New York for Shabbat
I was at Darna for dinner on Friday and the couple at the next table were from New Jersey, in for a getaway Shabbat. It made me wonder why more people don't come to Manhattan as Shabbat tourists. You can come into the city, eat at one restaurant on Friday, a different one on Saturday lunch, the Met is free and you can go out motzei Shabbat. The Jewish Museum is also free on Shabbat. And you could check the shul webpages and go wherever they have a star chazan or interesting speaker.
The Shabbos food at Darna was very good. Not spectacular, but very good. Salad starter. They make their own hummus, babaganoush, Moroccan carrot salad, and matbucha. Also a mesclun salad with a simple vinaigrette sprinkled with candied pecans and dried cranberries. Pleasant if uninspired. 2nd course was a warm salmon with vegetables, mild Moroccan spicing. It was very nice. The waiter, not a native English-speaker, then offered chicken or ribs. I asked for the ribs. What I got was a small mountain of truly delicious brisket in a rib-style barbeque sauce. Wonderful. . Really wonderful. There was also rice and 3 or 4 green beans just, you know, to pretend that it was a balanced meal. That rib sauce was really good. Dessert was an uninspired array of cookies and sliced fruit laid out on a table near the entrance. My only real complaint was that they didn't serve tea or coffee. They ought to buy a hot-water urn.
Ummmmm, maybe for a couple but not not realistic for a family. I can speak from genuine experience on a number of points.
First of all, a hotel room can be $200, and then you need to negotiate a late check-out, I am not sure what Hotels there are on the west side, where there are more pre-paid restaurants
My husband lived in employee housing for MSKCC last year and had a small studio on the East Side, most Shabbosim he was able to come home to Teaneck, but the last 3 months, the 4 four kids and I spent almost every Shabbos there. Occasionally my mom would join us by staying at a nearby Marriott (whose guest rooms started on the 5th floor).
It was great visiting a bunch of various Shuls, and we did find a small gem in the Chabad Israel Center -- which does Shabbat services in the Marriott on 93rd and 1st and serves lunch afterwards.
Like I said, it's a better option for couples, tough for families.
This is a list of local hotels that we once put together for a family simcha. Maybe it would be helpful for you guys. Prime KO told me once over the phone that they were hoping to start doing pre-pay shabbos meals.
Amsterdam Inn, 340 Amsterdam (77th Street)
Tel: (212) 579-7500
The Beacon Hotel, 2130 Broadway (75th street
)Tel: (800) 572-4969
Comfort Inn CPW, 31 West 71st Street (Central Park West
)Tel: (877) 424-6423
Days Inn, 215 West 94th Street (Broadway
)Tel: (212) 866-6400
The Excelsior Hotel, 45 West 81st Street (Columbus/Central Park West
)Tel: (212) 362-9200
Hayden Hotel, 117 West 79th Street (Columbus/Amsterdam
)Tel: (212) 787-3300
Hotel Belleclaire, 250 West 77th Street (Broadway
)Tel: (212) 362-7700
Hotel Newton, 2528 Broadway (95th Street
)Tel: (212) 643-5553
The Lucerne Hotel, 201 West 79th Street (Amsterdam
)Tel: (800) 492-8122
The Milburn, 242 West 76th Street (Broadway
)Tel: (800) 833-9622/(212) 362-1006
On The Ave, 2178 Broadway (77th Street
)Tel: (800) 497-6028
Prime KO has stopped opening regularly on Fridays. It's now a once-in-a-blue-moon event.
And Darna closed.
So, this is less viable than it was last year from a great food perspective.
But Talya's still opens on Friday nights. And Chabad of both midtown and the Upper West Side. I'm pretty sure that there is at least one UES restaurant that does Friday evening.
Our family of 5 went to New York and stayed in a great apartment on the Upper West Side. The key is to forget about traditional hotels, and use VRBO.com or a similar vacation rental website. We were able to get a 2 bedroom apartment with a small but gorgeous updated kitchen for around $225/night, on West 80th. For Shabbat dinner and lunch, we bought prepared food on Friday afternoon at The Kosher Marketplace, and found that it was surprisingly good.
Lunch. Now that you mention it, the thing to do for lunch is to stay for kiddush. It is what most members of these shuls do most weeks. Most of the Manhattan shuls serve a full meal every week. Cholent, salads, chicken fingers, menus vary and you eat standing up, but the offerings are bountiful and the caterers excellent. It would be courteous to send a donation.
hmmmmmmmmmm, at least on the Upper East side, I would not bank on every shul having a full hot kiddush every week,
Orach Chaim -- definitely not
Yorkville Shul - definitely not
KAJ - I don't know, the 3 times we were there there was cholent, but it also happened to be sponsored kiddushes that week, so I don't know.
The UWS is probably the only place this will actually work, the choice of Darna, Talias and PrimeKo for Friday night and then Chabad is usually the best place for a cholent kiddush. I am always surprised that more restaurants in the midtown area don't offer a prepay for tourists and suburbians to spend Shabbat in the city.
West Side Institutional has a lavish kiddush every week.
Ramath Orah has lavish kiddush every week, ample hot cholent in the cholent season. (Avitrak's info may be dated.)
He's right about OZ and the Jewish Center.
And, because the seasons do change, I should mention that the Hamptons Synagogue has nearby Inns and the world's most lavish kiddush all season long, and you can book Friday evening dinner with the speaker and return at seudah slishi to hear a different speaker.
Ramath Orah usually has 4 crockpots of cholent out (2 regular, 1 "gluten free"- rice instead of barley, 1 vegetarian), as well as various other trays. What's on the other trays varies by week and sponsorship; sometimes it's just some trays of dip to go with crackers, other times it could be meatballs, full salads/coleslaws, etc. The regular cholents and the gluten free one will go, but there's enough for everyone who wants to get a bowl if they're reasonably proximate in going to get one. The vegetarian cholent doesn't necessarily all get eaten.
I am always on top of my local shul's kiddush. By us all kiddushim has guaranteed cholent, kishka and potato kugel and then some. So if there is a Kiddush I do not prepare lunch. The chabad of the 5 towns always has a lavish kiddush but I am many times too lazy to go over.
As an example the weekly email from my shul this week said that there will be kiddush in the honor a bar mitzvah. This morning I saw a truck come by from Strauss bakery from 13th Ave Brooklyn - no lunch preparation for me this week!
Lucky you! Far Rockaway is too "far" for me. When my daughter got married she had an apartment in Far Rockaway. I walked there once on shabbos - thats it!
I once went to a kiddush (sit down) in my shul catered by Meal Mart. I have a feeling that when they offered him the choices he said "Ok". The food simply wouldn't stop - I don't mean quantity, I mean variety. I had to walk out because I just couldn't eat anymore - and they just brought in shiskabobs!
If you live in the right community and know the right shuls, one should only need to prepare for Friday nights meal. Shabbos should be taken care of primarily by the shul kiddush with something extremely light at home, in the summer I would have a piece of challa and a slice of watermelon.