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Please critique my first NYC dining exp!

Hello hounds!

I've finally narrowed down my choices of restaurants and dessert places to visit in my short trip to NYC this weekend and I was hoping that you guys can give some inputs on what to order at the restaurants.

We are arriving in NY early in the morning so we're probably going to eat Clinton's bakery for breakfast then either lombardi's or Katz for lunch. After that we will probably get dessert at Sports Dessert Bar. As for dinner, I have yet to make a reservation, but was thinking of dining at a Blue Ribbon restaurant or something similar to that (any recommendations?)

Saturday we will probably get breakfast at Russ & Daughters and then head up to central park and have shake shack for lunch. Then maybe grab some cupcakes from Alice's Teacup. For dinner, our friends want to meet up at Pio Pio for some Peruvian food.

Our last full day in NY, we will have breakfast at Maialino. Any recommendations on what to order? Then we will try to get a spot at Ippudo for a late lunch. Our last meal will be at Marea after a show of lion king.

Sorry for the long post, but any tips is appreciated!

Thanks!

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

Ippudo
65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

Pio Pio
210 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

Maialino
2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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  1. Great lineup, though Sports Dessert Bar is unfamiliar (do you mean Spot Dessert Bar?). I'd say Katz over Lombardi, and Blue Ribbon on Sullivan Street for dinner.

    For breakfast at Maialino. don't miss the bomboloni. At Marea, the ricci, lobster with burrata, grilled octopus with smoked potatoes, fusilli with braised octopus and bone marrow, risotto mare, spaghetti with crab and sea urchin, and roasted sea scallops with chestnut ragu are exceptionally good.

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

    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    Spot Dessert Bar
    13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

    7 Replies
    1. re: H Manning

      On Sunday, Maialino serves brunch. It's been quite a while since we had brunch there, and the bomboloni were not on the menu. On the website menus, I see them listed for breakfast, but not for brunch. Are they available then?

      http://www.maialinonyc.com/#/menus/

      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

      1. re: RGR

        We had brunch there last month and ordered the bombolini on a weekend afternoon.

        1. re: RGR

          The bomboloni were available for Sunday brunch last month. They even comped us a second order!

          1. re: fm1963

            Thanks for the recommendation! Will definitely try the bombolini if its available

            1. re: endyyy

              i think their brioche is better than the bombolini though the bombolini is good.

          2. re: RGR

            Yes the bomboloni was on the Maialino brunch menu a couple of weeks ago. Online menus are not always up to date.

          3. re: H Manning

            Yes, I meant Spot Dessert Bar! Made it sound like a completely different place haha. Going to try to go to Blue Ribbon on Friday for dinner.

            -----
            Spot Dessert Bar
            13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

          4. Clinton St. Baking Company is great for breakfast. I would choose Katz's Deli over Lombardi's for lunch.

            Blue Ribbon Brasserie is a great spot for dinner but doesn't take reservations so be prepared to wait.

            -----
            Blue Ribbon Brasserie
            97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

            2 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              Thanks for the tip kathryn! Any recommendations for Clinton St. Baking Company other than the blueberry pancakes?

              Hopefully the wait won't be too crazy at Blue Ribbon..

              1. re: endyyy

                For Clinton St Baking Company: The biscuit sandwich with egg, tomato jam, and bacon is fantastic. The only item I'd avoid is the waffles.

                Good luck at Blue Ribbon. It could be 1-2 hours.

            2. be aware that there is no place to sit and eat at russ and daughters. it is a shop, not a restaurant. and it's a bit cold for al fresco........

              fo cupcakes i way prefer two little red hens

              i'd go for katz's over lombardis, but they are so different it's really about the mood youre in

              3 Replies
              1. re: thew

                Thanks for the tip thew, will try to convince my significant other that Katz is better than lombardi's lol

                1. re: endyyy

                  Lombardi's is only OK when it comes to NYC pizza. Whereas Katz's is one of a kind.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    What Kathryn said.

                    endyyy: You may not have room for dessert after having lunch at Katz's, depending on whether you share one sandwich or two. (Are you a party of two? I shouldn't assume, really.)

