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Manhattan with a strict budget and stricter goal

Rensis_Likert Feb 18, 2010 02:29 PM

I've been lurking the boards here for a while in preparation for a trip to NYC in April. I have a unique goal where I'm not necessarily looking for the best "whatever," but moreover I'm looking to weave together a memorable trip with contrasting and varied cuisines representative of NYC on a very limited budget of $200 (for one person) or under. Just as the interplay of courses over a meal can dance together picking up strengths and weaknesses from each other I'm looking to parallel that notion over different dining experiences.

For reference on my tastes: I'm most interested in meals that can bring out the natural wonderfulness of the star ingredient. I'm not against complex or even fusion-y dishes as long as there is a unified vision and robust flavour. But again, this is about overall experience, not a specific detail or even style of cuisine. I enjoyed Shopsin's on my last trip for the show and food. I'm not interested in steak, sushi or heavy seafood during my stay.

Here's what I'm thinking about. I'm interested in hearing how you would spend your $200 to create an experience or a critique of my ideas. Do you have a singular experience that covers the entire budget but blows your mind...or 25 food stands, or something else entirely.

$20 at Clinton St. Baking Co. (blueberry pancakes)
$10 Shake Shack
$20 for a late-night marrow snack at Blue Ribbon
$20 for pizza at Patsy's in East Harlem
$50 Degustation 5-course tasting menu
$50 Convivio Prix Fixe lunch.
$30 Jean-Georges lunch
-------
~$200

  1. k
    kessdarln Apr 16, 2010 09:46 AM

    Here is a post from last year. The person tried 11 popular NYC foods in one day for under $45. Look near the bottom for the final list with prices.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6370...

    1. sgordon Apr 15, 2010 02:38 PM

      Skip Convivio, and do the $29 Prix Fixe lunch at Del Posto.
      With the $20 you'll save, use $10 to get a bagel & top-notch lox at Russ and Daughters.
      Add the other $10 to the $50 you'd be spending at Degustation, which you're not going to anymore. Also add the $20 which you planned on spending at Clinton Street, because you can get blueberry pancakes anywhere.

      Take that $90 and go to WD-50. Also, you won't be spending $20 at Patsy's, nor will the bone marrow cost you $20, so you'll have enough extra to get one of their brilliant cocktails. OR take it all to Eleven Madison Park, but you probably won't have much extra for a drink.

      -----
      WD-50
      50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

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

      Convivio
      45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

      1. daffyduck Feb 21, 2010 02:41 PM

        i saw some chowhounders mentioned bahn mi, i would also suggest pho at viet place. it would cost u about 5 dollars. i wouldnt do shake shack either as the others suggested, i don't know where you're coming from but i dont think a good burger is that hard to come across. i would definiately do chinatown as suggested (dollar dumplings, pork buns, dan tot, soup dumplings, buble tea, whatever things u never tried) most things in chinatown are pretty cheap. My favorite restaurant in Chinatown is Great Noodletown, if you do eat at a restaurant in Chinatown make sure you get a menu that has over rice dishes! Some places I know have two menus and often give the more expensive menu, you usually have to ask for the cheaper menu that generally consists of over rice dishes.
        Other cheap options i think u should try are mamoun's i like their falafel, hummus, and shwarma. I'm far from an expert on these kinds of foods so i don't know if their the best but i think it's pretty damn tasty. i think someone mentioned momofuku milk bar. i would definately avoid that place unless u are getting a pork bun with egg or a pork bun which is only availble before 5pm. their desserts are expensive and there' s a good chance u won't like it. u can try Zeppole for a cheap dessert. Artichoke is right next door too. Their best slice is their square. Speaking of pizza, I know a lot of people recommended Motorino, and I like motorino but for some reason my favorite kind of pizza is ny styled not neopolitan. I like bleecker st, joe's or john's they are all right near each other but i think john's sells pies only. If u like grandma slices (thin crusted squares), the best i've had is at bleecker st. If you want some variety maybe u can get a nonna maria and grandma slice at bleecker st then walk over to joe's for a regular slice that should run you 10 dollars. I believe Keste is also around there, I've never eaten there but I heard they give free samples for those who wait, so maybe you can pretend to wait on line on a busy night and just leave after some free samples to save $ :-P.
        I like your list a lot I think it's good. I'll put out other cheap things that you might be interested in yakitori (cheap japenese meat skewers on a stick, my favorite is the chicken skin), takoyaki (tasty octupus balls), i know you don't like pastrami but Katz has other things such as chopped liver and egg creams (I've only had these items at Katz so I don't know if they are better elsewhere but I thought they were delicious). I would also consider indian food, many places have lunch buffets. My favorites in manhatan are chola, dhaba, darbar, and brick lane in that order. If you've never had indian food and there aren't any places where you live I highly recommend you try a buffet.
        Also I'm not sure why this isn't mentioned much on the boards but the super heebster at Russ and Daughters is the best sandwich I have ever had. It's not cheap though. If you do go to Russ and Daughters and Katz, (I highly recommend you do since they are right next to each other and are both true NY experiences) take advantage of the free samples! I would tip the counter people though to be nice, who knows they might give you bigger samples too.

