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7 people travelling to NYC from Wed-Sat

Hey everyone,

I am travelling with six other people to NYC next week. We will be there from early Wed morning until late Sat night. We are staying at the Holiday Inn at 440 West 57th Street (SW corner of central park-ish).

We are going as tourists, so we will be seeing all the normal sights, such as MOMA, museum of natural history, chinatown, statue of liberty, Broadway (Lion King) on the Wed night, etc.

I am taking care of finding some restaurants. Most meals will probably be quick, since most of my fellow travellers are not foodies and thus food is not the most important part of their trip. I suspect that $50/person might even blow some of their minds on a nice meal night.

I have done some looking around and have come up with the following places that seem like a good blend of quality and value:

In Chinatown, I found:
Great NY Noodle Town
Tu Do

For a wine bar, I found:
Aroma Kitchen and Winebar - I noticed on their website it says select 4 wines by the glass for $20. Has anyone been there and gotten this deal?
Also, not really a wine bar, but I saw some people discussing A Cafe on here the other day, and with no uncorking fee, seems like it could be good to try.

For some quick take out stuff, I wanted to try:
Artichoke Basille's Pizza & Brewery
Lamazou

I also have Les Halles (I'm a Bourdain fan), Szechuan Gourmet, and Burp Castle on my list of places that might be good to check out.

I was wondering if you guys had anything you could add to this list. As I said, we will be seeing many of the touristy places, so anything in the vicinity of those is great.

I am especially looking for:
Jazz club with good food/drinks
Nice meal for after/before Lion King (probably under $50/person with tip and tax)
Additional quick take out/ street food recommendations
Any good coffee/bakery (very quick) type spots close to the hotel

Lastly, for most of the Friday I will be flying solo, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to try some nicer food. I have no ideas for this, and it might be a bit awkward going solo, but if you were by yourself in NYC on a Friday afternoon/evening, what food would you eat? (I've never had any legit french food, so I was thinking possibly something along those lines)

Thanks a lot!

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Lamazou
370 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

Szechuan Gourmet
21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

Les Halles
15 John Street, New York, NY 10038

Burp Castle
41 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

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  1. Bourdain is not affiliared with Les Halles in any way, and it's a lousy restaurant.

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    Les Halles
    15 John Street, New York, NY 10038

    4 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      This isn't entirely true. Bourdain has the title of Chef-at-large, whatever that means. I'm sure it's just some sort of financial agreement so that Les Halles can still be associated with Bourdain but there is still some connection,

      -----
      Les Halles
      15 John Street, New York, NY 10038

      1. re: bookhound

        It's marketing bullshit, only a money deal.

        And the restaurant is not worth going to.

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          I think Les Halles is the restaurant he refers to as "the restaurant" or "his restaurant" in his interviews. But thanks for letting me know that its not worth going to.

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          Les Halles
          15 John Street, New York, NY 10038

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            Second that Les Halles is not worth going to.

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            Les Halles
            15 John Street, New York, NY 10038

      2. how about aureole after the lion king? they have an after theater deal with champange , entree & dessert. awesome bakery/coffee near the hotel, Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center, My favorite in chinatown is Nha Trang Centre , Vietnamese food.Have a great time!

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        Bouchon Bakery
        10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

        Nha Trang
        148 Centre St, New York, NY 10013

        1 Reply
        1. re: rkaene

          Aureole looks like a great recommendation. Thanks a lot!

        2. Really like Artichoke and Lamazou but they're both small places, so having all 7 of you there might be really difficult. Artichoke is also prone to very long lines so good luck if it's hot! The line is usually out the door because there's not much space to wait inside. Don't miss the square slice!

          Lamazou is also more of a takeout lunch place, it doesn't stay open all that late, but less popular than Artichoke. But god, those sandwiches are good.

          Skip Les Halles as Bourdain no longer has any involvement with the restaurant/food part of the business and hit up some of his other favorites in town!

