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Retaurant list. In town for a week and a half. Suggestions? Comments?

  • j

Hi. I"m going to NYC (solo) at the end of Feb/beginning of March. I"ve made a list of restaurants i plan on going, as well as some on a maybe list. I was wondering if you guys could take a look and suggest restaurants should add or remove from my list, dishes i should try, etc. Money's not too big of an issue for me, but the more affordable, the better.

Jean Georges (lunch)
Eleven Madison Park (tasting.)
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Shake Shack
The Modern Bar Room
Momofuku Milk/Noodle/Ma Peche/Ssam
Porchetta
Blue Smoke
Balthazar (suggestions?)
WD-50 (most likely tasting. Do they do substitutions?)
Yakitori Totto
Bar Boulud (want to try their charc.)
DBGB
Pizza (haven't decided, but currently leaning towards John's on Bleeker)
a bakery pending suggestions. I want to find some really great bread in NYC.
any suggestions for places in Chinatown?

MAYBE LIST
Daniel
Del Posto (lunch)
Perilla (maybe tasting)

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

Yakitori Totto
251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

Perilla
9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

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

Blue Hill
75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

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

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

Bar Boulud
1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

Porchetta
110 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

DBGB
299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

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  1. Great list, but is there a reason why there are no Italian restaurants (except for Del Posto, which is a "maybe")? I'd perhaps consider Babbo, Scarpetta, Marea. Alto, Convivio. Maialino, Lupa, Osteria Morini, or one of the newer places like Ciano, Ai Fiori, Lincoln, Porsena, etc.

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

    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

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

    Convivio
    45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

    Ciano
    45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

    Marea
    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    Osteria Morini
    218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

    Porsena
    21 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

    Ai Fiori
    400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

    1 Reply
    1. re: peter j

      2nd -- so many great high end Italian choices in the city!

    2. Wd50 does substitutions on tasting,,,,best meal of my life
      Marea
      Kefi - great food and cheap
      http://teenchefteddy.blogspot.com/

      -----
      Kefi
      505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

      Marea
      240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

      1 Reply
      1. re: tldmatrix

        WD 50 is so good, and such a different interesting experience

        http://www.examiner.com/ny-in-new-yor...

      2. forget to mention, i dont like seafood (wish i did.)

        5 Replies
        1. re: jys

          The EMP tasting menu contains seafood dishes. For pizza I would recommend Co. Also for great bread try Sullivan's St bakery or Amy's. I would also consider Marea or Scarpetta or Mailino for Italian instead of Del Posto. I went to Daniel for Thanksgiving and it was a disappointment compared to EMP.

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

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

          Marea
          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: psk123

            Not liking seafood is no reason not to do the tasting menu at EMP. Since they make accommodations for vegetarians, as well as for people with allergies, I have no doubt they can configure the tasting menu so that it does not contain seafood.

            http://thewizardof roz.wordpress.com

            1. re: RGR

              i'm thinking about sending them an email or something ahead of time.

            2. re: psk123

              I don't think Marea would be terribly interesting for someone who doesn't get into seafood. Scarpetta's nice, but I wouldn't do it over Del Posto. Not like either one will give you a bad meal, though.

              For me, Italian (right now) goes: Del Posto, Babbo and/or Falai tied for second, Scarpetta a VERY close third. But it depends on my mood. I could rearrange those four any day on a whim.

              And what RGR said about EMP. Their whole "thing" is catering to the customer.

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

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

              Falai
              68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

              Marea
              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

              1. re: sgordon

                which is great for a restaurant. I'm not going to marea for seafood reason. Same with Le bernardin. But, i'd totally go if offered a free meal at either.

            1. re: RGR

              It depends what kind of pizza the OP wants. I like Motorino, Keste, and Co but if OP is looking for traditional NY style made in a coal oven, then a place like John's on Bleecker or Patsy's in East Harlem is the way to go.

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

              1. re: kathryn

                True enough. However, the pizza we had a John's, albeit several years ago, was totally disappointing, i.e., burnt crust and tasteless sauce. We've never been to Patsty's.

                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                1. re: RGR

                  It's odd, when I first moved to the city around 2003, John's was good, and then slowly started going down hill. I wrote them off about 2 years ago after a few really undercooked pies with too much sauce and cheese -- the opposite problem you had.

                  However, my husband insisted we give them another shot 6 months ago, and I really liked the pie. Proper char, proper chew, and all. We've been going back about once a month since and haven't been disappointed yet (though there's always the potential for that!).

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Given that you've been going there quite regularly these day and have found the pies to be correctly prepared and enjoyable, I'll definitely consider giving John's another try.

                    I found it interesting that when we went to Keste, it was early afternoon on a Sunday, and there was a line waiting to get into John's -- as you know, they are across the street from each other -- while we got a table immedaitely at Keste. In fact, there were several available.

                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                2. re: kathryn

                  traditional NYC pizza is not made in a coal oven - it's a slice from a neighborhood place.....

                  1. re: thew

                    Both coal oven and gas oven are traditional to NYC. Gas oven pizzerias were introduced in the 1950s whereas coal oven ones stretch back to the early 1900s.

                    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/referen...

                    1. re: kathryn

                      i know the history of NY pizza. but this isn't a matter of history. 99.99% of people think of the slice joint when they think of NYC pizza. 97% of NYC residents will never eat in a coal oven pizzeria

                      yes i made those numbers up

                      1. re: thew

                        I wrote "traditional NY style made in a coal oven" (one phrase) to distinguish between "traditional NY style made in a gas oven."

                        I find many tourists still come here trying to go to Lombardi's and Grimaldi's, etc and that's what they think of when they think NYC pizza, too.

              2. Start making reservations . . .

                Aldea.

                Skip Perilla. Next trip . . .

