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First time to NYC, planning restaurants for trip on a budget

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Hi all,

I know you guys probably have requests like this all the time but I'm planning a last minute trip and trying to get the restaurants I want down so I don't waste any meals on something subpar.

I'm looking for some advice on my first trip to NYC. My girlfriend and I are there from the 27th to the 1st. I am not really a big spender but I also don't have a set budget that I have to adhere to, just trying to enjoy ourselves without spending too much. Also to note...my girlfriend is not really a "chowhound" person....

I've made a few reservations and have plans for a few restaurants already, please give me your input on what I have chosen so far.

Degustation: I have reservations for dinner, was planning on having the 10 course tasting menu.

Jean Georges Nougatine: They have a very affordable lunch prix fixe that I want to try (my plan is to try these higher tier restaurants at lunch to make them more affordable and have the cheaper options for dinners)

Le Bernardin:To be honest I don't even usually like fish dishes other than sushi however I want to see what the hype is about. They have a $70 prix fixe for lunch, is it worth trying for me? Is it very stuffy there? I made a reservation for lunch and they reminded me that jackets are required for dining. Neither of us drink wine, so I fear we may be a bit out of place. I'm still not sure yet if we will keep this reservation or not.

I'm a big sushi lover so I want to try out Yasuda but I'm a little hesitant because I heard it can get very expensive. My girlfriend will not be indulging too much at yasuda like I will be (she doesn't really appreciate it that much), are there cheap options that she can dine on there? I'm thinking of cancelling Le Bernadin lunch and going for Yasuda instead.

Other things I have on my mind: NY Pizza somewhere (definitely...not sure where though), mexican somewhere maybe, shake shack, momofuku (noodle bar or ssam???)..maybe ippudo or another ramen shop, korean fried chicken maybe...

Also some recommendations for some good places to go for dessert would be very appreciated. Either evening dessert places or late night dessert places (some of each would be nice).

We are not planning on having any Chinese because we are from Toronto where we have really amazing authentic Chinese there, however I might look to try a Malaysian restaurant though...recommendations?

Also was thinking about a good italian place but something cheaper, hopefully 80 per person without wine.

As for locations...we are staying at a former W Hotel (now called St. Gilles or something) near Grand Central. I hope we will be taking the subway all over, and we are also doing the usual tourist stuff so those are the areas we will be around.

I know my post was kind of all over the place but I'd appreciate any suggestions!

Thanks

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

Nougatine
1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

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  1. Switch your lunch reservation to Jean Georges (not Nougatine) or Eleven Madison Park. Extraordinary deals at lunch. I like both of those better than Le Bernardin. Especially if you're not a big fish eater....skip Le Bernardin.

    Nougatine is the "lower tier" at Jean Georges. Go for the real thing. Still very reasonable.

    Try Fatty Crab for Malaysian - can't stand the noise but I really like the food.

    I'd suggest Lupa for your Italian meal.

    Yes you can manage to not spend a fortune at Yasuda at lunchtime. Just make your budget desires known and they will accomodate you. Or order off the menu where the prices are stated.

    -----
    Lupa
    170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

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

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

    Le Bernardin
    155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

    Fatty Crab
    643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

    Nougatine
    1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

    4 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      I second switching your lunch reservation to Jean Georges proper. Nougatine is nice but the lunch deal at Jean Georges is the one the you want.

      I also second Lupa for italian and Fatty Crab for malaysian-ish. I like the vibe (including the noise) and the food here.

      As for Le Bernardin, I really wouldn't go there if you are not into cooked fish. There are so many great culinary experiences in NYC it seems silly to waste on food that isn't your favorite.

