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"must try" in 2011

I really enjoyed reading the 2010 thread here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/679177 when I was preparing to come to NY for the first time, and thought it might be time for a 2011 revisit! Where is on your manhattan hit list for this year?

My list (long!) is below - NB I've only been in NY for a few months so there's quite alot of older places on the list that I just haven't been to yet!

Italian:
Convivio
Locande Verde
Babbo
Inoteca
A Voce
Marea

American:
Gramercy Tavern
Craft
Keens
Telepan
Dinosaur
Perilla
Blue Smoke
Keens
Cookshop
Meatball Shop
Tocqueville

Fine Dining:
EMP
Bouley

Asian:
Momofuku Ssam
Fatty Crab
Kin Shop

Other:
Aldea
Sarges
Terroir
Peanut Butter & Co
Shopsins
Hearth
Public
WD 50

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Perilla
9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

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

Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

A Voce
41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

Telepan
72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

Blue Smoke
116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

Fatty Crab
643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

Terroir
413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

Convivio
45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

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

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  1. Italian:
    Convivio - its best days are over...havent been since the spring but not interested in returning.
    Locande Verde - lame italian for boring people.
    Babbo - just go for the pasta. otherwise, not a fan.
    Inoteca - eggplant lasagna. solid standby.
    A Voce - its best days are over...lame italian for boring people.
    Marea - havent been...not dying to go either.

    American:
    Gramercy Tavern - nothing mindblowing but a good standby...would rather do tavern room as main dining menu is meh.
    Craft - its best days are over.
    Keens - a straight nyc classic.
    Telepan - havent been since 1995. no plans to return but i did enjoy my meal there.
    Dinosaur - not worth the wait or the crowds but the food is okay.
    Perilla - havent been in a year but i am a fan.
    Blue Smoke - solid for bbq.
    Cookshop - food is meh. i only go here for weekend brunch...but less lately.
    Meatball Shop - total disappointment. meatballs suck...why do people love this place?
    Tocqueville - great choice. i prefer going for lunch than dinner though.

    Fine Dining:
    EMP - never been...
    Bouley - havent been in 2-3 years but always enjoyed dinners at bouley.

    Asian:
    Momofuku Ssam - overrated of course. go with no expectations or you'll be disappointed.
    Fatty Crab - never been.
    Kin Shop - been here recently...not a fan. lame thai for boring people. go to queens.

    Other:
    Aldea - a recent favorite...i love aldea.
    Sarges - meh...go to 2nd ave deli instead.
    Terroir - my favorite wine bar in nyc...bar none.
    Peanut Butter & Co - only had milkshakes here and theyre not good.
    Shopsins - dont order too much. i dont love the food but i love the place. people are much nicer than their reputation.
    Hearth - never wowed by the food here but i like the place. pretty heavy food.
    Public - surprised by how much i enjoy dinner here. not itching to go back though.
    WD 50 - never been.

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

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

    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

    A Voce
    41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

    Telepan
    72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

    Blue Smoke
    116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

    Fatty Crab
    643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

    Terroir
    413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

    Convivio
    45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

    Marea
    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

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

    17 Replies
    1. re: sam1

      Excellent comments -- it's refreshing to read!

      1. re: sam1

        What high end Italian DO you like?

        1. re: kathryn

          i actually really enjoy dell'anima for pasta and a glass of wine. i enjoy what torrisi is doing quite a bit.

          i admit that 'high end italian' just doesn't compute for me. italian food for me is about simple preparations. locanda verde or a voce when carmellini was at the helm just bored me to tears. it was pretty much the same food you'd find at craft but with a fake italian slant.

          convivio and alto when michael white came on board was enjoyable but my recent meals at both places were lacking in terms of flavor and creativity.

          1. re: sam1

            Maybe simple preparations, but with terrifically fresh, really high-quality ingredients, prepared perfectly. Great trattorie in Italy can be somewhat expensive, too. However, there's no argument if you find the flavor lacking.

            1. re: sam1

              I 100% agree with you. Glad I'm not the only one!

              1. re: sam1

                Interesting. I was not impressed by Torrisi (made by worse by the fact it has been incessantly hyped up by nearly every media outlet) and I love restaurants like Babbo, Scarpetta, etc.

                Maybe you like Po, Lupa, Peasant that sort of thing?

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

                Babbo
                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

                1. re: kathryn

                  i havent been to po since 1997 or 1998 if i recall. i havent been to peasant either. lupa is a batali restaurant and i find that the food is way too salty and the pasta isnt even homemade.

                  dell'anima, da andrea for something a bit more casual...im interested in this new place spasso on hudson...i don't crave italian anymore but a good, simple bowl of pasta, or an excellent veal chop...those are the types of things id be interested in ordering.

                  to be honest, i get turned off by restaurants that tourists make pilgrimages to. batali restaurants, conant restaurants (i went to faustina and l'impero but missed the boat on scarpetta and don't see myself trying it at this point).

                  places that interest me are places that put out killer food but don't flaunt it or are under the radar in this age of massive restaurant publicity.

                  1. re: sam1

                    I'd repay Po a visit for that simple bowl of pasta. Or sit at the bar at Scarpetta, just order the spaghetti, and leave. It's quite often on weeknights.

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

            2. re: sam1

              Thanks for the comments! Meatball shop is on the list because my brother would never talk to me again if I went back to London without trying it, and Sarges because I've already been to Second Avenue Deli and want to compare. :)

              What's on your list for the year?

