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Food You Can Only Get In NYC?

lexvegas Oct 25, 2009 06:28 PM

I am going to be in new york for only two days (sat/sun) for work and want to focus on foods that I can only get in NYC or that are best in New York. I am from San Francisco so have access to a lot of great Asian, Mexican and Central American restaurants so am looking for something a little different while in the Big Apple. Many thanks!

  1. NAtiveNewYorker Oct 28, 2009 10:59 AM

    Faicco's is an Italian Deli in Greenwich Village. Their rice balls and their Italian Sub seem very NYC.

    1 Reply
    1. re: NAtiveNewYorker
      drosstogold Nov 3, 2009 06:24 PM

      Peter Luger's Brooklyn, bring lots of cash.

    2. h
      hungrycomposer Oct 26, 2009 09:57 PM

      Ray's on Ave. A by Tompkins Square Park for an egg cream
      Pastrami at Second Avenue Deli
      Kossar's for bialys , then go down the block and get some donuts at the donut plant (not necessarily "new york style", but you won't find most of the flavors anywhere else)
      Sable (fish) at Russ and Daughters

      Momofuku pork buns (the style of bun is not exclusive to NYC, but it's a delicious signature dish)
      Momofuku Milk Bar compost cookie

      Do you have good porchetta in SF? If not, I'd get a sandwich at Porchetta, it comes on a wonderful local Sullivan Street Bakery roll

      7 Replies
      1. re: hungrycomposer
        fm1963 Oct 27, 2009 06:03 PM

        Second the Momofuku compost cookie. And their crack pie!

        Also, don't miss the Chocolate Show from Friday, Oct. 30 to Sunday, Nov. 1

        And the 50 Best Dishes in NY thread might be of interest

        Have a great visit!

        1. re: fm1963
          lexvegas Oct 27, 2009 09:40 PM

          Thank you all - this is great.

        2. re: hungrycomposer
          Pan Oct 28, 2009 12:59 AM

          Katz's is better for pastrami, unless you insist on really lean pastrami, in which case, 2nd Av. Deli might be better. 2nd Av. Deli also has good tongue sandwiches, but wow are they expensive!

          1. re: Pan
            hungrycomposer Oct 28, 2009 08:15 AM

            The only time I've gotten lean pastrami from 2nd Ave. deli it was tough and not very tasty. I always request it "rich, not lean, sliced thin". If you compare fatty pastrami at Katz's with lean pastrami at 2nd Ave., Katz's will win. If you compare the good fatty stuff at both places, I think 2nd ave. will come out on top. Visiting both and comparing the two would be a real local experience.

            1. re: hungrycomposer
              Pan Oct 29, 2009 12:33 AM

              My experience is otherwise: Katz's wins. And my preference is always for juicy pastrami. It's my mother who orders it lean.

              1. re: Pan
                hungrycomposer Oct 29, 2009 10:53 PM

                To be honest, it's been ages since I went to Katz's, and I haven't been to the new 2nd Ave Deli, maybe the quality has changed. God forbid I should stray north of 14th street, I seem to be in a perpetual state of composer house arrest and don't leave the neighborhood (E Vill.)

                1. re: hungrycomposer
                  Pan Oct 30, 2009 01:19 PM

                  Yeah, that goes back several years. It might be time to either go back to Katz's and try the new location of 2nd Av. Deli or retire that opinion. :-)

        3. k
          kathryn Oct 26, 2009 09:10 AM

          Don't Leave NY Without Eating...

          Best pizza

          NYC for visitors:

          I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour:

          Best brunch:

          Best street food:

          See also midtownlunch.com and streetvendor.org/vendys for the Vendy awards.

          Best of the Union Square Greenmarket
          M, W, F, S, 8am-6pm, but earlier is better, Saturdays are biggest

          Best foodie shopping:

          Best chocolatiers:

          2 Replies
          1. re: kathryn
            lexvegas Oct 26, 2009 12:04 PM

            Thank you so much for all the great advice!

            1. re: lexvegas
              kathryn Oct 26, 2009 12:34 PM

              You're welcome! BTW if you're looking for good Neopolitan style pie I really have loved my two visits to Motorino East Village.

          2. E Eto Oct 25, 2009 09:00 PM

            Halal chicken/rice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: E Eto
              Chandavkl Oct 27, 2009 01:18 PM

              An enthusiastic seconding of this suggestion. Halal lamb/chicken rice carts are unique, delicious and inexpensive.

            2. j
              JMJD Oct 25, 2009 08:56 PM

              Katz's for pastrami (and please don't go in there and order a turkey sandwich!) Would also say smoked fish (Barney Greengrass, Zabar's, Russ & Daughters), maybe knishes and even hot dogs (Gray's Papaya). The other thing I think of as "different" in NYC is our bread products -- bagels & pizza. Must be the water!

              Maybe you have this in SF, but I love how eclectic a single street can be here. On St Mark's (I think) there's a block with a dumpling place, and a hummus place, etc., all different "specialties" all in one area. Or in the West Village, you'll find Murray's Cheese, Amy's Bread, Cones Ice Cream, and John's Pizza, all within a block or two. Find a block like that and eat from one end to the next!

