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What would be on your NYC Restaurant "Bucket List"?

Hello fellow Chowhounders!

In a few months, after more than six years of living here (and eating here) I will be leaving the city I love (and sometimes hate -- but mostly love). It has put me in a reflective mood about those many "only in New York" things I want to do, places to see, and of course, restaurants I want to eat at before I go. This being New York, there are so many terrific options for things to eat, and I've done everything from fancy establishment and Michelin-starred to cash-only holes-in-the-wall. It can be a bit overwhelming to decide what I should spend my time (and money) on.

So I thought I'd ask all of you: if you had to put together a "bucket list" of restaurants to eat at before leaving New York, what would be on it? It can be anything from places you want to try for the first time or old guards that you've enjoyed during your time here.

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  1. If I had unlimited money to spend, in the weeks leading up to my exodus...

    There'd be a couple of the big fancy names on there: EMP, Babbo or Del Posto, Morimoto (if only for the Oysters Foie Gras)
    There'd be a few of my neighborhood favorites: WD-50, Falai, Sachiko's, Frankie's 17
    There'd be a couple of my OLD neighborhood favorites: Convivium Osteria and Rosewater in Park Slope
    There'd be a couple from Chinatown - one fancy, one cheap: Oriental Garden and Ah Ping Snack Bar
    There'd be tacos: Tehuitzingo for sure, and maybe a trip out to Sunset Park as well.
    There'd be a Banh Mi, probably from Sau Voi Corp, which I'd take and eat in Columbus Park while watching the old Chinese musicians play.
    There'd be a Mets game, if it was baseball season.
    For my very last dinner in the city... I'd go to Henry's End in Brooklyn Heights. Because they just make me very happy. Then I'd go take a long, slow walk along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

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

    Tehuitzingo
    695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    Del Posto
    85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

    Sau Voi
    101 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013

    Oriental Garden
    14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

    Falai
    68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

    Morimoto
    88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

    Ah Ping Snack Bar
    2 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

    1. Where are you moving to? That might help narrow the bucket list (i.e. no French if you're moving to Continental Europe, or no farm to table if you're moving to California, etc.).

      Otherwise my personal bucket list would include:

      Le Bernardin
      Jean Georges
      Corton
      The Modern Dining Room
      Keens
      Momofuku Ssam Bar
      Babbo
      Alto
      Aldea
      Perilla
      Casa Mono
      Kajitsu
      Sushi Yasuda
      Peking Duck House midtown (just for the duck)
      Szechuan Gourmet
      Saraavanas

      Also my beloved 5 Napkin Burger in my neighborhood :)

      -----
      Perilla
      9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

      Babbo
      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      Casa Mono
      52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

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

      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

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

      Peking Duck House
      236 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

      Corton
      239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

      Kajitsu
      414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

      Aldea
      31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

      12 Replies
      1. re: fm1963

        I'm moving to Amsterdam (not exactly a foodie mecca, to my knowledge, but I'm looking forward to trying to uncover some hidden gems)! I don't know that I would necessarily exclude continental fare from my list purely due to the location of my move, since it seems to me that there are just some places in NY that might do it better than anywhere else. That being said though, I don't think I will be going back to places like Le Bernardin, Gotham Bar & Grill or Dovetail, even though they are all lovely and delicious.

        Everyone recommends EMP, but for some reason I never felt much of an inclination to eat there. I'm skeptical despite the rave reviews. Is it really that special?

        Here is what I'm thinking so far:

        One of the Momofukus. Has anyone had the fried chicken dinner or the Beef 7 Ways?
        Nobu
        Sushi Yasuda
        Sake Bar Hagi (I'm obsessed with their spicy kimchi flavored noodles with Japanese mayo)
        Alto
        Del Posto
        Fatty 'Cue
        Blue Hill (I have dreams about their farm fresh eggs and duck)
        WD-40

        -----
        Blue Hill
        75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

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

        Del Posto
        85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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

        Nobu
        105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: jocekabobs

          I loved my visit to Amsterdam a few years ago, so I'm sure you'll find some very good/great food.

          EMP is wonderful, and it is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC.

          Also on my restaurant "bucket list":

          Fried Chicken at Momofuku Noodle Bar (a ton of delicious fried chicken served in 2 styles);
          Beef 7-Ways at Ma Peche (never had it, but it sounds wonderful);
          Lunch at Momofuku Ko;
          Bouley;
          Sarge's Pastrami sandwich and noodle pudding;
          Per Se (if you haven't had dinner there yet, it is definitely worth the cost);
          Russ & Daughters smoked fish (their gaspe smoked salmon is still my favorite).

