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Your 2010 "Must Try" List

OK so we are now officially into 2010 so it is time to look ahead to another great year of eating out in NYC!!!! Yeah Baby!

2009 was a great year for me and I was priveleged to hit a lot of my "must try" spots. These included Craft, Babbo, Daniel, Gotham Bar and Grill, Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Modern Bar Room, Minetta Tavern, Del Posto, Old Homestead, BLT Steak, Strip House, Quality Meats., Momofuku Ssam Bar and more! Some lived up to expectations, some exceeded, some fell flat. But this is why we try them....

Now onto 2010... I thought it would be fun for everyone to share what spots are on their "Must Try 2k10" list. I have come up with a bunch off the top of my head but there really are so many. Here is my preliminary list and I am looking forward to seeing everyone else's too!!

Steakhouses- Wolfgang's, Ben and Jack's, Sparks ( even though they don't serve bone-in I must see how they stack up to make my steakhouse rankings completed), Mark Joseph

Italian- Convivio, Scarpetta, Alto, Maialino, Il Mulino, Locanda Verde, Lupa, Otto, A Voce, Peasant, Marea, Max, Hearth, Apizz, Inoteca, Felidia, Esca, Dell'Anima, Bellavitae

French- Per Se, Jean Georges, Bouley, Le Bernardin, Adour, La Grenouille, Veritas, SHO Shaun H, Cafe Boulud, DB Bistro Moderne, Nougatine, Picholine

French (Bistro)- Balthazar, Artisanal

American (fine dining)- Aureole, Blue Hill, Dovetail, BLT Market, David Burke Townhouse, Telepan, Tocqueville, Union Square Cafe

American (mid-level, gastropubs,etc)- Little Owl, Commerce, Blue Ribbon, Spotted Pig, Perilla, Prune, Momofuku Noodle (Fried chicken dinner only)

BBQ- Daisy May's, Hill Country, Dinosaur

Portugese- Aldea

Pizza- Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, Artichoke, Luzzo's, Totonno's, Co., Keste, Franny's, Bleecker Street Pizza, Lucali, Nick's

Spanish/Latin/Cuban- Casa Mono, Boqueria, Caracas Arepas Bar, Cafecito, Asia de Cuba, Mama Mexico, Pampano, Toloache, Soccarat

Burgers- Corner Bistro, Black Iron, BLT Burger, Stand

Chinese- Amazing 66, Congee Village, NY Noodletown, Joe's Shanghai

Brunch- Norma's, Freeman's, Permanent Brunch, Cookshop, Pastis, Morandi, Veselka

German - Heidelberg (Pork shank babe)

Eclectic- Fatt Crab, Stanton Social, Wd-50

Rest of the Pack- Pommes Frites, Katz, Defonte's, Porchetta, Mary's Fish Camp

Soul Food- Sylvia's, Miss Mamie, Char No. 4

Desserts and such- Chickalicious, Max Brenner ( I know), Cafe Sabarsky, Veniero's, Ferrara's, Rocco's, Chinatown Ice Cream Factoy, Laboratorio del Gelato, Grom, Serendipity 3 (I know)

Brooklyn- Diner, Dressler, Dumont, Marlow and Sons, Brennan and Carr, Al Di La, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Egg

This is just the TIP OF THE ICEBERG! I know I am nuts but once I started I could not stop. Definitely forgetting tons and I am sure a lot do not even belong on the list or should warrant a visit. But hey let's see your lists guys.

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      1. OK steak, here's my list of restaurants that I would like to try this year:

        Veritas, La Grenouille, SHO, Marea, Aldea, Craft, Tocqueville, Picholine, and Scarpetta.

      2. Love this. What a great post!! Will think of all of mine and reply a bit later. Happy New Year, steak!

        www.thelunchbelle.com

        7 Replies
        1. re: LeahBaila

          In no particular order:
          Locanda Verde
          Egg (Bklyn)
          La Superior (Bklyn)
          El Paso Taqueria
          Shopsin's
          Max
          Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote
          Num Pang
          Gramercy Tavern
          The Redhead
          Doughnut Plant
          Per Se
          Telepan (brunch)
          Sushi Yasuda
          Daniel
          Jean-Georges
          Da Andrea
          Abe & Arthur's
          Minetta Tavern (burger)
          Schnipper's
          HB Burger
          Stumble Inn (burger)

          www.thelunchbelle.com

          1. re: LeahBaila

            From your list I will opine on the ones I have been to.

            Shopsin's- I love it. Have gone twice and had great meals both times. I personally think his cuisine and combinations are quite inventine, although as you probably know this is a HUGE topic for argument on this board. Go for the slutty cakes, mac and cheese pancakes, sliders with grilled onions, and one of his shakes. I cannot wait to go back. Definitely one of those NYC places you "have to experience".

            Daniel- I left Daniel feeling satisfied but not totally blown away like I did twice on my visits to EMP. However, that is not to say that this is not a great restaurant. The food and service were terrific, however I thought pricewise it was a little much compared to quality. The beef duo was one of the best dishes I have ever had and I only wish it was 3 times larger. The vacherin for dessert is a work of art. Still, I think you should definitely experience it.