              9 Replies
              1. re: JMJD
                foodwhisperer Oct 26, 2009 05:33 PM

                I like JMJD;s choices,,,interestingly alot of people from outside New York never heard of a knish,,, katz's round knishes are more to my taste than the square ones,,, and up the street is Yonah Shimmel's who used to ge famous for knishes. A Sabrett hot dog from the umbrella stands on the street is worth trying. Go to Gem Spa on St mark's place and get a New York egg cream ( soft drink),,,,, In addition to gray's , I like Papaya King. Definitely have pizza here, there is no pizza in SF that compares to NY pizza. Depending on the type of pizza you like, Chowhounders all have their favorite different places... but there is regular good Ol nyc slice pizza ,,for that I recommend Ben's on spring st. For thin crust pie I like Lombardi,,,but definitely try the pizza at Grand Daisy or Sullivan St especially the potato pizza. Pierogies at Ukrainian home or even Veselka ,,i dont think they have those out West. A PorterHouse steak at Peter Luger or if in manhattan maybe Wolfgangs,,,,Do you have falaffel in SF i dont recall if not try one here,,,,,Definitely get a fresh Bialy at teh bakery on GrandSt off Essex i forget the name, Ny bagels are the best too maybe at H&H, Chopped liver from Katz's, or egg barley from 2nd ave deli, You may have sushi in california but on W4th st there is sushi with west indian flavors at Aki, the chef is japanese but was a chef in I think Jamaica for several years, Try a Pinelle from Fernando's(italian chick pea fritter), Shoe leather and halvah from russ and daughters, a Sour pickle from Gus's, Rugalach from Russ and daughter or zabars, A burger at Big Nick's, its real NY diner "hamburger hamburger" a definite ny experience, If it were summer on the lower east side you can get a scraped ice with syrup from hispanic street cart, If you see Tate's chocolate chip cookies in a store (formerly Kathleen's from the Hampton's) try them they are different and amazingly good, Try some curry goat or oxtails at Golden Crust ( there are better but these are good) I dont think you have that type of food in SF, Enjoy

                1. re: foodwhisperer
                  Pan Oct 28, 2009 12:57 AM

                  I think SF does have some solidly good pizza. What it doesn't have is coal-fired pizza. For that, I do not recommend Lombardi's (SF has better pizza than that) but do recommend Patsy's in East Harlem or Arturo's on Houston St. in the Village.

                  1. re: Pan
                    mdg Nov 27, 2009 07:48 PM

                    Thanks for the Arturo's recommendations here and elsewhere. We're also from the San Francisco Bay Area and were trying to decide where to go for our New York pizza fix. We have great Naples-style pizza in San Francisco (and had just been to Naples) so we definitely wanted the coal oven pizza. Arturo's is probably the best I've had in this style, though my experience so far is limited to midtown and downtown Manhattan, not Harlem or Brooklyn.

                    Grand Central Oyster Bar was fabulous as usual for east coast oysters and fish that you can't get (or get with as good quality) out west. Ess-A-Bagel was two blocks from our hotel and provided the best bagels I've had in years and years. Our first visit to Katz's was a disappointment with over-salty pastrami and corned beef, wimpy bread, and dull pickles. Carnegie Deli and the old Second Ave. Deli were much better stops on previous visits.

                    Thanks again for all the great guidance on this board.


                    Katz's Delicatessen
                    205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                    106 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                    831 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022

                    Grand Central Oyster Bar
                    89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

                    1. re: mdg
                      Pan Nov 28, 2009 12:49 AM

                      I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to Arturo's. What toppings did you get on your pizza(s) there? I'm sorry you were disappointed in your trip to Katz's.

                      1. re: Pan
                        mdg Nov 28, 2009 02:54 PM

                        We had half pepperoni and half sausage at Arturo's, both of which were excellent.

                        Somehow I managed to omit Molyvos, another of our long-time favorites in Manhattan. You can get Greek food in the Bay area, but not at this level of quality. Great octopus salad is particularly hard to find, and the Octapodi Skharas was wonderful. I finally managed to try a non-lamb entree here and the Kritharaki Thalasssinon - orzo done risotto-style with great scallops and calamari - was a real revelation. The cabbage-leaf dolmades and Galaktabouroko dessert were also excellent, but not quite as "only in New York" quality-wise as the others.


                        871 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

                2. re: JMJD
                  MahatmaKanejeeves Oct 27, 2009 08:40 AM

                  There was an article in the Jerusalem Post recently about efforts to preserve the traditional deli. It mentioned that pastrama was a method of cooking poultry in Romania. Beef was available in the US. So the method was adapted to pastrami. So pastrami is native to NYC in this way. Similarly, corned beef was adopted by Irish immigrants.

                  The quality of NYC bagels and pizza have been attributed to the quality of the drinking water supply.

                  Does anybody make egg creams? This is a drink of milk, vanilla syrup and seltzer primarily.

                  Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station.

                  1. re: MahatmaKanejeeves
                    RGR Oct 27, 2009 01:36 PM

                    The egg cream is the quintessential NYC drink. It is made with *chocolate* syrup (Fox's U-bet being the chocolate syrup of choice), milk, and seltzer. Other syrup flavors, like vanilla, can be used. But chocolate is traditional.

                    Ray's Candy Store, Gem Spa, and the Times Square location of Junior's are places which, imo, make excellent egg creams.

                    1. re: RGR
                      MVNYC Oct 28, 2009 07:49 AM

                      Vanilla is just as traditional as chocolate.

                      1. re: MVNYC
                        thew Nov 28, 2009 03:07 PM

                        only in the sense that wife beating is just as traditional as thanksgiving dinner

                3. greygarious Oct 25, 2009 06:50 PM

                  This link will allow you to see NYC menus by location and cuisine. The city is a United Nations of restaurants so you'll be able to find anything that strikes your fancy. Last time I was there we went to Spoonbread and had memorable Southern food.

                  1. pizzajunkie Oct 25, 2009 06:42 PM

                    there is a really similar post floating around out there somewhere - it is called "don't leave NYC without eating..." or something like that - has tons of info!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pizzajunkie
                      lexvegas Oct 25, 2009 06:43 PM

                      thanks very much - will look for it.

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