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Innovation: the CHOW Tour

davina Jun 9, 2010 04:44 PM

We’re hitting the road! Two of our CHOW editors, Lessley Anderson and Roxanne Webber, will soon be scouring three large and food-obsessed cities — NY, San Francisco, and LA -- looking for deliciousness with a twist: innovation.

For each leg of the trip, we want to hear from local hounds: Where would you go to experience creativity or originality, if given the budget and the time? For that matter, what does innovation mean to you? We're not expecting this to be exclusively or even majorly high-end dining. It may be a pop-up restaurant, or a particularly clever wine program, or a bold return to an old-timey craft like salumi.

For all who remember the OG CHOW Tour, the Jim Leff caloric extravaganza, you know the model. Roxanne and Lessley will be on the road starting July 1, traversing the cities for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; they start in San Francisco, then Los Angeles, then New York, for about a week in each place. They'll be blogging, posting video, and tweeting along the entire tour. In fact, you can start following them now on Twitter: @lessleyanderson and @roxanne_chow.

We're excited, they're excited, we hope you'll be excited too and will follow along. In fact, we hope you'll join them sometimes -- they'll be tweeting their location and will love the company.

All suggestions are welcome, we'll be checking in before they leave and on the way as well. Guide them!

  1. k
    kathryn Jul 19, 2010 12:46 PM

    Is Xian food even available in SF or LA? Xian Famous Foods might be worth a stop.

    -----
    Xi'an Famous Foods
    88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

    1. davina Jul 16, 2010 03:10 PM

      OK, New Yorkers, CHOW Tour has hit town. Today they've plowed through the Breslin, Doughnut Plant, Laboratorio del Gelato, and Baohaus -- reports live now or coming soon from all locations. Tonight they're going to Resto. They missed good beer while in LA!

      Interesting comparisons already about doughnuts and ice cream, two things that SF thinks it does pretty well -- I'm looking forward to the conclusions they come to.

      -----
      Doughnut Plant
      379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

      Resto
      111 East 29th Street, New York, NY 10016

      The Breslin
      20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

      1. g
        gumbosally Jul 15, 2010 03:31 PM

        you cannot possibly go to manhattan and not have the pork buns here. no flash, no fancy anything. the chefs wear t-shirts and jeans. the line forms before dinner service begins. there's a reason owner david chang is a shining star among the galaxy of chefs that grace the apple...i started salivating as i typed out the words "pork buns." try to get 4 (or is it 6?) people together so you can have the fried chicken. no, no, no: you haven't really had fried chicken yet. you only think you've had fried chicken. do an order of pork buns and the fried chicken dinner. you'll waddle out but you'll want to thank me. i promise. my next cheap-flight sighting i will return to NYC and head for momofuku before i do anything else. then i'll eat there again before i leave, and this time i'll have pork buns, a noodle bowl, and a vegetable of some sort. and if i get hit by a truck walking back to the apartment, it'll be OK.

        -----
        Momofuku Noodle Bar
        171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

        1. a
          armonkfoodie Jul 11, 2010 08:03 AM

          I recently had some great dim sum at chinatown brasserie. In addition to extremely well executed "common" dim sum like turnip cake and sticky rice, there were some very untraditional (hence creative) ingredients such as avocado. Delicious and different!

          1. n
            NJLove2eat Jul 7, 2010 05:35 PM

            I am a big fan of Stanton Social

            -----
            Stanton Social
            99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

            1. b
              Brianli360 Jul 6, 2010 11:27 PM

              I'm just going to recommend one. Artichoke Basille's PIzza on 14th Street between 1st & 2nd Ave. The Artichoke Slice, Crab Slice & Sicilian Slice. The trifecta of friggin' awesomeness.

              1. davina Jun 30, 2010 05:25 PM

                http://www.chow.com/blog/chow-tour-in...