        -----
        Russ & Daughters
        179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

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

        Great New York Noodletown
        28 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

        Mamoun's Falafel
        119 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

        Chola
        232 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

        Bleecker Street Pizza
        69 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

        Brick Lane Curry House
        306-308 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10003

        John's Pizzeria
        278 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

        Joe's Pizza
        7 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

        Darbar
        152 E 46th Street, New York, NY 10017

        Artichoke
        328 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

        Dhaba
        108 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016

        Momofuku Milk Bar
        251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

        Motorino
        349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

        Led Zeppole
        328 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

        10 Replies
        1. re: daffyduck
          Rensis_Likert Feb 21, 2010 06:24 PM

          Mr. Duck. thank you much for all the suggestions and tips. I like the perspective on pizzas. If I get some friends to tag along I envision trying a few pies (from the places that are whole pie only). You mentioned yakitori....and chicken skin...which is something I've totally wanted to try....any suggestions on where? Are there street vendors selling it? And how about the Katz dog...?

          1. re: Rensis_Likert
            daffyduck Feb 22, 2010 08:23 AM

            no problem, i just hope u have a great trip.
            ive only tried 2 or 3 yakitori places at st marks but i've tried them a couple of times and i believe they are all the same quality. so i generally go to the place with the least waiting time at the moment. if u want the best yakitori i think that would be found at yakitori totto but i've never eaten there so i can't really say. yakitori isnt sold by street vendors, it is a japenese bar food so i believe places try to mimic this atmosphere so they're sold in these cramp places. ummm ive never had a dog from katz. ive had papaya dog and gray's papaya which i thought were good, i believe the later is better. there's also crif dogs if u want to check out? but if i were u i would take advantage of the diversity of ny and try the different ethnic foods (chinese, japenese, jewish, indian, etc) along with bagels and pizza (think that's what we do best). maybe it's just me but i dont think hot dogs are that special. And most the things i can think of that crif dogs does can be easily done at home. Just throw some bacon and mayo on a hot dog or fry and egg with some bacon.
            the names of the yakitori places i tried are yakitori taisho, oh taisho, and i think village yokocho.

            1. re: Rensis_Likert
              MVNYC Feb 22, 2010 11:51 AM

              Get the tongue sandwich at Katz, it is better than the pastrami.

