NY for two weeks - help me cull my choices pls...
Heading to USA for four weeks in October - from Australia. About a week in San Fran and Washington DC (will be similar question in the associated forums for them also) each, and the remainding two weeks in New York......
Have done a fair amount of reading and now have a problem of too much choice !
Which I now come looking to to the combined wisdom of Manhattan Chowhound readers to help me solve my dilemma......
Can you please look at the below list and suggest what could perhaps could be passed this time around. Or if you really want to be devilish - what have I left out?
Note theire is a few catagories, not only restuarants but cafes and stores...
Or if you really like some sleuth work, read the posts I will be posting on the San Fran and Washington DC forums, to see where duplicates of places that I may go to in those cities...
Dean & Deluca
Essex Street market
Di Palo Fine Foods
Keens Steak House
Gramercy park Hotel
New Leaf Cafe
Central Park Boathouse
11 Madison park
Clinton St Bakery
Once Upon a Tart
Joe the Art of Cofee
Momofuku Ssam Bar
Peanut Butter & Co
Russ & Daughters
Jacques Torres Chocolate
Grand Central Oyster bar
Di fara Pizzaria
The City bakery
Bowery Kitchen Supply equipment
Ninth Street Expresso
Boathouse Cafe in Central Park
See way too many.... :)
Have been working on a google Maps list too...
I'll try to help some
Katz Delicatessen - Yes
Dean & Deluca - No good reason to go there, in my opinion. Overpriced and not that good.
Zabar's - Why not, if you're up there, but not on a weekend, when it's like a football game. Look at the pots, pans, etc. on the 2nd floor.
Murray's Cheese - visit it as part of your walk around the Village
Essex Street market - Sure, if you're walking past, anyway. Not sure there's a really important reason for you to go there, otherwise, though some hounds have favorite venders there. It's a pretty small though at least passingly interesting market.
Di Palo Fine Foods - Worth going to
Rainbow Room? - Private parties only, I believe
Degustation - I had a wonderful dinner there in March. It has its detractors, but I do believe that most hounds who've been there have spoken positively about the food and wine.
Chikalicious - I enjoyed a three-course dessert there years ago a lot, but not enough for me to have gone back. I more recently had a very good cupcake and a glass of wine at their more informal Dessert Club across the street, but I think Momofuku Milk Bar is better for non-sit-down desserts.
Kyotofu - The first time I went there, I found the desserts weird; the second time, good. It depends what you order and what you're in the mood for. Tofu desserts can be strange, though.
Momofuku Ssam Bar - Yes
Balthazar Bakery - I like the brasserie. Do you propose to get croissants to go or something?
Ippudo - It gets a lot of love here, but I found the Ukamaru Modern way too aggressively fatty to deal with and haven't been back. So it really depends on your fat tolerance, among other things.
Jean Georges - go for lunch.
Jacques Torres Chocolate - I enjoy the place, but purely for artisanal chocolates, I recommend Kee's. You can hit both on the same afternoon, though; they're within walking distance of each other.
Momofuku Bakery - Yes, the aforementioned Milk Bar
Di fara Pizzaria - depends whether you want to wait for 2 hours and spend $5 per slice. I no longer will.
I second the lunch at Jean Georges! When I went to NY last year, my lunch at Jean Georges wound up trumping my dinners at Del Posto and Le Bernardin! It's definitely a good value (for a 3-star michelin restaurant anyway) with their 2 courses for $28. Make sure you also sample some of Johnny Iuzzini's desserts...it's not included in the 2 courses and have to pay extra but it's soooo worth it!
Pan, do you find Minca ramen too fatty? I like their noodles and the meat, but I can't drink much of the broth there.
For the OP:
Katz Delicatessan - I prefer 2nd Ave Deli overall, just my opinion.
Dean & Deluca - not worth a special stop
Chelsea market - also not worth a special stop but L'Arte de Gelato is decent.
Essex Street market - anoter that's not worth a special stop
Di Palo Fine Foods - great for picnics. get some sliced meat, cheese, and bread. i am fond of their flatbread. Take it to Central Park or Battery Park for a nice view. Much better than eating at Central Park Boathouse which is overpriced and not tasty, but with a nice view. Skip it and go rowing instead :)
Central Park Boathouse - see above
11 Madison park - if you can get a reservation, it's considered amongst the top in Manhattan
Pommes Frites - get the mango mayor chutney. Can easily be a meal just by itself. Skip the poutine.
Once Upon a Tart - decent, but there are better bakeries.
Joe the Art of Cofee - they carry donut plant donuts if you are interested.
Balthazar Bakery - chocolate donuts.
Ippudo - overpriced but tasty ramen in a dramatic setting. whether it's worth the wait is debatable.
Jean Georges - ditto the lunch. very very worthwhile, and memorable. if you decide against getting dessert, know that there are gratis marshmellows and assorted small delicacies.
Jacques Torres Chocolate - one month, the flourless chocolate torte was the best thing I ate that month. But if you are seeking individual chocolates, Kee's choclates rule.
Momofuku Bakery - I find this place overhyped.