          Enjoy yourself!

          -----
          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

          Momofuku Noodle Bar
          171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

          Momofuku Ko
          163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

          1. re: jocekabobs

            I've had the fried chicken dinner (loved the Korean version, Southern was only OK, it's a lot of food) and beef 7 ways (way too much beef for me after the 4th course or so).

            I think you meant WD-50 not WD-40?

            My bucket list:
            Momofuku Ssam Bar
            Szechuan Gourmet
            Babbo
            Scarpetta
            Degustation
            Casa Mono
            Blue Ribbon Brasserie for the bone marrow
            Prune
            Minetta Tavern
            Motorino
            Halal cart on 53rd and 6th
            Russ and Daughters
            Xian Famous Foods
            Ippudo
            Shake Shack
            Keens
            Kee's Chocolates
            Death & Co.
            Eleven Madison Park
            Kyo Ya

            My Outer Boroughs bucket list:
            Di Fara
            Kabab Cafe
            Sripraphai
            Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
            Pies 'n' Thighs

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

            Kee's Chocolates
            80 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

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

            Babbo
            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

            Casa Mono
            52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

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

            Minetta Tavern
            113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

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

            Blue Ribbon Brasserie
            97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

            Kyo Ya
            94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

            Ippudo
            65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

            Scarpetta
            355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

            Xi'an Famous Foods
            88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

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

            1. re: kathryn

              how is the bone marrow at Blue Ribbon compared with the one at Minetta Tavern?

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

              1. re: daffyduck

                I think Minetta Tavern is better, but for my money the marrow at Crispo is leagues better than either!

                1. re: bworm42

                  I've not tried the Minetta Tavern or Crispo versions.

                  What bread and/or sauce/etc. do they serve it with?

                  For me the Blue Ribbon one is perfection because of the oxtail marmalade and their housemade challah bread. I've had really good bone marrow elsewhere but the toast points were only OK in comparison.

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

                  Crispo
                  240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

                  1. re: kathryn

                    The Minetta Tavern one is served "shallot confit and baguette soldiers." The Crispo is served with what I'm pretty sure is sweet onion marmalade and toasted brioche. The reason why that one stands out to me is because the marrow bones themselves are unbelievably succulent, with a sprinkling of toasted garlic breadcrumbs on top. I also think that's where you get the most marrow for your buck.

                    1. re: bworm42

                      wow, i have to go to Crispo, Minetta Tavern's bone marrow might just be my favorite appetizer ever.

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

                      Crispo
                      240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

                    2. re: kathryn

                      I just tried the bone marrow at Blue Ribbon last night. It's hard to say which was a better experience for me. Like at Minetta Tavern I also ordered a fois gras terrine and combined the two to a killer sandwich.
                      I like the bone marrow and fois gras terrine at Minetta Tavern better than Blue Ribbon. But the bread and butter at Blue Ribbon really beats the Minetta Tavern's. At Blue Ribbon in addition to trying everything seperately I assembled my delicious rich sandwich of awesomeness by combining the bread, butter, fois gras terrine, with the bone marrow and oxtail.
                      But overall I like my sandwich of awesomenes better at Minetta Tavern because the baoguette soldiers are not that much worse than Blue Ribbon's bread and I like the shallot confit that the bone marrow comes in more than the oxtail marmalade. I also like the fois gras terrine better.
                      Next time I'll try Crispo's bone marrow. Are their any other dishes worth trying there besides the bone marrow?

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

                      Crispo
                      240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

                      1. re: daffyduck

                        Crispy pork shank at Crispo. Do not miss that dish.

                        -----
                        Crispo
                        240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

                        1. re: daffyduck

                          The smoked mozzarella with polenta and prosciutto is spectacular. The carbonara and amatriciana are both very good. I also enjoy the chocolate pot de creme/creme brulee combination when I remember to leave room.

                          1. re: daffyduck

                            The duck is great. The carbonara is good but I prefer the version at Lupa. If you like panna cotta, Crispo has one of the best in the city.

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

                            Crispo
                            240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

              2. Also assuming unlimited money to spend, my bucket list top five would include:

                Per Se
                Le Bernardin
                Jean Georges
                Masa
                Alain Ducasse

                1. In Amsterdam, there is a great pancake place near Anne Frank's house.

                  For NY:

                  Per Se
                  Jean Georges
                  Go with some friends & get the Bo Ssam at Momofuku Ssam Bar.
                  Pizza at Di Fara's.
                  Blue Hill
                  WD 50
                  Shake Shack

                  I'd get the onion soup dumplings at Stanton Social or go to Chinatown for soup dumplings. There was a really good place I went to months ago, but I can't remember the name.