          He's featured so many: Prune, Spotted Pig, Sake Bar Hagi, Russ & Daughters (takeout), Katz's, Keens Steakhouse, Xian Famous Foods (now has takeout locations in the East Village and Chinatown but it was featured in the Outer Boroughs episode and is inexpensive for the uniqueness of the food):
          http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows...
          http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows...
          http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows...

          Szechuan Gourmet is a good pick but popular so make reservations since you're a pretty large sized party.

          I also like Burp Castle and Jimmy's No. 43 is also nearby for a different take on a beer bar. Although I have to say I've taken a shine to Marshall Stack on the LES lately (but only on weekdays) because they have Goose Island Matilda. Delicious.

          See also the top bars for beer snobs:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/572919

          > Jazz club with good food/drinks

          Most jazz clubs here focus on the music and not the food, but Blue Smoke provides the food for the Jazz Standard. Not cheap, though, and it's a performance venue first, with everything else coming secondary -- no talking, dancing, etc. while the performance is going on. I hope your guests would be comfortable with the prices here in NYC at jazz places (steep cover charge plus high priced food and drink); I'd do some research in advance and make sure they're aware.

          Previously:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/703936
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/656307
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/598709

          > Additional quick take out/ street food recommendations

          These threads might help.

          Cool, cheap eats in Manhattan.
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/696914

          Looking for Best Cheap Eats in Manhattan
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/694218

          Angeleno in NYC looking for cheap eats
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/635360

          Top 3 cheap eats that are NOT street food
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/700760

          Time Out New York's cheap eats list for 2010 just came out
          http://newyork.timeout.com/articles/r...

          Don't forget that there's also midtownlunch.com which has a wealth of information on places to eat in Midtown, and also a lot of artisanal food trucks popping up lately with baked goods, schnitzel, burgers, dumplings, and more. Check out also the Brooklyn Flea and Hester St Faire.
          http://www.mobilecravings.com/bestnew...
          http://twitter.com/zagatbuzz/nyc-food...
          http://www.thebrooklynnomad.com/new-y...

          > but if you were by yourself in NYC on a Friday afternoon/evening, what food would you eat?

          You can dine quite well as a solo diner here in NYC. It all depends on how much you're willing to pay. A lot of the nicer restaurants allow you to dine at the bar, or are set up for counter dining anyway, which may make you more comfortable as a solo diner.

          And please don't worry about feeling awkward! Dining solo is very common in Manhattan as we get so many business travelers; and it's actually a big compliment in some restaurants' eyes: you're there for the FOOD and not for a date or to close a business deal, you know? :) Personally, I would do Eleven Madison Park, Casa Mono, Hearth, Scarpetta, Degustation, Aldea (chef's counter), or a sushi place (perhaps Yasuda). It really depends on your price range.

          Solo dining:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/714723
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/716985

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

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

          Lamazou
          370 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

          Casa Mono
          52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

          Spotted Pig
          314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

          Szechuan Gourmet
          21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

          Les Halles
          411 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016

          Blue Smoke
          116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

          Jimmy's No. 43
          43 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

          Burp Castle
          41 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

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

          Marshall Stack
          66 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

          Aldea
          31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: kathryn

            Thanks for all the suggestions! There are so many restaurants in NYC that it is hard to narrow it down for such a short trip. The solo dining threads are very useful.

            Thanks again

          2. Lamazou doesn't have any seating which would make it an inconvenient stop. Neither does Artichoke for that matter. I wouldn't put either at the top of my list of must have stops.

            This being a food board, I think we would all encourage you to set aside time and make food a lager priority for your trip if possible, even just for dinners or after show bites to eat.

            I also wanted to second Jimmys, and Marshal Stacks for beer. I think I would pick those over Burp Castle. Jimmy's is the only one set up for large groups.

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            Lamazou
            370 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

            Burp Castle
            41 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

            3 Replies
            1. re: sugartoof

              Thanks sugartoof. While I am planning on making food a very large priority of my trip, some of the people I'm going with are just not into it. For instance, my brother went to NYC last year and didn't eat at a single non-chain place. He mainly ate at Subway, McDonald's, etc. I like places like Lamazou to be on the list because if he just wants a quick sandwich for lunch, at least it is legit. No seating isn't really much of a problem. However, long line ups will probably be avoided by some, but probably not me.