                1. Noodle fanatic Jun 12, 2010 03:12 AM

                  Oftentimes, when the word "innovation" is mentioned in the context of dining, my mind drifts off to the land of liquid nitrogen, sauces served in droppers, and molecular gastronomy. But that is not at all what New York is about. Here, it's all about finding the right balance of creativity, originality, and authenticity. The soulless fusiony places commonly found in Las Vegas and Miami have no place here. Instead, we worship at the altar of David Chang (for now anyway). We frown upon gimmicks and relish in the organic. Although as evident in the case of Ko - we're willing to put up with the former if the food is worth it. Deep down inside, most of us without an army of personal assistants are pissed off about the insane online reservations system that is Ko and are left wondering why we sync our clocks daily to momofuku.com's just so we can click the "login" button at exactly 09:59:58 to be "first" when reservations open at 10:00:00.

                  We're a bunch of transplants from around the country and the world looking to recreate the perfect dining experiences we might have had in Los Angeles, Paris, Barcelona, Tokyo, or Hong Kong. We're lucky to have a large selection of restaurants to choose from when it comes to many ethnic cuisines - we don't just have 1 authentic and very legitimate ramen house, we have 5+. And the same could be said for izakayas, sushi houses, restaurants where tofu is made fresh on the premises, Korean BBQ (ok LA is really king on this front), obscure regional Chinese cuisines that someone like me from Hong Kong might never even have heard of, hot pot "fast-food" joints that sell bubble tea in the front, banh mi shops, taco trucks, etc. The list goes on… The greatest privilege of living in NYC is that to experience all this, you don't need to spend an arm and a leg, you don't even have to wear a suit jacket, you just have to make sure to space your meals far enough apart so you'll be able to digest your dinner before going to K-town, Chinatown, St Marks, or your favorite late night diner for your 3am post-drinking chow.

                  The combination of the following foods/restaurants come together to create my ultimate mostly-below-14th-street-Manhattan foodie universe, each establishment creative and original in its own way. I know there are ecosystems uptown and in other boroughs, but with so much deliciousness, I never feel the need to venture out unless it's to JFK-HKG/CDG/NRT et. al. (Pardon me for my very Japanese-leaning palate)

                  Most interesting food event: "Makanai Ryori / fish heads, eel bones, and beer" event (more info here: http://www.enjb.com/events.html ) at En Japanese Brasserie. I love this once-a-month event so much I hesitated telling anyone about it in fear that I won't be able to get a reservation

                  Best Tofu: En Japanese Brasserie (made freshly every 90 minutes) or Yakitori Totto (made freshly at the table

                  )

                  Best Soba: Sobaya (Handmade soba noodles with Azumino buckwheat imported from Nagano Japan), or Matsugen (Jean George's soba restaurant)

                  We have more than 1 Japanese-style pasta restaurant: Basta Pasta, Greenwich Grill, and TriBeCafe (more of a Tokyo café than pasta restaurant, but hey, we have a restaurant dedicated to "Tokyo casual" cuisine!)

                  You can get Japanese onigiris (riceballs) at Oms/b and other Japanese markets (Sunrise Mart, JAS Mart) and Japanese bakeries (Panya, Zaiya)

                  Izakayas galore - my favorites are Taisho (amazing dive under $20/pp), Sakagura (refined izakaya in the basement of an office building), and En Japanese Brasserie (clay rice pot with salmon & roe)

                  Ramen battle: Ippudo Ramen (the broth) vs. Momofuku Noodle Bar (perfectly poached onsen tamago). Honorable mention: Taisho

                  Omakase sushi done the right way (served piece by piece made fresh by the sushi chef at the bar) - Yasuda, Sushi Azabu.

                  Favorite innovative dish: Momofuku Ssam's raw oyster with kimchi infused consomme - o so simple, but amazingly delicious. A fantastic alternative to traditional cocktail sauce, French mignonette, or Japanese ponzu with oroshi, scallions, and ginger

                  Most clever + creative use of space: La Esquina's Taqueria (10+ types of tacos!), Café, and Restaurant - 3 restaurants in 1 location serving similar food at 3 different price points

                  Perfectly executed New American lunch menus with great service and ambience: Market Table (oyster chowder, burger, grilled asparagus with egg yolk and pecorino) , Café Cluny (frisee lardon, homemade pasta, complimentary chocolates)

                  Lobster rolls: Pearl Oyster Bar (shoestring fries)

                  Shrimp tacos: Mary's Fish Camp

                  BYOB-French-sans-air-conditioning dining in a hole in a wall next to the Holland Tunnel entrance in Manhattan: La Sirene (mussels with curry, diced apples, and light cream)

                  Favorite restaurant group not part of Momofukuniverse: Blue Ribbon Downing St. Bar, Blue Ribbon Bakery (pate, duck confit, strawberry sundae), Blue Ribbon Brasserie (oysters). Sorry Blue Ribbon Sushi doesn't make the cut.