                I have not been to Eataly. SO just went and really enjoyed his dinner (sorry I don't remember what restaurant). Second peter j's suggestion re: Italian (unless you have really good Italian where you live).

                Maybe add Greek, deli, bagels/bialys if you don't have where you live. Like pizza, really good in NYC.

                There are a lot of threads on Chinatown . . .you might want to do a search of this Board. Good for a snack/lunch or dim sum and inexpensive. I like Big Wong.

                2 Replies
                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  made reservations at EMP and Modern. as of last night. working on the rest

                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                    We've eaten at four of the sit-down dining spots at Eataly. All were excellent. Manzo, which we've been to twice, is the only one that accepts reservations (white tablecloths) though you can sit at the counter without one:

                    Manzo photos here (dining room): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                    and here (at the counter): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                    Il Pesce photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                    Le Verdure photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                    Walking around Eataly: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  2. should i add Daniel to my "go" list?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: jys

                      I see that you are planning to go to Jean Georges for lunch and to EMP for the tasting dinner -- both excellent. If you want another very upscale French dining experience, Daniel is certainly a fine choice.

                      However, since you mention "more affordable," I would suggest you consider Cafe Boulud. It is Daniel Boulud's second-tier restaurant but in every way, it's first-rate. And though it is expensive, it is less costly than Daniel. Chef Gavin Kaysen's cuisine is superb (think 4-star chef cooking a in 3-star restaurant), there's an excellent wine list, service is cordial and polished, and the space is lovely.

                      Cafe Boulud photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                      1. re: RGR

                        would you recomend tasting or a la carte?

                        1. re: jys

                          Presuming you are asking about Cafe Boulud, we've never done a tasting there. However, unless you are a picky eater, the tasting would be a good way to sample Chef Kaysen's cuisine. On the other hand, if you look over the menus (there are four + a menu of daily specials), and there are dishes that appeal more to you than those on the tasting menu, of course, you should go the a la carte route.

                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                    2. Where are you coming from? I ask because, depending on the strengths or weaknesses of your usual location, I might make different recommendations for your trip.

                      4 Replies
                        1. re: jys

                          I see. Vancouver is known for great Chinese food, especially Cantonese. So I'd suggest you avoid Manhattan's Chinatown, period, or certainly Cantonese food there, which will disappoint you. If you really want to explore the diversity of Chinese food in New York, I suggest that you consult the Outer Boroughs board on where to eat less usual regional styles, such as Dongbei, Shandong, and Hunanese. Or, alternatively, if you want to try some cheap Xian-style food, you can go to any branch of Xian Famous Foods, but note that the St Marks branch has a bit of seating and the Chinatown branch does not. Manhattan does have some very good Sichuan restaurants, but not quite as good as you can get in Flushing - or, I suspect, Vancouver.

                          What about Japanese food (such as yakitori) or eclectic fusion food (such as the Momofuku restaurants)? I'll say this: The Momofuku restaurants probably have a unique take on things. But if there's really good yakitori in Vancouver, and with the caveat that I have yet to visit Totto myself (it's rather expensive, given that the prices on their menu are per skewer), perhaps it's not a must for you.

                          My next question would be what kind of representation of European cuisines you have in Vancouver. For example, I like Balthazar very much, but if you have good Parisian-style bistros in Vancouver, a visit to Balthazar wouldn't be a must. And I actually think a visit to DBGB is no must, regardless of anything else. It's possible to have a very good meal or a kind of blah meal there, but if I were looking for very good French food in an informal setting and didn't mind spending a bit more or being in a more out-of-the-way area, I'd go to La Sirene.

                          Maybe your thinking is different from mine, but for the most part, I think it's a good idea to focus on the strengths of the city you're visiting that are different from your home town's strengths.

                          -----
                          La Sirene
                          558 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013

                          1. re: Pan

                            Japanese food, including yakitori, is abundant and excellent in Vancouver.

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              Thanks. I would have expected as much. My operating presumption is that major cities on the Pacific Coast probably have very good representation of the major East Asian cuisines, but I didn't want to act on an assumption.

                      1. I see that you have the Momofuku restaurants on your list. I'm a big fan of both Momofuku Ko and Ma Peche. You might want to try for a reservation at Ko. I frequently dine there solo, and the food is great. It's wonderful to watch the chefs prepare the dishes. Ma Peche is also a favorite of mine for solo dining. Currently they have some fantastic dishes: seared foie gras with huckleberries and chestnuts; ricotta gnocchi with black truffles; duck breast, duck sausage and spaetzle; steak; all of the vegetable dishes.

                        Glad to see you have the Tasting Menu from EMP on your list. My sister and I just had an exquisite Tasting Menu at EMP.

                        Have you considered Bouley? Bouley is another favorite of mine. Although I've only had dinner at Bouley (they also do a wonderful tasting menu), I hear excellent things about their $36 lunch tasting menu.

                        Shake Shack is a lot of fun!

                        Momofuku Milk Bar is a great choice for dessert. They've just introduced a new cake truffle: Pretzel; it is so fabulous! I'm a big fan of their Crack Pie and Compost Cookies. They currently have a yummy soft serve flavor: French Toast.

                        -----
                        Momofuku Ko
                        163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                        Ma Peche
                        15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                        Momofuku Milk Bar
                        15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ellenost

                          just added bouley lunch to my list. thanks for the suggestion.

                          1. re: ellenost

                            made a lunch reservation for bouley

                            1. re: jys

                              Wishing you a wonderful time at Bouley. Please report back.

                          2. i'm considering a lunch tasting at Gramercy Tavern. Thoughts?

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

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: jys

                              I don't think it is "worth the trip" - very good, nice, in no way food amazing. Nice atmospher, and the Tavern part has nice fancy appitizers, again pleasant not amazing, high-end presentation and prices except casual setting ... little tables, you can walk in, sit at little table or bar w/o reservation.