              1. re: MVNYC
                daffyduck Feb 22, 2010 01:14 PM

                rensis_likert. If you do Katz and R&D just sample whatever you think tastes good. my stepdad is jewish and loves the tongue at Katz but i'm not really a big fan. My favorite sandwich not including pastrami (since you don't like pastrami) is the chopped liver then the corned beef reuben. If you get a reuben remember to ask them to grill the bread. If you go to Russ and Daughters just sample away and buy what u thought tasted best. Besides the super heebster my favorite thing there is the creamed herring and pastrami lox. My dads favorite besides the super heebster is the pickled lox i'm not as big a fan. We all have different tastes u probably won't like the pastrami lox, u might like tongue u might not, regardless just sample and buy what u think tastes good.

                1. re: daffyduck
                  MVNYC Feb 22, 2010 07:16 PM

                  I agree with Daffy Duck, it really depends on your tastes. I am not Jewish but when I eat the food apparently I do so like a 75 yr old man. That tongue is great and if you like that sort of thing you will love it, really anyone would love it if they can get over that is is indeed tongue.

                  Another tip for Russ N daughters, get your sandwich open faced. Not only does this make it easier to eat but it allows you to sample a couple of different fish varieties. Again like an old man I prefer Belly Lox-fatty, salty and fishy but most people prefer the milder Nova. If you have not had it before try the Sable. It is the same fish marketed as black cod and has a nice smoky slightly sweet taste.

              2. re: Rensis_Likert
                daffyduck Feb 22, 2010 01:18 PM

                oh btw, if u go to Russ and daughters make sure you get a ticket by the door. They will call out your number before you can sample or order anything. If you're not sure what to sample work with the guy at the counter he'll know what to get. For example if you want something not fishy, salty, not fatty, whatever floats your boat just explain. Or you can even just look at what;s on display and try what you think looks or sounds good.

                1. re: daffyduck
                  Rensis_Likert Feb 22, 2010 02:03 PM

                  Thanks for the tips. Indeed. I'm in analytical mode now, but when it comes down to it, it will be about guttural feeling and sensory experience.

                  1. re: daffyduck
                    u
                    uwsister Feb 22, 2010 10:13 PM

                    Really? I go to Russ & Daughter's regularly to pick up herrings for my husband but have never gotten a ticket nor have I heard them calling out any numbers. Possibly they only do it when they're busy? (I go there on weekday afternoons and never have to stand in line.)

                    For Korean, it depends on how authentic you want it, since you mentioned authentic. I'm pretty picky with Korean (grew up eating it) so I don't think most Korean restaurants in Manhattan are any good. If the weather's still chilly when you're here, I highly recommend Natural Tofu in Queens for their soon doo boo (spicy silkened tofu.) Right off the 7 stop and much closer than Flushing. Cheap too. For Manhattan, I'd go to Mandoo Bar for cheap Korean but instead of dumplings, get something else like dolsot bibimbap. Or Gan Mi Oak for their sul lung tang, which is excellent, again perfect for cold weather. Avoid: Kum Gang San, Kang Suh. Kunjip is good when it's 2 a.m. and everyone's drunk.

                    1. re: uwsister
                      r
                      Rhea58 Feb 23, 2010 06:51 AM

                      Well If you are going to Katz's OR RUss & Daughters, shouldn't you
                      try the $3.50 knish at Yonah Shimmel's on E Houston?

                2. re: daffyduck
                  a
                  ANin Aug 31, 2011 06:34 AM

                  +1 on Mamoun's - I was going to suggest it before I noticed it had already been done. VERY cheap and filling - and they have fantastic hot sauce.

                3. s
                  stuartlafonda Feb 21, 2010 04:52 AM

                  If it is the food and the experience as well, get out to some of the more interesting outposts:
                  1. Charles's Southern Kitchen- soul food buffet at lunch is $11, some say the best fried chicken in the city
                  2.Patsy's East Harlem- coal oven pizza, unique to the northeast and at $11 a pie (tax included) or $2 a slice you can stand by the window and watch the world of upper Manhattan go by. I was there two weeks ago and had an awesome pie,ordered well done. They are still capable of greatness.