                    Spot has great cupcakes, by the way. I've been there twice to sit in and once for takeout so far. I've had two cupcakes: One with green tea icing, chocolate cake base, and apricot jam filling, and one with Thai iced coffee icing, vanilla cake base, and caramel filling. I'm not positive which one was better; they were so different from each other and both were wonderful in their own way.

                    I've also had excellent lychee matcha bubble tea, impressive blood orange soda with passion fruit foam and just a bit of sugar at the bottom of the glass, and I shared an interesting dessert tapa with a friend: white miso semifreddo, raspberries, extra-virgin olive oil, almond tuile, raspberry sorbet. There were also bits of a tangy sauce on the plate, which I think may have been a combination of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. At first, I liked all of the elements except that I found the white miso semifreddo too aggressively salty for my taste, and definitely drank more water to counteract the salt (my friend loved the dessert from the first bite). However, after I finished the dessert, it left a good taste in my mouth, so I ultimately considered it successful.

                    And as my friend and I walked back from the dessert bar, we talked about how it's a pleasure to think while you're eating. Spot engenders that response, and thus, surpasses even the joy of its excellent ingredients and delicious execution. I realize my remarks are now sounding almost extreme, but I really like the place so far, and I also will praise the friendly, helpful servers I've encountered there, so far. Do go there.

              2. Alice's teac up I think is known for its eat-in teas; I never heard it's a great bakery. Others might have UWS cupcake nominations. There is a decent bakery on the uptown side of 72 between Columbus and Amsterdam if you don't get other more frined responses.

                6 Replies
                1. re: yebo

                  Buttercup Bakeshop? I find their cupcakes to be really dry and the frosting a bit paste like (chalky).

                  1. re: kathryn

                    I agree with you about Buttercup Bakeshop. I don't like Magnolia Bakery (Columbus @ 69th) but do like Crumbs on Amsterdam (76th/77th), where I think the icing is much smoother (more butter?) and there's a better ratio of cake-to-icing. To answer endyyy about Levain: there's barely any room for a line inside this tiny shop, and I've never seen any line outside, so I'd say you shouldn't have much of a wait. Another option for great cookies is Insomnia Cookies on Amsterdam (btw 79/80th).

                    1. re: boredough

                      Crumbs can be OK if you get one of the filled ones. Sometimes some of the varieties are huge though! Best to split with someone else.

                      I like Magnolia's cupcakes marginally better than Buttercup's (which is to say, barely at all) and I really wish my workplace would stop ordering the damned things every few weeks for people's birthdays! Each time I think to myself, maybe they've improved... alas, no.

                  2. re: yebo

                    I am a HUGE fan of Alice's scones...that's what they're known for (aside from their tea). They change the flavors daily but always have buttermilk, ham&cheese, and pumpkin (pumpkin is great), plus three or four more. The cupcakes have never wow-ed me there. However, since you'll be at the UWS Alice's, I'd also recommend grabbing chocolate chip cookies from Levain which is very close by, on 74th.

                    1. re: Jess321

                      yes - levains

                      although i wish they would make a plain chocolate chip w/out nuts (why take up value real estate that could be filled with chocolate?)

                      but the double chocolates are amazing. yeah - they cost a bit, but each cookie serves 3 people

                      1. re: thew

                        Thanks for the tips Jess and thew! I will definitely try to pick up some cookies(or cookie) from levain. Are the lines generally long?

                  3. Re: your plan to have breakfast at Maialino on Sunday. They don't serve breakfast on Sunday. It's brunch, starting at 10 a.m.

                    I do not order eggy things for brunch, but I make an exception for the delicious Raviolo al Uovo. The Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe is also wonderful.

                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                    1. I think your itinerary looks quite good. There are really no good cupcakes on the UWS (I'm assuming you're looking for something in that hood). I would say that the best one would probably be at Citarella's. If you want dessert, there are some good bakeries in that area including Granddaisy and Levain.