                  Inventive Cocktails: Pegu Club. I haven't visited many others, but these Hounds have: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7092...

                  Japanese Tea House: Cha-An (excellent afternoon tea, unique desserts, authentic Japanese home cooking

                  )

                  Best new soft serve flavor - Cereal Milk Soft Serve from the place I shall not mention since many are already in backlash mode

                  Interesting Japanese Desserts: Anything at Cha-An, Anything at Sobaya (particularly: Wasabi Honey Ice Cream, Black Sesame Ice Cream, Anmitsu, Milk Tofu)

                  -----
                  Pearl Oyster Bar
                  18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

                  Yakitori Totto
                  251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                  Momofuku Ssam Bar
                  207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  En Japanese Brasserie
                  435 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

                  Sakagura
                  211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

                  Oms/b
                  156 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

                  La Esquina
                  106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

                  Mary's Fish Camp
                  64 Charles St, New York, NY 10014

                  Market Table
                  54 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014

                  Blue Ribbon Brasserie
                  97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                  Blue Ribbon Sushi
                  119 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                  Blue Ribbon Bakery
                  33 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

                  Momofuku Noodle Bar
                  171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  Basta Pasta
                  37 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

                  Pegu Club
                  77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                  La Sirene
                  558 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013

                  Ippudo
                  65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  Greenwich Grill
                  428 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

                  JAS Mart
                  35 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                  Matsugen
                  241 Church Street, New York, NY 10013

                  Sushi Azabu
                  428 Greenwich St (basement), New York, NY 10013

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Noodle fanatic
                    Noodle fanatic Jun 12, 2010 03:52 AM

                    P.S. I have not personally been to Kajitsu, but my Japanese friends and these Hounds are raving about it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/658982

                    Kajitsu serves Shojin cuisine, an ancient Japanese cuisine developed in Zen Buddhist monasteries. Definitely a very special meal whether in Japan or the US.

                    -----
                    Kajitsu
                    414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

                    1. re: Noodle fanatic
                      Roxanne Webber Jun 14, 2010 05:31 PM

                      Noodle fanatic, thanks! This is an impressive list. I wish we were going to be in NYC for "Makanai Ryori / fish heads, eel bones, and beer." But the tofu at En sounds like it might be worth a trip anyways! What else is a must-try there? Is the lunch a good bet?

                      1. re: Roxanne Webber
                        o
                        orthorunner Jun 14, 2010 08:33 PM

                        Despite further skewing this thread towards Japanese fare, another great/innovative spot to try is Kyotofu, which has all sorts of tofu dishes- soft to firm tofu, sweet to savory styles. A must try is their chocolate cupcake, which is made from tofu and is divine despite sounding a bit strange (and I am not a vegetarian)
                        While you unfortunately won't be here for the herring festival (going on this week and next), I would recommend trying various types of herring at Aquavit, as well as getting their hot-smoked salmon.
                        If you have a chance to make it over to Brooklyn check out the Red Hook Ballfields on a weekend. It is not so much innovative cuisine as an innovative concept: every possible country of Latin America represented by a different food cart in a single place.
                        Also, to experience NYC you have to try out some of the food trucks. Alas, my favorite bit the dust a while back- Dessert Truck. You can try out Dessert Truck Works, their brick and mortar store. However, there are plenty of other fantastic options such as Wafels and Dinges and the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck.
                        WD-50 and Degustation are classic go-tos for people wanting to experience innovative styles of cuisine in New York.
                        There are so many options it is hard to know what else to include, but hope this gives you a good start!
                        Almost forgot: you must try the cocktail scene. At PDT you can get funky hot dog creations in addition to solid cocktails. Favorites of mine include Death and Company, Milk and Honey, and Mayahuel (tequila/mezcal) So many spots now to get well-thought out cocktails that are as intricate as the food served with it.