                  Banh Mi Saigon Bakery (#138 Mott) as interesting and tasty as some of the new Banh Mi joints are, go with the original. A large and great sandwich(#1 spicy) for $3.75

                  Patisserie Claude 187 West 4 th street for what some believe is the best chocolate croissant in Manhattan. Go early, grab a seat and read the paper.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: stuartlafonda
                    Rensis_Likert Feb 21, 2010 08:44 AM

                    For half the trip I'll be staying within spitting distance of Banh Mi Saigon Bakery, although I didn't have it on my list...so thanks much for that suggestion! The other half I'll be pretty close to Patsy's in East Harlem...so even with the other pizza suggestions, chances are likely I'll hit Patsy's too (perhaps with a trip to one of the other pizza eats later in the trip, but with friends).

                    I'm still fluid in my itinerary, and appreciate the suggestions. I may scavenge the boards for some inexpensive authentic middle eastern and south east asian and korean places to give me more bang for my buck...along with the unique experience I'm looking for.

                    1. re: Rensis_Likert
                      ChiefHDB Feb 21, 2010 11:07 AM

                      Oops, just saw Stuart's same rec. Definitely check out Banh Mi Saigon Bakery.

                      Not a lot of "inexpensive" Korean around. There are some good grilled meats places in K-town though.

                      1. re: Rensis_Likert
                        CantStopEating Feb 21, 2010 02:39 PM

                        Like ChiefHDB says below, there aren't too many "cheap" korean places but "cheap" is relative when you're comparing them to restaurants like Jean-Georges. Check out Hanbat at 6th and 35th st or Kunjip at 5th and 32nd. Both top notch Korean restaurants. Happy eating.

                        www.inbundles.com

                        1. re: Rensis_Likert
                          s
                          StrongIsland Feb 21, 2010 05:54 PM

                          Having been to Saigon Bakery today for bahn mi, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. For $3.50 you cannot beat it. Although I have also heard good things about Nicky's (I think i have the name right) as well. For Korean consider Mandoo Bar in K Town for dumplings. Pretty inexpensive.

                          1. re: StrongIsland
                            Rensis_Likert Feb 21, 2010 06:29 PM

                            Saigon Bakery is a definite go. Mandoo is actually on my larger list with a giant question mark. I was researching Ktown earlier and it kept popping up.

                            1. re: Rensis_Likert
                              s
                              StrongIsland Feb 22, 2010 03:35 PM

                              they make the dumplings right there in the front window. If you are in the neighborhood give it a whirl but its not any must-do list. Try to avoid lunch time as it can get crowded and its not all that big.

                        2. re: stuartlafonda
                          CantStopEating Feb 21, 2010 04:08 PM

                          I second Charles' Pan Fried Chicken (FKA Charles' Southern Kitchen) which fries all of their chicken in iron skillets. That's by far the best fried chicken I've ever had. The man is a legend.

                          www.inbundles.com

                        3. CantStopEating Feb 19, 2010 10:33 PM

                          I'm not sure how long you're going to be here or where you're coming from, but to truly experience NYC and stay under your $200 goal with tax and tip, I think you should eat out every meal like a wild man and visit all of the cheap NYC staples. It seems like you've been to a lot of the nicer spots in the city based on your local restaurant knowledge so why not give the classics a try...including Katz's. Go for the corned beef since you're opposed to the pastrami. Good luck!

                          www.inbundles.com

                          17 Replies
                          1. re: CantStopEating
                            Rensis_Likert Feb 20, 2010 12:48 PM

                            I think you hit on what I've been pondering and the catalyst for my post. I know of "nicer spots" but I'm not so up on "cheap NYC staples", or the difference between tourist trap and staple. Do you have any suggestions besides Katz's? The Halal cart should probably work it's way into my schedule regardless. Thanks for the message!

