donut plant - blackout donut - it was a cupcake in donut form... not sure wat i expected but this place didnt seem very special, just extremely overpriced for a donut
papaya king- snacked on 1 hot dog, slightly better than grays cause the bun didnt have that powderyness to it
yasuda - sat at bar with yasuda, but he seemed busy chatting with his regulars ... very fresh, enjoyable, but i think if i ever go back, i will just get a plate of sashimi as there is something about the rice i didnt enjoy... highlights were the peace passage oyster and super creamy toro.
sugar sweet sunshine - chocolate something cupcake - moist, cheap, second best cupcake i had in NY
Otafuku - takoyaki and okonomiyaki - wish they made those takoyaki to order, but they were premade and sat warming in a oven so it was kinda soft and soggy textured... okonomiyaki was not bad, nice and crispy and possibly the only veggie i had that day...
chikalicious - cupcakes... nice and clean design, very juicy, best cupcake we had in city. each has a surpise in middle too, chocoalte one has chocolate filling
Veniero - canoli - cream filled, soggy crust, green dyed i dont know instead of pistachio...
Les Halles - grill platter, everything tender and stuff, bacon nice and baconly... tartare was decent, proper amount of seasoning for my taste... reasonably priced place... very loud and bad service though, but bad service saves me tipping money so i dont care. good crunchy fries... i think they screwed up the souffle as they just plopped it on a plate... kinda soggy and weird tasting
Eisenberg - tuna salad sandwhich - not sure wat is so special.. it was a tuna fish sandwhich and it tasted like one... maybe people just come for nostalgia?
Kyotofu - so so cupcakes, more like a muffin... but i think they had the best macarons of all i tasted... even if they were refrigerated and of questionable freshness
Tehuitzingo - tongue taco, this place was literally a hole in the wall... tongue was crunchy outside, soft inside with right amount of seasoning... i liked this taco, very tasty
53rd and 6th - chicken/lamb on rice with white sauce...it was ok tasting, not really worth the wait (had a large line)... any random sharwarma platter would beat this on flavour... its like a dumbed down version for the masses
Setayaga Ramen- got the salt broth based one... chewy ramen, it is ok i guess, kinda muted on some flavours and various meats seemed a bit overcooked/bland
Roccos - canoli - is this even a canoli??? they had my hopes up when they freshly piped it for me... i got a little worried when they asked if i wanted chocolate chips on it, i said no but they still put chocolate chips on it.... tasted like cream or maybe very little ricotta with cream... not good... i guess need to go to jersey for canolis?
Taco truck on 14th - wanted ear taco but no more so tried the tongue to compare with the tzhehstus one... not as good, the other place had better season and meat texture... not bad though, better than anything availble in toronto most lilkely
Jean George lunch - amuse boche of heirloom tomatoe gazpacho, sashimi of something and corn something something.. all were tastu, though some parts of the sashimi were underseasoned... had peekytoe crab stuffed in zucchini blossom and heirloom tomates... foie gras terrine brulee on crispy toast... very silky and tender... sweetbreads with peach something overcooked sweetbreads possibly, not the A team cooking i guess or they were rushing (it was saturday at 2:30pm.. maybe the cooks wanted a smoke)... veal something... taste of strawberries dessert... all in all a decent meal, but obvious they dont put the same effort as in regular dinners (my water glass didnt even get filled up)
Mary's fish camp - heard lobster roll was small, so i got the whole red snapper deep fried, very fresh fish... nice crunchy skin from deepfrying, i think this was better choice than lobster roll... wahoo fish filet... thought that wahoo was just a silly dragonboat team name... firm fish, not super fresh, but not bad
barney greengrass - the bagel and cream cheese really adds to the nova... aaaaa wonder if it will taste the same if i made myself... also tried sturgeon with lox on rye... not as good, maybe would be better if on bagel.
Had other places but they were silly chains...
so, from what i had, the food was hit and miss, possibly due to my bad luck, but right now i am finding myself missing the ease and availbliity and selection of food in NY... also sorry about all the typos and limited review, too much stuff... oie my legs hurt, i walked to all those places except peter lugers...
I liked more of the simplier items, like the tzehusuite (sorry i cant pronouce or spell it) tacos, barney green grass lox and cream cheese on bagel, yakitori totto, shake shack... in fact, i am coming back for another 10 days and will repeat some of the items i had and hopefully search for new ones. too bad i didnt have enough time to do more research this time, i am flying in two days and have mapped out nothing...
Thanks so much for those reports!
For future reference, you do not need to go to New Jersey for Italian pastries, but you will want to go to Brooklyn:
I think Rocco's is actually the best pasticceria in Manhattan, which should tell you something. But Villabate - and several other pasticcerie in Brooklyn - are actually really good.
I am avoiding work today to look for places to eat for my upcoming trip (tomorrow!) I kinda rushed finding some places, anyone care to QC my foodlist part 2?
so far i have:
the red head
La Maison du Chocolat
william greenberg and dessert
Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar
Momofuku Ssam Bar
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Shopsin's General Store
120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
227 Mott St, New York, NY 10012
110 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009
Otto - I don't think it will impress after Lupa. While it's considerably more upscale, I'd go to Convivio for great pasta. However, you may want to stop in at the counter for the olive oil gelato at least.
