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Kip's Bay/Murray Hill Options

Hi 'hounds,
Visiting NYC for around a week from San Diego - consulting at NYU Medical and staying close by - and looking for meals and unique experiences within walking (maybe short subway) distance. Most of my days will be pretty full, so I will probably be looking for quick solo lunches and later night eating options - which are non-existent in SoCal, so that's a bit of a novelty anyway. Also have 2 nights that the s.o. will be joining me that we'd like to dress up and do something a little more extravagant - again, dressing up for supper in SoCal just makes you stand out.
No need for Mexican or Sushi recs, would love some good Indian, Ethiopian, Middle Eastern as they are harder to find here.
Thanks!

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  1. OK here we go:
    Late night L'Express on Park & 20th French bistro decent food open 24 hours
    Lexington Ave between 34th St and 23 St is called Curry Hill with a plentitude of Indian/Pakistani places
    Ali Baba on 34th just East of 3rd Av for Turkish
    Al Bustan E 53 just off 2nd Ave is a bit out of the way but has fabulous Lebanese food
    Penelope's on Lex and 30th for good breakfast/brunch
    Mapo Tofu on Lex and 39th for interesting Asian/Chinese
    Sarge's deli (24/7) on 3rd Av and 36th and 2nd Ave Deli on 33rd just W of 3rd Av for great pastrami sammiches
    OK, I'm full!

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    Al Bustan
    319 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

    L'Express
    249 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10003

    Mapo Tofu
    338 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

    4 Replies
    1. re: Motosport

      How could I forget Pipa Tapas bar on E 19th just W of Park Ave for good tapas and live Flamenco guitar and dancers?

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      Pipa
      38 East 19th Street, New York, NY 10003

      1. re: Motosport

        As far as I know Notaro (2nd Ave bet 34 & 35) is still good and they have a $12.95 lunch prix fixe: http://www.notaroristorante.com
        and Trattoria Alba (34th bet 2nd & 3rd) for a nice, well-priced Italian is still going strong.

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        Notaro
        635 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016

        1. re: Jane A.

          Agree with Alba however I have had 2 bad experiences with the food at Notaro. Its off my list.

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          Notaro
          635 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016

          1. re: princeofpork

            Good to know - haven't been done there for a while. Thanks.

      2. My wife is an NYU resident -- hope you're consulting gig goes well.

        Saravanaas and Tiffin Wallah are good options for Indian.

        riverpark is a good option for a nicer meal that isn't overly formal but where you won't stick out if you dress up. It's right next door to the Med Center at 29th st east of 1st ave.

        If you want to go for a high end fine dining experience, then you'll find that many folks on this board consider Eleven Madison Park to be one of the best restaurants in the city.

        Maialino's at 21st and Lex on the north end of Gramercy Park is an excellent option for Italian. You won't look out of place dressing up but you can also walk in and sit in the front room which is more casual. IIRC, the kitchen is open til 1 AM on Fridays and Saturdays, if not all week.

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        Saravanaas
        81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

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

        Tiffin Wallah
        127 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016

        Maialino
        2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

        1. You might also try - Parador on 34th between 2nd & 1st - great Mexican Food
          also Dolcino on 2nd between 28th & 29th - good basic italian
          Rae305

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          Dolcino
          517 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016

          1 Reply
          1. re: rae305

            El Parador has exceptionally good traditional Mexican cuisine. Not Tex-Mex. I was going to mention it but you said "no need for Mexican" It is unusual enough and close enough to be worth a try.

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            El Parador
            325 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016

          2. Turkish Kitchen and Ethos

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            Turkish Kitchen
            386 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

            1 Reply
            1. re: princeofpork

              Waterfront Ale House for good beer and pub food (especially the pulled pork sandwich).

              I second the Sarge's deli rec. Souper soup and a double decker Rueben sandwich would be killer right now.

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

            2. Thanks everyone!
              It was a rock'n'roll 8 days on the ground - some days, I actually did not eat at all (other than finger foods at a couple of holiday parties I was invited to)!

              Close by, I managed to hit:
              Waterfront Ale House - had just beers one night and then, a couple of days later, had the pulled pig sandwich for a late lunch. It was decent, but I was definitely more impressed with the beer selection.
              Ali Baba - This was really good and quite affordable. I was a little surprised by some of the bad service reviews on Yelp considering we had super prompt service, but that's par for the course with Yelp ;)
              Barking Dog Cafe - Tried to get into Penelope at 9-ish on Saturday morning = 90 minute wait. So, we shifted gears and ended up a few blocks up at Barking Dog. This was a nice little place with a pretty extensive breakfast menu. Nothing to blow you away, but solid and probably the cheapest meal I ate in Manhattan.
              2nd Avenue Deli - Ended up here one late night after leaving the lab around 10pm. Service was quick and friendly. Had the pastrami with a couple of pints. The pickles were great, but the pastrami (though leagues beyond anything in San Diego) fell a little flat.
              Sarge's Deli - The night after my 10pm finish, I was out at 11pm and shifted to Sarge's, which is open 24h. Had the corned beef and pastrami combo. Great pastrami! Corned beef was solid, too. I think I liked the pickles at 2nd Ave a little better, though it could be just that the meat was so much tastier at Sarge's...
              Paquito's - This was a coworker's choice the first day I arrived. Jet-lagged and disoriented, I wasn't in any shape to argue. Nothing stupendous, but the food was not "bad" either. I wouldn't return voluntarily, but would eat it again if offered.

              Further away, I had 2 "sit-down" dinners with my wife while she visited for a couple of days over the weekend:
              Gramercy Tavern - without reservations, we braved a 1.5h wait in the foyer, but the hostess was very attentive to my wife (who had a recent minor surgery on her heel and had trouble walking). We were encouraged to grab drinks from the bar and set up shop in the waiting area while the crowds shuffled in and out. We were horribly under-dressed compared to the average clientele, but were extremely well taken care of and had a great meal. The $38 prix-fixe in the tavern area is probably the best deal I saw for dinner in Manhattan. The seasonal ingredient selections were great and everything was perfectly executed.
              wd-50 - This was very last minute. However, the endless array of fine dining options left us filtering selections by what was unobtainable in San Diego and our previous knowledge of Wiley Dufresne from the TV put it over the edge. We had the tasting menu, without the wine pairings, and I was very happy with our selection. It was a makeup dinner to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary and fit the bill as a great memorable experience. Not every dish was incredible, but the playful execution and attentive service was all that was necessary to make for a fun time we will talk about for quite awhile. Our server was a fellow Canuck and was nice enough to invite us back to the kitchen post-meal for a quick tour and introduction to the chef. This was made all the more memorable by the fact that wd-50 was featured on Top Chef this week and I ended up watching the episode on the plane during my return journey.

              Thanks again for all the great rec's - next time, we'll plan for a more food-intensive, less work inclusive getaway!

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

              Gramercy Tavern
              42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

              Ali Baba Turkish Cuisine
              212 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

              Sarge's Delicatessen
              548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

              Second Avenue Deli
              162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

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

              Paquito's
              160 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016

              Barking Dog
              150 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

              3 Replies
                1. re: CampySD

                  Sounds like you had a blast. Come on back soon!!
                  Our secret with Penelope's on weekends is to get 2 seats at the counter. It's very comfortable and if there is a wait it is not long.

                  1. re: Motosport

                    Why would you tell that secret. Enjoy waiting in line.