                            1. re: Rensis_Likert
                              ChiefHDB Feb 21, 2010 11:05 AM

                              Saigon Banh Mi Bakery on Mott just south of Grand. Great banh mi, $3.50

                              Prosperity Dumpling on Eldridge. 5 dumplings for a dollar, plus scallion pancakes.

                              Baked pork buns at Mei Li Wah on Bayard, only $.80.

                              I second the halal cart, definitely worth checking out. Go to the SE corner at night and skip the line.

                              I think your list looks pretty good overall though.

                              1. re: Rensis_Likert
                                CantStopEating Feb 21, 2010 02:34 PM

                                I like all of the spots that ChiefHDB has suggested below but here are a few other classics: Corner Bistro for the best burger, New Green Bo for soup dumplings, Mitali East for Indian (some would argue this but I think they're the best), Dinosaur BBQ and Momofuku Noodle Bar for perfect Ramen. Hope this helps!

                                www.inbundles.com

                                1. re: CantStopEating
                                  s
                                  small h Feb 21, 2010 02:40 PM

                                  Momofuku Noodle Bar does not have perfect ramen. It doesn't even have good ramen.

                                  1. re: small h
                                    CantStopEating Feb 21, 2010 02:51 PM

                                    You're right. Nobody's perfect. Do you have any recommendations on who has better ramen in the city than Momofuku Noodle Bar? They're the best for my money.

                                    www.inbundles.com

                                    1. re: CantStopEating
                                      s
                                      small h Feb 21, 2010 03:04 PM

                                      Yep, scroll up. I recommended Ramen Setagaya and Ippudo. I also like Naruto, but I wouldn't send someone there from out of town, 'cause it's not that special. Just good.

                                      1. re: small h
                                        CantStopEating Feb 21, 2010 04:05 PM

                                        Not that this is the end all but here's what one chef has to say about the best ramen in the east village: http://bit.ly/snXVn

                                        www.inbundles.com

                                        1. re: CantStopEating
                                          s
                                          small h Feb 21, 2010 04:15 PM

                                          Scarily, I've seen that. And hey, he probably knows more than I do. But I went to Morimoto about 5 years ago and I'm STILL kind of annoyed at the exorbitant amount of money I spent on a meal that was merely very good. So.

                                          1. re: CantStopEating
                                            daffyduck Feb 21, 2010 04:55 PM

                                            didn't he say that when david chang was there? that probably swayed his decision lol

                                            1. re: daffyduck
                                              CantStopEating Feb 21, 2010 05:57 PM

                                              I don't think he necessarily made his decision as DC watched over his shoulder but it may have swayed the decision. Either way, I think Momofuku still makes a great bowl of ramen.

                                              www.inbundles.com

                                              1. re: daffyduck
                                                CantStopEating Feb 21, 2010 06:15 PM

                                                It says that DC was there to cook and present the dishes. I don't think that Morimoto made the final decision on the spot with Chang looking over his shoulder.

                                                www.inbundles.com

                                          2. re: CantStopEating
                                            daffyduck Feb 21, 2010 04:10 PM

                                            ippudo

                                        2. re: CantStopEating
                                          Rensis_Likert Feb 21, 2010 06:27 PM

                                          Thanks for the suggestions...definitely the kind I was looking for, none of these were on any of my longer lists. Decisions decisions! I actually think I'm canning Jean-Georges.

                                          1. re: Rensis_Likert
                                            f
                                            fm1963 Feb 22, 2010 06:06 AM

                                            Oy, that would be heretical! You should include at least one high end experience to counterbalance the more casual items on your agenda. Just sayin'

                                            1. re: fm1963
                                              Rensis_Likert Feb 22, 2010 06:37 AM

                                              I'm leaning towards EMP or Del Postino instead of Jean-Georges in the $30 lunch range.

                                              1. re: Rensis_Likert
                                                f
                                                fm1963 Feb 22, 2010 06:41 AM

                                                Gotcha. "Del Posto" for searching purposes...

