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Visiting from Norway - one week, don´t want to miss a thing

  • b

Me and my girlfriend will be in NYC in the week of easter this year. Being over-average enthusiastic about food, i found Chowhound, and it is amazing!

I have noted a great deal of spots already - but would like to have your ideas as well. We will be staying close to SoHo, in Lafayette street, and preferably good eating spots should not be too far away - but of course we´re ready to move to get great chow!

Our hotels breakfast is $50 for two, so we´ll probably be shopping around for breakfast as well...

Our preferences:
We´re looking for somewhat affordable places - budget is not tight, so if the food´s worth it - we will probably ignore that thougt.

I love the idea of "the special", the dish the different restaurants are the proudest of - and the one customers keep coming back for.

I want to have wings, ribs, steak, noodles, oysters, duck, beer, cocktails, sushi, crabcakes, NY Cheesecake, New England Clam Chowder and great salads (at least my GF does...).

We ARE tourists, but not the scared german type, so we dont need "the comfort of the tourist trap". If we do not have to reserve in advance - that´s definitively a plus for us.

Looking forward to some input and tips. This place (Chowhound), really is inspiring! Thanks in advance!

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  1. Lots of good Soho brunch and breakfast spots, and Nolita and the West Village are also nearby. I like Public, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Balthazar (make a reservation), Jane (ditto), Five Points (ditto) for breakfast/brunch (many of these options are on OpenTable.com). A lot depends on what day of the week it is, though. Not all places serve weekday breakfast.

    Not a huge wing, crabcake, chowder, or salad eater, so I can't help there.

    For ribs, what kind do you want? I assume BBQ? Do you want beef ribs, pork ribs, baby backs or not?

    For steak, a great place soaked in NY history is Keens.

    For noodles, what kind are you looking for? Pasta, like Italian (there are some fantastic Italian restaurants in Manhattan that make their pastas fresh, in house, but might be out of your price range)? Or are you looking for stuff more like ramen, soba, more like Asian styles of noodles?

    For oysters, I love Aquagrill, who have one of the biggest selections in town, although Grand Central Oyster Bar has better atmosphere (however, I suspect they pre-shucl their oysters). Lure is OK but has sloppy shuckers. Balthazar and Blue Ribbon Brasserie have smaller selections but high quality and nice "fruits of the sea" platters.

    For duck, what kind are you looking for? Peking Duck? Smoked tea duck? Or more of an American or European style? Breast?

    For beer and cocktails, I've pasted some threads below that will help your search.

    Missing on your list is a deli (for pastrami on rye!), Jewish appetizing/bagels/smoked salmon meal (Russ & Daughters or Barney Greengrass) and pizza, which are all VERY NY foods.

    For cheesecake, the STYLE you want really matters. NY style is very different from other (like Italian) styles of cheese cake. See also:

    Don't leave NY without eating these foods

    For cheap eats I would recommend some street food:

    As well as pizza:

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

    Best brunch:

    Best foodie shopping:

    Best mixology:

    Top Ten Bars for Beer Snobs

    Manhattan for 5 days over New Year

    Other hounds' itineraries/reports:

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      My god, Kathryn - that´s very helpful of you!

      Great tips on breakfast/brunch - i did not know one had to book to have breakfast, so that is really helpful advice.

      When it comes to ribs, i am actually not sure. Norway is not really rib country - and my experiences are quite limited when it comes to the different styles. I like it not too sweet, not too saucy - but with a chilli-ish bite. I bet i am going to try both beef and pork ribs.

      Noodles: Definitively asian style. Soup or fried/woked.

      Duck: I never even heard of smoked tea duck, so i bet i have to try thet now. I was thinking of Peking duck - but you got my attention with that tea duck! ;-)

      Will definitively look into the jewish/deli thingy!

      Fantastic links, Kathryn! Will be using some time investigating them. Thanks a lot for taking the time!

      I bet i´ll be fat when i get back...

      1. re: Bro77


        Your post lit me up, today, thanks. That one line, killer.
        Y, check out all the posts Kathryn mentioned, so much info already on the boards.
        See you around the way in Tromso.

        1. re: Bro77

          Brunch in NYC is like a spectator sport, as is the "business breakfast," so it never hurts to be prepared.

          For dry, spicy (like peppery?) ribs, I'd do the beef ribs at Daisy May's. Be forewarned that they're fatty! For ribs, I like the baby back ribs at Rack & Soul.

