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Honeymoon in NY 1st-11th Nov – help me cut down my list!

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feltpens Aug 13, 2010 06:51 AM

I’m coming to New York for my honeymoon from 1st-11th November 2010, and am trying to cut down my long list of possible places to eat – any help would be gratefully received!

We’re staying at the north end of Soho, and are planning to do most of our eating and drinking in downtown Manhattan, but we’re willing to travel for great food – if we can get there on the subway in under an hour it’s fair game! Our average budget will probably be around $50 a person inc tax and tip, but can go up to $100 for special places. We love south east Asian, Japanese, and Italian food, but we basically eat anything (and I think we can eat a LOT in 10 days).

The only real rule is that we prefer relaxed and unpretentious places, we are not bothered about eating in trendy places and don't want to have to dress up any more than a jacket and nice dress.

These are the places that are on my list so far - I’d love your comments on them (any that you wouldn’t recommend? Any that we should definitely visit? Any that we’ve missed?)

South east asian - Rhong-Tiam, Nyonya , Double Crown (their Sunday night menu sounds great)

Italian food - Lupa, Bacaro, and Del Posto / Convivio for their lunch prix fixe menus

Szechuan (we can only get Cantonese over here) - Grand Sichuan St Mark’s

Brunch - Shopsins

Japanese - Zenkichi

Seafood - McCormick and Schmicks

BBQ/Southern food – Fette Sau, Pies n Thighs

Mexican – Itzocan Cafe

Dessert - ChikaLicious Dessert Bar (edit: realised this is the one I meant!)

Blowout expensive meal - Eleven Madison Park (I’m not sure we can swing the prices for dinner with wine, so this may be just for lunch!)

Snacks and other assorted things to put in my stomach – Luke’s Lobster, Doughnut Plant, Momofuku milk bar, Shake Shack, Prosperity Dumpling, Russ & Daughters, Banh Mi Saigon…

Bars – we like cocktails and real ale! So far I’ve come up with Little Branch, Death & Co., Jimmy’s No. 43 and Wilfie & Nell.

Wow, this post seems long now! Thanks in advance if anyone has any suggestions (and thanks to everyone anyway, this board has been really helpful).

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  1. b
    bookhound RE: feltpens Aug 13, 2010 07:17 AM

    It's not offical but Rhong Thai seems to have closed. The restaurant hasn't been open for a week and it looks like they are taking out some of the fixtures.

    You can do better than McCormick and Schmick's for seafood. Aquagrill, Ed's Lobster Bar, Mary's Fish Camp and Pearl's Oyster bar are all within walking distance from where you are staying.

    Dessert Club is nice but Chikalicious across the street is a much nicer experience and it's really not very pricey for several dessert courses.

    Your bar list is good but if you are beer people drop by D.B.A. as well.

    Enjoy your visit.

    -----
    Ed's Lobster Bar
    222 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

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

    Aquagrill
    210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

    2 Replies
    1. re: bookhound
      f
      feltpens RE: bookhound Aug 13, 2010 07:37 AM

      Hi, thanks a lot for your suggestions!

      Those seafood recommendations look amazing - McCormick and Schmick's was on the list because we went there on a visit to Seattle and the boy loved it (good seafood is rare near us in the UK), but I think he can be easily persuaded to switch to one of those. Definitely beer people too, so D.B.A. looks great.

      Thanks again :)

      1. re: feltpens
        j
        JeremyEG RE: feltpens Aug 15, 2010 07:51 AM

        Great list. I would second Aquagrill, especially if you enjoy raw bars. That place can get pricey though, especially if you throw in a a few cocktails with your seafood! Enjoy!
        JeremyEG
        homecooklocavore.com

        -----
        Aquagrill
        210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

    2. k
      kathryn RE: feltpens Aug 13, 2010 08:23 AM

      > South east asian - Rhong-Tiam, Nyonya , Double Crown (their Sunday night menu sounds great)

      Can't speak to Nyonya or Double Crown but if you are into Nyonya, you might also want to consider Laut. As for Rhong Tiam, the EV branch has closed and there appears to be a brand new counter service/fast food style one on 21st and Park Ave South that literally opened yesterday.

      > Szechuan (we can only get Cantonese over here) - Grand Sichuan St Mark’s

      Szechuan Gourmet is probably a notch better than GS St Marks but with both you need to be judicious when ordering. The menus are extensive and some dishes are bombs whereas others are hits. I think the Chelsea GS is maybe a tiny bit better than the St Marks one.