                                          2. re: CantStopEating
                                            g
                                            gutsofsteel Feb 22, 2010 06:20 AM

                                            The ramen at Noodle Bar are one of the weak points there. For good ramen, go to Ippudo.

                                      2. w
                                        windycity Feb 19, 2010 11:08 AM

                                        I like this challenge but are you including snacks in your budget? If you are a dessert person, the yuzu coconut macaron at Bouchon is huge and a steal for the price. Plus there's all sorts of amazing bbq pork buns in Chinatown for less than $1.

                                        I would skip Shake Shack and Convivio and replace with EMP lunch. Ditto what other hounds said about Patsy's. I haven't been to Keste but Motorino was knock your socks off delicious the first time I went. Not as amazing the second time, but still on my list.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: windycity
                                          Rensis_Likert Feb 19, 2010 05:47 PM

                                          @jess I was going to mention tax and tipping in the original post, but decided that it would be less convoluted to deal with base prices. It's in my considerations certainly, but I appreciate you reminding me of it so I can calculate that when I work everything out.

                                          @windycity I have a definite sweet tooth and will surely consume a cupcake or two (after referring to some earlier threads by kathryn) and welcome your macaroon suggestion. I decided to make $10 the floor on anything for this list, otherwise I would overwhelm myself with an entirely different set of considerations. I have a separate "snack" budget, but it includes snacks, chotchkies, keepsakes, and other misc. items. I'm spending a breakfast-lunch period in Chinatown and hope to try out a few inexpensive snacks whilst there.

                                          1. re: Rensis_Likert
                                            b
                                            byryn Feb 19, 2010 08:17 PM

                                            NYC sales tax is 8.875% (sucks, I know), no tax on shoes and clothing under $110. In most food places in Chinatown, you won't be charged tax unless you pay with a credit card (if they even take it - most places in Chinatown is cash only).

                                            Tip is your standard 15%-20%.

                                            Another vote for Motorino or Keste over Patsy's. But if you really want a cheap uniquely NYC experience, you should try our street vendors, especially a chicken over rice plate at a Halal cart.

                                            1. re: byryn
                                              w
                                              windycity Feb 21, 2010 01:46 PM

                                              Which food places in Chinatown do you go to where they don't charge tax? Even the cash only places charge tax.

                                              1. re: windycity
                                                Jess321 Feb 21, 2010 04:15 PM

                                                A bunch of places I've been to in Chinatown that are cash only don't appear to charge tax, but that's just because they've included it in the price and rounded it nicely. At least, that's what I assume they've done. Interestingly enough, at the Vanessa's dumplings in Chinatown/LES they don't appear to charge tax, but they do at the location on 14th st.

                                        2. s
                                          small h Feb 18, 2010 03:17 PM

                                          For your consideration:

                                          The uni panini (sic) at El Quinto Pino. Uni, butter and mustard oil. It's $15, and it's amazing. And small, so don't count on it as a full meal.
                                          http://www.elquintopinonyc.com/

                                          A bowl of ramen at Ramen Setagaya (where I've been) or Ippudo (where I haven't, but people like it a lot). Unless you live in Tokyo or something. $9.50 - $13, depending.
                                          http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/ramen-setagaya/menu
                                          http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/hakata-ippudo/menus/main.html

                                          A bagel sandwich from Russ & Daughters. Wonderful lox, and oddly fantastic cream cheese - I have no idea what they do to it to make it so good. $10ish.
                                          http://www.russanddaughters.com/menu-...

                                          I would ditch the pancakes and the pizza. It's a personal bias. I like both Clinton St. Baking Company's pancakes and Keste's pizza, but...well, it's pancakes and pizza.

                                          15 Replies
                                          1. re: small h
                                            Rensis_Likert Feb 18, 2010 03:25 PM

                                            Awesome awesome! With the exception of Russ & Daughters these places completely were off my radar...the Uni Panini has really piqued my interest.