            Doughnut Plant- I have only been once and got a bunch of different donuts to sample. For me, it is hit and miss. Some were great but some feel short and were just... eh.. donuts. Stick to their signatures like the blackout and tres leches and you won't be disappointed.

            Gramercy Tavern- Again, another one of those fine dining spots that fell a bit short for me. Maybe it was because of all the high ratings and tremendous expectations I had going in? I thought the appetizers and desserts were great and the strengths of the meal. For me, entrees were really uninventive and portion size was just minimal. I ordered the sirloin and short rib and it was overcooked and paltry (probably a mistake on my part since I realize more and more that these type of places cannot deliver on my rare request). Sent it back for the duck which was tasty and cooked properly rare but lacked side accoutrements. For the main, I would recommend the lamb because my father had it and it was delicious, actually had somewhat of a side dish component, and was pretty large. But yes, you should go at least once if you are a true foodie since it is an "NY classic". For dessert do not miss the chocolate bread pudding and whatever sundae they are featuring. Their pastry chef is a master. Although it was a bit of a letdown, overall the service, atmosphere, and the food (with the exception of the main) was top notch. I'd go back just to give it another shot at trying to "wow" me.

            Minetta- Had the Black Label burger and it was really good. Great quality meat, pretty distinct taste, juicy and cooked rare, but I have to say I thought it would have been a tad thicker. Enjoyed the bread also. But for $26 I thought I would say to myself "This is the best burger I have ever tasted". But to be honest I did not leave with that feeling. One huge letdown was the fries... just awful. I recommend the mushrooms, which are delicious. One other annoying thing is that it is incredibly hard to get a table and they do give that "prefential" treatment to certain patrons. I had reservations and was left waiting 15 mins for a table, while this other party who clearly was walk-in was promptly escorted to a table as soon as they gave their name. Definitely an intriguing place, but next time I HAVE to go for the cote de boeuf. Saw some other tables orderings steak and I was envious! Get the souffle for dessert it is one of the best ever had. It was delicious indeed!!

            1. re: LeahBaila

              Locanda Verde - was there for a private party - delicious lamb chops and dessert, but main room was crazy noisy. Private room is GORGEOUS
              Egg (Bklyn)
              La Superior (Bklyn)
              El Paso Taqueria - LOVE this spot. Found it on a whim doing charity work. Go!
              Shopsin's
              Max
              Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote
              Num Pang
              Gramercy Tavern
              The Redhead
              Doughnut Plant
              Per Se
              Telepan (brunch)
              Sushi Yasuda - There are better values.
              Daniel - spend the money elsewhere
              Jean-Georges - Absolutely...for Lunch!
              Da Andrea
              Abe & Arthur's
              Minetta Tavern (burger)
              Schnipper's
              HB Burger
              Stumble Inn (burger)

              1. re: LBNJNY

                My goodness, thank you both so much. This is great info and I value both of your opinions.
                steak, I totally feel your pain when you go to a "what's supposed to be one of the city's best restaurants," only to find that the most memorable items are the bread basket, appetizer and dessert. I've only come across a handful of places that impress me from start to finish.
                Great post/topic!

                www.thelunchbelle.com

              2. re: LeahBaila

                GT's lunch in the main room is a steal - I VASTLY prefered it to Jean Georges.

                Donut Plant - Meh....not really much better than Dunkin, IMO - I realize they're "healthy and organic" and such, but really - if I'm eating a donut I'm not really looking for health food.

                Per Se - well, I wrote a friggin' novel on it - it is a beautiful experience and #3 on my places to return to across the US (behind Alinea in Winter and Alinea in Spring.)

                Daniel is fine-dining-by-the-numbers - it is super classy, a great room, great food, but not the "knock your socks off" experience that is Alinea, Per Se, Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Providence, L2O, TFL, etc.

                1. re: LeahBaila

                  Lunch belle

                  We had lunch at La Superior yesterday for the first time, we literally got one of every taco on the menu, side of guac and the plate of salsa, everything was delicious and we spent less then 40 bucks for the two of us. Loved it!

                  Great pick

                  1. re: Asumnuthin

                    Wow, great report! Thanks for the info. I hope to get there soon!

                    www.thelunchbelle.com

              3. I'll probably make it back later this year - the list is getting much shorter, though:

                Veritas, GILT, Locanda Verde, Esca, Tocqueville, Bouley, Artisanal, Le Grenouille, Corton, Del Posto, Gotham Bar and Grill, Rice to Riches, Lombardi's, Co.

                12 Replies
                1. re: uhockey

                  Uhockey you would love Gotham Bar and Grill. It is great. Del Posto was a bit of a disappointment for me.

                  1. re: steakrules85

                    Del Posto significantly revamped their concept and menu a few months ago, though.