                  The Peking Duck at Peking Duck House Midtown.
                  Doughnut Plant
                  The Redhead
                  The Modern
                  Jimmy's No 43

                  -----
                  Per Se
                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                  Blue Hill
                  75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

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

                  Stanton Social
                  99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

                  Doughnut Plant
                  379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                  Peking Duck House
                  28 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Little Cupcake

                    I cannot understand why anybody would put Shake Shack on a "must eat" list for New York. There is nothing New York-y about it. And it's a burger place, just a burger place. if I had a limited number of places to eat in NYC, I would never include Shake Shack. I can get a burger anywhere in the whole country whenever I want. The Shake Shack burgers are fine in their category, I like them, but it's a burger, just a burger. Why waste a NY experience on it? It's not like Shake Shack is serving special food - it isn't. And there is nothing particularly New York-y about the food or the experience there.

                    Boy oh boy they are genius marketeers, that I'll give them.

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      The shake shack would not be on my bucket list but it is very New Yorky. Where else would people stand on line for an hour regardless of the weather just to eat a hamburger?

                      1. re: shoeman

                        There are lemmings and marketing victims all over this great country of ours.

                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          Shake Shack at least has fairly decent burgers, and only has one other location outside of New York. Much better than the White Castle, which you recommended on another thread.

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7449...

                          1. re: Riverman500

                            Apples vs oranges, come on now. I never said White Castle was a "good burger," but those WC sliders are sure good. I love me a Big Mac sometimes too. That doesn't make them "good."

                            Yes, Shake Shack has decent burgers. Worth waiting on line for? Hardly.

                            -----
                            White Castle
                            351 E 103rd St, New York, NY 10029

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              i think gutsofsteel is on the money here. I too would not put shake shack on a must eat list in NY. It is just a burger...and one that can pretty much be replicated at home.

                  2. I'd eat as much ethnic/street food/hole in the walls -- it's what I missed the most when I left Manhattan.

                    NYC staples i.e. Masa, Per Se, DANIEL, Le Bernardin, Jean Georges, et al. -- I was dating someone with a steep corporate card and was fortunate to dine at all these establishments numerous times -- are wonderful but if it's out of pocket, I say save your $$. You're going to Europe, you'd be able to eat a lot of these foods that are more cost effective...

                    Foods that are better in The City (and surrounding boroughs) than most:
                    - Dominican
                    - Cuban
                    - Dim Sum, XLB (xiao long bao)
                    - Ethiopian
                    - Turkish
                    - Greek
                    - Japanese (Aburiya Kinnosuke, Totto, Yasuda, Sugiyama, Rockmeisha, etc., etc.)
                    - Korean (though LA has better Korean food, it'll be tough finding bassam, soondoobu, or even decent Korean bbq in EU.)
                    - Italian. I've found the Italian food here to be the best in the U.S., not sure about the EU but 'inoteca, Frankies17 and Il-Postino are three of my favorites
                    and even Indian.

                    I even found myself craving halal cart food, hot dogs (not water dogs but Grey's or Crif) and even burgers.

                    Hope this helps and enjoy Amsterdam; they have awesome caf├ęs, cafe food and a gang load of potato dishes lol.

                    -----
                    Per Se
                    10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

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

                    Sugiyama
                    251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                    Rockmeisha
                    11 Barrow St, New York, NY 10014

                    'inoteca
                    323 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

                    Masa
                    10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MonaNomura

                      i posted a similar post to the OP when i sold my NY place a few years ago...

                      my favs were a combo of chowish food and nostalgia and subjective comfiness: GCOB, Malatesta, Ushi Wakamaru...(Scarpetta wasn't open at the time but it would make the list now, as would Xian Foods)...

                      i'll respectfully disagree w/ MonaNomura re: dimsum and XLB...i like the dimsum at Red Egg, but think most Manhattan dim is weak, and XLB is on the atrocious side...also not a fan of any Indian food i've ever had in Manhattan, with the exception of taxi stand takeout which i've then doctored w/ extra garam masala and chilies...

                      for the OP, i'd say enjoy Manhattan's Italian, Japanese, and Sichuan options...

                      -----
                      Malatesta
                      649 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

                      Red Egg
                      202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013