                                            1. re: Rensis_Likert
                                              g
                                              gutsofsteel Feb 19, 2010 05:32 AM

                                              A bowl of ramen at Ippudo is a great idea. Ssam Bar is good but I don't like Milk Bar at all.

                                            2. re: small h
                                              Bob Martinez Feb 19, 2010 05:52 AM

                                              "The uni panini (sic) at El Quinto Pino. Uni, butter and mustard oil. It's $15, and it's amazing. And small, so don't count on it as a full meal."

                                              It's 3 bites and the last time I went it wasn't particularly distinctive. I'm not saying that the OP shouldn't try it but since he's on a strict budget he may want to postpone El Quinto Pino for a time when money is less of an issue.

                                              1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                Rensis_Likert Feb 19, 2010 06:47 AM

                                                Here's my updated tentative thinking:

                                                Note: I'm staying in West Harlem for part of the stay, still undecided on the pizza.

                                                $25 Momofuku Ssam Bar Prix Fixe Lunch
                                                $20 for a late-night marrow snack at Blue Ribbon
                                                $20 for pizza at Patsy's in East Harlem or Keste
                                                $50 Degustation 5-course tasting menu
                                                $30 Convivio lunch
                                                $30 Jean-Georges lunch
                                                $10 Russ and Daughters
                                                $20 Ippudo

                                                ----
                                                $205 total

                                                1. re: Rensis_Likert
                                                  k
                                                  kathryn Feb 19, 2010 07:19 AM

                                                  For a nice lunch prix fixe I've been hearing good things about Del Posto and Eleven Madison Park.

                                                  Motorino also has a lunch prix fixe, I love their pizza and it's similar in style to Keste, but have only been for dinner.

                                                  Degustation's 5 course tasting menu is amazing, great choice.

                                                  1. re: kathryn
                                                    Rensis_Likert Feb 19, 2010 05:58 PM

                                                    Thanks kathryn, I certainly treasure your opinions! Perhaps replacing Convivio with Del Posto would make sense, seeing as I'm salivating at a few Del Posto items right now. If I went to Motorino (or anywhere for pizza) I'd probably just stick to pizza. Hopefully I can find someone to drag along to share a whole pie...[anyway, I'm still pondering...but pizza is a fun thing to ponder].

                                                    1. re: Rensis_Likert
                                                      k
                                                      kathryn Feb 19, 2010 07:05 PM

                                                      Keste and Motorino pies are individually sized, so you don't necessarily need to split it with someone.

                                                      1. re: kathryn
                                                        Rensis_Likert Feb 19, 2010 07:34 PM

                                                        Excellent, I totally missed that! Even better (;

                                                        1. re: Rensis_Likert
                                                          ChiefHDB Feb 21, 2010 11:02 AM

                                                          Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the Motorino lunch prix fixe is strictly at the Brooklyn branch.

                                                          1. re: ChiefHDB
                                                            k
                                                            kathryn Feb 21, 2010 12:54 PM

                                                            According to these reports, yes, the EV location has a prix fixe at lunch:
                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/652651#5080921
                                                            http://thewanderingeater.com/2009/11/...

                                                            1. re: kathryn
                                                              ChiefHDB Feb 21, 2010 02:14 PM

                                                              What the hell? I went to the EV locale on Thursday and there was no prix fixe.

                                                  2. re: Rensis_Likert
                                                    Jess321 Feb 19, 2010 11:18 AM

                                                    I'm sure you already thought of this, but it doesn't look like it went into your calculations-the tax and tip. Tax is much higher here than most other cities (I want to say its 8%?). I know you probably already know that but I just wanted to point it out in case you need to rearrange your budget. As a budget option, I just had a delicious lunch at Prosperity Dumpling on Eldridge with 8 veggie dumplings and a veggie & sesame pancake for $3.25! The pork dumplings are even cheaper. Just throwing it out there if you want a reallyyyy cheap meal.