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

              1. re: uniqueusername

                my list of 'must trys?' i haven't been to el quinto pino so id like to try that. im excited to see what m. wells will have once their dinner menu rolls out. im slightly interested in fedora since i'm a fan of montreal food.

                not much else that i haven't tried. ive hit a wall with conventional food particularly in manhattan. rarely am i impressed by a meal. torrisi and aldea and minetta are probably the last few places ive fallen hard for and come back to.

                the last meal i loved in nyc was ayada for thai...but that was in queens.

                1. re: sam1

                  Al EQP, everybody talks about the uni panini but the sleeper sandwich is the lomo. Sounds boring on paper but it's just really well executed.

                  Have you eaten at Joseph Leonard or Jeffrey's Grocery (same guy as Fedora)?

                  -----
                  Joseph Leonard
                  170 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

                  Jeffrey's Grocery
                  172 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

                  1. re: kathryn

                    its weird...i live nearby so i go to joseph leonard and jeffreys often enough to call myself a regular. however, i dont *love* the food at either. its just a solid place for a meal. i tend to go to joseph leonard for weekday lunch with a client or a friend. i find the dinner prices a bit too high given my lack of interest in the food.

                    jeffreys is sort of the same. i like the place but it doesnt hold a candle to terroir or something like that in terms of a quality wine list or small plates.

                    1. re: sam1

                      Interesting. Please report back on what you think of Fedora!

                2. re: uniqueusername

                  Don't bother...Had all the meatballs. I even went back to see if it was just a bad day ..they are not that good. There are too many ingredients/flavors that don't live up to hype. and frankly, I don't feel well after having eaten there.

                3. re: sam1

                  Finally found someone besides me who isn't in love with Locande Verde. . .

                  1. re: sam1

                    Sam - Agree with most of your comments. However. telepan opened in 2005, right? And terroir, nah sorry, any place that chills the f* out of all its reds is not a top tier wine bar...been 3 times to the EV location and each time left scratching my head at the serving temps of the reds...way too cold...the response I got from the owners didn't make sense either...they agreed but said they have to chill the reds cos they don't have the space for correct storage temps...wtf...don't be a wine bar then, doh!!!!

                    1. re: Scotty100

                      yeah, i made a typo on telepan...i havent been since 2005 or 2006.

                      as for terroir, ive never had a cold red there. i have had a white wine served in a glass just out of the dishwasher though and piping hot.

                      thats a rarity though and terroir is a personal favorite.

                  2. I LOVE these! Here's my list:

                    Tacombi
                    Tortilleria Nixtamal
                    Palacio Azteca
                    Florencia 13

                    Torrisi Italian Specialties
                    The Meatball Shop

                    Sigiri

                    Red Rooster
                    Pies & Thighs
                    Mile End
                    Traif

                    Del Frisco's (been to the flagship in Texas, but would like to see how NYC compares)

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

                    Sigiri
                    91 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    Palacio Azteca
                    1374 York Ave, New York, NY 10021

                    Florencia 13
                    185 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                    Torrisi Italian Specialties
                    250 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

                    Red Rooster
                    310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

                    Tacombi
                    267 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: LeahBaila

                      Oh yes, I should add Traif and Red Rooster! Sigiri sounds interesting too, I used to have a Sri Lankan friend and going to her house for dinner was always incredible.

                      -----
                      Sigiri
                      91 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                      Red Rooster
                      310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

                      1. re: uniqueusername

                        I'll bet! Been wanting to try Sigiri for the longest.

                        -----
                        Sigiri
                        91 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                      2. re: LeahBaila

                        Nixtamal has become choked with gringos and friends say it has gone downhill.

                      3. My list:

                        Torrisi Italian Specialties- I'm dying to see what all the hype is about, though I generally don't love "italian-american" cusine - I understand some on this board don't like it, but I need to find out for myself!
                        Millesime - The reviews and the menu items are forcing me to go. I think I will love it.
                        Some high end sushi place (Yasuda, Ushiwakamaru, 15 East) - I've only been to Nobu, Koi and Megu. Must try a true, traditional sushi place
                        Corton - The unique combinations are really intriguing. I understand it may be over-priced, but I'm prepared for it.
                        Annisa - Still haven't been. It will happen this year.
                        Kyo-Ya for Kaiseki - It sounds amazing.
                        Ai Fiori - I loved Marea, I'm assuming this will be similar.
                        ABC Kitchen - Their menu is right up my alley. Universally glowing reviews. I always enjoy Jean Georges's restaurants.
                        Artichoke Pizza - Why not? I've become too Keste' dependant.
                        No.7 Subs - Have yet to try out their sandwiches. I will be making a trip to the Ace Hotel soon.

                        1. I've only been to about 10 of the restaurants on your list. I have no plans to go/return to:

                          Inoteca
                          Telepan
                          Keens (maybe for drinks and nostalgia)
                          Cookshop
                          Fatty Crab
                          PB & Co.
                          Public
                          Corton

                          Have you been to Casa Mono or Lupa?

                          Falai and Aldea are favorites.

                          My list:

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7445...

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6893...

                          1. My recommends that are on your list are definitely:

                            Cookshop (loved the deviled eggs!!)
                            Babbo
                            Keens
                            Blue Smoke
                            and Sarges.

                            Skip Dinosaur unless you take the drive up to Syracuse. If you wat other BBQ I'd go to Hill Country, Virgils or Wildwood before the 'Saur. I was thoroughly disappointed to the point that I will not return to Fatty Crab (I know I'm in the minority on this one).

                            I'd add Daniel and Colicchio and Sons to your Fine Dining list as well. I'd also add Lupa to the italian list and Stanton Social to the American list (loved the chicken and waffle).

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

                            Hill Country
                            30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

                            Babbo
                            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                            Virgil's Real Barbecue
                            152 W 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

                            Stanton Social
                            99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

                            Blue Smoke
                            116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

                            Wildwood Barbeque
                            225 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003