SF Hound in Town
Hi Manhattan Hounds! Husband and I are heading East to visit friends for a long weekend (Fri to Tues) in a couple weeks. We will be staying in Brooklyn. The only thing planned is Friday late night dinner at Babbo (super excited; missed it last time I was in town). Looking for recommendations for the following:
1. Can't miss cheap eats (example, if someone were coming to SF, I'd recommend heading to the Mission for a big, fat al pastor burrito at Taqueria Cancun).
2. Pizza - I love the thin and the thick so long as the sauce is dynamite! (I love Pizzaiolo in Berkeley but I also like North Beach Pizza).
3. Some hot dog place that is supposed to be amazing---where is it??
4. Reasonably priced ($15-20/entree) restaurant for dinner or lunch. French sounds good...we don't have many reasonably priced French around us (other than Fringale).
5. Great happy hour for Friday and Monday.
FYI, I've posted something similar on the Brooklyn board.
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011
1. Can't miss cheap eats
How cheap is cheap? The pastrami at Katz's is not really all that cheap ($15), but it's an iconic NYC food. Pizza, bagels with smoked salmon (will definitely be on the more expensive side of cheap), an egg cream, pickles, though, are typically pretty cheap.
Please help me eat during a month in New York - some of the nouveau cheap eats around town
Don't leave NY without eating these foods - focused on the more iconic NYC foods
For cheap eats, try out some street food -- lots of interesting ethnic here that you might not find in SF:
I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour as a way to do some of the iconic NYC foods, just sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles:
There are a few different species of thin crust pizza in NY. The Naples inspired whole pies, the coal oven thin crusted traditional NY whole pies (these places usually don't do slices), the gas oven chewier greasy street slice. Not much in the way of thicker crusts unless you mean a square or Grandma slice.
I find that a lot of NYC pizza is pretty light on the sauce, though, so if you're a sauce-centric person, you might be disappointed.
A lot of places here in the coal oven and gas oven NY style use canned sauce, so I'm hesitant to recommend one to you. And there's a lot of Naples inspired pizza places in SF these days, so it might not make sense to have that in NY.
3. Some hot dog place that is supposed to be amazing---where is it?
Papaya Dog or Gray's Papaya are iconic NYC eats. The dogs themselves aren't that amazing. They are mass produced. Note that an NYC dog is usually all beef, whereas other cities you'll find a beef/pork blend.
There's no really famous gourmet hot dog place in Manhattan like Chicago has with Hot Doug's. Maybe you're thinking of Nathan's on Coney Island (great atmosphere, haven't really found the food itself to be all that special)?
My personal favorite, though, is Crif Dogs because they deep fry the hot dogs (no batter), NJ style. They use a beef/pork blend hot dog unlike a lot of other places in NYC. And they have a variety of interesting toppings like cream cheese, bacon, avocado, etc. But it's not what you think of when people talk about a classic NY hot dog.
49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
539 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018
For pizza I would recommend Arturo's on Houston. It's a restaurant that hasn't been changed for decades (the bathroom has a bathtub in it for example), but their pizza is really excellent. A large will feed 2-3 people at about $19. It is popular but if there is a wait it goes fairly fast (about 30 minutes when I went last). The sauce was delicious and they have some live jazz. I just moved out here from San Fran and I thought it was a pretty good experience as far as pizza places I've tried.
Outside of that there are places like Co., Keste, Totonno's, and Lucali (in brooklyn), but I don't know how New York-y they are.
1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
I think $15-20 entree might be hard to hit for French - most of the places I'm familiar with are in the $20-25 range. I did look up my old med school standby (Flea Market) which is still in the $15-20 range but it's by no means a destination restaurant.
Le Mangeoire appears to be doable in that range if you order the smaller portions, which are reportedly adequate for most appetites, and the chef is Christian Delouvrier, formerly of Lespinasse.
My impression from various reports is that most bistros in the $20-25 range are good, but not destination-worthy, so if you have a preferred neighborhood, that might belp people pick a place.
I would actually consider Prune, which is not straightforward French, but is heavily French-influenced. It's very personal and creative cooking from Gabrielle Hamilton.
The other place I strongly, strongly recommend for Bay Area visitors is Momofuku Ssam Bar, which does exceptional creative modern Asian. We still don't have anything like it, although I'm starting to see its influence in a few places.
Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
OK, can't miss cheap eats. Great NY Noodletown is close to that. Get the roast duck or/and roast pork, either on rice (less meat) or as an order without rice. The Ginger-Scallion Lo Mein are also nice, and their congee is thick and has lots of good stuff in it.
I'm going to suggest that you go to Jean Georges, a Michelin 3-star and New York Times 4-star restaurant, for lunch. They're not quite as inexpensive for lunch as they used to be, but they are offering two plates for $32 and each additional plate for $16, so that is within your price range and will be a better value for that price than any other French restaurant in town. You can check out their menus here:
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023