                                                  3. re: Bob Martinez
                                                    s
                                                    small h Feb 19, 2010 04:49 PM

                                                    And that's what makes a horse race - a difference of opinion. I've had the sandwich three time (the last about 3 months ago), and I thought it was terrific all three times. I agree that the cost to fabulous-ness ratio might be less than ideal, but I must take issue with your "3 bites" assessment. The sandwich is served cut in half. Assuming you weren't writing metaphorically, did you eat one half in one bite, and the second half in two bites? Or 1.5 bites per half? Let's take this over to the Serving Size thread!

                                                    1. re: small h
                                                      Bob Martinez Feb 22, 2010 05:19 AM

                                                      My memory of that night failed me. I was with a group and we were splitting plates. I believe I had half of the uni sandwich. Sorry for the error.

                                                  4. re: small h
                                                    e
                                                    e0023 Aug 30, 2011 10:14 PM

                                                    keste is delicious. Pizza Fresca Ristorante is also very good.

                                                    -----
                                                    La Pizza Fresca
                                                    31 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                    Keste Pizza & Vino
                                                    271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                  5. a
                                                    adamandeve Feb 18, 2010 02:49 PM

                                                    Leave some for momofuku's pork buns. i can't remember how much they are. i would do that instead of shake shack.
                                                    i would go to convivio but skip the pre-fix; it's way too much money for your budget and so much food you can barely walk. have the Linguine con Le Sarde and the side of the pecorino potatoes (in spite of the carb overload) which would save you $20 (so you can go get the pork buns)
                                                    Also, while the blueberry pancakes are indeed very good at Clinton, i don't know that they would be on my list- and i do have a sweet tooth. i would instead go to blue marble hill in brooklyn for ice cream if you wanted to satisfy a desire for sweets.
                                                    I would also add a banh mi, i think.

                                                    where are you coming from?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: adamandeve
                                                      Rensis_Likert Feb 18, 2010 03:10 PM

                                                      Thanks much, especially on the tip for Convivio. I certainly see this as a fun challenge. Not self-created, just dictated out of necessity. I'll share my final plans and thoughts afterwards. I'm coming from Jacksonville, FL.

                                                      A friend took me to get pizza last time I was in NYC, and it was a horrifying experience. I don't even remember the name of the place. I must do better! There's such argumentative craziness surrounding the topic though. haha.

                                                      Momofuku Ssam and the Milk Bar are on my long list and certainly competing for a spot.

                                                    2. g
                                                      gutsofsteel Feb 18, 2010 02:35 PM

                                                      Dump Convivio and do the prix fixe at Eleven Madison Park. And go to Keste instead of Patsy's. And I have no idea why Shake Shack is on your list. I mean it's a decent hamburger in its type category, but it's not worth one of your NY eating experiences. Why not go to Katz's?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: gutsofsteel
                                                        Rensis_Likert Feb 18, 2010 02:51 PM

                                                        Thanks for the suggestions on EMP and Keste. My mother agrees with you on Shake Shack. I actually discounted Katz because I abhor pastrami but perhaps was a little too harsh overall.

                                                        1. re: gutsofsteel
                                                          f
                                                          fm1963 Feb 18, 2010 02:54 PM

                                                          Agreed, as much as I love Patsy's I don't think it's the best in NYC or even worth the trek to East Harlem. I'll defer to other hounds regarding best pizza in Manhattan.

                                                          If you want a more ethnically diverse experience, I'd suggest the $25 prix fixe lunch at Momofuku Ssam Bar or even a Szechuan mini-tour (dan dan noodles at Lan Sheng then go across the street for crispy cumin lamb at Szechuan Gourmet).

                                                          Don't forget to explore NYC's unique sweets like Kee's chocolates, Lady M mille crepe cakes or Momofuku Milk Bar.

                                                          This is a fun challenge. I'd be curious to see what you end up doing.

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