                              1. re: jys

                                I know Gramercy Tavern's formal dining room has loads of fans on this board. But while I like the food in the Tavern Room, I have never had a dinner in the formal dining room that even came close to being wonderful. In fact, the last time we had dinner there in early '09 -- and it *will be* the *last time* in the dining room -- my appetizer and main course were so poor, I ranked that meal as my worst of that entire year.

                                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                1. re: RGR

                                  My experience with Gramercy Tavern as well, after many tries over many years.

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

                                  1. re: Nancy S.

                                    Thanks for posting that, Nancy. It's good to know that at least one someone else feels the same way. Our experiences encompass both Colicchio's tenure as well as Michael Anthony's, which, I presume, is the case for you.

                                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                              2. An excellent itinerary, certainly, for the most part. My comments:

                                Definite Yes to: EMP, The Modern, Momofuku, WD-50

                                Also, the Del Posto lunch is one of the best lunch deals in town. The only issue you might have is that it'll leave you craving dinner. The fact that you have to choose antipasti OR primi is tough, since you'll want both.

                                Would personally skip:

                                Balthazar: it's very good, of course, but it's not really the most creative / interesting cuisine. You probably have upscale bistro food where you're from, I'm guessing, and for the same price you could do any number of other "Only In NYC" places.

                                DBGB: quite underwhelmed. If you're dining in the main dining room, there's decent food, and if you're a fan of the suds the beer selection is quite extensive of course - but a great deal of it is staggeringly overpriced. It doesn't "seem" overpriced, as it's the cheapest of the Boulud restos, but for the food and neighborhood it's pretty high. The regular entrees and apps are fine, but the specialties - the sausages and burgers - the portions are so miniscule (the burgers are just large enough that you can't call them sliders - but just barely) that you'd need to spend nearly as much as you would at Daniel if you wanted to leave satisfied. And the beer prices are VERY high - a good 25% higher than the same bottles at bars in the same neighborhood (d.b.a., Burp Castle, etc.)

                                Porchetta: not a fan, really. I'll take a good Cubano (Cibao on Clinton, for my money) for half the price if I'm craving a pork-bomb sandwich.

                                Other thoughts:

                                Maybe set aside one night as "Momofuku Night" - a week beforehand, try your luck at the Ko Lottery. If you get in, great. If not, use that as your Ssam Bar night, try to go early-ish so you won't have too long a wait, and do Milk Bar for dessert. I'll point out that contrary to what someone above said it's not Japanese food - it's New American, with influences from all over the map - Japanese, Chinese and Korean show up in equal measure, in addition to Continental ones. The only thing I'd call definitively Japanese in origin would be the Ramen at Noodle Bar. But Ssam Bar is the more exciting of the two, generally.

                                Cafe Boulud: highly recommended. My only disagreement with RGR would be that I think it's Daniel Boulud's first-tier restaurant, even if it is the one with the second-tier price.

                                WD-50: they're more than happy to do subs on the tasting menu - they'll let you pick stuff off the a la carte, even, if something grabs you, and make a TM-sized portion. If for whatever reason the a la carte offerings call out to you more overall, though, find yourself a dining companion and for around the same price (a little less, even) you could "make your own" tasting out of selections from that - pick two apps, an entree and dessert each. Share with your dining partner and you've tasted eight dishes, probably the same amount of food in the end as you'd have with tasting menu - especially with the amuses, pre-desserts, and mignardaises that you'll get factored in. And it gives you a bit more control.

                                Not sure if they're still doing the "half-off" deal on wine bottles when you order the tasting, though - might be worth going the tasting route if you're the sort who'd rather order a bottle than do the wine pairings. Also, keep in mind when making plans that WD is closed Mondays & Tuesdays.

                                Japanese: Since you're not big on the seafood I wouldn't worry too much. Our best Japanese places (Soto, Kyo Ya, etc) are really only worth doing if you're going the fishy route.

                                Italian: Like I said above, Del Posto is worth considering for dinner instead of lunch. But we've had an explosion of great Italian over the last decade or so: in addition to the Batali classics (Babbo, Esca) there's Scarpetta, Falai (brilliant, rustic-meets-experimental Northern Italian, think Batali-meets-Dufresne - and some of the best housemade pastas in town), Osteria Morini (for your hearty, meatier fare), and for an Italian-American fix, Torrisi Italian Specialties. I'd add Marea, but since you're seafood-averse it might not be the best place for you.

                                Chinatown: I don't think the Cantonese here will disappoint you, but there's no reason to go out of your way for it if you're coming from Vancouver. Could be worth it to check out a different style of cuisine (or two) - Xi'an Famous Foods is justifiably making waves, they're worth checking out. Grab one of the burgers to go (lamb or pork) and an order of spicy hand-pulled noodles (I'm fond of the Mt. Qi Pork Noodles, myself) - go to the Chinatown location and eat at one of the tables in the East Broadway Mall (same building, entrance around the corner) since the St. Mark's location can be mobbed and has very little seating. Also, Fujian / Fu Zhou has been on the move - Ah Ping Snack Bar is great IMHO, and isn't as seafood-centric as some of the other places.

                                Finally: Mexican? We've got some very good high- and low-end places. Don't know what the scene is like in Vancouver. Any interest?

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

                                Cafe Boulud
                                20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                                Soto
                                357 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

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

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

                                Falai
                                68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                                Kyo Ya
                                94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                d.b.a.
                                41 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                Burp Castle
                                41 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

                                Cibao
                                72 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

                                Ah Ping Snack Bar
                                2 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

                                Porchetta
                                110 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                Marea
                                240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                                DBGB
                                299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                                Xi'an Famous Foods
                                81 St. Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                                Xi'an Famous Foods
                                88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

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

                                Osteria Morini
                                218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                                26 Replies
                                1. re: sgordon

                                  "Cafe Boulud: highly recommended. My only disagreement with RGR would be that I think it's Daniel Boulud's first-tier restaurant, even if it is the one with the second-tier price."