      -----
      Lupa
      170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

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

      Le Bernardin
      155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

      Fatty Crab
      643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

      Nougatine
      1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

      1. re: prdct

        I have reservations for a dinner at Lupa. Any recommendations for the current menu? I searched this forum but all of the posts that mentioned specific recommendations were a couple years old

        -----
        Lupa
        170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

        1. re: szw

          Everything on the menu is likely to be good, but here are some things that, to my taste, stand out:

          Antipasti [definitely get some of these, or/and salads]:

          Octopus with Ceci & Sorrel $10
          Treviso with Vin Cotto $6
          Broccoli Rabe with Ricotta $6

          I also like Beets with Pistachio, which are exactly as advertised: Very good sliced raw beets with pistachio butter and some crunchy pistachios.

          No Farotto is on their current menu, but if they have a special appetizer of Farotto, consider it.

          Among the primi, don't miss this one:

          Ricotta Gnocchi with Sausage & Fennel $16

          Their gnocchi are always soft and pillowy, as they should be but so few make them.

          Secondi:

          Pollo alla Diavola $19

          Yes, a chicken dish. It's such good chicken, so well cooked, and so pleasantly spicy, that if you never order chicken in a restaurant, I still recommend this if you're in the right mood. Otherwise, just order according to what sounds good to you on that evening; fish is always really good at Lupa. And consider the Piatto del Giorno. On Tuesdays, my brother and I like the duck.

          For dessert, the wonderful Tartufo is a must, but if you get two desserts, their current panna cotta looks really worthwhile to me:

          Black Pepper Panna Cotta & Rhubarb $ 7

          Lupa has a good and fairly-priced wine list, and they will give you tastes for you to see what you like (and not only whether the bottle is corked), even if you're ordering only by the glass or quartino.

          I find their back room quieter and more comfortable, but merely getting reservations, especially if you got them at a halfway reasonable hour, is good!

          Again, I'm not able to remove an irrelevant restaurant link. I have no idea what Ceci Restaurant is.

          -----
          Lupa
          170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

      2. re: gutsofsteel

        Sushi Yasuda also has some lunch prix fixe specials as well.

        -----
        Sushi Yasuda
        204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

      3. If your gf doesn't like sushi that much you guys can go to 15 east. You can have your sushi and she can have cooked items. For pizza i like Keste, especially their truffle spread pie. I dont know any good mexican or malaysian in manhattan. Imo shake shack is skippable. Ippudo is fine, but it can get really crowded for dinner and their broth is a little too fatty to my liking. But if you don't mind that than go for it.
        Some dessert places I like are Spot and Kyotofu but these are asian themed. There's Cafe Sabarsky (be careful with their hours) for cakes and apple strudel. I also like Bouchon Bakery, DTWorks and 2 doors down from DTWorks is Clinton St Baking which has good pies (they are usually not too busy for dinner). There's also momofuku milk bar (which i don't like) and wd50 for more experimental desserts.
        You can also have desserts at the bars of restaurants but it can get crowded. Some restaurants that I think have strong desserts are Balthazar, Craft, Locanda Verde, and Batali places (I haven't been to Lupa though).
        I think you have a very good idea with doing higher end restaurants for lunch.
        Here are more choices
        http://newyork.seriouseats.com/tags/A...
        BTW, have you considered Katz and Russ and Daughters? They aren't that cheap but certainly not as expensive as most restaurants.

        -----
        Lupa
        170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

        Bouchon Bakery
        10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

        Cafe Sabarsky
        1048 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

        Ippudo
        65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

        Locanda Verde
        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

        1 Reply
        1. re: daffyduck

          I also like Keste' quite a lot, but I want to point out that it's la vera pizza napoletana, not New York-style pizza.

        2. I second the suggestion of Russ and Daughters for a late breakfast/early lunch. Their bagels and lox are something that you will not find elsewhere. The Super Heebster bagel sandwich is worth the trip on its own in my opinion. As for pizza, I second Keste'. I had thier Burrata pizza (special) and it was out of this world. With respect to the Momofuku inquiry, I whole-heartedly recommend a trip to Ssam. Get the pork buns and a couple other items to share. You have to see for yourself whether they equal the hype.

