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NY eating itinerary - OK New Yorkers - you always come through with great advice....

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We're doing 5 nights in NY with a play one night. Some preliminary thoughts and appreciate any advice:

Tuesday - pre Theatre (Blue Fin, Per Se Salon - other ideas?)
Wednesday - Quality Meats or Little Owl (have tried the Little Owl)
Thursday - Momofuku Noodle Bar (fried chicken)
Friday - Maialino, Babbo or Locande Verde (have tried Babbo)

I'm leaning towards Quality Meats (welcome any other steak ideas) and possibly doing the Little Owl for lunch since I've had dinner there. For Italian, thinking Maialino as we've tried Babbo (but loved it) and we're not coming until March so they should have time to work out the bugs.

Separately, we've never tried the Waverly Inn, but I feel like we'd be treated as second class citizens since we're not celebs.

For lunches we're thinking of: EMP and possibly Peter Lugers (never have had the burger). We've never been over to Brooklyn, so not sure if there's a cool little shopping area with a good lunch restaurant which is easily accessible by subway.

Thanks for the thoughts.

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  1. For Italian - its a huge mistake to miss the Michael White establishments.

    1. > Tuesday - pre Theatre (Blue Fin, Per Se Salon - other ideas?)

      Blue Fin is not that great and a little overpriced. Nice atmosphere and location, though. Why not consider Esca or Le Bernardin (assuming you can get in) if you want great seafood?

      > Wednesday - Quality Meats or Little Owl (have tried the Little Owl)

      Can you explain your rationale for narrowing it down between these two? I like the Little Owl but wouldn't rush back. My favorite steakhouse to bring out of towners to is Keens.

      > Thursday - Momofuku Noodle Bar (fried chicken)

      I'd recommend a backup plan in case you don't get in (this is a VERY hot reservation). I'd recommend at least 6 people otherwise you're going to have a lot of fried chicken leftover. What about Redhead? Amy Ruth's?

      > Friday - Maialino, Babbo or Locande Verde (have tried Babbo)

      I've been to all three, I'd still say that Babbo is my favorite, although Maialino is good (but hasn't yet hit its stride--I'd give it more like 6 months to work out the bugs, and also the portions are on the small size). Have you considered Scarpetta?

      3 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Kathryn - good thoughts and bad typo on my part (I think my Starbucks hadn't seeped in yet). Love the Little Owl so think I'll hit there for lunch one day.

        Tuesday (pre-theatre) - Craft or sushi recommendation (Nobu or great sushi but casual). Figure we can either eat near hotel (Union square) and grab subway to show or eat around Broadway. Never eaten anywhere in Time Warner so also considering Per Se Salon.

        Wednesday is going to be steak night so thinking: Quality Meats, Peter Luger or Landmarc

        Thursday - Momofuku - hoping friend's Black AMEX will help

        Friday - Italian night - Scarpetta looked a little odd to me. May have to try Maialino since won't be back for awhile, but agree love Babbo. Uhockey - Convivio looks great and my friend getting married hasn't been so I'm going to take her for a celebratory lunch.

        Too bad we're not staying a month!

        1. re: teejaymoore

          > Tuesday (pre-theatre) - Craft or sushi recommendation (Nobu or great sushi but casual).

          Craft's menu is pretty heavy, I think I'd fall asleep during the show! Where is your theatre located? It's best to dine relatively nearby and not rely on mass transit or taxis to get you to the theatre on time.

          > Thursday - Momofuku - hoping friend's Black AMEX will help

          The reservations are entirely online, not sure if they AMEX concierge will be able to do anything, unless you're recruiting them to join you in the 10am click-wars?

          Scarpetta is fantastic and a bit more buzzy, hip, and interesting than Maialino. And their spaghetti is one of the best things I ate in 2009. That said, the suckling pig at Maialino was great, but also huge. I'd hate for some to go to waste because you're staying at a hotel, etc.

          1. re: kathryn

            Thanks Kathryn!! You're advice seems right up my alley. May have to do a Scarpetta/ Maialino comparison. Agree on Craft so thinking we'll find some good sushi nearby.

      2. Unless you have reservations for the Momofuku for the Fried Chicken (there are only three or five reservations per day depending on what day) you won't get there. Its online only and books one month in advance, to the date.

        For steak, I'd skip Quality Meats and go for either Keens or Strip House.