                      1. I would do Katz for lunch and have Russ & Daughters as well (2 birds with one stone). You can bring in food from Russ & Daughters into Katz. For Saturday you could do Barney Greengrass (it is a lot closer to Central Park). I don't know how the lines will be, hopefully other hounds can chime in.

                        -----
                        Barney Greengrass
                        541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

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

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: daffyduck

                          Technically it's again the DOH's codes to bring in outside food into a restaurant, so I wouldn't do that, even if the restaurant lets you.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            oh okay. I hope the OP knows that Russ and Daughters is take out only. a tip about R & D is that they have mini bagels so you can sample more of their speciality sandwiches or make your own with various lox, whitefish salad, etc.

                            1. re: daffyduck

                              Thanks for the tips! I think I'll try to finish up my bagels before entering Katz. I did not realize that they were so close together!

                              Any restaurant recommendations around time sqaure, just in case we get lazy to travel down to blue ribbon. Thanks!

                              1. re: endyyy

                                Esca in Times Square, if you can get in. My favorite place in the city.

                                www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                -----
                                Esca
                                402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

                                1. re: scotty27

                                  Esca, though excellent, also specializes in Italian seafood like Marea. Might be too duplicative?

                                  How about DB Bistro Moderne on West 44th Street?

                                  -----
                                  DB Bistro Moderne
                                  55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

                                  Esca
                                  402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

                                  Marea
                                  240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                                  1. re: Riverman500

                                    the burger at DB Bistro Moderne is insane. stuffed with short ribs and foie gras

                                    -----
                                    DB Bistro Moderne
                                    55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

                                    1. re: thew

                                      Hit Scarpetta instead. Conant knows what he's doing.

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

                                      1. re: i8NYC

                                        Scarpetta, while wonderful, is not near Times Square.

                                        Esca and DB Bistro Moderne are good calls but likely to be packed on a Friday night (pre theater crowd), so reserve or try to go after they leave.

                                        For Times Square, if you're up for some spicy food, go to Szechuan Gourmet. Or try some Korean BBQ at Madangsui. Or the pub room at Keens Steakhouse.

                                        -----
                                        DB Bistro Moderne
                                        55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

                                        Madangsui
                                        35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                                        Szechuan Gourmet
                                        21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                                        Esca
                                        402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

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

                                        1. re: kathryn

                                          Try Sushi of Gari 46 or Frankie & Johnnie's

                                          -----
                                          Sushi of Gari 46
                                          347 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036

                                          Frankie & Johnnie's
                                          269 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036

                                          1. re: i8NYC

                                            Thanks for the additional suggestions, but since I am have Maialino and Marea on sunday and they're both Italian, I was thinking of trying a different cuisine. I am able to make a reservation at DB Bistro Moderne, but have read numerous negative reviews about the restaurant. The location of the restaurant is literally a 2 minute walk from my hotel, so I'd like to eat there, but has anyone been disappointed by DB bistro moderne?

                                            -----
                                            DB Bistro Moderne
                                            55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

                                            Marea
                                            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                                            Maialino
                                            2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                                            1. re: endyyy

                                              DB Bistro Moderne is a good choice in Times Square, but it also has the least interesting menu among the Boulud group. The signature burger and alsatian tart are worth getting, but I can't really think of any other standouts.

                                              How about The Modern Bar Room?

                                              -----
                                              DB Bistro Moderne
                                              55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

                                              1. re: H Manning

                                                I think the Modern Bar Room is a very good choice.

                                              2. re: endyyy

                                                We have eaten at dbBistro quite a few times and have found the food to be excellent with only one exception. During our most recent visit post-theater, the spaetzl that always accompany the coq au vin and have in the past been terrific were, sadly, dried out. We've never tried the famous burger. Service is efficient. We prefer the back room with its more subdued decor to the eye-poppingly decorated front room.