          Finally, some places that haven't yet been suggested. I really like Desnuda, a tiny wine bar/cevicheria in the East Village. With wine and a couple orders of their unique and creative raw fish preparations, you can escape for 40 dollars a person. It also would give a new twist on sushi.

          Also, the Meatball Shop on the Lower East side is a quirky, cheap and delicious way to spend a meal. I recommend the spicy pork meatball/spicy pork sauce meatball sub. Finally, the harissa falafel at Taim in the West Village is a $5.50 slice of heaven. If you go cheap for that meal, you can shift the funds to go all out on a different meal!

          -----
          Desnuda
          122 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

          5 Replies
          1. re: Rich D.

            IIRC Keste gets the burrata fresh on Thursdays and they often run out by the time the weekend rolls around. It is very good but very rich.

            1. re: Rich D.

              Rich D.: Am familiar with Russ & Daughters (was just there, in fact) but not with the "Super Heebster" bagel sandwich. Can you elaborate? Thanks.

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

              1. re: IWantFood

                SUPER HEEBSTER
                Whitefish & Baked Salmon Salad with Horseradish Dill Cream Cheese and Wasabi Flying Fish Roe on a Bagel: $10.45

                http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkint...

              2. re: Rich D.

                Taim is quite good but really a takeout place. The inside seating area is very small and gets extremely hot on hot days, and there's just one bench outside. And the place, being good and cheap, is very popular.

              3. For reasonable Italian food that is delicious go to Otto. I have not been to Lupa (another Batali restaurant) but Otto is my favorite restaurant in the city. Highly recommended, you may even be able to stay in your $80 budget with wine depending on what you get!

                -----
                Lupa
                170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                4 Replies
                1. re: Linsybee1

                  You can easily get out of Otto, even with a couple glasses of wine, under $80 - but I don't see anywhere the OP stated his budget?

                  1. re: uwsister

                    "Also was thinking about a good italian place but something cheaper, hopefully 80 per person without wine."
                    I've never been there, but Convivio fits the bill and it's right by where you're staying.

                    -----
                    Convivio
                    45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                    1. re: daffyduck

                      Thanks, I see it now. I need more sleep!

                    2. re: uwsister

                      I don't think I've ever paid much more than around $130 including wine, tax, and tip for two full meals (appetizers, one or two shared primi, one secondo each, one shared dessert) at Lupa, so that's maybe $67/person at the very most. Isn't Otto priced very similarly?

                      -----
                      Lupa
                      170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                  2. For pizza: Motorino, Otto, or Adrienne's Pizza Bar. I agree that Otto is great, but I think it's really more about the pizza. Also, if you're looking for a casual slice (that will most likely require a long wait), there is Artichoke. There is no seating and it's extremely good for what it is, but not your run of the mill pizza.

                    For burgers: Burger Joint. If you go to the Parker Meridian hotel, behind the reception desk to the left, you will see a little neon burger. Enter behind the curtain and you will feel like you just entered another realm. Shake Shack is more for the experience than it is for the food. Though, their frozen custard is worth trying (more than the shake is).

                    For ramen: Ippudo. I recommend the Akamaru Modern. Momofuku is good, but the noodles at Ippudo have a great texture. I should warn you that every now and then, the broth is a little salty. If you are heading to Ippudo, definitely go at lunch to avoid the 2-hour wait.

                    Also, I agree that Kyotofu has one of the most interesting array of desserts, but it's more of an asian-fusion. Momofuku Milk Bar has a great banana cake. People like their ice cream, but I think it's a little overrated. New York is big on its cupcakes, so that's a must. Billy's or Baked By Melissa are at the top of my list.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: jchen86

                      ive never had the pizza at otto, but my friend told me it's not much to write home about and he eats there quite a bit.

                      1. re: daffyduck

                        The pizza at Otto is NOT what to order there...

                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          Totally agree that pizza is not Otto's strong suit. I usually get their cheese and/or salumi plate and spaghetti carbonara and finish with one of their gelato. Coppetta if I wanted to be indulgent.