      > Brunch - Shopsins

      Note their wacky hours: OPEN TUESDAY thru SATURDAY 9:30 am to 2pm

      > Japanese - Zenkichi
      > BBQ/Southern food – Fette Sau, Pies n Thighs

      Technically these are in Brooklyn so you should ask about it on the Outer Boroughs board. In Manhattan for BBQ, I like Hill Country for Texas style BBQ and the Redhead for Southern.

      > Seafood - McCormick and Schmicks

      Isn't this a chain restaurant? I think it might be better to visit a non-chain here in NYC. bookhound has some good choices.

      > Bars – we like cocktails and real ale! So far I’ve come up with Little Branch, Death & Co., Jimmy’s No. 43 and Wilfie & Nell.

      I think that in addition to Little Branch and Death & Co, Pegu Club is a must-visit. I might also add on PDT but it's difficult to get into. For all of these, 6pm or 7pm, Sunday-Wednesday is the best time to go, sit at the bar, chat up the bartender, relax, etc.

      Same for some of the beer bars, they get awfully crowded on weekend nights (Thursday-Sat), so go on a random weekday afternoon or something. If you are a beer nerd definitely check out DBA and Blind Tiger. Also note that Burp Castle is right by Jimmy's No. 43. (And you should go out to Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn.)

      Have you seen these threads?
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/572919
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/709227

      -----
      Nyonya
      199 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

      Hill Country
      30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

      Rhong-Tiam
      87 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

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

      Blind Tiger
      281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

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

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

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

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

      Laut
      15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

      Double Crown
      316 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

      Wilfie & Nell
      228 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

      11 Replies
      1. re: kathryn
        f
        feltpens RE: kathryn Aug 13, 2010 08:50 AM

        Thanks, those all sound like great suggestions! I was planning to go to the Redhead to try the bacon peanut brittle so I think I will stay for food too and kill two birds with one stone.

        Thanks for the Laut recommendation, Malaysian restaurants are few and far between over here so I think I will probably try that as well as Nyonya! McCormick and Schmicks is definitely off the list after I've seen the places suggested by bookhound.

        I've seen those threads, but there were so many good suggestions on there that I had trouble picking among them - Little Branch and Death and Co were the ones that I liked the sound of the best. If Pegu Club is a must-visit though, we'll definitely stop by. PDT sounds like it would be fun, might drop in one night and try our luck.

        Thanks again for such a detailed response!

        -----
        Nyonya
        199 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

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

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

        Laut
        15 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

        1. re: feltpens
          b
          bookhound RE: feltpens Aug 13, 2010 08:55 AM

          Kathryn gave some great suggestions but I'm going to have to vote against Nyonya. I went last year with some friends and I had a very, very disappointing meal. Nothing was good and some of it was just bad, particularly the oyster omlet.

          I like Little Branch and Death & Co. better than Pegu Club. The drinks aren't better but I like the prefer the enviroments.

          1. re: bookhound
            k
            kathryn RE: bookhound Aug 13, 2010 09:56 AM

            LB can get a little stuffy (ventilation isn't so great) but that'll probably be less of an issue in November. I do like that they have live jazz around 10pm on off nights (Sunday through Wed or Thursday). It's a great representative of classic cocktails.

            I love Pegu Club's 2nd floor location especially as the sun is setting. It's also a bit more comfortable than Death & Co.

            Plus, Audrey Saunders is just so influential (so many of the D&C and PDT folks are ex-Pegu Club), so it's worth a stop just to compare.

            That way they can see a next generation house-created cocktail place (D&C) versus a previous generation house-created cocktail place (Pegu) vs. a Sasha Petraske classic cocktails place (Little Branch).

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

            1. re: kathryn
              b
              bookhound RE: kathryn Aug 13, 2010 11:17 AM

              The AC isn't great in Little Branch. I was there on one of the hottest nights of this summer and half the bar was brutally hot.

              I think the drinks at Pegu are great I just like the vibe in LB and D&C better.

          2. re: feltpens
            Miss Needle RE: feltpens Aug 13, 2010 10:34 AM

            Just a warning about the bacon peanut brittle -- it's not a brittle. It's more like candied peanuts with a few pieces of bacon thrown in.

            My favorite Malaysian restaurant in NYC is Taste Good in Queens. I noticed your choices are all in Brooklyn and Manhattan. But if you want to take one day to travel out to Queens, there are some fine places to eat, especially for "ethnic" cuisine.