Bowery Kitchen Supply equipment - good deals can be had. Make sure you have lots of room in your luggage though :)
I liked Minca several years ago, shortly after it opened. I haven't been there for quite some time and have lately been avoiding ramen. I prefer to get healthier Cantonese noodle soups or go for soba.
As for delis, yes, 2nd Av. Deli has a deeper menu and some very good items, but nothing on the level of Katz's pastrami. Also, its prices can be punishingly expensive, such as on their tongue sandwiches, which are very good but not worth the price to me.
Zabar's is a classic NY experince -- but more of an experience.
WD 50 - hit or miss, but great desserts.
11 Madisson - yes.
Per Se - I hear it is better than TFL.
Blue Hill - yes
Jean Georges - yes
Daniel - excellent as well, but prefer J-G
absolute yes to these:
Katz Delicatessan - IMO best pastrami anywhere
Sushia Yasada - great traditional sushi, and a funny sushi chef too - pricey yum
WD 50 - delicious and whimsical. worth every penny, one of the best ive had this year
Murray's Cheese - not a place to eat, but a damn fine selection
(try artisinal for a cheese restaurant)
Keens Steak House: mutton chop
Degustation: I love this place. used to go w/ the ex. i miss it. need to go back
Tailor:one of NYC's most underrated places, great food and cocktails
Momofuku Ssam Bar: personal fave. pork buns pork buns pork buns
Ippudo - great ramen. double the cost of other's and overly hyped but damned good
Russ & Daughters - no place to sit, great smoked fish &tc
You do have to at least get SOME NY pizza while you are here. Its really what NY does best. If you're feeling lazy and can't make it to Di Fara, try something in the East or West Village, Soho or Chelsea, since it seems like you'll be spending a lot of time down here. I don't want to turn this into another pizza debate, but I have recently enjoyed: Co. (Company), Keste (don't get anything that sounds too wet), Gnocco (very thin crust though), Lasso and Lil Frankies. Artichoke is good for what it is, but I don't think of it as the best example of NY pizza (grab a slice if you are walking by and the line isn't around the block). I actually don't think John's or Lombardi's or Patsy's are at all bad, though they get pretty beaten up around here. You're going for the history at those places.
No problem with thin crust at all -- just wanted to point it out as being a little different from the others listed.
At L'asso, I've enjoyed their brunch pizza (with egg and crisped prosciutto -- its filling!), as well as the prosciutto + arugula one (oh man and I a sucker for that on pizza anywhere) and truffle one with smoked mozzarella. The latter was not as good as the truffle pizza at Gnocco though. L'asso's crust is not at the level of say Co. or Keste, but it's good enough for me (it's perhaps marginally better than Lil Frankies, although I do love Lil Frankies, and I think I'd take their prosciutto/arugula over L'asso's, but I can't really explain why).
Basically, I find nothing wrong with L'asso, its close enough to my neighborhood, and if you are walking around Nolita with a pizza craving, I do think its probably a better experience than Lombardis with all the tourists.
It would really help with suggestions if you could give us a better idea of just what you're looking for: places for a full meal, a snack or places to buy food and food related items. Many of the places on your list- Dean and Deluca, Murray's, Chelsea market, zabars Citarella and a few others are retail stores only (although Zabar's does have a small sit-down place adjacent to the store, but certainly not a destination in itself. Are you looking to buy food to bring back to your hotel, food to take back home.
Also It's hard from your list to get a sense of your fioid preferences, price range and how far your want to travel (For example, Di Fara is in Brooklyn and depending on where you're staying it could take you 45 minutes or more to get to. Other very good pizza places like Artichoke on 14th St. may be better for you. FYI John's in the west village IMO is more of a tourist lure and sadly not what it once was. I also wonder if you choose some of the places on your list on the basis of one dish that appealed to you. I don't know how else to account for Peanut Butter and Co and Kobe Club, neither of which would get many recs from this board.
Unfortuantely I'm dont really have any specifics. Open to anythign really, whether its high end or soem really good street food (been reading interesting things about your trucks recently)
Where possible do have a bit of a bias towards 'event' dining as somethign I can remeber etc when it gets mentioned - hence the upper range places etc..
I think the girlfrind chosse the Peanut Butter Co *hehehe*, I think she was looking over my shoulder when we were looking at other people foodie lists on google maps....
Do love good a good coffee cafe though
For your ref have been doing most searching on the web, these forums, egullet, nymag, nytimes, and even seeing the occasional tv show here
Happy to stay away from the tourist traps, alhtough I got to visit some of them - even Katz is known down under ! :)
FYI Katz's may be known far and wide, but is by no means a touristy place. It certainly would be on any list of essential New York dining experiences. Some of the best pastrami on the planet.
If you are interested in what you term event dining, I sugtest you narrow your choices ASAP. Most of these places require reservation a mionth in advance and fill up fast.
Eleven Madison Park, Sushi Yasuda, Blue Hill and Daniel would be in that category, particularly at that time of the year.
While there are "tourist traps," which locals avoid like the proverbial plague, you must distinguish between them and *famous* restaurants which are not in any way, shape, or , form "tourist traps." At those places, locals are happy to dine alongside tourists. Obviously, Katz's falls into the latter category. It's all about the pastrami and defnitely not to be missed!