                          I was totally underwhelmed at Burger Joint but love Shake Shack. With a couple more locations I don't think even Madison Square Park one is very crowded anymore. I go to the one in UWS in late afternoon and almost never wait more than 10 minutes.

                          As mentioned above, Kyotofu and Spot are two more dessert bars, both Asian-themed. Both places have a mini "tasting" menu of some kind. I like both, but I'd give a slight nod to Kyotofu if I had to choose one. Of course there's WD-50's dessert tasting menu too - I haven't done it yet but there are many good reviews.

                          1. re: uwsister

                            Last Thursday when it was really nice out (I think high 70s/low 80s and breezy), the MSP Shake Shack had a very long line for dinner -- nearly to the statute at Broadway.

                            I think the quality of ingredients is better at Shake Shack (and I love the Shack sauce) than Burger Joint but the atmospheres are completely different.

                            Kyotofu and Spot are good calls, assuming Asian dessert bars are what the OP is looking for. I love the desserts at WD-50 but it's not really budget friendly:

                            Prices at WD-50 for desserts are $15 a la carte and 3 course tasting for $38 and a 5 course tasting for $48. If you order a la carte, the desserts themselves aren't super large either.

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

                            Burger Joint
                            118 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

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

                      2. re: jchen86

                        2nd Motorino, especially since they have a weekday $12 lunch prix fixe that includes salad or a dessert.

                        Artichoke is good but I wouldn't call it "extremely good." The crust is too thick and the sauce is definitely a bit sweet on the regular slice, but I am a fan of the square slice. The artichoke dip slice is...interesting and creamy.

                        Skip the pizzas at Otto in favor of the vegetable sides, salads, meat/cheese plate, pasta, gelato.

                        Momofuku Milk Bar no longer serves cake by the slice but you can get the banana cake in "cake ball" form.

                        For cupcakes, I think Two Little Red Hens, Butter Lane, and Chikalicious Dessert Club are consistently good.

                        -----
                        Two Little Red Hens
                        1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                        Butter Lane
                        123 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                        Momofuku Milk Bar
                        251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

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

                        1. re: kathryn

                          Two Little Red Hens is excellent. I love their various bars, for example. Butter Lane is actually a bit too buttery for my taste! I live nearby and stop there when the mood hits, and their stuff is pretty good but nothing incredible to me. I prefer Chikalicious Dessert Club, such as their double chocolate cupcakes.

                          What? Milk Bar no longer serves cake by the slice? I may have to stop going there. :(

                          1. re: Pan

                            I actually like Butter Lane a lot because it tastes quite a bit more "natural" (especially the chocolate ones) -- clean aftertaste, and their cupcakes aren't as sugary as other places. I really enjoy the blueberry one there, have you tried it?

                            Milk Bar eliminated cake by the slice a while ago and introduced "cake truffles" instead.
                            http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2010/03...

                            -----
                            Butter Lane
                            123 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                        2. re: jchen86

                          To each his/her own, of course, but in my opinion:

                          Kyotofu's tofu-based desserts are a little strange, not very sweet, and perhaps a bit expensive.

                          I'm a detractor of Artichoke. I don't think it's worth going to.

                          I do like Milk Bar quite a lot but wish they'd bring their rosemary ice cream back, because that was by far the best I've had there. I like their cakes and cookies, though.

                        3. You've got some good recommendations. I agree with switching your lunch reservation to Eleven Madison Park. They have a $28 two-course prix fixe and I think the three-course is $45 or so. Food is on par, if not better than Jean Georges or Le Bernardin.

                          Definitely do Burger Joint. For a cheaper meal, grab a few tacos from La Esquina (the Corner) - they are my favorite, and at $3.25 or so per taco, a pretty good value.