            1. re: Miss Needle
              f
              feltpens RE: Miss Needle Aug 13, 2010 03:30 PM

              I'll definitely consider Queens - I can get to Taste Good in 40 minutes on the R train so it meets my criteria! I was considering Sripraphai which looks like it's in the same area. Maybe a day trip is called for... :)

              1. re: Miss Needle
                daffyduck RE: Miss Needle Aug 13, 2010 06:21 PM

                taste good is great! Sripraphai is near by. i think the thai places in the area are all excellent, if u do end up at sripraphai dont order their pad thai. if youre willingly to go to queens id consider going to flushing for szechuan (little pepper or spicy and tasty). hunan house in flushing is also good for hunan food which is similar.
                have u considered 15 east? it's the best japanese restaurant i've ever been to and not that pretentious. if you dont do any chef's tasting it shouldnt be that expensive.

            2. re: kathryn
              f
              feltpens RE: kathryn Aug 13, 2010 08:57 AM

              Oh, and beer nerd is definitely a good description - we get all the European ones here in the UK, so looking forward to trying some USA-brewed goodness (the draught list at Blind Tiger looks very tasty!)

              -----
              Blind Tiger
              281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

              1. re: feltpens
                MVNYC RE: feltpens Aug 13, 2010 10:47 AM

                I noticed you like real ale so a good web site to check out is http://www.gotham-imbiber.com/

                A good list of places serving cask ale. Of those the Blind Tiger is probably the best. Rattle N Hum and DBA have good American selections as well. Good local breweries include Captain Lawrence, Sixpoint, Defiant and Brooklyn.

                Another thing about DBA is they do not serve food so you can bring in stuff from the surrounding neighbourhood. I would suggest getting lox and bagels from Russ N Daughters and bringing it two blocks to DBA. As a seafood lover If you have never had NYC Jewish smoked fish you are in for a real treat. Mighty tasty with a pint.

                As to your other selections you are pretty much spot on. I would say nay to Double Crown. It is a little clubby and the food is just so so. You are better off at more authentic places.

                I actually like Nyonya and have been eating there for years. I would say you should hit this up if I were you.

                Whatever Szechuan place you end up at you will probably be happy. NYC does Szechuan well. St Marks Grand Szechuan has good cumin flavour beef, tea smoked duck, ox tongue and tripe in chili oil.

                -----
                Nyonya
                199 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                Blind Tiger
                281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                Double Crown
                316 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

                1. re: MVNYC
                  f
                  feltpens RE: MVNYC Aug 13, 2010 03:34 PM

                  Thanks a lot for the recommendations and the tip about DBA - we were planning to get bagels from Russ & Daughters anyway so that's great to know. Smoked fish and a pint, my mouth is watering!

              2. re: kathryn
                n
                ndukka562 RE: kathryn Aug 14, 2010 11:43 AM

                If you're going to Brooklyn for beer, Brazen Head is one of the only places I know of that has cask-conditioned (real) ale.

              3. c
                City Kid RE: feltpens Aug 13, 2010 10:52 AM

                I highly recommend Double Crown's Sunday tasting menu -- one of the City's great bargains for innovative and delicious Malasian/Singapore food...great people watching outside, lovely/funky ambiance inside with hidden bar room...friendly and attentive service, but not over the top. Can't say how authentic it is, but I can say I thought it was delicious.

                -----
                Double Crown
                316 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

                1. m
                  monamiestephanie RE: feltpens Aug 13, 2010 11:37 AM

                  > South east asian - Rhong-Tiam, Nyonya , Double Crown (their Sunday night menu sounds great)

                  I can't speak for Rhong-Tiam or Double Crown, but I can for Nyonya. In my opinion, their food is mediocre, and service can be slow. I went to one of their locations for a family dinner this past Sun, and found the majority of their dishes to be extremely greasy. I highly recommend New Malaysia Restaurant, 48 Bowery (btw Bayard & Canal Sts). It's as unpretentious as it gets, located in a tunnel in Chinatown, but the food is spot-on.

                  > Italian food - Lupa, Bacaro, and Del Posto / Convivio for their lunch prix fixe menus

                  I LOVE Lupa as well as all of Mario Batali's restaurants, so you can't go wrong there.

                  > Szechuan (we can only get Cantonese over here) - Grand Sichuan St Mark’s

                  With the largest Chinatown in the US, why not pay a visit to Chinatown for authentic Chinese? Just a thought.

