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Oct 25, 2010 08:39 PM

Manhattan recs

Going to NYC in January and have the following to ponder...

Best tasting menu. Our one splurge meal, looking at Le bernadine. We talked about Per Se but agreed if we are going to do a Thomas Keller restaurant it will be in Napa if we can ever get in. Though I would love input.

WD-50 or Eleven Park Madisson?

Perilla - we are Top Chef fans so this is pretty much set.

We are staying mid mahnhattan and my traveling partner is going to want to try NY style pizza and a NY Bagel and because I love this person i would like to deliver in spades. We are also so going to be doing the tourest thing so any recs for the above two near the Statue of Liberty or The Empire State building will work.

Thanks in advance for any help.

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  1. First off, where are you coming from? California, like SF or LA? Elsewhere?

    Whether or not you like Le Bernardin depends on how much you live subtle flavors and shellfish and fish. Do you happen to love cooked fish and shellfish? Are you looking for particular features/atmosphere? Why did you consider Le Bernardin over Daniel, Jean Georges, etc.?

    For example, I really enjoyed my meal at Le Bernardin but I though that Jean Georges was more exciting and the food there spoke to me more.

    WD-50 and Eleven Madison Park are two completely different restaurants in food, atmosphere, etc. Hard to recommend one over the other without knowing your preferences. How much have you eaten experimental cuisine before? I love EMP but note also they recently did a menu change and there's no tasting menu any longer. While I respect WD-50 a lot, I think the "molecular" thing is done better at other places in the country (and outside the USA).

    Note that Harold from Perilla recently opened Kin Shop as well. Might also be worth a look.

    I would avoid trying to do your bagel or pizza meals near a tourist attraction. Also, to get to the Statue of Liberty you need to take a ferry that leaves from Battery Park in Manhattan. The Statue will have very typical tourist-y concessions. There will be pretzel and hot dog vendors in Battery Park. They're not bad but not especially good, either. To seek out New York style bagels (and smoked salmon) and New York style pizza, you should go away from the ESB and ferry areas.

    For example, some of my more conveniently located favorites:Russ & Daughters (nova on a bagel with cream cheese, capers, red onions, tomato) which is on the Lower East Side and for pizza. Arturo's (Greenwich Village), John's of Bleecker (was going downhill but is better lately, in the West Village), and Motorino (East Village, but not technically NY style).

    For midtown, a lot of what you'll find is geared towards business visitors on an expensive account, harried office workers who want to grab and go, and tourists (particularly places that don't need to rely upon repeat visits).

    There are gems in Midtown (Madangsui for Korean BBQ which is actually close to the ESB, Keens Steakhouse which is also kind of close to the ESC, Esca, Szechuan Gourmet, a handful of Japanese places, Shake Shack), but it's hard to recommend without knowing where in Midtown you're staying (40s? 50s? East? West?). Midtown can actually be pretty wide. Do you know your hotel's intersection? If so, we can try to recommend non-tourist things nearby.

    See also:

    Don't leave NY without eating these foods

    Pizza in NYC

    50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

    9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

    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

    6 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      First wow thank you so much for taking the time to write that response. Thinking Le Bernadine for the exact reasons you bring up. On your rec though I wil research JG.

      We love experimental cuisine. Just had a great meal at Saam at the Bazaar in LA. I have just heard great things about EMP on the boards so that was my thought there.

      Looks at this point we will be near times square ...still hunting deals. Plus we have a inside to someone whos closing on a loft they will only use twice a year (I'll take free room and board even if it means leg work anyday)

      1. re: kathryn

        I agree with your Arturo's recommendation, but do you not like Patsy's in East Harlem? To me, that is the quintessential New York-style pizzeria, if one limits oneself to their Margherita (plain, whatever they call it), with the option of the Fresh Mozzarella as a second pizza.

        1. re: Pan

          Oh, I do like Patsy's of East Harlem a lot, I just didn't want to overwhelm with recommendations. Hence the phrase "some of my more conveniently located favorites."