        2. re: kathryn

          There are so many places to choose from that I'll just try to limit myself to individual recommendations - not surprisingly a few of these are repeats:
          steak - Keens - though I would get the mutton chop or the the king cut prime rib - but the porterhouse is great too.
          classic cocktail - Have a drink at the bar at Keens - I would have a (gin) martini - before dinner. Enjoy Miss Keens.
          noodles - for ramen - Ippudo - but you MUST go on a weekday (preferably off-hours) or you will wait forever, and though it's very good it's not worth that long a wait. Have the akamaru ramen.
          oysters - Blue Ribbon Brasserie - they have excellent shuckers.
          sushi - expensive but if you can afford it: omakase at yasuda (must reserve and ask to sit at the counter in front of Yasuda-san). Otherwise I'm still a fan of Shimizu.
          It doesn't really fit any of your categories but I would also add a visit to Momofuku Ssam Bar for some pork buns and crispy pig's head (really a terrine made mostly with cheeks that has been sliced, breaded and fried).
          Have fun!

          1. re: snaporaz

            Good recommendations!

            Also, for Blue Ribbon, note that it's a local group of restaurants that includes Blue Ribbon Sushi Manhattan, Blue Ribbon Bakery (which is a sit-down restaurant), Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Blue Ribbon Wine Bar, Blue Ribbon Market (which is retail/take-out), Blue Ribbon Bar & Grill, Blue Ribbon Sushi Brooklyn, Blue Ribbon Brasserie Brooklyn, and Brooklyn Bowl (an upscale bowling alley where they provide the food)...


        3. Great reccomendations all! This place is a real treat.

          Will definetiviely check out some of these spots! Now i only have to gather some great tips on wings, but it seems like this site might provide the answer to that too :-)

          Thanks a lot to all of you!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bro77

            I'm gonna be stoned for this, but check out Dallas BBQ in Times Square, on the north side of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenue. Yes, I know it's not "authentic" in the least, but they have these humongous fried chicken wings, available with or without sweet honey, hot or "Hennessy" sauces. The prices are right and it's a fun location right across from the Madame Tussaud's and Ripley's museums. The Dallas BBQ chain, while not quite hound-worthy, is one of the few Manhattan restaurants equally popular with locals as well as tourists (like Balthazar or Pastis). They also have (inauthentic) ribs (tender, lotsa tangy sauce, which I love) and these obscene giant novelty cocktails served in fishbowl-sized goblets.

            Hey, you're gonna check out Times Square anyways, why not get some cheap unhealthy eats? (BTW, Virgils's is the more hound-worthy choice for ribs and wings in Times Square, on the south side of 44th Street, between Broadway and 6th Avenue. And even Virgil's is nowhere near as good as the previous recommendations of Daisy May's and Dinosaur.)

          2. Hi...i was fortunate enough to spend a couple months in Norway back in the 90's and i loved it...had great meals and snacks at Dinner, TheatreCaffeen, and Cafe Olson...

            I like a lot of the suggestions above...these are my personal favs:

            -- Scarpetta...esp eating at the bar and sharing a few dishes...

            -- Grand Central Oyster Bar...sit at the bar only, and only order raw oysters, maybe fried oysters or clams, beer/wine...(the cooked dishes are bland/bad)...

            -- Malatesta...cute, charming, moderately-priced Italian place in Far West Village

            -- for breakfast, you might like the Moroccan place Cafe Mogador in the East Village...great pancakes and egg dishes...

            -- since you are in Soho, you could go to n33, a wine bar at 33 Crosby St....

            -- as mentioned above, Keens is great for prime rib, mutton, etc and has an awesome old-NYC vibe...i'd recommend sitting in the "pub" room (in between the main room and the bar), which also offers some smaller dishes and is slightly less pricey (but just as yummy and charming)...

            -- Great NY Noodletown in Chinatown for salt-baked squid and roast pork...(a nice grungey place to go late at night)....

            -- Cantoon Garden...has a great Chinatown deal on sauteed lobster...

            -- Grand Sichuan, the one on 9th Ave/24th St, if you like spicy food...

            Have a great trip...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Simon

              Hope you enjoyed your time in Oslo, Simon! Not really a culinary town - but the places you mention are all good. Especially Dinner.
              Good suggestions - i have heard about the Grand Central Oyster Bar, and the inside info you provided is great!
              Thanks a lot!

            2. How exciting coming all the way from Norway! My boyfriend and I live in the neighborhood a few blocks from Lafayette and also hate having to reserve (don't risk it on your must try's though!).

              Would def second the Blue Ribbon & Aquagrill suggestions (get a seafood plateau & sake... mmm).

              Also try: Public for brunch, Freeman's is fun and has some exotic meat choices, the duck at Lucien and Spring Natural for nice big salads in the neighborhod. L'Organe Bleu also has a nice fried duck roll and is fun if you want live music and dancing.

              For noodles there are so many great Asian restaurant to try. Maybe NY Noodletown?