        If you want sushi pre-theatre near your hotel in Union Sq, I'd say go to 15 East. Great sushi, sit at the bar and let Chef Masato select the pieces. They also have great soba there too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ESNY

          There are a lot more then one reservation per day for the Fried Chicken Meal at Noodle Bar. I just checked and it looks like there are 25 per week. Three Sunday thru Thursday and five on Friday and Saturday.

          1. re: KTinNYC

            Now that I reread what I wrote, You're right. I fixed it. Not sure where I originally came up with one. I should've known this i've eaten the fried chicken dinner and was the one that made the reservation. There is an early shift and a late shift for tables, the early tables are 5 and 6ish and the late reservations I think start at 10pm

        2. i haven't been to Keens or Luger, but Striphouse is the best steakhouse I've been to. (others include Smith and wollensky, mortons, ruth chris's, old homestead, and willet house (westchester)). If you go to Striphouse I highly recommend you ordering the corn with pancetta and their bone in ribeye. You might not like the atmosphere of striphouse, the tables are like right next to each other.

          1. i agree with a lot of the suggestions above:

            -- Keens for the steak (though i'd say the prime rib and the mutton chop are the two best entrees there)
            -- 15 East for the sushi near your hotel
            -- what's odd about Scarpetta?...it's a great place...far and away my favorite Italian restaurant in NYC...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Simon

              Odd comment on Scarpetta was because I couldn't figure out their website right away (the plus/minus thing) so when I looked at it the menu looked very limited.

              1. re: teejaymoore

                Scarpetta's website is horrible. Happily, that does not extend to the food, which is delicious!

                Photos from our meals there can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                and here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                1. re: RGR

                  I concur! Meh web site, great food.

            2. If I had to "rank" the overall experience at each of the Italian places I've visited in NYC I'd say: Alto > Babbo = Scarpetta > Convivio > A Voce = Otto = Marea > Il Mulino > Maialino.

              I'd also not restrict Momofuku to Chicken only - their sweetbread poppers, shrimp toast, and pork buns are pretty damn good too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: uhockey

                Momofuku Noodle Bar no longer offers the fried sweetbreads or shrimp toast. The menu changes quite frequently.

                http://momofuku.com/noodle/menu.asp

              2. OK so here are the winners. Appreciate the feedback and had a few other inputs from friends:

                Dinners: Peter Lugers, Sushi of Gari, Fatty Crab (UWS), Maialino

                Lunches: Momofuku Noodle, The Little Owl, Co. (unless Pulino is open by then), DGBG Kitchen & Bar and Covinio

                I appreciate all the comments on Scarpetta versus Maialino (and it likely is better), but love Roman food and hoping they work the bumps out by March (also going with 4 locals who are interested in trying the "new" spot as well).

                Regarding Momofuku Noodle - there will just be two of us for lunch so any thoughts on days/times that are best to avoid waiting forever? Not going to do the fried chicken since only two of us.

                Thanks again for the help and while we have great restaurants in SF and Napa, I still am addicted to the NY restaurant scene.

                5 Replies
                1. re: teejaymoore

                  What day of the week will you be getting lunch at Noodle Bar? If it's a weekday there will be no wait unless it's a holiday and if it's a weekend day your wait won't be more the 30-45 minutes and likely less.

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    Thanks KT. We're flex on day so appreciate the thoughts (likely will try and go Wednesday or Thursday). Disappointed no fried chicken, but pork buns and ginger scallion noodles here we come!

                  2. re: teejaymoore

                    i'm a little late to this game, sorry...

                    pre-theatre sushi - shimizu is nearby (51st & 8th) and this is always my pre-theatre meal (omakase with chef shimizu at the sushi bar). it doesn't seem to make the "top sushi" lists, but the fish is quite good as is the chef. or get a 6pm reservation at and with yasuda at sushi yasuda, since the seatings are only 1h30m, and you can hop on the shuttle from grand central to times square in a jiffy. i think both yasuda and shimizu are more classical japanese than gari, which is good, but modern-esque. 15 east is great (i love chef masa too), but pricier than yasuda - altho i love chef masa's uni tastings and tuna "flights".

                    italian - i've really enjoyed the pasta tasting at del posto and my recent dinner at locanda verde left me sorta starry eyed, it was so delish. we kinda ate everything on the menu, and their cocktails are fantastic as well! (i haven't been to scarpetta yet - i know, i know, quelle horreur!)

                    i love keen's too - i always get the prime rib. the manager tim is great, and they have an interesting cocktail list as well. however, if you can get into luger's, i'd go there. they also have a fantastic burger (i think only available at lunch though).

                    if you can get momofuku ko for lunch, i would do that instantly... i thought it was even better than dinner. i think a lot of the food at ssam bar is yummy without doing the bo ssam or fried chicken dinner. also, ssam has that cocktail bar now for restaurant customers.

                    my 2 cents on dbgb - the burgers are kinda average (my craving is always shake shack, or more recently the western burger w cheese & bacon at black shack), but the sausages are fantastic.

                    i also love EMP, for both lunch (so affordable!) and dinner. i think chef humm is beyond talented, but now that they've gotten 4 stars in the times, i've heard it's harder to get in... i haven't been since the day before the review came out.

                    i can't wait to come home to eat properly again!!

