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NYC - Century 21 Dept Store vs. Costco for Cookware - I'm looking to buy cookware!

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Hi, I live in NYC and I'm about to buy some cookware but would like some recommendations as what to buy to help me start my cookware collection.

Unfortunately they don't carry cast iron skillets so I will have to look elsewhere for that. I'm thinking about getting a 12" Lodge and the square ribbed grill for meats at J&R.

I'm looking for a cooking set also. At century 21 they have the best prices and they carry Emeril, Le Creuset, Calphalon, (not sure if they have All-Clad), Lagostina, and the other popular varieties. I think the sets are anywhere from $70 to $200 at max (I think). Someone also posted that Costco has a nice All-Clad like set for $199 - It's a 16-piece set that got nice reviews http://bit.ly/xj8Um. My budget is probably up to $250 for my first cookware set.

I'm also looking for a dutch oven or something I can cook stuffed cabbage in the oven in. I'm thinking Le Crueset for this. Any thoughts?

This post is mainly for people that know Century 21 or live in NYC and know of a good place to purchase my first set of cookware without spending Williams Sonoma prices!

I'm new to NYC and am always looking for those favorite places to get good equipment at reasonable prices!

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Don't forget the 2nd floor at Zabar's. Terrific selection, excellent prices. They have LC, All-Clad & lots & lots more...

    1 Reply
    1. re: fauchon

      Hmm, dont' really see too much selection there. Even J&R seems to have more.

    2. i would suggest you get to braodway panhandler- their sale runs to tomorrow and is usually very very good. I've never bought cookware at century 21 and would be interested in what you find

      1 Reply
      1. re: qwerty78

        Thanks for the suggestion but their prices are very high! Lodge skillets are 50-100% higher than J&R. LC prices seem OK but I will check again C21's prices. That place is also walking distance to me, so could be useful in that regard.

        Thanks!

      2. I bought a lot of Calaphon One and Lodge on eBay last year; everything was new and I saved lots. I didn't want to buy a set, just individual pieces that I felt I would use all of, although you can certainly find sets on eBay. I was very happy with every purchase and really like the Calaphon, after years of using crappy stuff from discount stores.
        I realize not everyone shops online but I'm a little disabled and it's the way I roll.
        I got a Lodge 5-quart dutch oven, brand new, for $25, plus shipping which was $10, for example.
        Target also sells Lodge and seems to have a bigger selection online than at their stores.
        Broadway Panhandler would be a great choice as a go-to, especially when they have sales and they're local for you.
        BTW, I bought a ribbed grill pan and they do a terrific job but are a bitch to clean.

        5 Replies
        1. re: bushwickgirl

          FYI, Zabars and Broadway Panhandler have two of the worst websites I've ever seen. Their selections in store are MUCH better than what you see online.

          Broadway Panhandler does normally have high prices, but this sale is really great on certain things (mostly AC and LC). Lodge prices are still outrageous there. It's a really fun store though, and has some things you can't easily find in other places.

          Zabars is, however, the place you really need to go. Their prices are always good, and the selection is excellent.

          1. re: pothead

            Yes I agree, their websites are horrendous and circa-1995 and I admit I was a bit turned off.

            I'll check those stores out, though Zabars is pretty far away, are their prices really that cheap? Not sure if you've been to Century 21, but it's probably the only store I've shopped at in the past 6 years.

            I checked their pastrami is $25/lb at Zabars??

          2. re: bushwickgirl

            Yeah I order a lot online too, I don't trust ebay though and I hate waiting for my orders... when I want something I *need* to get it right away!! lol

            I'm not even sure if there are any targets in NYC - haven't seen one. But I'm sure they do have good prices on Lodge cookware!

            Yeah that's the ribbed one I want to get especially for grilling meats before cooking them in the oven!

            1. re: classacts

              Target lives in Brooklyn, downtown area, Atlantic and Flatbush, the Atlantic Terminal Mall. Not too hard to get to, not too far into BK. Manhattan Bridge, straight down Flatbush to Atlantic Ave.
              I have to say I was wary about eBay at first but had very good experiences with them.
              You need to use common sense with sellers, which I'm sure you have.
              I understand about the "need to get it right away" though. The waiting is the worst part.

              When you get your grill pan, let it preheat for a good ten minutes before using, you'll get a nice sear that way.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                I'm worried because I don't have a fan or one of those air suckers on top of my range in my apartment. Does it really smoke that much when searing steaks, pork chops, etc?

          3. I have the lodge square grill pan; It is the least used pan I've ever owned.

            Sometimes I use it as a fruit bowl.

            9 Replies
            1. re: monocle

              I assume you're vegetarian then.

              1. re: classacts

                Absolutely not; meat just gets a much tastier crust when well-seared in a flat pan. (to me at least.)

                1. re: monocle

                  Interesting. I have been very excited to try the square grill pan as I live indoors and miss my barbeque a lot. I have tried searing chicken and pork so far in a normal (non-stick T-Fal pan) and it did give it a relatively nice, albeit thin crust but call me an aesthetic sucker but I would like to see how the crust turns out with the grill pan.

                  Above all actually, I have never used a cast iron pan and I think that's what I'm after! I especially can't wait to try blackened fish in it!

                  I do see your point though, my brother who works in the restaurant industry, although not a chef, told me most restaurants cook their steaks and meats in a HOT pan and then finish them in the oven.

                  I assume famous steakhouses also do this? The ones I have been to however, I don't remember seeing grill marks on the steaks.. maybe there's a reason?

                  1. re: classacts

                    The main thing is that, on the grill, the direct conduction only happens along the grates (or on the ribs on a grill pan); which will generate those nice-looking grill marks.

                    In a flat pan (with a bit of oil) you get that along the entire surface of the meat; Essentially making your entire steak coated with one giant grill mark.

                    1. re: monocle

                      I'll get both the square grill pan and a 10 1/4" or 12" pan and try them both out!

                      Thanks!

                      1. re: classacts

                        don't forget a splatter guard (!)

                        1. re: classacts

                          I couldn't live without my cast iron skillet. I have a 12" model, plus a bunch of smaller ones I occasionally use, but that big one is my go-to pan for any kind of frying or searing.

                      2. re: classacts

                        If you don't have any kind of ventilation, your smoke alarms will be blasting and your kitchen will be filled with smoke if you actually heat your pan as hot as truly blackened fish requires. If you live in an apartment, your neighbors are going to absolutely love you! Smoke and fish odors in the common hallway for hours! Hooray! Seriously, I suggest you tone it down a bit and try "browned" or simply "seared". Also, if you peruse the old Paul P. cookbooks, you will note that the pan of choice is a cast iron skillet, not a grill pan, for blackened anything.

                        I am a fan of grill pans, however, I do boneless chicken, shrimp, burgers, even steaks in there if I don't want to cook outside. I have also managed pork tenderloins, but I do tend to butterfly those for more surface area and faster cooking. I am also a fan of the grill press, or "panini" press that you can also buy with the LC square grill pan. It helps cook food very nicely stovetop, especially if you heat it up well. Caution -- I use an old small cutting board to rest that hot, greasy thing on when I am flipping the meat. I cover it in foil, and it becomes a really good and necessary trivet.

                        1. re: RGC1982

                          I like how you mentioned my cajun hero Paul Prudhomme. It is unfortunate this apartment doesn't come with good ventilation, and from what you're describing I don't even think bringing muffins to my neighbors would do the smoke from my cooking any justice.

                          I'm single and cook for myself, but may cook 2 steaks at once, would you recommend the 10 1/4" or 12" for me? It seems the 10 1/4" is more popular from what I've seen in the boards and on amazon.com.