                                  The only reason I phrase it that way is in terms Boulud's intentions for it and, as you point out, its price, it ranks second to his flagship. However, I actually agree with you. Imo, Gavin Kaysen is a 4-star chef cooking in a ("NY Times") 3-star restaurant.

                                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                  1. re: sgordon

                                    I believe Pan called Momofuku restaurants "eclectic fusion food" not Japanese.

                                    1. re: kathryn

                                      True that. Read too fast.

                                      And re: RGR - yep. Kaysen is brilliant. Were I at the Times, I'd reverse their ratings.

                                    2. re: sgordon

                                      Mexican! How could I forget?! I would love a few suggestions for mexican. Also, thank you for such a wonderful and detailed post. 12 more days til NYC :)

                                      1. re: jys

                                        Where are you from? Unless your from somewhere with a severe dearth of Mexican food, it's not worth bypassing any of the above places in order to have Mexican food.

                                        (I'm originally from Texas and avoid all Mexican food in the city. It's just not that great.)

                                        1. re: loratliff

                                          Vancouver. Been to Mexico before, 5 years ago

                                          1. re: loratliff

                                            Funny, the times I've been to Texas (caveat: only been to Dallas / Fort Worth) I was disappointed in the Mexican food I had there. Too much "Tex" and not enough "Mex" in it for my taste. Obviously, depends on what part of Tejas you're in / from, and what kind of Mexican food you'll find there - Oaxacan is as different from Baja as... well, Texas is from New York.

                                            For high-end Mexican, while we admittedly don't have anything on the level of Bayless in Chicago or Garces in Philly, we have some decent ones:

                                            Toloache is good, and while many find the portions a bit slight, the food is always very fresh and the flavors bright. The chef, Julian Medina (who's going to be competing on Iron Chef America this Sunday against Garces, for whatever that's worth) also has a couple of places called Yerba Buena that are good. I generally prefer YB to his flagship, personally, though they both have their pros and cons.

                                            I'm awful fond of Crema, Julietta Ballesteros' place on 17th Street. She also runs an upscaled taco joint (think pork belly and octopus tacos, foie gras tacos, etc) down in my 'hood called Los Feliz. Both very good for what they are. Crema does a great brunch, in particular. Also back up in that part of town I like Sue Torres' Suenos for a Mexi-Fix.

                                            I really like Rayuela a lot - they've gotten better since they've opened, over the last few years. It can be a little "clubby" inside, and they're more pan-Latin than Mexican, though - but the food is by and large very, very good. They're probably my current favorite of the above, but I find they're particularly good on seafood so it may not be to the OPs taste. Their casual off-shoot, Macondo, might be better for a solo diner, too - the menu there is upscale renditions of street food from around Latin America. Good place to order a few small plates and kick back with a cocktail, though some of the dishes I find a little overpriced.

                                            For more traditional Oaxacan fare (including chapulines (grasshoppers) if you're feeling adventurous) the new Casa Mezcal on the LES was good, though I've only been once. The tacos were solid, and there's a good variety of moles and a great selection of the namesake booze cocktails.

                                            For cheap eats, the best are in Sunset Park, but if you're sticking to Manhattan Tehuitzingo is one of those great NYC "secrets" that officially I'm not supposed to talk about to outsiders. It's a little Mexican convenience store in Midtown West - go to the back (and grab a couple Cervesas from the beer case along the way) and there's a window through which a couple of (usually old) women are cooking up some fine tacos and other fare, but I generally stick to the tacos. Order a half dozen and kick back. The lengua (tongue) is melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the cecina is kind of chewy in a good, toothsome way. Barbacoa (goat) when they have it is pretty good, too. There's also pig ear, skin, sangre (goat tripe) and a few more esoteric fillings should you want to venture that way, though the selection rotates. There's a few seats with various hot sauces, limes, pickled jalapenos, etc to dress up your meal, and occasionally Spanish-dubbed James Bond movies on the TV. Most of the other diners will be local Mexican workers taking an afternoon or afterwork (if you go for late-night eats) siesta. It's kind of dark, kind of goofy, often delicious and completely transporting. One the great truly "hidden" gems in NYC.

                                            ----

                                            And just to throw another restaurant and cuisine out there, as if the OP isn't confused enough at this point: Vandaag for a Scandinavian fix. One of my favorite new restos of the last year. In an odd turn of events, I dined there and at Aquavit the same week a little while ago - and for half the price, Vandaag was every bit as good. Okay, okay - the dry-aged red deer carpaccio with black truffles at Aquavit just barely gave them the edge - but the rest of the meals were dead even, for my money. Good place to go with a dining companion, the portions are well-sized for sharing. And the cocktails are fantastic.

                                            -----
                                            Tehuitzingo
                                            695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                                            Toloache
                                            251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                                            Rayuela
                                            165 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

                                            Crema
                                            111 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                                            Suenos
                                            311 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                                            Yerba Buena
                                            23 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

                                            Macondo
                                            157 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                                            Los Feliz
                                            109 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

                                            Vandaag
                                            103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                            Casa Mezcal
                                            86 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

                                            1. re: sgordon

                                              People still seem to spit out the rote "New York is terrible for Mexican" even though it is no longer true. 20 or more years ago there was a very small population of Mexicans in New York. Today that number is much much larger and with them have come more traditional restaurants. A vibrant foreign population tends to bring authentic (or as authentic as you can get) versions of their native cuisines.

                                              I would agree with sgordon's post, especially Tehuitzingo and Sunset Park (Elmhurst too). There are also a number of good taqeuirias around the 116th area in Spanish Harlem.

