HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Ex-NY Hound visiting from LA - help me get my italian fix!

I've searched the boards but can't seem to find what i'm looking for.

I've got one glorious week here to dine to my heart's content in my old hood, and want to know what are the best new openings from this past year or so that I've missed out on since I moved to LA.

Specifically, I'm looking for outstanding Italian since LA isn't really up to par, but am open to other new cuisines as well. Cheap to midrange, (<$18 entrees), and pref'ly below 14th St, in E Vill/W. Vill/ LES and possibly Brooklyn. neighborhood spots also preferable, as i've had my share of spacey, upscale lavish atmospheric places in LA. What i miss are the cramped, hole-in-the-wall, cozy atmospheres of spots like Frank, Freeman's, Clinton St, Caracas.

I've heard lots about Torrisi and Maialino. Any other must-try's while I'm here for the week?

Thanks!

-----
Maialino
2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Scarpetta
    Spigolo (though uptown)

    But you have to look at the prices...including for Maialino (which is wonderful). Consider Lupa too.

    I wasn't impressed by Torrisi.

    What do you mean by "other new cuisines" ?

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

    Spigolo
    1561 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

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

    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      thanks, GoS!

      sorry, clarification -- i meant other new restaurants serving different cuisines, not just italian (it's just that i've found pretty awesome thai, korean, latin/ mexican, ethiopian, local/californian/greenmarket, japanese, persian, etc. in LA so Italian is my focus). i'm sure new dumpling/noodle places have also opened in the E Village that are worth trying.

      i've been to lupa and spigolo and know of scarpetta...but am wondering about the newest ventures to open over the past 2 years that i haven't tried yet? i know brooklyn lately has been popping up new restaurants too. ps. i have also checked Eater & NY Mag's best of 2010 list but would like the chowhounder's input.
      thanks!

    2. With your criteria, Maialino is a must I think. Don't be worried about the prices; you can stick to pastas (the malfatti al maialino -- wide, flat noodles in a pork ragu -- is amazing) and small plates if necessary.

      I'd also strongly consider Osteria Morini. This is Michael White's new casual Italian place. It's very very close to the Spring St. station on the 6 line. Again, lots of great options for interesting small plates (I'm partial to the meatballs w/prosciutto) and pastas. Cuisine is based on the food of the Emilia-Romagna region, whereas Maialino's is Roman (as is Lupa). This means that the food at OM tends to be on the heavy, filling side, in a good way. Decor is rustic, even farmhouse style. Definitely not the place for a romantic meal. But a good option for very good, reasonably priced Italian food.

      Enjoy your week!

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

      Maialino
      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

      Osteria Morini
      218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

      1 Reply
      1. re: ml77

        those strong considers are good enough for me. will try to make both maialino & morini. thanks ml77!

      2. A lot of the "outstanding" Italian here is much more expensive than the price range you specified. Scarpetta just opened in LA and is has entrees that are a bit more expensive (in the 20s)...have you tried Scarpetta in LA just yet?

        Maialino's entrees are also more expensive although I guess you could stay in your price range if you split one or just dined in the bar. I do love Maialino though (great brunch and lunch, too).

        Ditto for Lupa. Do you want to do a Batali restaurant given that Mozza/Osteria Mozza is in LA? However, if you want to do a Batali restaurant, I'd definitely make room in your schedule for the weekday lunch prix fixe at Del Posto. I'm a big fan of Otto if you can't swing that.

        Additionally, I'd consider Po, and Franny's or Brucie in Brooklyn.

        For other cuisines/foods you may not find in LA:
        Xian Famous Foods for Xian food, don't miss the cumin hand pulled noodles
        Russ & Daughters for a takeout bagel sandwich with smoked salmon
        Sarge's or 2nd Ave Deli for Jewish deli food, although you might want to skip pastrami if you are a Langer's fan
        Keste or Motorino for Naples inspired pizza
        Crif Dogs for deep fried (no batter) style NJ hot dogs or Papaya Dog for griddled
        Sigmund Pretzel shop for pretzels
        Pearl Oyster Bar or Luke's Lobster (takeout) for a lobster roll
        Momofuku Noodle Bar or Ssam Bar for David Chang's famous steamed pork buns with hoisin and cucumbers
        William J. Greenberg bakery for Black and White cookies
        Two Little Red Hens, or Eileen's for cheesecake
        Perhaps a visit to Zabar's to buy goodies to take home like chocolate babka

        See also RGR's famous Lower East Side self-guided noshing tour. But note that Guss' has moved, do Pickle Guys instead:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333

        More self guided noshing tours
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/728356
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750143
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/711661
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/754497

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

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

        Pearl Oyster Bar
        18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

        Pickle Guys
        49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

        Two Little Red Hens
        1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

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

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

        Crif Dogs
        113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

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

        Luke's Lobster
        93 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

        Sigmund Pretzel Shop
        29 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

        Maialino
        2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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

        6 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          FYI - the chocolate babka sold at Zabar's is the same one sold at Russ & Daughters.. It's Green's babka.