                          -----
                          Burger Joint
                          118 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

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

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

                          Le Bernardin
                          155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                          La Esquina
                          106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: loratliff

                            EMP has recently raised their prices; after their renovation, lunch will start at $56 for 3 courses. Jean Georges is clearly the better deal now ($29 for 2 courses), and I think the food at Le Bernardin is far more accomplished than EMP's fare, especially at lunch.

                            That said, it doesn't make much sense to go to Le Bernardin if you don't like seafood, so I'd recommend Jean Georges. If you did like all types of seafood, from raw to gently cooked, then both Le Bernardin and Sushi Yasuda would be great choices.

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

                            Le Bernardin
                            155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                            1. re: hcbk0702

                              I agree the 56 dollars for 3 courses it's still not that bad, but I think Jean Georges is better deal now for sure with 2 courses for 29$. Before the price increase I would have given them a tie.
                              I like the amuses better at Jean George.
                              There are some exceptions but in general I like the courses I tried at EMP slightly more than Jean George, but the desserts for lunch I liked Jean George over EMP.

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

                              1. re: hcbk0702

                                OP said their trip is the 27th to the 1st.

                                If that's the 27th of August, they'll be here before the EMP renovations, yes?

                            2. Wow thanks so much for all the responses so far!

                              Does EMP have a dress code similar to Le Bernardin? Honestly its a major turn off for me since even before going there, I feel like I will be out of place. This was the reason I made reservations at Nougatine rather than Jean Georges.

                              I am taking all your offers into consideration.

                              Currently I have reservations now at Lupa for dinner and Perilla for dinner another night.

                              I'm still looking through all the pizza places....I'm looking for a place to sit down and share a pie. I want a pie that people would say is a "classic NY pie".

                              I found "chikalicious" which sounds interesting for a dessert place, however their hours don't look very good to me at all. I doubt I will try to get there, but a similar place that opens late would be great...any ideas about that? I like the idea of just going to a nice restaurant's bar to have dessert.

                              -----
                              Lupa
                              170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                              Perilla
                              9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

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

                              Le Bernardin
                              155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                              Nougatine
                              1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: szw

                                You can't put on a jacket? Seems a silly reason to miss out on a great dining experience.

                                EMP does not have a jacket requirement.

                                1. re: szw

                                  > I'm still looking through all the pizza places....I'm looking for a place to sit down and share a pie. I want a pie that people would say is a "classic NY pie".

                                  I'd do Arturo's for a good quality pie in the classic NY style without the long line.

                                  > I found "chikalicious" which sounds interesting for a dessert place, however their hours don't look very good to me at all. I doubt I will try to get there, but a similar place that opens late would be great...any ideas about that? I like the idea of just going to a nice restaurant's bar to have dessert.

                                  There's not a ton of dessert bars in NYC. How late do you plan to dine? Also a lot of the places on your itinerary have good dessert as well.

                                  1. re: szw

                                    I dress up to go to Jean Georges, but a dining partner of mine came with a very casual sports jacket, jeans, and informal shoes (maybe sneakers), and they gave us all the same nice service they give everyone else. Jean Georges is not that formal at lunch. Go there.

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

                                  2. You have a lot of great recommends here. I would go with popular opinion and switch out Nougatine for Jean George proper. I would also recommend that you bite the bullet and bring a jacket with you because it's a small detail that's going to keep you from eating great food.

                                    Between EMP/JG/LB it really depends on what you like. I have my favorites at all of them. If it's your first time I don't think you can go wrong with any of them, my advice would be to do yourself a favor and research what their signature dishes are and try to fit them into your meal. (Le B will do supplements to their tasting menu, EMP/JG you're picking from the menu)

                                    With Yasuda as others have said, you can give him your budget and they will adhere to it. Great thing about going to Yasuda is that after you finish eating, you can walk across the street to Sakagura and continue eating and drinking. It really is one of my favorite places in the city with a huge Sake list and great food. It's like an upscale Guu with less noise and more interesting decor. A place not to miss in my opinion. In the basement of the office building across from Yasuda, walk past security desk to door on the left, head downstairs past boiler room, enjoy. (http://www.sakagura.com/