                                              1. re: MVNYC

                                                For what it's worth, I've also lived in southern California, Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende, so I think I'm semi-qualified to say "New York is terrible for Mexican," without being rote.

                                                I haven't liked Toloache, Yerba Buena, or Rayuela. I do like La Esquina okay (their lengua is very good), and I look forward to trying Tehuitzingo, thanks to sgordon. I'm also looking forward to Alex Stupak's new Mexican place, Empellon. I know he's spent a lot of time in Oaxaca lately and is trying to do it right. Here's hoping.

                                                -----
                                                Tehuitzingo
                                                695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                                                Toloache
                                                251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                                                La Esquina
                                                106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

                                                Rayuela
                                                165 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

                                                Yerba Buena
                                                23 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

                                                Empellon Taqueria
                                                230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

                                                1. re: loratliff

                                                  Forgot Esquina - I like them for brunch quite a lot. You should check out Casa Mezcal, too - the owner and chef are Oaxacan, so it might hew a little closer to your tastes. I'd be curious to hear what someone who lived there thinks of it.

                                                  I have to disagree, though - is New York truly "terrible" for Mexican, now? Really? London is TERRIBLE for Mexican. Paris is TERRIBLE for Mexican. Poughkeepsie is, I'm just gonna guess here, probably TERRIBLE for Mexican. What we have in NYC might be, at the high end, not as good as Chicago or Philly - and at the mid/low range not as exciting as eating in Oaxaca itself - but c'mon, it's a far cry from TERRIBLE. In fact we've got great low-end Mexican in Sunset Park, though that might be a bit of a haul for the OP if they don't have any other business out there.

                                                  Toloache I've been up and down on. I think it's nice enough. Rayuela, as I said, isn't really Mexican but pan-Latin, arguably mostly South American, really - but for my food dollar I dig what Chef Tejada is doing. Might not be "authentic" anything (though I suppose by its very nature pan-anything can't be authentic) but to quote a certain controversial restaurateur, "authenticity is overrated."

                                                  Looking forward to Stupak's place as well, though sorry to see him leave WD-50 at the same time. I don't know what "right" is as far as Oaxacan food goes - the only "right" to me is if it tastes good. I'd actually be quite disappointed if he's trying to go the super-"authentic" route. Someone with as creative a mind as his should be putting his own twisted spin on things, using Oaxacan flavors and techniques as a springboard, not opening a "museum" restaurant.

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

                                                  Toloache
                                                  251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                                                  Rayuela
                                                  165 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

                                                  Casa Mezcal
                                                  86 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

                                                  1. re: sgordon

                                                    I'll definitely check out Casa Mezcal.

                                                    Also, I will point out that I didn't explicitly say NYC is terrible for Mexican. MVNYC said that and I quoted him.

                                                    In my experience (although according MVNYC, I have none), Mexican food here tries too hard. That's the exact opposite of what good Mexican should be. I don't want Mexican fusion or rice from a mold (a la Toloache). Having said that, I've found a few good taco trucks I've enjoyed much more than any of the Mexican restaurants here.

                                                    -----
                                                    Casa Mezcal
                                                    86 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

                                                  2. re: loratliff

                                                    By all means try Tehuitzingo. I'd say it's good, but no better than an average-quality taqueria in the Mission District of San Francisco.

                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                      Tehuitzingo is as much about the vibe as it is about the food. It's good, yeah - I like the tacos, the tortas I've had better (for those Sunset Park is the place)

                                                      -----
                                                      Tehuitzingo
                                                      695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                                                      1. re: sgordon

                                                        The vibe doesn't do much for me.

                                                  3. re: MVNYC

                                                    I don't know anything about Mexican cuisine as I'm not a fan - but for what it's worth, my L.A. ex-pat friend has completely given up in finding halfway-decent Mexican in Manhattan

                                                    BTW NYC's Mexican population isn't that large honestly - most Hispanics are Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. I'm sure it's increased in recent years, but I'd be willing to bet there are twice as many as Dominicans or PRs in NYC as there are Mexicans.

                                                    1. re: uwsister

                                                      this was very true 10-15 years ago. since then the mexican population has increased more than tenfold, and many of those mexican line cooks from top restaurants have moved up the ladder and now have opened their own mexican restaurants.

                                                      1. re: uwsister

                                                        I have read a few different sources but the general consensus is a little over 300,000 (probably more) Mexicans legally live in NY. While this is in no way close to Los Angeles or Chicago it is fairly significant. There are large Mexican neighborhoods in Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn. While there are good places in Manhattan notably around 116th and environs and a couple places in Hell's Kitchen, your best bet is in the boroughs. Sunset Park, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights all have good food.

                                                        Of course their are more Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in NY, they have been coming here for a lot longer. There are also probably twice as many Russians but that doesn't effect the quality of Mexican food.

                                                        1. re: MVNYC

                                                          Demographics are trivial. It only takes one immigrant with a good kitchen and access to proper ingredients to make good authentic-like food if they desire to.

                                                          Finding good refried beans or rice (basic ingredients) can still be difficult but it's improving. There's usually an element which is off that stops Mexican style cuisines from tasting right in NY, and most of these places only do a couple things on their menu - but we're talking about street foods for the most part.

                                                          New York has had good Moles at places like Mi Cocina on Jane Street (It's now the site of a place called Mole) for close to 20 years....but it was a different style of food.

                                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                                            Have you been out to Queens?

                                                            Demographics are not trivial at all. A large population of an ethnic group tends to lead to restaurants designed to please that group, usually in the first stage of immigration to be cheaper eats. With Mexican this is the case as it has evolved.

                                                            As to your comment that the food is off, of course all native cuisines are going to be slightly off. You just don't get the same product as you do in it's native land. Fresh produce and animal meat obviously tastes different closer to the source. This is true of Vietnam, Mexico or Italy.