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

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            Ah, I didn't realize that, thanks!

          2. re: kathryn

            wow, thank you kathryn!

            i lived in the E Village / LES for many years so i'm already a big fan of Lupa, Russ & Daughters, Crif, Keste, Motorino, Pearl, Momofuku, 2 Little Red Hens (from my stint on the UES), and of course the pickles. all fantastic suggestions!

            as for batali, i love me some mozza but IMHO babbo is still the gold standard for me, with lupa and esca a close second. otto i've never been to b/c it was so crowded every time, but maybe i'l swing by this time around.

            i've heard about Luke's (a recent opening, so right up my alley) but my lobster roll expectations are set by cape cod standards...worth it? any other suggestions like this?

            have also heard about the new opening of xi'an, is this the same thing that used to be in flushing?

            and thank you for all the nosh tours leads! great info!
            ps. loved keste over motorino. any new pizza places worth checking out?

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

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

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

            1. re: emilia

              Del Posto's lunch deal is fantastic and it's a very different atmosphere than Babbo. I like them both, though. Also, I find it's best to stop by Otto at an "off" time and try to snag a seat at the bar.

              Luke's is served cool / room temperature with barely any mayo and a little smear of butter. Different style than a lot of people are used to.

              Yes - Xian Famous Foods now has branches in the EV, Flushing Chinatown, and Manhattan Chinatown.

              For new pizza places in Manhattan there's the spot inside of Eataly, Ovest Pizzoteca (aka Luzzo's West), Donatella's, and Pulino's (chef left, pie is now more Naples inspired). And in Brooklyn: Paulie Gee's, Best Pizza.

              -----
              Babbo
              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

              Luzzo's
              211 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

              Ovest
              513 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001

              Pulino's
              282 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

              Eataly
              200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

              Donatella
              184 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

              1. re: emilia

                I dislike Luke's lobster roll - it will not live up to your expectations.

              2. re: kathryn

                Last I checked on OpenTable a couple of days ago, there are no reservations available for lunch at Del Posto until early January.

              3. I would have a look at Morini. Its new this year I think, Soho, same guy as Marea.

                -----
                Marea
                240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                1. I'd recommend Malatesta and Frankies 17 or the original Frankies in Brooklyn. Both great food, cozy, warm atmosphere, and good prices.

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

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: XerxesAB

                    @renguin - thanks! will put morini on the list.
                    @xerxesAB - i like malatesta & both Frankies 17 / spuntino & their sister prime meats restaurant. looking for something like that or al di la, but new, either in bk or downtown. how is brooklyn fare, and i've also heard sthg about pies n thighs? (though, i know, technically not new)

                    1. re: emilia

                      Oh my mistake, I didn't realize you were looking for new places (shows how closely I read the post ;0). As for new restaurants that I've heard are a must try and on my list to visit in the next month or two, I'd say Aldea. It isn't the cozy little spot that a place like Malatesta is, but the food is great.

                      I am also a big fan of Scarpetta, so I'll second that as well.

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

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

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

                  2. thanks everyone! i ended up at Morini. It was excellent! Started with the arugula salad w/ shaved parm & mushroom, and I had the stracce (sp?) ribbon pasta w/ braised porcini mushrooms. it was amazing and perfectly glazed with probably a ton of butter-- but that's why it tasted so good. my friend had the ricotta gnocchi with prosciutto - also yummy, but a little more expected. overall, an excellent experience aside from the service, which was a little uneven. we had at least 4 people work our table, and the guy who took our order was brusque. easily overlooked because of the quality of the food, however.

                    meant to also hit up xi'an & maialino but ran out of time and stomach space. did have some other wonderful dinners at other faves like crispo, bouchon, stage diner, teany, bamiyan, sigiri, congee village, orlin, & freemans, so i can safely say i had my share of ny nostalgia. thanks, all!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: emilia

                      Glad to hear you enjoyed your meal at OM, and that you had a good week of NYC eats. Thanks for reporting back.