                                    )

                                    For Pizza: I would also recommend Keste. For classic NY style I go to Arturo's or John's on Bleeker. If you're a real pizza lover though, perhaps a trip out to Difara...(may not be worth the time to you, it's a trek)

                                    For Burgers: I love Shake Shack and it's something I crave after awhile. I also like the Burger Joint at the Parker Meridien. They're not that big so my recommendation is if you're in the area, try both or if you're worried about ruining your dinner, split both between you and your SO. For fun, go to Burger's Priest here in Toronto and do a comparison.

                                    For Ramen: Definitely do Ippudo. Go at an off hour or sign your name up before you're hungry, lurk around the East Village a bit then go back and walk right in. Ippudo while far from the best bowl of Ramen I have had is still about ten times ahead of the swill that passes for Ramen in Toronto. Ramen in Toronto is embarrassing and inedible.

                                    For dessert: My favorites are Chikalicious, WD50, and Le Bernardin. I was always deterred with the line in front of Chikalicious and when I finally gave it a try I was pretty pissed at myself for not having done it sooner. The desserts are great, and Chika and her husband are so warm and accommodating that you leave feeling like not only did you just eat great desserts but you supported some genuinely good people. Alex Stupak at WD50 (formerly Alinea) does incredible desserts as well, his Sake Sorbet with Licorice Custard and Bartlett Pear was the standout dish of my meal there and a taste that truly stuck with me after the meal. You can go in and just do a dessert tasting. Michael Laiskonis at Le Bernardin is also great and an added reason to go to Le B. His Sorbet's are a benchmark for me and his desserts are always memorable. His mignardises are incredible too. I had a cream filled loukoumades like morsel that blew my wig back on my last visit.

                                    I would skip Malaysian along with the Chinese in Manhatten. What I wouldn't skip however is a Banh Mi in NYC. Banh Mi is another thing that Toronto fails at and it would be a good look to grab one as a snack while you're walking around. Do a search on the board for Banh Mi to find one to your liking (Cheap/Fancy). My personal favorite is Banh Mi Saigon Bakery (Cheap). (moved to another jewelry store at 198 Grand St.)

                                    Would also have to agree with Russ and Daughters. Personally, it brings me as much pleasure as any fine dining in the city. I could also eat smoked salmon everyday so I'm a bit biased.

                                    Another recommend that I have for you would be to try Tori Shin (Yakitori Ya - http://torishinny.com/) Truly great Yakitori, reasonably priced for the amount of food that you get on their tasting menu. Really well done, and yet another thing you won't find back home.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                      Thanks for the great post. I have made reservations at tori shin and I am looking forward to it. I don't think I will get the tasting menu, but rather just order a lot of yakitori....

                                      BTW I absolutely love Burger's Priest in Toronto.

                                      1. re: szw

                                        Oh great! I have no doubt in my mind that you'll love the Yakitori there. It's by far the best I have had outside of Japan and it actually sort of rivals a lot of the good Yakitori I have had in Japan. The Hatsu is great at Shin along with everything else. Finish your meal off with the special Oyako Don. They do the chicken over the Bincho Tan. It's a little more expensive but worth it.

                                    2. I'm a huge Keste fan, but it's more classice Neopolitan pizza than NYC. Ssam is wonderful, and adjoins the EV Milk Bar location, so you can grab some cookies for later and a free sample of one of their weird soft serves (corn, BBQ). Love me some DT Works, which is incredibly affordable as well.

                                      1. My first reply in this thread is without viewing others' replies.

                                        Degustation 10-course tasting menu: Highly recommended. Let them know if there's anything you hate, and they'll probably accommodate you (my girlfriend and I should have done that because we hate raw clams and oysters, and one course had them). One of the best meals I've had in the last few years!