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

                        Kyotofu
                        144 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                        Dessert Truck Works
                        6 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                        1. re: orthorunner
                          k
                          kathryn Jul 19, 2010 12:42 PM

                          Some innovative cocktails I've had recently:
                          Coconut-Kaffir Fizz at Pegu Club: gin, rum, coconut cream, pineapple, essence of kaffir lime, orange, lemon, cane syrup, bitters
                          Gold Coast at PDT: Karlsson's vodka, Swedish punch, dill, black pepper essence.
                          Brazilian Tea Punch at PDT: green tea infused cachacha, lemongrass syrup, lime.
                          Shiso Delicious at PDT: Aviation gin, lemon, grapefruit, shiso, red pepper.
                          Seven Spice Sour at Ma Peche/Momofuku Ssam Bar: Togarashi infused sake, lime, yuzu.
                          Creole Daiquiri at Rye House: a daiquiri with both mezcal and chorizo infused rum. If you like this, you'll probably also be interested in the Benton's Bacon Old Fashioned at PDT or the Pig and Pepe at Maialino.
                          Rose Verde at Cienfuegos: rum, watermelon, lime, pink peppercorns, and celery bitters.
                          Herb Alpert at Mayahuel: jalapeno infused tequila, mezcal, lime, and oregano
                          Old Man Miller Swizzle at Mayahuel: mezcal, reposado tequila, overproof rum, agave nectar, falernum, Benedictine, allspice, cinnamon bark syrup, lime and absinthe
                          Slap M' Pickle at Death & Co: aquavit, muddled cucumber, and I forget what else. They also have a new-ish drink with Greek yogurt (!) as an ingredient.
                          Rita Hayworth at Death & Co: a little older but I still love the pineapple and safe infused tequila with lime and honey in this drink.
                          Salt & Ash at the Counting Room (Brooklyn): Chichicapa Mezcal, Grapefruit-infused El Jimador Blanco Tequila, Lapsang Tea infused Sweet Vermouth, Maraschino, Agave, Angostura, Orange Bitters

                          I think Milk & Honey, Little Branch, Painkiller, and anything in that family is actually focused more on the classics, executed beautifully.

                          NB: barrel-aged Martinez cocktails apparently will be ready at Dram in August! Perhaps too late for this tour.

                          -----
                          Little Branch
                          22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

                          Pegu Club
                          77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                          Mayahuel
                          304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

                          Maialino
                          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                          Rye House
                          11 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

                          Cienfuegos
                          95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

                        2. re: Roxanne Webber
                          Noodle fanatic Jun 15, 2010 10:28 PM

                          If you've never dined at En before, definitely go for dinner instead of lunch. I actually haven't had their lunch yet, but judging from the menu online, dinner would be a much better bet for a first-time experience since you'll be able to sample a much larger variety of dishes. Plus the dishes are supposed to be enjoyed tapas/family style; i.e. The lunch menu is smaller and looks to be designed for the business-lunch diner in mind. I don't think their lunch sets successfully showcase the depth and breadth of their dinner offerings, although it's certainly a good deal. (I'd been meaning to try their lunch for some time now, but always find myself going to Matsugen for soba instead.)

                          Must-try dishes for En include:

                          ***Freshly-made scooped tofu (warm or chilled) - Amazing! Must order!

                          ***Anything with yuba in it (Yuba = tofu skin)

                          ***Clay Rice Pot with salmon & roe - Amazing! Must order!

                          Other notable dishes (very tempted to list the whole menu but I won't):

                          Shimonita Konnyaku (imported from Japan, devils tongue vegetarian sashimi
                          served chilled with a white miso-vinegar dipping sauce) - it takes someone with a very Japanese palate to appreciate this dish. Most Americans will likely find it odd to be eating something with a jello-like consistency as an appetizer. But it's really good!

                          Black cod marinated in saikyo miso, grilled (I hesitate to order this dish when I go to expensive restaurants, since I find that $19 to be a bit too much to charge for something I can make myself at home or find for less than half the price at a cheaper Japanese restaurant. However, with that said, En does a very good job with it, and if you're not the type who makes grilled miso cod at home, definitely try it here.)

