HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

In town for one night- seeking exciting ethnic food

I am looking for a fun place to eat with my boyfriend. We are in town for one night for a concert and unfamiliar with the area. The concert venue is Terminal 5 on 610 W 56th St (at 11th Ave). I'm told that's considered Hells Kitchen and Midtown West, but I have no idea. I'd love to eat thai, dim sum, any variation of hispanic food. I'd like to splurge a bit, perhaps entrees under $30. Someplace casual and romantic if possible.

I also looooove brunch and breakfast and would be grateful for a rec for the following day.
Thanks!!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Terminal 5 is a bit of a weird location for a concert venue -- the immediate area is mostly car dealerships and it feels vacant, empty, and odd. The only other people I've seen around there are either other concertgoers or scalpers. You really feel like you're in an abandoned area of the city as night. I'd plan to be a good 10-15 minute walk away from the venue to get some food.

    11th Avenue is pretty far west. If you walk over to 9th Avenue, you'll have some good Thai options. Dim sum isn't really a dinner food so I'm not sure I can recommend dinner dim sum, never mind a spot nearby.

    Terminal 5 ideas:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/723380
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/646351
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/652597

    Best Breakfast and Brunch in Manhattan, 2010 Version
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/707772

    Out of those, I'd have to say that my favorites lately have been Locanda Verde, Shopsin's (if you can stand the cursing/prices/atmosphere), Clinton Street Baking Company (but only on weekdays -- loooong waits on weekends), Prune (though the wait can be killer -- you can't wait inside and there's very little shade on that block), Five Points, Blue Ribbon Bakery, and Minetta Tavern (great atmosphere, great food, great Bloodys, great service, but a bit overpriced).

    -----
    Minetta Tavern
    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

    Five Points
    31 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

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

    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks so much. Good to know advice about the venue, I'll be sure to keep that in mind.

      1. re: kathryn

        The o.p. doesn't say what night the concert is taking place. If it's a Saturday, then Shopsin's a no-go on Sunday because the Essex St. Market it closed.

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

        1. re: RGR

          The concert is on a Tuesday night. I'll be arriving in New York that morning and staying till the following afternoon.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. In Hell's Kitchen there's a place called Gazala's Place which is delicious Druze food (might be the only one int he country,a s far as I know). It's very affordable, and BYO on top of that. Not far away is a S. African restaurant called Braai, and it's associated wine bar, Xai Xai. I've heard mixed things about the food there. You're not far away from one of the Pio Pios (Peruvian food) on 10th, again very affordable (for Manhattan) and a pretty cool space. In the front area it might even pass for romantic. I think most of the Thai in the area is pretty forgetable. If I had to pick one, I'd go for one of the Pam Real Thais. Room Service (a thai restuarant) in Hells Kitchen is kind of dark and clubby, but I've never heard raves about the food. Hell's Kitchen is the name of a high-end Mexican food place, that depending on what part of the country you come from and your knowledge of Mexican food, you might find exciting? A step down from there for Mexican is El Centro. The other poster had it right about Dim Sum, but if you want Chinese food there's some great sichuan options in midtown. None are romantic by a long shot. I prefer Lan Sheng, which has the advantage of also being BYOB. Not particularly ethnic, but I enjoyed the food at Nook in Hell Kitchen the time I ate there, and it's a pretty small intimate space.

          If you're happy to travel for dinner the night of the concert, I think a great, semi-romantic option is Caracas in the EV. Delicious arepas.

          Hope that helps.

          -----
          Pam Real Thai
          404 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019

          Pio Pio
          210 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

          Room Service
          349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

          Lan Sheng
          60 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

          13 Replies
          1. re: Mr Porkchop

            These are great suggestions... and I'll just add that 9th Ave. is known for some decent food choices and hosts a food fair once a year, so that's probably your best bet for ethnic foods.

            The downtown suggestions are all going to be a good 30 minutes away, plus a walk that can take upwards of 10 minutes. The OP should keep that in mind

            Caracas can get cramped with long lines at the night goes on, so I'm not sure about romance, but it's really tasty.

            1. re: sugartoof

              Terminal 5 concerts tend to start on the earlier side. I'd wager that the OP is in town for Scissor Sisters, which has doors opening at 7pm. I'd guess opening act at 8pm and headlining act at 9pm or so, because it's a weekday (last time I was there I think the headliner went on at 9:15pm).

              To do an EV restaurant and get to 56th and 11th Ave in time to stand in the will call and security lines (it's not a small concert venue) before 9pm seems like too much trouble IMO.

                1. re: sugartoof

                  The concert is My Morning Jacket and is not till October. And, I already have the tickets, so that should cut down on line waiting. I don't know what EV means, please elaborate.

                  I have been looking at Taboon as a good option, any thoughts?

                  Also, Clinton St. Baking Co. looks just fantastic for breakfast the next day. Thanks Kathryn for the rec!

                  -----
                  Taboon
                  773 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

                  1. re: in bocca

                    EV = East Village.

                    Your original request still doesn't read like it would lend itself to East Village options unless you plan on being down there already earlier in the day.

                    1. re: sugartoof

                      I was planning on going to the MOMA earlier and then hitting dinner spot near the venue. Thanks for your help.

                      1. re: in bocca

                        Near MOMA but ethnic in a different sort of way:
                        Bar Americain, Five Napkins burgers, The Modern

                        Braai or Xai Xai for South African, Ariana Afghan Kebab, Zeytin, St. Andrews (Scottish), Tagine or Taboon (Morrocan, mediterranian), Gazala Place, Meskerem 47 for Ethiopian, Yakitori Totto or Totto Ramen, Hallo Berlin, Agua Dolce (Pan Latin) or Azucar, Akdeniz (Turkish).