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              Lamazou
              370 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

              1. re: Loftarasa

                You'll just need to make a return trip, solo or with different friends/relatives. :)

                BTW, New York Magazine just came out with their top 25 favorite food trucks:
                http://nymag.com/restaurants/cheapeat...

                1. re: Loftarasa

                  I wouldn't worry about lines at Lamazou.... it's just that I don't think 7 people could fit inside the place comfortably to even order.

                  I feel like we could probably give you better advice and direct you towards more suitable destinations if you wanted to give us your guidelines. Even if it's just fast burgers and sandwiches, or quick stops, we can probably guide you ...if you want. Also, our summer is the real deal this year, so eating out doors isn't always a good bet.

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                  Lamazou
                  370 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

              2. Well I am back from NYC so I thought I would update everyone on where I went to eat!

                For breakfast, I went to a place right by my hotel called Pizza in the Park. They made bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches that were pretty standard but very tasty.

                I made it to several food vendors at different points on the trip, such as Moshe's Falafel and Steak Truck. I went down to find Moshe's Falafel a couple of times and he wasn't there, so I ended up trying a few other vendors around the area. I had chicken tikka masala a couple of times down there and I enjoyed it.

                We went to Aureole for the bubbles after broadway menu after seeing the Lion King. The food was very good. Several people ordered the salmon, one ordered the steak, one ordered the duck, and I got the lamb sausage. My dish was the "butt" of many jokes, as some felt it looked like a turd (it was a thin, long, coiled up sausage). However, it tasted great. One dish was sent back as the waitress heard "skate" when someone ordered "steak". She did not look pleased at all, and she dropped what appeared to be an f-bomb as she walked past the hostess and then the hostess followed her back to the kitchen. She was still nice to us for the rest of the meal, however, and overall it was a great experience.

                A few of us went to Hearth restaurant on Friday night for their 3 course set menu and wine pairing. This was the food highlight for me on the trip because the service was great and food was delicious. The first course was a chilled zucchini and basil soup, the main course was a suckling pig ravioli-type pasta, and the dessert was an amaretto panna cotta. Everything was great and the staff was very knowledgeable and helpful.

                The whole group of us made it to Szechuan Gourmet for our final night in NYC. This was the worst service I have ever gotten in a restaurant. I was pretty amused by it, though. When we showed up at our reservation time, our table wasn't ready and all of the staff were sitting down. After a few minutes our table was ready, but no server came over to our table for fifteen minutes. I tried asking our server how many dishes we should be ordering for a group our size, but he gave us no indication/possibly didn't understand what I was saying. I decided that one dish per person would probably be normal, and we could all share them once they arrived. We made a list of everything we wanted, with each dish's menu number and title. For some reason this list was not adequate (probably a language thing), and the server insisted on looking up the dish in the menu for himself once we said it.

                Once our food arrived and we were eating, our server just stood at the table beside us, leaned on a chair, and stared at us. Then this mystery dish arrived (looked like lamb with whole chilli peppers) that we didn't order. We had already received the seven dishes we had ordered. Then I said how we didn't order that dish, and he said we did. He came over with his list as if I understand chinese and was like "see? see?". We still had our list and showed him that we only intended to order 1 dish per person, and the first seven dishes that arrived are the ones we ordered. He kind of walked away from the table as if we were going to keep the dish, so I had to get his attention again and say we didn't order it. When he finally took the dish away, his face contorted as if he could barely contain his anger. His teeth were ground together and everything haha. Then he came back out and stared at us again. On a side note, the food was quite tasty. It was my first time trying Szechuan food and I am glad it will be such a memorable experience.

                Thanks to everyone who suggested restaurants and provided me with advice!

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                Moshe's Falafel
                442 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036

                Szechuan Gourmet
                21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                1 Reply
                1. re: Loftarasa

                  Your story was pretty funny - I've been subjected to the same treatment. Service can be grumpy at Szechuan Gourmet, but I'm glad you enjoyed the food.

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                  Szechuan Gourmet
                  21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018