                          Sea Bass Kara-Age (sake marinated medallions lightly fried)

                          Ebi Shinjo (shrimp fritters deep-fried with salt)

                          Kurobuta Kakuni (braised Berkshire pork belly in sansho miso served with a hard boiled egg, spinach, and daikon radish)

                          Nigiri sushi set ($55 for 16 pieces + 2 rolls = great deal!) A note about their sushi rolls: The sushi rolls are very good, but it hurts my wallet too much to pay $29 for the Uni Roll (sweet shrimp, cucumber, & shiso topped with sea urchin), or $20 for the Spicy Chu Toro Roll (mixed with okra).

                          Haven't tried their Stone Grilled Organic Chicken or Crispy Fried Chicken, but I'm sure both would be amazing.

                          Highly recommend going as a party of 4 or more so you can order a greater variety of dishes. Ask their highly knowledgeable servers for recommendations and seasonal specials. Also take advantage of consulting their amazing sake sommelier!

                          They also serve a Kaiseki (multi-course prix fixe) for $65 or $95 which features seasonal ingredients. I normally prefer to order a la carte unless I see something I'm dying to have on the Kaiseki menu.

                          -----
                          Matsugen
                          241 Church Street, New York, NY 10013

                          1. re: Noodle fanatic
                            m
                            michellemadden Oct 24, 2010 06:44 PM

                            where is the resto En that you refer to?
                            thanks!

                      2. daffyduck Jun 10, 2010 10:06 PM

                        whoops i didnt read that well. when i think innovation the first thing I think of is wd-50 but i havent been there so i cant really recommend. if youre focusing on innovation my favorites Babbo, Degustation, Eleven Madison Park, and Le Bernadin for higher end dining. For medium priced dining I like Alta, Carteles (deep fried cubano!), Casa Mono, El Quinto Pino (sea urchin sandwich), Stanton Social, and Tia Pol. Fatty crab looks good too although i havent tried it.
                        Other things I thought were innovative were the lobster astice, octupus bonemarrow fusilli, and sweetbreads ravioli at Marea (I was underwhelmed by everything else though), super heebster sandwich (Russ and Daughters), Maple Budino (Locanda Verde), speaking of desserts the eclair ice cream sandwich at chickalicious looks delicious. i havent had it but ive had the eclair and the ice cream seperately and they were both good and I think together itll be delicious. The thousand year old ice sandwich at xie xie also sounds good, but i havent tried it.
                        even though its not innovative i still think u guys should go to keens for their mutton chop, i dont know where else u can get that. i heard they fry their ries in beef fat. i think thats innovative lol if i opened up a restaurant id fry everything in beef fat or other animal fats =).nomnomnom

                        -----
                        Eleven Madison Park
                        11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

                        Babbo
                        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                        Casa Mono
                        52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                        Stanton Social
                        99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

                        Tia Pol
                        205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                        El Quinto Pino
                        401 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011

                        Marea
                        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                        Carteles
                        443 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

                        1. m
                          metfan630 Jun 10, 2010 05:09 PM

                          To me, part of being innovative is to serve me something I have eaten before, but blowing my mind by making my tastebuds go "wow, that's new." Example: Spaghetti, tomato and basil from Scarpetta. I've had that dish many times, but wow, its new there.

                          Then, there is the other component of innovative, where I get served an ingredient that I have never had, or one I have had in a preparation that makes me go "wow, thats new." Example: the lobster cappuccino that I had at Veritas. Amazing.

                          Some places I would like to mention:Pizza at Di Fara in Brooklyn. The owner makes every pie, as he has done for the last 20+ years. Is there a statute of limitations at which a dish loses its innovation? Well I was a pizza eater for over 20 years before trying this, and it is the best damn pizza I have ever had.

                          Dishes that jump out at me: Steamed Pork Buns at Momofuku, Spicy Watercress Salad at Sripraphai, a salmon appetizer I had at Eleven Madison Park that blew my mind, wings at Dinosaur BBQ (smoked rather than fried, jumbo pieces of chicken wing).

                          Another part of NYC's innovation are the countless number of ways to experience a meal. Any hour, countless cuisines, any setting you want, delivered if you want, its all here. Experience as much as you can!