                                                dbBistro photos (with perfect spaezl): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                          2. Hello hounds, I just returned from my trip to NYC and wanted thank everyone for their recommendations! I'll also give a short review of my dining experiences during my trip for those who are interested!

                            First meal we had there was at Clinton's Bakery. Ordered the blueberry pancakes and the tomato jam and egg biscuit. Blueberry pancakes were very delicious, probably the best pancakes I've ever had. Very fluffy and moist. The egg biscuits were good as well, but a little bland for my taste. On the walk back to the subway, we stumbled upon Russ & Daughters, so we stepped in for a classic bagel with smoked salmon. Not really a big fan of smoked salmon, but my girlfriend said it was very good! For dinner, we decided to dine at blue ribbon brasserie, although the wait was an hour plus. We ordered the bone marrow & ox tail, fried chicken, and a rack of lamb. The marrow dish was amazing, the marrow, ox tail worked very well together. The fried chicken and rack of lamb were good, but nothing to write home about. However, my girlfriend thought the fried chicken were very good though.

                            Next day, we had shake shack for lunch. Ordered the shack burger and the cheese fries. I really liked the burger and the cheese on the fries, but didn't like the way the fries were cut, it wasn't very flavorful. Then we walked over to Alice's tea cup for hot tea and a red velvet cupcake. Cupcake was decent, not very sweet, which I liked. We then walked over to levain bakery and WOW! Their cookies are huge and delicious, and they were all fresh as our cookie was warm when we ordered. We didn't end up going to Pio Pio so we went to Ippudo at 6 to put down our name and walked over to Pommes Frites for a snack while we waited. We ordered the regular fries with roasted garlic sauce. The fries had a pretty big portion and honestly, I wasn't very impressed. Without the sauce the fries were very bland. Ippudo ramen was very good and well worth the wait though! I definitely recommend the pork buns, they were a lot better than I expected! For ramen, we ordered the modern ramen and the spicy miso ramen and we both liked the charred spicy miso more. The ramen was very good as well. For late night we got food at the halal carts on 53rd and 6th. The chicken and rice were good, but it got cold really fast due to the weather.

                            Our last day, we had Maialino for breakfast. We ordered the Bomboloni, raviolo, and a egg with tomato sauce thing. The bombolonis were delicious! Little sugar balls packed with cream and flavor. My raviolo was very good as well, but the portion was very small. My partner liked her dish as well. We walked over to max brenner after and got toffee hot chocolate, which was too sweet for my taste. The place was nice, but it looked like a place we could have skipped. We went to Spots Dessert bar after and ordered the yuzu Eskimo, hot tea, and some cupcakes. The Eskimo was very interested and delicious! I personally like yuzu so I enjoyed it very much. The cupcakes at Spot were great as well, I think it was better than Alice's tea cup and Magnolia bakery. For our last meal, we went to Marea for a late dinner. We went with the four course pf and ordered the ricci also. I had the foie gras with hamachi (I think), fusilli, sea bass, and white chocolate mousse while my girlfriend had oysters, risotto, fish, and caramello. The ricci came out first and I must say it was very interesting to taste the lardo and uni together, but I liked it a lot. My gf's oysters were very fresh and my foie gras and hamachi were very good also. My partner's risotto was good, but she felt like it was similar to other risottos she's had. I was very excited about the fusilli, but as I tried it out, I thought it was okay. Don't get my wrong, it was very good, but simply tasted like tomato sauce with octopus. The fish impressed us though, as we both enjoyed our fish. It was flavorful and cooked very well and crisp. My partner enjoyed her caramello dessert very much and claimed that it was the best dessert shes ever had. Overall, it was an excellent meal and I would definitely encourage everyone to try it!

                            Thanks everyone for the recommendations, it helped my made up my mind about numerous restaurants that I wanted to try!

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

                            Pommes Frites
                            123 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                            Ippudo
                            65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                            Pio Pio
                            210 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

                            Marea
                            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                            Maialino
                            2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: endyyy

                              Great report. Glad you enjoyed your trip.