            1. re: Pan

              I know this is Chowhound and all, but I think it's silly for a tourist to spend their precious time traveling to and from Patsy's when they could do just as well at many of the excellent midtown and downtown pizzerias. Especially since it sounds like the OP's partner just wants a traditional NY slice.

              1. re: ml77

                Patsy's is the quintessential New York-style pizza, is it not? If you love someone and want to deliver in spades, as our original poster said, you deserve to get the best recommendations, not something that you think may be sufficient for someone you perhaps consider a typical tourist (who loves experimental cuisine?!) who you think won't want to spend a little time on an interesting trip to Spanish Harlem and would be satisfied with any old random slice shop. If someone had that attitude toward me when I was a tourist in, say, Denver, I would have been very perturbed to have been steered into mediocrity by the local hounds. What is a site like this for, anyway?

                Meanwhile, name one "excellent" Midtown pizzeria that's just as good as Patsy's East Harlem. If there is one, that would be quite a revelation to me. I'll be eagerly awaiting THAT information!

      2. I agree with Kathryn's assessment of WD-50 (you'll walk out hungry) and EMP - and have to suggest my personal favorite for out-of-towners: The River Café. Yes, it's not in Manhattan, but that's the point. It's right across the Brooklyn Bridge (easy subway ride), and the view is spectacular. And unlike most restaurants with a view, the food & service are excellent. It might not be as good as, say, Jean-Georges, but the experience is indeed special. The 3-course prix-fixe price is $98 and includes options such as foie gras & lobster without supplements (!). Plus they take bookings up to a year in advance.
        As for the Statue of Liberty, if you don't have the stamina to deal with all the tourists/lines, the next best option is the FREE Staten Island Ferry, which will take you close enough to the Statue to appreciate & photograph it. Lastly, instead of going to the top of the Empire State Building, go to the "Top of the Rock" (Rockefeller Plaza). From their Observation Deck, you get a magnificent view of Central Park, and.......the Empire State Building, something you cannot see from ITS Observation Deck. And it won't be as crowded either.

        50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

        4 Replies
        1. re: boredough

          I disagree that one would walk out hungry from WD. If you spent as much per person as you would at EMP (minimum $125 for food) you could easily get five courses per person - two apps, two entrees, dessert. Might even be too much food for some.

          They're very different restaurants, though. WD-50 is more playful, EMP is more luxurious and comforting. EMP does get near-universal praise (of course there's a couple of naysayers here, but whatever...) while WD is a bit more controversial - but then, any "molecular" place is going to have its detractors. It really depends on the kind of experience you want to have.

          To be totally honest, I'd drop Le Bernardin. Of the "big three" Frenchies I probably like them the best, food-wise, but I don't find any of them terribly exciting. I'd go to EMP for your "A" meal (be a little less than LB's tasting if you did the extended five-course meal. And heck, they'd happily do six courses for you if you requested) and WD-50 for your "B" Meal. But that's just me.


          On other matters: Yes, Russ and Daughters for your bagel & lox fix. To not go would be a shame.

          I'm not the biggest fan of Perilla, but if you're a big TC fan I'm sure you want to check it out for yourself. Actually none of the Top Chef alums in town have done anything terribly interesting, IMHO - though I haven't been to Ajna Bar (where Hung revamped the menu) so I can't comment on them.

          50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

          Ajna Bar
          25 Little West 12th St, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: boredough

            Wow River Cafe looks awsome. I'll need to discuss it but I'm leaning that way right now. Also the "Top of the Rock" is a winner of a tip. Thanks so much

            1. re: boredough

              Coming to town 2nd weekend of Dec. - Can I get away with a jacket & chords @ River Cafe (for man)?

              1. re: r0cc00

                River Café requires jackets (they don't mention ties), so the jacket w/cords should be just fine. Without sneakers or trainers (unless you are Woody Allen....)

            2. If you are coming in January, you might want to consider Millesime and La petite maison. Both of them are French fish restaurants by famous French chefs. Both will be opened by then.

              92 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016