                                                        2. re: uwsister

                                                          When was the last time your expat friend tried Mexican in Manhattan? Has s/he tried Toloache?

                                                          1. re: rrems

                                                            Honestly I have no idea - I could ask if you are truly curious. But either way, I personally wouldn't waste a meal on Mexican food in NYC if I were a tourist - YMMV.

                                                            1. re: uwsister

                                                              I would disagree with that. If you are not from a place that has good Mexican this is a good city to get your fix in. Everything is relative and where you are coming from matters. NY may not have good high end Mexican but there are some really good places here that you have to seek out. I have spent a decent amount of time in Mexico and I have to say there are places in NY that are very good. Unfortunately for tourists they are not in neighbourhoods that they will generally be in.

                                                              1. re: MVNYC

                                                                Guess that's true - if someone is coming from middle of nowhere, America, for instance, NYC probably does have great Mexican food for them. But like you said - if they're in the neighborhoods that tourists don't frequent, I don't know if I'd recommend to take time out of their precious few days (lodging is expensive here) to travel back and forth for decent to good Mexican food. Unless the OP/tourist in question really, really likes Mexican food, that is.

                                                                1. re: uwsister

                                                                  It takes 15 minutes to get to Queens from Grand Central

                                                                  1. re: MVNYC

                                                                    We all know it's not that simple for a tourist - believe it or not navigating NYC, esp. outer boroughs, can be intimidating. Then there's the issue that there are only so many meals a person can have in a few days.

                                                                    Either way - if the OP wants/wanted Mexican recs I'm sure he/she would ask.

                                                  4. re: jys

                                                    We've only been to Toloache for brunch but liked the food a lot.

                                                    Toloache photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                                    Here's one more to confuse you. If Nuevo Latino cuisine interests you, I highly recommend Nuela. The arroz con pato is sensational!

                                                    Nuela photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com.

                                                    -----
                                                    Toloache
                                                    251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                                                    Nuela
                                                    43 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

                                                2. any recommendations on bakeries aside from bouchon bakery? oh. any amazing or just really darn good banh mi places?

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: jys

                                                    For Banh Mi, there's a few good ones - and of course, any mention of them will start a debate about whose are "authentic" (as if there is such a thing) and whose aren't. But whatever.

                                                    My favorites: Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches, Paris Sandwich, Saigon Banh Mi 1, and my absolute favorite Sau Voi Corp. Sau Voi not so much on account of the sandwich - which is good, and they get good bread from some bakery in Jersey shipped in every morning as I recall - but really mostly because IMHO, all things being equal, it's always better to get a sandwich from an old lady behind a counter squeezed into a combination bootleg DVD / women's underwear / lotto shop than not. Also, it's a block from Columbus Park, where it's nice to take your sandwich and eat while watching old Chinese musicians play. For straight up taste, though, I kinda like Nicky's, but they're all solid.

                                                    -----
                                                    Saigon Banh Mi 1
                                                    369 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

                                                    Paris Sandwich
                                                    113 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                                                    Sau Voi
                                                    101 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013

                                                    Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches
                                                    150 E 2nd St, New York, NY 10009

                                                    1. re: jys

                                                      I love *everything* at Madeleine Patisserie! That's what it was called when it first opened. But I see via the website that the owner has renamed it La Maison du Macaron. We were just there at the end of January, and I never noticed a signage change.

                                                      http://www.maisondumacaron.net/

                                                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                      1. re: jys

                                                        I haven't been to Vancouver, but I feel pretty darn sure you have better bahn mi in Vancouver than we have in Manhattan. And I also reiterate that I believe our Cantonese food is likely to disappoint you. I wouldn't tell a Hong Konger on a short trip to try our Cantonese food, so I wouldn't tell you to do so, either, especially if you stick to Manhattan and don't go to Flushing.

                                                        As for bakeries, when in New York, get New York-style baked goods. I recommend Two Little Red Hens, especially for bars (lime/coconut, lemon, Linzer, chocolate/pecan, etc.) and cupcakes, though they also have very good cheesecake. My gold standard for cheesecake, though, is S&S in the Bronx. You can get their cheesecake at either Fairway or/and Zabar's; someone will clarify this.

                                                        If you want something different, which might be similar to something you have in Vancouver but won't be identical, Spot Dessert Bar on St Marks makes great fusion desserts. I've really liked everything I've had there, so far. Great cupcakes, interesting dessert "tapas," lovely lychee bubble tea, and a really pleasant place.

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

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

                                                        1. re: Pan

                                                          Since you've mentioned a dessert bar, I highly recommend the sit-down ChikaLicious. And all the goodies across the street at Dessert Club ChikaLicious are wonderful as well. It's mostly take-out though there area few seats.

                                                          ChickaLicious and Dessert Club photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                                          1. re: RGR

                                                            I liked Chikalicious, too, but I haven't been to their dessert bar for several years. I believe Spot remains more informal (as well as potentially a lot cheaper) than Chikalicious Dessert Bar, such that you can go just for some tea or/and a cupcake. The much more informal and cheaper Chikalicious Dessert Club has good cupcakes, but I don't find them as brilliant as Spot's. I also regret that as of my last visit or two to the Dessert Club, they no longer serve wine there. I found it really pleasant to have some earthy red wine with a double-chocolate cupcake there, when you could still do that.

                                                          2. re: Pan

                                                            not that i've had so far. My best Banhi Mi experience was at Matt's in the Market in Seattle, and it wasn't an authentic Banhi Mi...but it sure was delicious.

                                                            1. re: jys

                                                              Interesting. Well, if you go to Banh Mi Saigon, let us know what you think of your sandwich. If you want to go to Brooklyn, Ba Xuyen comes in for more praise (but I have yet to go there).