                                        Jean Georges: Go to the real one, not Nougatine. The lunch prix fixe is a very good value and a good experience. My preference is for the dishes that are more nearly classic; I think his fusion dishes are sometimes unbalanced (too much hot pepper or too much of something else).

                                        Yasuda: I haven't been yet, but my brother and father went for lunch recently, said it was great, and didn't spend as much as I would have thought: About $120/person. My father explained to me that they just sat at the sushi bar and told the sushi chef (I don't know if it was Yasuda-san himself or not) what they wanted, then stopped when they were full. But they drank tea. If you drink sake, that would add a lot to the cost.

                                        Pizza: Well, everyone has his/her opinion, and there are also different kinds of pizza here. If you want New York coal oven pizza, the Apollonian margherita with pure, somewhat charred thin crust is at Patsy's in East Harlem, but if you want to have more choices of good toppings and would enjoy some live jazz with your meal, go for the somewhat thicker but still fairly thin crust at Arturo's on West Houston St. Of course, if you'd like Neapolitan-style, that's a different matter.

                                        Mexican: Well, I finally got to Tehuitzingo, which is much-touted here, and it's about as good as a taqueria I went to in Rosedale - a little, nothing town not far from Sacramento. Nothing exceptional, merely honest, good, and cheap, and not a place that made me forget the best of the equally cheap taquerias in the Mission District in San Francisco. If you like, go if you're already in the West 40s or so and not too far from 10th Av., but I think having Ethiopian food and mead (tej) at Meskerem nearby might be a somewhat more exciting experience.

                                        Momofuku: I've never been to Noodle Bar but have been to Ssam Bar a few times, like it, and recommend it. It's a fair value and a good experience. They use very good ingredients and put out an eclectic cuisine with a short menu but good and varied choices. Good cocktails and good bottled ginger beer, too. My girlfriend and I like to sit at the bar.

                                        Malaysian: Having recently had really good, spicy Malaysian food in London, I'm pretty jaded with the New York Malaysian scene. That said, although their food won't leave your mouth really buzzing, Taste Good in Elmhurst, Queens makes Malaysian food that's real, good, and cheap.

                                        If you prefer to stay in Manhattan and like a place with more decor and atmosphere, go to Laut. It costs a lot more (maybe $30/person instead of $15) but if you stick to their Malaysian items and tell them you want them spicy and really Malaysian-style, they'll probably give them to you that way (they do for me, but I speak Malay to them). Their ingredients are good and their food is good and real. But as I said, there's nothing approaching London-quality Malaysian food here in New York; I don't know about Toronto.

                                        $80/person is not cheap at all for Italian food! I believe you could do that at Babbo! I haven't been to Convivio or some other contenders, but between Babbo and Scarpetta, I think I'd choose Babbo. Scarpetta would be fine, though, as long as you avoid fish (the fish dish my dining partner got was a bit fishy and just not special, otherwise, while everything else was pretty great).

                                        Note: I'm having trouble removing the links, but in case this post won't edit on the fourth try, the Taste Good I mention is NOT in Manhattan but in Elmhurst, Queens, and any questions about it should be directed to the Outer Boroughs board.

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

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

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

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

                                        Nougatine
                                        1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Pan

                                          Hi All,

                                          Just wanted to report back and thank everybody for their help. My trip to NYC was very memorable, I love your city. I ended up cancelling Le Bernardin lunch and going to Sushi Yasuda instead. Had the omakase, plus asked for a couple extra pieces of my favourites at the end (the Uni and Oyster nigiri). Loved the sushi I had there.

                                          Had lunch at Jean Georges instead of Nougatine. Very nice place, definitely the classiest place I've ever been in. I dressed up nicely for it, but it wasn't necessary as there were slobs at the table across from us (older slobs). Had the foie gras brulee, risotto (which I had to trade with my girflriend for her peekytoe crab salad because she didn't like the salad), and the red snapper. Everything was nice. I felt the food was interesting and good however it wasn't amazing to me. Great experience though.