                  > Seafood - McCormick and Schmicks

                  I agree with other 'hounders in avoiding this chain. I also love Aquagrill, as someone else mentioned. Additionally, I recently dined at two other seafood spots that I'd definitely go to again soon--Lure Fishbar and Fishtail by David Burke! Lure also has $1 oysters before 7PM!

                  > Dessert - ChikaLicious Dessert Bar (edit: realised this is the one I meant!)

                  I love ChikaLicious. You should also pay a visit to the Dessert Truck if you get a chance.

                  > Snacks and other assorted things to put in my stomach – Luke’s Lobster, Doughnut Plant, Momofuku milk bar, Shake Shack, Prosperity Dumpling, Russ & Daughters, Banh Mi Saigon…

                  I agree with Momofuku and Shake Shack!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: monamiestephanie
                    b
                    bookhound RE: monamiestephanie Aug 13, 2010 11:42 AM

                    "With the largest Chinatown in the US, why not pay a visit to Chinatown for authentic Chinese? Just a thought."

                    There is nothing inauthentic about Grand Sichuan St, Marks and there aren't any better Sichuan restaurants in Chinatown.

                    1. re: monamiestephanie
                      k
                      kathryn RE: monamiestephanie Aug 13, 2010 11:43 AM

                      Is there a Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan's Chinatown which you think is better than Grand Sichuan St Marks?

                    2. Wilfrid RE: feltpens Aug 13, 2010 02:23 PM

                      Certainly check out Blind Tiger. dba has an amazing drink selection all round, but there's a strong chance that their one cask ale will be a British ale like Fuller's, and it seems a long way for you to come to drink Fuller's. Back Forty usually has an American cask ale available (call ahead to check).

                      I don't recommend Fette Sau. Hill Country is much better. Malaysian restaurants are not especially exciting in New York, but Fatty Cue is a curious Malaysian-southern BBQ project which certainly has no equivalent in the UK.

                      I wouldn't recommend Fishtail either. One place to get great oysters and a few other good dishes like oyster pan roast, is the Grand Central Oyster Bar - yes, in Grand Central Station. Great New York location too.

                      I am surprised nobody has mentioned Katz's. It's always controversial, but the pastrami sandwich is a New York tradition, and you can pick one up to eat at dba nearby.

                      I think you will find Shopsin's amazingly bad, but that's controversial too. Another New York character.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Wilfrid
                        f
                        feltpens RE: Wilfrid Aug 13, 2010 03:47 PM

                        Thanks for your tips! I'd heard of Fatty Cue but I think it might have blurred into one with Fette Sau in my head (restaurant overload!) so I will definitely look into that.

                        I like the idea of Shopsins because of the ridiculously long menu! If you have any other suggestions for places to eat an enormous brunch though, they would be gratefully received :)

                        1. re: feltpens
                          k
                          kathryn RE: feltpens Aug 14, 2010 07:38 AM

                          For a large American style breakfast, Clinton Street Baking Company for pancakes, bacon, or a bacon-egg-tomato jam biscuit sandwich?

                        2. re: Wilfrid
                          u
                          uwsister RE: Wilfrid Aug 14, 2010 06:29 PM

                          See, I love Fette Sau. I think they have great BBQ and the quality of their meats are wonderful. There aren't many sides as other BBQ places, but their baked beans are delicious. I'm also a fan of Shopsin's - every out-of-towner I've brought there loved it too. Definitely one-of-a-kind experience.

                          I haven't been to McCormick and Schmick's here, but most likely the one in Seattle is much better than the one here, based on the kind of seafood available. And like everyone else mentioned, it's a chain and there's no reason to go to a chain restaurant here! Someone mentioned Lure - I'll second it.

                          1. re: uwsister
                            GoodGravy RE: uwsister Aug 16, 2010 10:32 AM

                            If you're in Williamsburg, pick up your food at Fette Sau and take it to Spuytin Duyvil. Or try St. Anselm's which is close by and I'd guess is similar to St. John in London.

                        3. roxlet RE: feltpens Aug 13, 2010 07:17 PM

                          Del Posto was hugely expensive, and despite the exquisite service, a culinary disappointment. Babbo is better by far.

                          -----
                          Babbo
                          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: roxlet
                            c
                            cambridgedoctpr RE: roxlet Aug 14, 2010 02:37 PM

                            For seafood, Le Bernadin is probably the place though I have had good seafood at a number of top NYC restaurants but is more doable at lunch than dinner. Do you want to try Esca which has Italian crudo?

                            Both Jean Georges and 11 Madison have good value lunches which give you a good idea of what dinner would be like.

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

                            Esca
                            402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

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