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Oct 21, 2010 09:24 AM

Yet another SF 'hound in Manhattan

After many years - I will be in NYC on business. I'll be staying in Midtown around W 56th and 7th Ave.

Since this is a business trip I can’t devote as much time to gluttony as I would like to.

I am clearly looking for things NYC excels at. We have excellent Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern out here and of course lots of high end destination restaurants like TFL, Manresa, etc.

So far I've come up with the following for a 4 day trip:

I'd like to invite any critique and/or additional recommendations or replacements.

Pastrami at Katz's – I understand you have to ask for the pickled tomatoes as an accompaniment


The porterhouse at Peter Luger in Brooklyn, or at least the burger at lunch

Pizza - Keste - and Company -,

Sichuan food court in Flushing –

Ippudo – I understand this is a chain but a superlative one.

Yasuda – must-visit – comes highly recommended by many friends, I plan to go by myself and sit at the bar.

Bagels - H&H, Russ and Daughters

Any place you’d recommend for East Coast oysters?

I would also like to get a recommendation for breakfast around my hotel aside from Norma’s.

Cheers and thanks in advance

65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

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  1. I had only one major regret about my most recent NYC trip, and it was that I had that Peter Luger burger. Aside from the major service issues (not from the waiter, but from the woman who seated me), it just wasn't that good of a burger - it was underseasoned (I tasted it unadorned) and not all that juicy, despite being medium-rare. If you're going to have one burger, get the Black Label at Minetta Tavern. If it's too late to get a reservation, go early on a weeknight and eat at the bar.

    I didn't love Keste - the crust was blonder and softer than I generally like, though the recent pictures I've seen look more appealing. My biggest issue was that the prosciutto on my pizza was neither cut well nor of great quality, but it sounds like it may be more consistent now than when I went, and I've seen a number of reports from people I trust who enjoyed it more than Motorino (which I loved), so it's probably a good bet, as is Co.

    Yes on Katz's, Ippudo, Russ&Daughters, and Yasuda. No on H&H (too big, sweet and puffy) - I prefer Absolute and am ok with Ess-A.

    I loved Spot Dessert Bar, and we have nothing like it, so I'd put that on the list as well (as long as you like a little salt in your desserts).

    You'll be near Petrossian, which has the best croissants I've had in the US. Really good cannele, too.

    The other two places I try to go to whenever possible are Momofuku Ssam Bar (better to do with friends if possible), Lupa (pastas are consistently strong), and Kee's for chocolates.

    170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

    Momofuku Ssam Bar
    207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Minetta Tavern
    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

    65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

    182 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

    Spot Dessert Bar
    13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

    349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

    1 Reply
    1. re: daveena

      Thanks for the additional recs daveena. I will make sure I visit Spot, because I really like salt in my desserts.

      I will be sure to head to the bar area at Minetta for the famed Black Label burger.

      And Kee's sounds good as well.

    2. You don't need to venture out to Flushing for good Sichuan food, Manhattan actually does Sichuan quite well. Check out Szechuan Gourmet while you're here.

      For oysters, I love Aquagrill.

      For breakfast near 56th and 7th, try Bouchon Bakery, Nougatine at Jean Georges, Petrossian, Bar Boulud (weekend brunch only though), Sarabeth's, Landmarc. Perhaps Ma Peche or Momofuku Milk Bar?

      Bouchon Bakery
      10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

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

      210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

      179 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

      Bar Boulud
      1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

      182 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

      Szechuan Gourmet
      244 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

      1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

      Ma Peche
      15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

      Momofuku Milk Bar
      15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

      8 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        2nd Aquagrill. If you're going to Keste my favorite pizza there is their truffle spread pizza, the other pizzas I've tried are good but nowhere near as good as the truffle spread.

        210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

        1. re: daffyduck

          Thanks for the tip, daffyduck. Will make sure I order the truffle spread, it would have probably been my first choice in any case.


        2. re: kathryn

          While Manhattan does Sichuan well the Flushing Chinatown is worth the visit (and Spicy and Tasty and Little Pepper are slightly better than the best in Manhattan). It's been many years since I've been in SF's CT, but the sheer density and variety of Flushing is amazing.

          Also I disagree re the PL Burger. I think it's the best burger value in NYC. And the Porterhouse for two is excellent. If you want a mix of Manhattan and the boroughs, I think your list is near perfect.

          One more point, Russ and Daughters is great for a Bagel sandwich (which you have to eat elsewhere, it's only a retail store), but the bagels themselves are nothing special. A chow favorite for the bagel in Manhattan is Ess-A-Bagel.

          1. re: bobjbkln

            Oh, don't get me wrong, I love Flushing's Chinatown, but the OP said they were here only on a 4 day business trip with limited time. Myself, I'd need to devote at least two whole mornings/afternoons to Flushing (one for dim sum, and another day for mall crawls, and that's skipping other sit down restaurants). I've been to Spicy & Tasty in Flushing a few times and always left less satisfied than at Szechuan Gourmet in Manhattan, FWIW.

            Note to the OP: you can take the LIRR to Flushing and the trip is about 25 minutes. This may be faster for you if you are staying in Midtown and can get to Penn Station quickly.

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

            1. re: bobjbkln

              Thanks Bob. Another request - is there a pub that serves English hand-pumped ale?

              I will travel just about anywhere for this ale.

              1. re: osho

                Unless someone else has a specific suggestion (mine would be Waterfront Ale House on Atlantic Ave, in Brooklyn Heights--they also have an eastside Manhattan place) I recommend doing some work at

                Waterfront Ale House
                540 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                1. re: osho


                  That is a pretty comprehensive list of bars that serve cask ale. Most places are serving American cask beers as not too many kegs are coming over from the UK.

                  Places that consistently have cask ales available are DBA, Blind Tiger, Rattle N Hum, Pony Bar in Manhattan. There are a number of bars in Brooklyn that also serve cask ale. The Diamond in Greenpoint focuses on session beers and frequently have English ales available on cask.

                  Blind Tiger
                  281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

              2. re: kathryn

                Great recs - had the three egg omelet at Ma Peche and then at the Milk Bar - chocolate malt truffles, cereal milk and peanut brittle cookie.

                Also ended up at a lounge-y place at 40th and 5th Ave last night - the name escapes me - had an excellent Chilean Pinot and chocolate cake.

                My cab driver last night took me to the famed Halal Cart as well - on 53rd, I think. Delicious lamb with the trademark spicy sauce !

                Ma Peche
                15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

              3. For oysters, I'd add a small neighborhood seafod restaurant-retail called Wild Edibles, along 3rd Ave and 35th Street. They have many varieties of East (and West) Coast oysters.

                For bagels, I like both H&H and Ess-a-bagel. They're different styles but well worth trying.

                Wild Edibles
                535 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                1. By the way if you get Russ and Daughters, you can take your food up to DBA. They allow outside food and you can usually get an English cask ale.