                    1. re: steakrules85

                      A lot of people don't love Del Posto - but Batali's food has never failed me (service has been hit or miss.) Honestly, I have trouble eating Italian outside of New York these days - the scene here in Cbus is bad and my visit to Spiaggia was one of the biggest disappointments of 2009 - so I try to get as much upscale Italy as I can when in town. :-) FWIW, even Il Mulino (I actually really enjoyed our visit there) tops anything we have in Ohio.

                      1. re: uhockey

                        Yeah its real weird. I love Babbo but Del Posto was so overpriced and the portions were minimal.The food that they did give you was very well executed but again I felt ripped off and felt that I could have spent my money elsewhere. I had much better experiences at Craft, Gotham Bar and Grill, Babbo, EMP, etc. and paid less. Kathy says they have revamped their concept but I do not know if that means larger portions.

                        I mean I don't need HUGE portions because it is great to be able to sample a lot of different dishes but I mean cmon it would not kill them to put a few more vegetables or sides dishes on the entree plate would it?

                        1. re: uhockey

                          we went to Del Posto in October of 2008 - have they changed their menu around? Honestly, the main room prices seemed very big, but we sat in the "bar" area, which is much less stuffy and still has great service and ambience, and got 5 courses for something absurd like $50 pp. plus a bottle of alto adige white wine, dessert wine, and tip was all around $250 for two people. we were totally satisfied. it looks like what is currently called the "Il Menu Del Posto" on their website for $95. and there seems to be no mention of the bar menu. too bad, it was the best deal in town!

                          1. re: jakecola

                            Correct, there's no bar room vs. main dining room distinction any more.

                            http://ny.eater.com/archives/2009/11/...

                            Serious Eats went for the $29 prix fixe lunch and got the impression they were reaching for a fourth star and becoming more Jean Georges like with the amuses and petit fours:

                            http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/1...

                        2. re: steakrules85

                          Del Posto, in my one experience, is a failed bull-market corporate event space. Impersonal, expensive, push the bottled water, overpour your wine, clear you too fast, the full suite of annoying money-grubbing soul-less stuff.

                          -----
                          Del Posto
                          85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                        3. re: uhockey

                          uhockey, enjoy reading your reports.

                          Locanda Verde was okay - to be fair we went once and for lunch. Many hounds love it. Corton underwhelmed for the price point and I was disappointed. Having read RGR's more recent report it may be worth a try again. I broke my rule of waiting 6 months to go to new restaurants several times in 2009 and was rewarded (SHO, etc.). Been to Artisanal several times for lunch and dinner. Good if I'm in the neighborhood, not a destination place IMHO. SO had a very good dinner at Gotham.

                          Gotham, Veritas and Tocqueville are on my list, so I'll look forward to reading your reports when you go later this year.

                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            Definitely make Gotham a destination. Here is my review. Great meal and overall time.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/625925

                            1. re: steakrules85

                              Thanks, steakrules85. I read your Gotham post right after SO ate there and raved. Still don't get why it seems to be underrated? My new pet peeve is over-hyped restaurants. . .

                            2. re: financialdistrictresident

                              Laconda Verde is mediocre at best, the desserts are ok, the portions are small yet they say family style. I'd go back for a drink but not to eat.
                              Falai is one of the best places ive been lately, every dish is great and creative. The choice of ingredients in each dish compliment each other ,,
                              Casa Mono very good tapas a notch higher than Boqueria

                            3. re: uhockey

                              La Grenouille is a classic NYC experience, the food is exquisite, the service is delightful (even though you know they are serving many other "more important" people, they make you feel special). The atmosphere is old, classic NY. I suggest saving this one for the Christmas season. I was taken there for my birthday the last 2 years in a row (December 15) and it was incredible. The dover sole...amazing.

                              -----
                              La Grenouille
                              3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                            4. damn thats a lot of restaurants! I love the ambition.

                              2009 was a great year for myself as well. Top restaurants for me that I tried in 2009 on the higher end (listed in chronological order, Tasting menu = "T)): Blue Hill at Stone Barnes, Strip House, Dovetail (T), Veritas (T), The Modern (T), Frasca Food & Wine (Boulder, CO), Momofuku (Fried chicken), Perry Street, Xavier's (Piermont), Scarpetta, EMP, Del Posto (T).

                              2010 goals: Convivio, Keens, WD-50. Short list so far, need to build it up!

                              4 Replies
                                1. re: steakrules85

                                  Yeah I hear such great things, its at the top of my list. I've been to a lot of the NYC steakhouses - Sparks, Del Frisco, Lugar's, Strip House - need to get Keens in there!

                                  MInetta Tavern is also a place I was thinking for steak (omitted from first draft). How was it?

                                  1. re: metfan630

                                    Haven't had the steak at Minetta- only the Black label burger which was very good albeit a bit overpriced and over hyped. Still a great burger. Their fries however are horrible. Great grand marnier souffle. Have to go back for the ribeye for two also.

                                    1. re: steakrules85

                                      burger was worth it; the wait, the hype, IMHO