                          -----
                          Eleven Madison Park
                          11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

                          Veritas
                          43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

                          Scarpetta
                          355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                          Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
                          777 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027

                          1. daffyduck Jun 10, 2010 12:39 PM

                            Here is something I wrote for my cousin when he visited last month.
                            Hey Alex, these are some of my favorite places to eat in Manhattan. I have various notes:
                            1. Russ and Daughters: My favorite item here is the “super heebster” sandwich. Note this is a take out place only. You have to obtain a ticket with your number then the guy behind the counter can help you. They have various items such as babka (i highly suggest it if you've never had), various fish (salmon, herring, sablefish, etc), cream cheeses and other jewish appetizers.
                            2. Katz: This is literally a few doors down from Russ and Daughters. My favorite item here is the Pastrami Reuben. Katz is a jewish deli with seats and they don’t care if you eat things from Russ and Daughters. Katz is a bit pricey. I would sample a lot of their meat such as corned beef, brisket, tongue, etc. And see what you like best. Most people’s favorite is the pastrami. By the way if you’ve never had jewish food you should try kishka, matza ball soup, and stuffed cabbage. I’ve only tried those foods at second avenue deli so Im' not sure of the quality at Katz is almost as good.

                            Lunch:
                            1. Jean Georges: classy, try to dress up nice to it. Excellent cheap lunch menu.
                            2. Del Posto: same as above
                            3. Eleven Madison Park: same as above.
                            4. Shopsin’s: If you go, do not go in a big group. Go in groups of 2-3 they do not seat more than parties of 3? I think. My favorite item is the bread pudding mac and cheese French toast. Also their nutella mocha milkshake is the best milkshake I have ever had. If you’re a milkshake person I can fb message you a few more places.
                            Cheap Eats:
                            a) Asian:
                            1. Great Noodletown: I like their salt and pepper items and their soups and chow funs.
                            2. Nan Xiang (Flushing, call mom after 6pm she can take you): pork soup dumplings and scallion pancakes.
                            3. Chinatown Ice cream factory: I like the lychee ice cream, but feel free to sample.
                            4. Pho Bang or Thai son: pho! Bahn mi and spring roll vermercelli. BTW my favorite bahn mi is at Baoguette but there’s a really good place at a jewelry store in Chinatown it’s called bahn mi Saigon bakery.
                            5. Ippudo: my favorite ramen spot. I've also heard great things about the ramen at momofuku noodle bar.
                            6. For Indian food I really like Delhi Heights in manhattan, you have to take the E, F, R, or V train to 74th street Roosevelt avenue.

                            Pizza:
                            1. My favorite NY city slice is Joe’s in the West Village
                            2. Another great slice is the Nonna Maria at Bleecker Street Pizza
                            3. For Neopolitan Style I like Motorino: Brussel Sprouts and Pancetta (there’s no tomato sauce on that) and the margarita. BTW this restaurant is small, so be sure to call ahead to see if they can fit a big group (I don’t know how many people youll be with)
                            4. Keste: Pizza de Rie is also neopolitan but my favorite at of all the ones i suggested.

                            Expensive restaurants worth the $ for me:
                            1. Degustation: It’s a small, romantic kind of restaurant. You should not go unless you are going with a party of four or less. I’ve only tried the 10 course tasting but I was blown away. Note: it is a bit expensive and portions are small
                            2. Babbo: Crowded and harddd to get reservations. You can try going early and eating at the bar. Must eats are the maple cheesecake and bbq octopus appetizer. They are gone though so I suggest a pasta tasting (btw my friend told me the carrot cake is fantastic)
                            3. Striphouse: Crowded and noisy. I actually really like their seafood soups: clam chowder and lobster bisque. Awesome sides include cream corn pancetta (heavenly!) and goose fat potatoes. My favorite entrée is the hands down the bone in ribeye.
                            4. Aquavit: Classy place I like their herring sampler and artic circle dessert
                            5. Craft: jersaleum artichokes, short ribs, sugar and spice donuts, ice cream if you get the donuts! (they excel in sides, nothing too fancy just simple extremely well executed food) A good place for a big dinner with your classmates.

