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In town for one night- seeking exciting ethnic food

in bocca Aug 17, 2010 09:06 AM

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!!!!

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  1. k
    kathryn RE: in bocca Aug 17, 2010 09:20 AM

    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
      in bocca RE: kathryn Aug 17, 2010 10:23 AM

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

      1. re: kathryn
        r
        RGR RE: kathryn Aug 17, 2010 10:28 AM

        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
          in bocca RE: RGR Aug 17, 2010 11:49 AM

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

      2. m
        Mr Porkchop RE: in bocca Aug 17, 2010 03:29 PM

        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
          s
          sugartoof RE: Mr Porkchop Aug 17, 2010 03:36 PM

          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
            k
            kathryn RE: sugartoof Aug 17, 2010 06:31 PM

            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: kathryn
              s
              sugartoof RE: kathryn Aug 17, 2010 07:36 PM

              I fully agree.

              1. re: sugartoof
                in bocca RE: sugartoof Aug 18, 2010 06:11 AM

                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
                  s
                  sugartoof RE: in bocca Aug 18, 2010 06:45 AM

                  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
                    in bocca RE: sugartoof Aug 18, 2010 07:02 AM

                    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
                      s
                      sugartoof RE: in bocca Aug 18, 2010 09:26 AM

                      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
                        in bocca RE: sugartoof Aug 18, 2010 09:56 AM

                        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
                          m
                          Mr Porkchop RE: sugartoof Aug 18, 2010 03:32 PM

                          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
                            s
                            sugartoof RE: Mr Porkchop Aug 18, 2010 05:06 PM

                            "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
                          k
                          kathryn RE: in bocca Aug 25, 2010 12:45 PM

                          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
                            in bocca RE: kathryn Aug 26, 2010 12:52 PM

                            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
                              s
                              sugartoof RE: in bocca Aug 26, 2010 02:17 PM

                              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.

            2. in bocca RE: thew Aug 19, 2010 07:56 AM

              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.

              10 Replies
              1. re: in bocca
                p
                Pan RE: in bocca Aug 27, 2010 12:03 AM

                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
                  in bocca RE: Pan Aug 27, 2010 10:57 AM

                  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
                  buttertart RE: in bocca Aug 27, 2010 10:19 AM

                  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
                    p
                    Pan RE: buttertart Aug 27, 2010 10:44 AM

                    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
                      buttertart RE: Pan Aug 27, 2010 10:55 AM

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

                      1. re: buttertart
                        p
                        Pan RE: buttertart Aug 27, 2010 11:27 AM

                        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
                          buttertart RE: Pan Aug 27, 2010 11:57 AM

                          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?

                          1. re: buttertart
                            p
                            Pan RE: buttertart Aug 27, 2010 12:05 PM

                            Yes, I prohibit it! :-P

                            1. re: Pan
                              buttertart RE: Pan Aug 27, 2010 12:19 PM

                              Tough, buddy! ;-)

                              1. re: buttertart
                                p
                                Pan RE: buttertart Aug 27, 2010 11:37 PM

                                :-)

                3. in bocca RE: in bocca Oct 18, 2010 10:37 AM

                  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
                    JungMann RE: in bocca Oct 18, 2010 11:56 AM

                    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
                      p
                      Pan RE: in bocca Oct 19, 2010 12:31 AM

                      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

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