                    1. re: sister2

                      Ko's lunch is way too pricey for the experience, IMO - not QUITE as bad as MoTo in Chicago, but nowhere near the level of most other $200+ meals (w/ tax/tip) - Ssam and Noodle are both excellent, though.

                      1. re: sister2

                        "western burger w cheese & bacon at black shack"

                        HIGHLY recommend this place, only what...2 blocks from GTC?, to anyone looking for a quick and "decent" and INEXPENSIVE burger and fries near Grand Central. Cool little place. Enthusiastic owner. Will be our go-to pre-concert pit stop for food when in NYC for sure.

                    2. was there last night - had been told the Porchetta was fabulous - just like in Rome -
                      Rome New York maybe but not Rome italy - it was over priced fat - you would never see this in Roma - the pastas were so so - the Salumi plate though was luscious - but hey - there's lots of places to go for good Salumi - and for the first time a Danny Meyer's restaurant didn't have great service - it wasn't bad, but it wasn't good - the vegetables we orderd came way after we were finished with the main course - to their credit they didn't charge us for it - but as someone said there are kinks that have to worked out.
                      If you want great Porchetta - and you can't go to Rome - go to Porchetta's even if getting in is tough - its worth the wait

                      -----
                      Maialino
                      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: hebatty

                        ...this seems a theme, the service just is not good.

                        1. re: uhockey

                          OK - one last question (can you tell I'm on a long flight and bored - thank goodness for wifi). Uhockey's review and others has me worried about Mailino. If they don't get their act together - what is everyone's second choice?

                          Marea - looks great but doubt we'll opt for this since we would be fine with it since visiting but to our NY friends we're dining with it may be a little pricey for a Thursday dinner out.

                          Lupa - I've enjoyed a lot in the past but don't think this would be my #1.

                          Convivio - we're having lunch there.

                          Seems like it comes down to Babbo or Scarpetta. I love simple Roman food which was why I was so interested in Maialino and Marea looked great because of all the seafood.

                          1. re: teejaymoore

                            Marea's food was great - though the portions were tiny and the service kinda blah. That Fusseli alone is worth the visit - as much as I didn't want to buy the hype.

                            Scarpetta, aside from Alto, is my favorite NYC Italian. I have a hard time comparing it to Babbo, but if I had to return to one (Babbo or Scarpetta) I'd probably go back to Scarpetta.

                      2. All right so I'm back to my Italian debate - Scarpetta, Babbo or Locande Verde. Since I love Roman food I'm hoping for an about face on Maialino but will keep my eyes on the boards.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: teejaymoore

                          In your opinion (and I'm just asking because I don't really see their menu as "Roman") what differentiates what they're doing at Maialino from the dishes at Scarpetta or Babbo?

                          1. re: uhockey

                            Likely relatively similar, there are just certain dishes which are more roman - cacio e pepe, etc. I'm leaning towards Scarpetta since we've been to Babbo and while it's a crowd pleaser, Scarpetta seems to be a little less know outside of NY which is a positive in my view.

                            1. re: teejaymoore

                              The bread basket alone at Scarpetta warrants a visit - and that crab/urchin pasta - and the dessert....yep, good call. FWIW, their Foie/Duck Ravioli is better than Babbo if it is still on the menu. :-) Sadly, I didn't even try the two most raved dishes (spaghetti and the polenta) and I still loved it.

                              1. re: uhockey

                                Those are two of my favorite things there! The spaghetti is awesome.

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  I know - but I can't pass up Foie/Duck - that is seriously the best pasta I've ever eaten outside of the single Black Truffle Explosion at Alinea and I have this issue where if Crab+Urchin+Pasta is offered I have to get it. It speaks volumes for Scarpetta that I skipped their two biggest sellers and was still blown away - the same would not have happened at Marea had I not ordered the Fuselli.