                        I'm working under the assumption that a really incredible meal can turn anywhere into a romantic location. If you had an ethnic food in mind, that would probably help us though.

                        If you need to kill time in between activities, there's Sullivan Street Bakery on 47th and 10th Ave, the Greek Poseidon Bakery 9th Ave., 44th Street, an infused vodka happy hour, at Russian Vodka Room, and the custom dipped donut ice cream sandwich Holey Cream.

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

                        Sullivan Street Bakery
                        533 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                        Bar Americain
                        152 W. 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019

                        Gazala Place
                        709 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                        Hallo Berlin
                        626 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                        Russian Vodka Room
                        265 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

                        Zeytin
                        519 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

                        Meskerem
                        468 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                        Poseidon Bakery
                        629 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                        Akdeniz
                        19 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

                        Taboon
                        773 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

                        Holey Cream
                        796 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                        Totto Ramen
                        366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          The ethnic ideas are def where I wanna go. All your suggestions sound amazing and I'm gonna look them up.

                          As for the in between ideas, infused vodka and greek bakeries sound splendid!

                          1. re: sugartoof

                            I think they might let you wash your hands at the Modern for 30 bucks.

                            Yakitori Totto is a great idea if you can avoid a wait. I eat at Akdeniz fairly frequently at work and endorse it too. I'm a little iffy on the food at Hallo Berlin and St. Andrews for anything more than novelty. They're both good places to drink though. As is Pony Bar on 10th if you want to grab some very affordable craft beers before or after the show. I think they may hae bar snacks now as well.

                            I've always had trouble walking out of the Russian Vodka Room, so that could be a great/terrible choice depending on what kind of concert goer you are.

                            Kyotofu is an interesting another interesting dessert option if you have sweet cravings at some point in your adventure.

                            Have fun, MMJ kind of lost me with that Z album, but I'll always have a soft spot for them

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

                            Hallo Berlin
                            626 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                            Russian Vodka Room
                            265 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

                            Akdeniz
                            19 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

                            St. Andrews
                            140 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

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

                            1. re: Mr Porkchop

                              "I've always had trouble walking out of the Russian Vodka Room"

                              I toyed with adding a disclaimer.

                              -----
                              Russian Vodka Room
                              265 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

                          2. re: in bocca

                            Just realized you said you wanted to go to MoMA and grab dinner nearby, I think you'll need to change your plans because the MoMA is closed on Tuesdays! Oops!

                            1. re: kathryn

                              Oh no! But in your city I'm sure we can find something else to do. I know this is a foodie site, but any recs?

                              1. re: in bocca

                                We're not supposed to give non-food related advice, but I would bet a trip to the Met or one of the others would be a good replacement. Another option is to check out the galleries in Chelsea, which will put you on the West Side around 10th Ave.

              1. The original comment has been removed
                1. i can see how that would be vague and incorrect. i would love to try thai, mediterranean, greek, or chinese. my boyfriend does not care for indian or foods of ethiopian or eritrean categories. i would also like to steer clear of italian food, i have been consuming quite a bit of that and would like to try a new avenue. i hope this would help.

                  1. re: in bocca

                    Pam's Real Thai has been mentioned. I have a slight preference for the original (and only the original) Wondee, which is on the east side of 9th Av. between 52nd and 53rd, but only if you stick with the "Secret Thai" menu, and if you want it really spicy (which can be REALLY spicy!) and tasty, ask for it. For Greek, Uncle Nick's is a good bet. Gazala Place, which has been mentioned above, is really delicious and specializes in Israeli Druze food (which is, of course, Mediterranean). There have also been Turkish restaurants mentioned in this thread, but I don't think I've seen a mention of Istanbul Cafe. It's on 57th between 8th and 9th - very convenient to your venue. It's good and for what it's worth, I saw several Turkish families eating there the last time I was there.

                    -----
                    Uncle Nick's
                    747 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                    1. re: Pan

                      I have checked out the Wondee menu and it looks awesome. I also love the idea of house made pitas at Gazala. All these ideas are so great, I wanna try it all!

                      -----
                      Gazala's
                      380 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

                    2. re: in bocca

                      We like Pam's Real Thai Encore on 47th near 9th - they will make the food as spicy as you ask for.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        So does the original Pam's Real Thai. Is there any advantage to Encore? I haven't been to Encore, but friends of mine who have say it's quite inferior to the original.

                        1. re: Pan

                          I don't find it inferior in the least. Pam was in the kitchen there last Sunday.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            But what's the advantage? I'm sure Pam spends way more time at the original, where I have usually seen her for the entire time of my visits.

                            1. re: Pan

                              I happen to like the bordello-ish decor and the waitstaff, and the food is excellent if you know what to order (the whole steamed fish with lime and garlic for example). Your friends like one, I like the other. Am I suddenly not allowed to enjoy or to recommend a place because your friends don't like it?

                  2. Heading up tomorrow for the concert and booked my hotel on West 79th Street. I'm sure we will just be walking around and saving cab fare for food! I was wondering if there were any additional suggestions now that I know exactly where I'll be.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: in bocca

                      In the general vicinity of your hotel, there is a pizza parlor called Freddie & Peppers which makes Chilean empanadas which are far superior to their pizzas.

                      1. re: in bocca

                        Kefi, Columbus Av. between 84th and 85th Sts. Some people on this board really dislike the place, but I've never had a meal there that wasn't delicious. The new uptown branch of Gazala Place is on 78th and Columbus, but it's more expensive than the Hell's Kitchen branch, though more spacious and equally tasty.

                        -----
                        Kefi
                        505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024