Since you are going to Katz's, you might want to consider taking my famous self-guided Lower East Side noshing tour. Katz's is the first stop. Here's the link: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333
sushi yasuda is a wonderful choice. make a reservation so you can sit at the bar in front of yasuda himself. let him call the shots.
keens is a solid choice if you like aged meat and single-malt scotch. arrive 30 minutes before your reservation so you can have a drink at the bar, view ms. keens in all her splendor and answer the three questions.
i like per se. on sunday. for lunch. good food, good views, good service. you "own" the table so take your time. it's ok to dress up a bit.
maybe consider tapas at tia pol. it's a tiny/informal place with a cozy bar. hit the bar at 5:15 (no reservation) and enjoy a cava or two. migrate to your table around 5:30 or so. order the specials and whatever sounds good. your waiter will suggest some good wines. listen to him/her.
esca is one of the top seafood places in town. the crudo is top drawer, the pastas very good, the whole fish very good. the wines are italian and the service is just right. le bernardin is a very special seafood restaurant. go there for lunch. there's a dress code. they'll lend you a jacket if you forgot yours. pricey but worth every penny.
babbo is a special italian restaurant. get a reservation if you can. eat at the bar if you can't get a reservation. a bit noisy but fun. don't miss this place.
walk the brooklyn bridge and have drinks/dinner at river cafe. watch the sun go down over the battery. men should have a jacket. take the water taxi back to manhattan.
pack a picnic basket with meats, cheeses, breads, terrines, beer and wine and take the three-hour circle line tour of manhattan island. sit on the port side.
a late lunch at the spotted pig (3 p.m. or so) at the bar works for me. guinness and a bacon cheeseburger at molly's pub is pretty good, too.
lunch at gramercy tavern (tavern-side, no reservation) is always a pleasure.
korean food is good here. deb and i lived in seoul for three years and can't get enough. do a site search to see what style fits your palate.
and so on...
From your list these are musts.... Keens, EMP, Di Fara's, and Clinton Street Bakery.
I would skip Momofuku Ssam unless you get a large group and get the Bo Ssam. As for Milk Bar, it is ok if you are in the area but I wouldn't make it a destination spot. You can get much better pastries and desserts elsewhere in our wonderful city.
Others I'd recommend
Upscale- Babbo, Gotham Bar and Grill, Craft, Modern Bar Room
Steakhouses- Peter Luger (Brooklyn but the quintessential steakhouse and a must!), Strip House, Old Homestead, BLT Prime, Smith and Wollensky, Del Frisco's, Uncle Jack's.
Breakfast/Brunch- Shopsin's in the Essex Market, Jane
Soul Food- Amy Ruth's
I've never been to Katz's, however it is an NYC landmark and I don't think you can go wrong. Jean Georges and Daniel are supposed to be terrific as well.
Yo9u have some very good places on your list, but why Beacon? Nothing special. And New Leaf. I've not been there, but from what I've read, it is also forgettable. You don't have any Italian on the list, but if that would interest you, add Convivio (or Scarpetta or Locanda Verde). For seafood, try Harbour. Tailor and Degustation are excellent. Tailor has been closed and is scheduled to reopen in september with a new menu but I would expect great things there. 11 Mad is an absolute must, and if possible, try Picholine also.
Sushi Yasuda - yes yes yes!
Chikalicious - overrated. I love desserts but I've had better ones for less $$$.
Jean George - fabulous lunch!
GC Oyster bar - haha, I fell for the same trap. It was the worst meal I had in NYC.
How about Le Bernadin - sublime seafood and desserts.
Jacques Torres - yes.
Totto - yes, but make rez or suffer long wait.
See my old NYC thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4324...
Skip Di Fara (not worth the trip, you'll see that 2 weeks is not that long in NYC) and go to Co. I'm not a pizza lover but Co. blew me away.
IMO it's good to have more places on your list than you'll be able to handle. In my experience, when I travel new places I never know where I'll end up being at one point or another. The map is a great thing - just go with the flow and don't miss opportunities.
That being said, if you pass by Crif Dogs, have a snack (maybe with those pommes frites?)
My faves on your list:
Chickalicious Dessert Bar
Totto (the yakitori place, right?)
Russ & Daughters
Jacques Torres (but then there's also La maison du Chocolat...)
Citarella (and Fairway next door, which has more on offer)
Momofuku Ssam - I like it but IMHO it's not all that. Love the pork belly buns but they're 2 for $9. Maybe worth it once, I guess. I'm not a fan of the Bakery.
I'd skip Dean & Deluca (if you pass by, go in and tour just out of curiosity, but it's terribly overpriced)
Boathouse - (and your have it twice on your list) hm... on the fence on this one. If you go for the views, the adjacent Bethesda Terrace is much more worth it. If you go for the food... let me put it this way: just don't expect a mind blowing experience.
Essex Market - waste of time (not that it will take you longer than 5 minutes to tour it, but travel time) - not that interesting if you're not a local living in the area