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4 days in New York - how are these choices?

Hi everyone

Well, after hours spent searching forums and review sites, we've decided on the following choices. We're staying in Midtown.

High end - Gilt
It's not 3* like Le Bernadin, but d├ęcor and ambiance is important to the missus.

Sushi - We were going to go to Sushi Yasuda, but i've heard the head chef is leaving. Any other recommendations? We'd rather not go anywhere TOO expensive.

Steak - Uncle Jacks in midtown
Heard mixed reviews about Keens, and Peter Luger is too far away (we're planning on going the night we arrive). Uncle Jack's sounds like a safe bet

Pho - Pho Grande
I've heard pho isn't that good in Manhattan, but this place always seems to get a good write up

Deli - Katz
Eaten there before, so know all about it!

Aside from that we're looking for a good diner in Midtown, and maybe a decent pre-theatre place. Any suggestions very welcome!


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

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  1. Where have you read mixed reviews of Keen's? I've read almost nothing but universal praise for it on this board. It's also a real old school NYC institution, so it's great for visitors.

    1. Yasuda is not leaving that soon, so I'd def go if I were you! I find lunch is a better deal than dinner.

      For your midtown dinner, I'd recommend Resto. Good food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: linguafood

        Resto is solid but not really Midtown (29th and Park), and not necessarily special to NYC. Not sure I'd send visitors there.

        111 East 29th Street, New York, NY 10016

      2. Uncle Jack's isn't even remotely in Keen's league. I mean, when you hear about the great steakhouses of NYC... it's Luger's, Keen's, S&W... Uncle Jack's doesn't even fit into the picture. If you're dead-set on doing a steakhouse, stick with Keen's.

        Pho Grand is one of my personal favorites of the Pho joints in Chinatown. A lot of the people who insist Pho isn't that good in Manhattan are simply Reverse Boroughphobes who have a compelling need to believe that if something is harder to get to it must be qualitatively better.

        Pho, though, is a personal thing. Some may like a little more anise in the broth than others, some might like a touch of cinnamon, or clove, or lemongrass - there are as many "authentic" phos as there are people making it.

        That said, at Pho Grand the meat is always good quality, the broth is flavorful, and it's generally pretty solid. I prefer Cong Ly on Hester just slightly, though perhaps CL's hole-in-the-wall ambience adds to the experience somewhat.

        As to sushi... I must admit, I'm not sure how "We'd rather not go anywhere TOO expensive" and "Yasuda" fit into the same sentence - next to Masa, it's probably the most expensive Sushi meal in the city. I wouldn't worry too much about Chef Yasuda's departure, though - his replacement Chef Mitsuru (did I remember the name right?) has been by his side for the last seven years.

        Gilt - okay, but at that splurgey high-end there's better. If I had one big splurge meal it'd be Eleven Madison Park, though reservations aren't terribly easy to come by. The room is lovely, though not gaudy. If you want ambience, and are willing to take the subway one stop into Brooklyn, go for The River Cafe and - like I tell everyone - insist on a table by the window when you make your reservation, and try to have your meal overlap sundown. The price is a little high for the food - but sometimes that special ambience costs a little extra. And theirs is magical.

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

        Cong Ly
        124 Hester St, New York, NY 10002

        3 Replies
        1. re: sgordon

          Yasuda is not expensive, in my opinion.

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            I guess it depends on if you're ordering a prix fixe (which is fine for lunch) or going full-on omakase. Like any high-end sushi place, the cost can depend on whether you're filling up on less expensive fish or the top tier. But one can easily spend $100-$200 per person at SY for a full dinner of sushi.

            A thread from 2007, when things were cheaper: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/426125

            1. re: sgordon

              Still, Yasuda is cheaper than other high-end sushi places like Kurumazushi. I even spend more than what I spend at Yasuda at 15 East, but that may be because we tend to order a lot of cooked dishes. Yasuda's not "cheap" but for that level of sushi, it's relatively inexpensive, IMO.

        2. No Italian? Pizza, Russ & Daughters, other ethnic?

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

          1. Skip Uncle Jack's - hit Del Frisco's instead.

            Del Frisco's
            1221 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020

            19 Replies
            1. re: nooyawka

              Thanks to everyone for taking their time to reply. It is much appreciated.

              After spending more time reading up, i've booked us a table at Keens :)

              Anyone else got some feedback about Gilt?

              EMP looks amazing, but it's just a touch too expensive - the tasting menu at Gilt is $110 compared to $195 at EMP...

              As for Italian - are there any good Italians that do pre-theatre menus?

              1. re: RupertM

                Actually, the tasting menu at EMP is $125. You also might like the tasting menu at Bouley (also $125).

                1. re: ellenost

                  No, RupertM is correct. The tasting menu at EMP is $195, the four course prix fixe is $125.