Crif Dogs - I'm not sure if it is worth the trip by itself unless you stop by PDT next door, since they serve specialty Crif Dogs alongside their deftly crafted cocktails. You'll have to show up right at opening time to be guaranteed a seat at the bar or you can secure a table reservation at 3 PM the day of your visit. On that note, I'd visit Death and Company and/or Pegu Club as well if you're a cocktail geek.
John's - I don't think it's remarkable, just above average compared to other slice joints. If you like Neapolitan pizza, absolutely go to Motorino instead. The original is in Brooklyn, but there's a new location in the East Village; they took over the old Una Pizza Napoletana spot and kept the same amazing oven.
Porchetta - I'd probably skip this; the pork here seems wildly inconsistent.
Shopsin's - Make sure you understand their policies otherwise you may be in for public humiliation. Yelp has a bunch of horror stories.
Zabar's - It's worth visiting at least once and the cafe is a nice place to have a quick breakfast. I'm not sure if you'll find much worth buying though if you don't have a fridge for storage.
La Maison du Chocolat - Expensive but very good. Their excellent hot chocolate and macarons both deserve a mention. However, you said on your last trip you didn't like the macarons at Madeleine Patisserie (yep, they're supposed to be like that) so you may not like traditional French macarons. Those weird non-French macaroons (note the extra "o") are completely different. Also consider Kee's Chocolates and Bespoke Chocolates. I think Kee's is the best.
William Greenberg Desserts - I'm guessing you're looking for B&W cookies. If you're interested in chocolate chip cookies as well, Levain Bakery and Jacque Torres UWS are very close to each other and make very different styles of chocolate chip cookies. Levain's mammoth, butter-bomb chocolate chip walnut cookie is awesome.
Momofuku Noodle Bar - As said above, the ramen isn't the main attraction. A lot of the other items on the menu are very strong. If you're looking for ramen, try Ippudo's akamaru modern. You'll probably like it more than Setagaya.
Le Bernardin - Don't miss the langoustine with shaved foie gras, escolar with potato crisps and red wine bearnaise, black bass with braised celery and Iberico ham-green peppercorn sauce, and the "Surf and Turf" preparation; all of them are truly exceptional.
Per Se - It will be very difficult to get a reservation if you don't have one already. You can try your luck with the walk in-only, a la carte Salon.
Other suggestions - I see you visited Yakitori Totto on your last trip. It's pretty good but Tori Shin is considerably better. It's more expensive and upscale, but the quality of the chicken, salt, and cooking is on a higher level. If you're looking for the best yakitori in NYC, this is it. Depending on your server, it may be a bit difficult to order if you don't speak Japanese. Going for the prix fixe option will make things easier and you'll get a variety of skewers.
Matsugen for cold soba. Plain and unadorned, it is the best you can get in town IMO.
If you're looking for great upscale Italian, Alto, Marea, Scarpetta and Babbo deserve consideration along with Convivio. Perhaps al di là and Franny's if you're looking for something casual and well-priced.
Since you've already tried Jean Georges for their lunch deal, you should try the other great fine dining lunch deal at Eleven Madison Park ($28 for two courses) during the weekdays. It is an incredible value as well.
Heads up on a Lupa deal: Sunday though Thursday from 10:30 PM to midnight, they offer a three course prix fixe with a glass of wine for $26. Very much worth looking into if you plan to eat late.
In general it seems to be:
- Groups must be no larger than 4 people to be seated
- No substitutions, ever
- No cell phones, keep them on vibrate
- Prepare to be cursed out if you're a vegan
- Don't piss off the owner, he'll throw you out
If you're looking for a more relaxed (and probably better) breakfast and/or brunch, I'd go to Locanda Verde. Here's a review from Serious Eats:
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013
Since you liked the more simpler foods on your last visit I think you should try to spend a day in Jackson Heights, Queens. There's a lot of authentic foods that I don't think you can get in Toronto. I would suggest going in the early afternoon to check out the indian buffets. All the restaurants that have buffets will allow you to see the items they are serving. The items vary from day to day so I would check all the restaurants you can find before choosing one. My two favorite dishes are Saag Paneer and Chicken Makhani, I'd recommend choosing a buffet with those items, my best experiences have been from Delhi Heights. Delhi Palace, and Jackson Diner. After the buffet I would check out the stores in the area like the Patel Brothers which is a grocery store that may have items you can't find in Toronto. There are also a lot of Indian pastry shops, my favorite indian desserts are kulfi and Gulab Jamun. For supper you can walk over a couple of blocks to woodside for thai at Sripraphai or maybe Spicy Mina for authentic bengali food. Then for food at night I would try the Arepa Lady, you can also try Sammy's cart, but he is similiar to the 53rd and 6th avenue cart. Most of the Indian stores and restaurnats are all on one block (37th avenue I believe), all you have to do is get off 74th street roosevelt avenue. If you want to walk to woodside go down roosevelt avenue and make sure the street numbers go down. If you the other direction roosevelt avenue you'll find lots of authentic latin food tacos, bakeries, etc. Roosevelt avenue is the main drag so it's hard to get lost. Don't be scared off if some of the places u go to have poor decor, there are many hidden gems in Jackson heights that really pack flavor.
Hope you have a great time in NY.