              You're staying in such a great foodie neighborhood (walking distance from Chinatown, Little Italy, West Village, Greenwich Village, etc) you won't have a problem! Just let yourself get lost and always save room for dessert :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jacquelyn

                Ah, a local! Good stuff!
                Will probably reserve tables, at least for brunch/dinner. Something inside of me really can´t like the idea of reserving a table for breakfast. For me that´s probably more of an ad-hoc time of the day :-)

                Thanks for your input. Much appreciated! I do will get lost, and plan to like it :-)

              2. Will add some:

                For chowder and oysters, Pearl Oyster Bar -- their chowder is great, oysters too...and you can try a lobster roll too. (That's their "special" item.) No reservations though so get there when they open or be prepared to wait. Good "american" desserts too.

                Wings & Ribs -- would say Dinosaur in Harlem. Wings are more barbecue-ish rather than the deep-fried-hot-sauce bar food kind. And they are good.

                Beer -- there are a couple of bars that specialize in beer (Ginger Man) but a nice choice might be Blind Tiger in the W. Village. They have a good selection of craft beers and decent bar snacks, and have the added advantage of being across the street from John's Pizza (respectable pizza option), Murray's Cheese Shop, The Lobster Place (which also has chowder to go if you're into that) and Amy's Bread which are all good for snacking. Bar gets crowded though....

                2 Replies
                1. re: JMJD

                  GF is definitively looking for chowder. Perhaps i should just get lobster...
                  Lobster roll... liking the idea...

                  Thanks for your beer-close-to-cheese-melted-cheese-and-lobster tip. Might just look into that!

                  1. re: Bro77

                    Just to clarify for you -- Murray's and Lobster Place are stores. You can get chowder take-away at the Lobster Place but they mostly sell seafood to cook. (There's a bench outside though and I've eaten a cup of chowder out there.) But to get a lobster or a lobster roll sandwich (lobster mixed with mayo on a buttered hot dog roll) try a restaurant like Pearl's or Mary's Fish Camp which are in the same general vicinity. Murray's is a cheese store that also sells sandwiches/other foods, but there's no seating. Amy's is a cafe with yummy cakes/cookies/baked goods that has a small seating area. And the bar (Blind Tiger) sells a cheese plate with cheese from Murray's.

                    Hopefully this won't confuse you more -- but if it's cold or raining out you could also check out Chelsea Market which is an indoor market with food vendors/restaurants -- Amy's makes bread there and has a cafe, and Lobster Place also has a location there (and I think they might serve actual lobster rolls at that location.) There are also a few other bakeries/food places that are fun in there.

                2. If you are looking for an inexpensive breakfast then you have to go to a diner/coffee shop/luncheonette. They are all the same but go by those three different names. I have my favorite for eggs and home fries done properly (a hard thing to find in NY) but it's nowhere near where you are staying. If I were looking for eggs near your hotel I would try Cozy Soup 'n' Burger on Broadway at Astor Place. I've never been there but as a veteran NYer it is the kind of place that would appeal to me for a cheap breakfast ($12 to $20 for two). Unless some else here waves a red flag I would consider trying it.

                  A real NY experience is the Upstairs Restaurant at Fairway Market on Broadway at 74 Street. Go for lunch if you are in the area. Some favorites: Mediterranean Vegetable Plate $11.95, Lump Crab Meat Cake (if they have it) $12.95, ham & cheese omelet, individual size pizza $13. We are not talking fine dining, only excellent food prepared properly and not a tourist in sight.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Brian W

                    Home fries are french fries - but homemade, right?
                    The Upstairs Restaurant sounds great, and getting the tip from a veterean local surely helps!

                    I can allready see that we´re going to add some funds to the budget to eat (more than)well!

                    1. re: Bro77

                      "Home fries are french fries - but homemade, right?"

                      No. They are diced potatoes that are parboiled and then sautéed for a crispy exterior, often with the addition of peppers and/or onions, and generally served as a breakfast/brunch side dish.

                      1. re: Bro77

                        Cafe Mogodor mentioned by a poster above does wonderful home fries with their breakfast/brunch. I find the homefries at many places a disappointment as they are often not cooked enough. Crisp outside and well cooked inside is ideal.

                        Gigot does great crabecakes and they even do a crabcake benedict for brunch.

                        For nice beer selections within reasonable walking distance of Soho you have dba, Burp Castle, Spizters' Corner and Vol de Nuit.

                        Buffalo wings are best experienced with cheap beer in a divey bar. Croxley's Ale House in the East Vilage is fine for that.

                        1. re: boccalupo

                          For noodles you must go to the following (all in the east village) for great ramen soup noodle:

                          1. Ippudo
                          2. Ramen Setagaya
                          3. Momofuku Noodle Bar

                          While you're there, eat later at Momofuku Ssam Bar then get some cookies to go next door at the momofuku milk bar. You'll love it.