                  From the website:

                  "Dinner- Four Courses for $125, Tasting Menu for $195 "


                  1. re: fm1963

                    Still, you can't compare Gilt to EMP. EMP is leagues above. And the $125 four-course option is a lot of food, a long and luxurious meal...

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      I don't think EMP is "leagues above" Gilt at all. In fact, Gilt has two Michelin stars and EMP only has one. But of course you're entitled to your opinion gos.

                      1. re: fm1963

                        I don't give a hoot about Michelin stars - I find the Michelin star ratings in the U.S. absurd at best. My own experience informs my opinion of these two restaurants. I don't think the food (or anything else) at Gilt comes anywhere near the level of EMP.

                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          I guess we disagree on that. The food at Gilt is a lot more distinctive than EMP, and I find the Michelin two and three star rankings to be quite reliable.

                          1. re: fm1963

                            Not for a European. Convivio has two stars, and it was nowhere near the level of a two-star Michelin resto in Europe.

                            45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                            1. re: linguafood

                              Convivio only has one star, not two.


                              45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                              1. re: peter j

                                It's not at a one star level, either - at least not compared to one star restos in Europe.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  The Michelin ratings in the US are light years away from the ratings in Europe. And that's because if the European Michelin standards were applied in the US, there would be almost nothing to publish here...

                                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                                    Interesting. That does explain a lot.

                            2. re: fm1963

                              This is the first time I have ever read anybody on CH saying that the food at Gilt is better than the food at EMP. I find it very surprising, but chacun a son gout.

                              1. re: fm1963

                                You think the 3-stars restaurants in NYC are at the level of 3-star restaurants in Europe?

                                1. re: gutsofsteel

                                  I agree that the Michelin guide is not a reliable standard in the US. In my opinion, the two and three stars in Europe are in a different league than their US counterparts.

                                  1. re: Nancy S.

                                    Folks, this digression about the reliability of Michelin ratings is really off-topic for this board. We'd ask that if you want to continue this tangent, you start a new thread over on Food Media and News. Thanks!

                        2. re: fm1963

                          Thanks for the correction about EMP; this must be something new (I haven't been there in more than a month). Does anyone know how many courses for $195? They were offering 5 courses for $175 and 4 courses for $125.

                          1. re: ellenost

                            My mistake: the 5 course dinner was $155 (not $175).

                      2. re: RupertM

                        Go to Gilt for drinks - the ambiance is lovely and it's a perfect spot for pre- or post-dinner drinks, IMO.

                        But food-wise? EMP for the win.

                    2. pho - i havent been to pho grand - cong ly used to be my favorite pho, but nowadays i lean towards xe lua on mulberry. but you cant go wrong w/ either

                      yasuda is indeed on the higher end pricewise for sushi.

                      1. I agree that Uncle Jacks may not be the place to go. I'd always suggest Mortons, but they are the same experience here vs any other city they are in. Maybe Old Homestead or Delmonicos or Keens for a true NY steakhouse experience.

                        For splurge, I'd skip Gilt and go to Colicchio and Sons. I was just there last week and had one of the most amazing meals I've almost ever had there

                        www.atyourserviceconsulting.blogspot.com for my review of it or

                        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/din... for Sam Sifton's review from the New York Times.

                        72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018

                        Old Homestead
                        56 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                        56 Beaver Street, New York, NY 10004

                        Colicchio & Sons
                        85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                        1. Pass on yasuda. Quite poor these days. Nearby sushi den is more reliable.

                          1. Have you been to le bernadi?. hard to believe that it would be deep sixed due to lack of ambience and decor though I could perhaps understand stuffiness. Now a days, you do not even need to dress to the 9s even the Le B.

                            1. I'd go to Sushi Seki over Sushi Yasuda especially since chef Yasuda has left the restaurant recently. In my opinion Sushi Seki is the best sushi restaurant in Manhattan, Sushi Yasuda is excellent but in my opinion a bit too simple and I don't know if its still good after the chef left for Japan

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

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: alessandroacq

                                yasuda does not leave for 2 months yet. more to the point, [people who eat at yasuda, even with yasuda there, also get great sushi from the yasuda trained chefs. they will still be there

                                1. re: thew

                                  You are correct that Yasuda has not left yet, but I don't believe there are any more slots with him available until he leaves. Perhaps in January when he comes back for a couple of weeks.

                              2. Sushi Yasuda will be just fine. Yasuda san has hardly packed his bags yet.

                                Gilt is an excellent choice for ambience, decor etc.

                                Under no circumstances eat at Uncle Jack's.

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

                                1. We walked by Katz's yesterday around 1p after our visit to the Tenement Museum, and the line was almost around the block. We opted for 'inoteca instead and gelato at Il Laboratorio, across the street from Katz. My hub had basil --- wow! Delish.

                                  323 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010