                            Not so expensive restaurants:
                            1. Clinton Street Baking Co- Pancakes!, good burger and great fries. Their fried chickens is pretty good too.
                            2. Café Habana-Cornnn!. I also like their pork chop dish. Do not get the pollo mirador, it is a weak dish.
                            3. Yakitori-The place is probably a place called yakitori totto. But I like this placed called yakitori taisho at st marks. The chicken skin yakitori is awesome!

                            Sweets:
                            1. Kee’s Chocolates
                            2. Levain Bakery: Chocolate chip walnut cookie
                            3. Spot or Kyotfu: i like anything with condensed milk ice cream
                            4. Sundae and Cones
                            5. Bruno Bakery-gelato and pastries
                            6. Veniero’s- Cannolis
                            7. Otto-You can have just desserts at the bar but you have to stand.
                            8. Rice to riches: a rice pudding place with various flavors. You should sample before buying my favorite is the French toast and the almond schmalmond.

                            You should also spend a day at the Chelsea Market. My favorite eats there are L’arte Gelato, fatwich brownies, and the lobster place for soups.

                            I just did this in 10 mins, so there’s a lot I’m missing. But if I can think of any more stuff I’ll facebook you or if you have any questions just msg me back. If you google these places they should come up and the hotel should be able to direct you well. Worst comes to worst call me I know the subway system pretty well. Sorry I can't really hang out because I have finals, I might be able to come down to the city one day though. I hope you have fun!

                            -----
                            Eleven Madison Park
                            11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

                            Babbo
                            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                            Jean Georges
                            1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

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

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

                            Pho Bang
                            157 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                            Veniero's
                            342 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003

                            Levain Bakery
                            167 W 74th St, New York, NY 10023

                            Ippudo
                            65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                            Clinton Street Baking Co.
                            4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: daffyduck
                              daffyduck Jun 10, 2010 12:41 PM

                              I would also add Keens to this. The mutton chop is awesome. And I havent been there but Peter Luger's.

                            2. daveena Jun 10, 2010 12:06 PM

                              I suspect the Manhattan board isn't in the habit of reading the stickies - I've noticed that despite the enormous amount of visitor posts, they rarely reference the "Read this FIrst' sticky. I'll try to kick things off...

                              WD-50 - probably the most obvious choice for "innovative" in NYC

                              Corton - Liebrandt toned down his trademark insanity and is making some polished, but still creative food now.

                              Degustation - the José Andrés influence is strong here, but with the tiny room and open kitchen, it's a far more personal and intimate experience than, say, Bazaar in LA. Ganevort's food is less elaborate but more soulful than Bazaar's - it would be interesting to compare the two.

                              Momofuku (Ssam bar, Noodle Bar, Ko, or Ma Peche) - Ssam Bar is one of my all-time favorites. Asian fusion, but drawing on regions and flavors not classically represented in most Asian fusion (I think of "classic" Asian fusion as drawing more from the aromatic and citrus side of Vietnamese and Thai, and the red-cooking of Shanghai - Ssam leans more towards Korean and Sichuan, and draws from the pungent side of Viet and Thai.) Korean fusion is definitely on the upswing now, but I think Ssam Bar does it best.

                              Chikalicious Dessert Bar - still the only place I know of where you can get a dessert tasting menu, with wine pairing (alas, you're a few years late for Room 4 Dessert and Tailor).

                              Kyotofu - I wouldn't say that my meal here blew me away, but I think that what they do is so unusual that it's a must-try.

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

                              Corton
                              239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                              Kyotofu
                              144 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                              Ma Peche
                              15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: daveena
                                saturngrrl Jun 15, 2010 06:06 PM

                                I don't have anything to add that's different from what's already been suggested, but I'm bookmarking this thread because I loved daffyduck's and Noodle fanatic's lists and would like to thank them for their amazingly detailed and thorough posts. Many of the places they mentioned I have been wanting/meaning to try already, but oh... so many wonderful new ideas. Awesome!

                                1. re: daveena
                                  p
                                  pork_buns Jul 17, 2010 10:42 AM

                                  I think that may be a minor design flaw. The fact that the 2 or 3 "official posts" listed at the top are the same color as regular user entries makes them look like they're just user entries with boring subject lines.

                                  I've always found that a weird quirk of chow.com: you can't tell where the "official posts" end and the user posts begin. It would certainly be easy to fix however.

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