Upper west side must have food suggestions
- daffyduck Nov 30, 2009 05:59 PM
Hi all, I will be coming soon to the upper westside from northern westchester and I was just wondering what are some must have foods in the upper westside. I have already done grey's papaya and the shake shack. My plan is to go to grandaisy bakery and try their pizza blanca or their Champagne Grape Pizza. Then check out Jacques Torres for some small chocolates I cant get anywhere else and maybe get their ice cream sandwich. Then I was thinking of heading to grom for some gelato. Then bring the gelato over to Levain and get all 4 of their cookies and a scone. If you guys have any suggestions on changes or recommendations of things to have let me know. I have recently done Russ and Daughters so I would prefer no bagel and lox suggestions. I'll also only be there for an hour and a half in the afternoon so no sit down restaurants unless I can eat something quick at the bar.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Between Grandaisy and Jacques Torres you may want to slip in some prosciutto or other cured meat from Salumeria Rosi (next door to Torres). They even have a tiny bar in the back half of the space so if you wished you could sit and have a quick glass of wine with your mixed salumi.
Also, and this may just be me, but whenever I eat a whole piece of pizza bianca from Grandaisy, which is great and I adore, by the end of it the chewing literally tires out my mouth... I guess I have weak mandibles or something, but I don't think I would want to keep on going to 3-4 other places after that. Their topped pizzas are very thin and don't present the same challenge to me, though IMO they're not as good as the bianca and definitely not as cheap. Have fun!
I lived right around the corner from Jacques Torres and never found it all that great, particularly if you're looking for something unique. Their spicy hot chocolate might be a worthy novelty, though.
Shake Shack and Salumeria Rosi are both good calls. The Shack Stack is the obvious choice at the former, if you foresee not getting back to the UWS for a while. I used to often get Chilean empanadas at Freddie and Pepper's. They were nothing to write home about, but a pretty decent snack. Their Latin-influenced pizzas, however, were always interesting, but never that well done.
I know you've already done bagels but H&H and Barney Greengrass are such UWS institutions, I'd feel remiss not mentioning them.
I've been there a number of times, when I was living right across the street from it and since i've moved. I love the place! The food is delicious and the wine selection is pretty decent. The staff is so pleasant and everything is reasonably priced.
I've enjoyed the folloing: the stuffed peppers, grilled calimari, garlic shrimp, tortilla, bacon wrapped dates, and the meatballs
Friends wanted tapas so I finally got around to trying Buceo 95 and thought the food hit and miss. Hits: Grilled Baby Octopus (served on an addictive polenta with blue cheese), Baby Artichokes, Goat Cheese Croquettes (wonderfully thin, crispy, nongreasy coating), a special that night of baby clams in a coconut milk sauce. Misses: Lamb Burger Sliders (good, but nothing special and overcooked to my taste, and the fried potato chips/crisps that were served with them were way too salty and a little soggy), paella (good, but not good enough), another special of pulled pork (served in the same sauce as the clams; worked better with the clams and had to dig around to find the tiny bits of highly touted crisp skin). I ordered a ginger margarita, which was pretty weak and not very gingery. My friends had the sangria, which they said wasn’t as good as the sangria they’d had in a Greek restaurant the night before.
If it were around the corner from me, I’d probably go back and narrow down the menu to to a few favorites. But it’s about 30 blocks away and I’m in no hurry to return.
by all means skip grom. go to screme instead on broadway near 69th. small, hole in the wall place. very expensive but the gelato is amazing and puts grom to shame on countless levels. it's closest to what i've tasted in sorrento among all other local gelato places i've tried. they will seriously give you nonstop sample from the moment you walk in and they won't stop. grandaisy is definitely a must try. oh, and if you like dumplings, try the pork fried dumplings at china fun (columbus and 72nd). after doing two chinatown dumpling tours as well as tasting dumplings throughout the city, somehow these are my favorite.
Thanks guys. I went to Salumeria Rosa and tried the salami for two sampler and a lassagna. The lasagna was tasty but a bit too thin. The salami was alright with a lot of variety my favorite was a smokey salami I think it's called the speck alto adige.
I then got a pizza bianca at Grandaisy. I don't think there's really anything special about it. When I go to my local Cosi in Mount Kisco, I can just ask them to make fresh bread out of the oven. And I think that tastes better than the pizza bianca. I also tried the pizza bianca with the cheese which I thought was a lot better.
I then went to jacque torres and tried a few chocolates. My favorite was the caramel noir. The others were good but that too great.
I then picked up a banana pudding at Buttercup Bakery which was really tasty.
Next stop was Levain, I got the chocolate chip walnut cookie, an oatmeal scone and my friend ordered a blueberry muffin. My oh my that cookie is serious. It's like a superman chocolate chip walnut cookie on steroids. The scone and muffin were good too but I liked the cookie much better.
Finally I went to Grom and free sampled every flavor lol. Good thing it's winter. I even got to free sample their hot chocolate which was tasty, but I have never really tried other hot chocolates so I can't say if it's good. My 5 favorite flavors were some nongourt flavor it was like sweet cream with candied hazelnuts, my second favorite was bacio, then cream di grom, followed by pistachio and hazelnut. Since it was empty and I tipped the lady at the counter well, she was cool with me eating a Levain cookie and scone with the gelato and banana pudding. The gelato wasn't the greatest I've had, but it was good.
My favorite things out of this trip in order were the chocolate chip walnut cookie, the banana pudding, oatmeal raisin scone, the speck alto adige salami, the pizza bianca with cheese,the lasagna, the sweet cream candied hazelnut gelato, and the caramel noir. Not that the other things were bad, but if I had to repeat my trip, I could have done without them. And the items not listed are the things I pretty much threw out because I did not feel like eating anymore of it.
Thanks for all the help guys.
Next time I'm in the area I'll definitely try Buceo 95, screme, more cookies from Levain and probably other things too. :)
Thanks for reporting back. I'm sorry I missed your original post. Just a few notes for future reference:
I'm very partial to Levain's cookies, too, particularly the chociolate chip walnut cookie, although they are not unanimously loved on CH. And I love the scones.
H&H Bagels is long gone. It is now a Verizon store.
Try the turkey shwarma at Ali Baba's on 85th and Amsterdam, but always order it on the homemade laffa. It makes all the difference.
The pizza bianco at Grandaisy is OK but the outstanding dish is the Pizza Patate, which tastes like Jim Lahey's original masterstroke from Sullivan Street Bakery. It's the only pizza I order there.
I've had a hit and miss experience and Buceo 95, but haven't been there for a while, and glad to see that it has been succeeding.