                                          I liked the yakitori at Tori Shin, we went late (they started closing up as we were finishing our meal), however I felt I got ripped off with the $50 omakase (10 skewer selection). I got 3 veg, and I think I only got 4-5 other meat skewers. I noticed I wasn't full, but didn't really think back until after I'd left. Almost positive I got ripped off actually,. I would go back, but I would order ala carte,and I will count my orders. Any point to writing to them to let them know?

                                          Korean Chicken...went to Kyochon and Bonchon....went back to Kyochon a second time....I wish we had this chicken in Toronto.

                                          Pizza: had a slice at Bleecker st pizza (they are advertising that they won best pizza in some food network thing...)...I also had John's on bleecker right close by, which I preferred.

                                          Burgers: Tried 5 guys...horrible burger, really, really bad. Ok, that is exaggerating, but up in Canada some people talk about it like it is really good, and it was nothing special. Shake Shack...(happened to pass by the north location by mistake..stopped in and there was no lineup at all)...great burger, enjoyed it a lot. However, it made me realize how great The Burger's Priest in Toronto is...our incarnation is a close copy of shake shack, though nowhere near as famous yet. (not as good value as shake shack either)

                                          Lupa was good. I ordered 3 antipasta, and a pasta for each of us. I was about to order a main as well, but the waitress thought we had enough food. By the time I finished the pasta I wanted either another pasta or a main, but it was late and didn't want to bother anymore. Food was good, nothing outstanding. I think it would be more fun with a larger group and sharing more plates of food.

                                          Perilla: One of my favs from this trip. We skipped the prix fixe which looked a bit lame and ordered off the normal menu, everything was delicious. Duck meatball app and hand cut fettuccine were amazing. The hanger steak was one of the best steaks I ever tasted (I wish I was the one who ordered it). My duck entree was good, but I wished I ordered the steak. I'm used to asian food, so I thought the duck would have been better if the skin was crispy.

                                          ippudo: very cool place! I loved the ramen, much better than anything in Toronto.

                                          Halal food cart...53rd and 6th or something? Yeah,I admit I saw it on tv ....we were closeby after watching a show and decided to check it out. It wasn't very busy at the time only 2 min lineup, but the food was great. Is it really much better than other halal carts? I never tried any others. With the high turnover at least you know you are getting fresher food than at the normal carts. They have an impressive operation going on there.

                                          Degustation 10 course tasting menu was very enjoyable. I cannot remember anything that I ate that night but I remember we were very happy. it was a wonderful meal to spend our first night in NYC at. The price was $80 though, when their website still says $75.

                                          Didn't even get to try any deli or bagels...my gf wasn't interested at all in those, but next trip I will make a point of it. I'd also like to try more italian food. We NEVER go out for italian food. Oh yeah, that was one complaint at Lupa.....my girlfriend who has english as her second language had almost no clue how to decipher their menu which was mostly in italian. I could pick out some parts to figure out what I wanted. Maybe we are just italian food noobs.

                                          I'm probably missing stuff which I can't recall at the moment...

                                          -----
                                          Lupa
                                          170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                                          Perilla
                                          9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

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

                                          Sushi Yasuda
                                          204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

                                          Le Bernardin
                                          155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                                          KyoChon
                                          319 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                          Nougatine
                                          1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

                                          1. re: szw

                                            i like john's better for a regular ny slice than bleecker st but i like the nonna maria slice the most at bleecker street.
                                            i personally dont think the 53rd st cart is much better than the other halal carts. the best halal carts i've had were the falafel king at astora and sammy's in jackson heights but they're in queens.
                                            maybe next time for italian you can do maialino or the pasta tasting at babbo. you might also want to try del posto for lunch.

                                            1. re: daffyduck

                                              Grandma pizza and Il Porto in Brooklyn now beats them all! Grimaldis is a big tourist trap as is Johns -totally overrated. DiFara's love love love...hate the wait.

                                              -----
                                              Grimaldi's
                                              47 W 20th St, New York, NY 10010