                                                              -----
                                                              Banh Mi Saigon
                                                              198 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                                                        2. You have gotten many great recommendations from some truly reliable posters already. I'll add in my two cents.

                                                          If you are into steak I will shead some light on steakhouses, which we have some of the best in NYC. Peter Luger in Brooklyn is undoubtebly the best in my opinion after several visits I have never been disappointed. Other amazing steakhouses include Strip House, Keens, BLT Prime, Old Homestead, and Quality Meats. Smith and Wollensky is still a solid old time classic but they are all over now so I would not waste a night there. Although not a true "steakhouse", I strongly urge you to get your butt over to Minetta Tavern for their cote de boeuf. It was one of the best pieces of meat I've yet to consume, and this is someone who has eaten a lotttttt of steak in his life. The Black Label buger is also as good as they say, but the cote is the real winner here.

                                                          For Italian, many of the suggestions are warranted. Babbo, Marea, Convivio. Alto. Scarpetta, and Maialino are all fantastic and some of my favorite eats around. One place not mentioned that deserves props is Il Mulino. Most people dismiss it because it isn't the nouveau avant garde haute Italian other new places are doing, but it is incredible food and a NY classic institution. Del Posto was a serious disappointment for me. I'd go to any of the above before Del Posto any day of the wk.

                                                          For high end, EMP, Daniel, Bouley and Gotham Bar and Grill set the standard for me. Cafe Boulud was good, but I do not think it is anywhere near the class of Daniel- no way. La Grenouille is a real old school French classic that doesn't get mentioned much anymore either but I had a wonderful dinner there. Another favorite of mine is Craft. Simple but incredibly delicious American food served in cast iron pans and pots. Homey desserts too. I just love everything about it honestly. I'd agree with the others who say to skip Gramercy Tavern. It was not worth the price and did not live up the rave hype.

                                                          If you are looking for some good breakfast- Clinto Street Baking is incredible. Wonderful pancakes, sugar cured bacon, biscuits. You really can't go wrong. I also like Sarabeth's pancakes. Shopsin's in the Essex Market has great breakfast, brunch, lunch items and has one of the most eclectic menus you will ever witness. Its a little whole in the wall which is truly unique to NY. And don't listen to all the horror stories about Kenny. As long as you order your food and mind your own business he does not bother a soul.

                                                          LUNCH/ OTHER COOL SPOTS- Katz on Houston is an absolute must if you are into great pastrami. The brisket is also quite delicious. For something a little different head over to Amy Ruth's for some chicken and waffles in Harlem. Truly wonderous. Defonte's sandwich shop has incredible roast beef sandwiches with fresh mozz and fried eggplant. Pommes Frites makes incredible french fries.

                                                          My favorite bagels in the city are as Ess a Bagel. They have like 25 different cream cheese spreads.

                                                          For desserts/bakery- I like two little red hens, blackhound, levain's cookies are amazing, sundaes and cones ice cream. Lula's sweet apothecary is also a nicelittle hole in the wall with great ice cream. Doughnut plant makes great donuts- do not miss the blackout, tres leches, or the peanut butter with jelly filling. They have seasonal flavors also. CIty Bakery has some interesting stuff and great hot chocolate. For gelato Grom and L'Arte del gelato are terrific.

                                                          I haven't gotten around to all of the new pizza places in the city, but the best pizza I have ever had is without question Demarco Di Fara's wonderful pizza in Brooklyn. It is a huge hassle and you will spend 2 hours minimum waiting there but it really is worth it. People put down Lombardi's since it is a huge tourist attraction, but I have to say on the lone occasion I went here I was impressed. It was very good pie.

                                                          Overhyped/Overrated/Left me quite underwhelmed- Momofuku Ssam, Del Posto. Gramercy tavern, Union Square Cafe, Prune

                                                          -----
                                                          Cafe Boulud
                                                          20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                                                          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

                                                          Amy Ruth's
                                                          113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

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

                                                          Il Mulino
                                                          86 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012

                                                          Minetta Tavern
                                                          113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                                                          BLT Prime
                                                          111 East 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010

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

                                                          Gotham Bar and Grill
                                                          12 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003

                                                          Quality Meats
                                                          57 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

                                                          Old Homestead
                                                          56 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                                          La Grenouille
                                                          3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                                                          Grom
                                                          233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

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

                                                          Convivio
                                                          45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                                                          Marea
                                                          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                                                          Strip House
                                                          13 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                          Maialino
                                                          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: steakrules85

                                                            "Cafe Boulud was good, but I do not think it is anywhere near the class of Daniel- no way."

                                                            I agree. I'm puzzled that so many posters would rank Cafe Boulud in the same league as Daniel.

                                                            I'm sure that Gavin Kaysen is capable of whipping up a great meal for friends of the house, but the standard offerings at Cafe Boulud are quite dull compared to other restaurants in the same price point.

                                                            -----
                                                            Cafe Boulud
                                                            20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                                                            1. re: H Manning

                                                              steakrules,

                                                              Cafe Boulud was never meant to be in the same class as Daniel. But that doesn't stop it from being superb in every way that counts.

                                                              H Manning,

                                                              I disagree with your assessment of the "standard offerings" at Cafe Boulud. Our lunch there in November was totally from the regular menu -- no special dishes whipped up by Gavin Kaysen -- and the food was as far from dull as you can get! And that's been our experience whenever we've dined there.

                                                              One other thing. Unlike at Daniel where we experienced several very serious service faults the last time we dined there, service at Cafe Boulud has never been anything but perfection.

                                                              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                              1. re: RGR

                                                                i'm thinking about just going to both restaurants. a buddy of mine works at db bistro in vancouver, and said cafe boulud was just as good, ir at least, was a good alternative to Daniel. gonna make a reservation there for the time being....unless they require a credit card like BH@SB or Per Se

                                                                -----
                                                                Per Se
                                                                10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                                                                1. re: jys

                                                                  Cafe Boulud does not require a credit card to reserve.

                                                                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                          2. This may add another few responses to the thread, but if you're coming from Vancouver and money isn't the biggest issue with you, have you considered going to Per Se? If you don't want to go through a 3 hr+ long marathon for dinner as a solo diner, there are a couple other options.

                                                            1. Go for lunch (open only Fri, Sat, or Sunday). They have a shorter lunch menu if you'd like, or the longer regular menu that one would get during dinner.

                                                            2. Eat in the salon. While you don't get to sit in the main dining room, I've heard the service there is just as fantastic. You'll still get the standard amuses and I'd order the oyster & pearls. There's usually a fish/scallop/lobster course, and then a beef/lamb course. You can easy get by under $200 (including gratuity, excluding alcohol and tax).

                                                            3. If you really don't care about money or time, go out all and get the extended tasting menu with 15+ courses.

                                                            Unless you've already been to French Laundry. Then I think you can skip it. While very different dining atmospheres, their menu structure and philosophy are extremely similar.

                                                            -----
                                                            Per Se
                                                            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: deepfry7

                                                              i haven't considered lunch, and it's probably too late to get reservations. I am however, planning to go for the salon menu the same day as my lunch at Jean Georges...followed by an after dinner at Yakitori Totto. Last year i'd have gone for the tasting menu, but now the price is just too much for me

                                                              -----
                                                              Yakitori Totto
                                                              251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                                                            2. Real solid list...the more casual choices might be the only weak spots...John's, Porchetta, and Shake Shack are fun, and have a following, but foodwise you can find better options. I'd substitute Keste instead of John's, and visit Murray's Cheese too.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                thanks. I'm thinking about going to Di Fara's for pizza.

                                                                1. re: jys

                                                                  The waits at Di Fara can be ridiculously long. The best chance to avoid that is to go midweek between 2 and 4 p.m. -- which is when we went the one time we tried it.

                                                                  ETA: I thought the pizza was very good but hardly worth the kind of waits others are willing to put up with. Imo, no pizza -- or any other food, for that matter -- is worth more than a 15-minute wait. I feel the same about Shake Shack though I love the burgers there.

                                                                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                                    1. re: RGR

                                                                      RGR,

                                                                      When you're on the UES, try our Shake Shack on E. 86 St. The line isn't bad. Indoor seating (and outdoor seating when the weather is nice).

                                                                      1. re: ellenost

                                                                        ellenost,

                                                                        Our daughter and s-i-l live just a few blocks from the UES Shack and are regular patrons. We don't go up there too often. When we dine out with them, they tend to come down our way.

                                                                        Because we barbecue burgers at home (in NJ), we rarely eat them out. We go to the Shack flagship maybe once or twice a season, and we have it down to a science so that we never wait more than 10-15 minutes.

                                                                        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                                    2. re: jys

                                                                      Check their Facebook page before you go, they sometimes close unexpectedly. Also they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

                                                                      https://www.facebook.com/notes/di-far...

                                                                  1. any more good prix fixe suggestions? I'm gonna look into David Burke Townhouse's sunday prix fixe

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: jys

                                                                      Tocqueville, one of our favorites, offers a 3-course lunch prix-fixe year round + wine pairings for $15. Mon.-Sat. We've done them many times. The cuisine is superb, the wines are very good, service is excellent, and the space is one of the most beautiful and elegant in the city. Ergo, a real steal!

                                                                      Tocqueville photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                                                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                                      1. re: RGR

                                                                        That does sound amazing! Definitely putting it on my list.

                                                                        1. re: loratliff

                                                                          Oops! I need to proofread more carefully. I left out the price for the prix-fixe. It's $24.07 + $15 for the wine pairings.

                                                                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                                      2. re: jys

                                                                        I love Northern Spy Food Co.'s $24 Monday night supper, if you wanna keep it cheap... Three courses, hearty, well-prepared food.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Northern Spy Food Co.
                                                                        511 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

                                                                      3. thank you everyone for all your wonderful suggestions. I just booked a lunch at Del Posto, as well as my flight to NYC. Can't wait. I've got a reservation for Blue Hill at Stone Barns this mointh, but I'm thinking about changing it to March. Has anyone been there in March? Any idea what the menu is like that month?

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Blue Hill
                                                                        75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

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

                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jys

                                                                          Two recommendations in regard to Del Posto: (1) Don't order the lobster salad. The roasted winter vegetables were far superior (and delicious!) when we had them, and cheaper. (2) If you order duck and it is overly fibrous in texture, it may profit from being sent back to be cooked a bit more. Our duck was tasty but too rare.

                                                                          1. re: Pan

                                                                            i'm going for cotechino and duck. dessert suggestions?

                                                                            1. re: jys

                                                                              I think I had the chocolate ricotta tortino when I was there for lunch and found it spectacular. I should mention that I wasn't overwhelmed by the food at all - some was great and some was not. It might make a difference that it was a prix fixe lunch and not a tasting menu dinner or something. Or perhaps at lunch on December 31, their first-stringers were all or mostly off duty. Anyway, the extra virgin olive oil gelato is an element of the dessert I remember, and probably the pistachios, too, so I think that was the wonderful dessert I got.

                                                                              1. re: jys

                                                                                The Celery Sorbetto with Fig Agrodolce was one of the best desserts I've had in years - and I'm not even a fan of figs, in general. Don't let all the savory aspects throw you off - celery, goat cheese, etc - it really is a work of art. Sam Sifton put it on his "50 best dishes of the year" list last year, as well.

                                                                                But if you're a choco-phile (for some, I know, dessert simply means "the chocolate course") the aforementioned tortino sure doesn't suck.

                                                                                1. re: sgordon

                                                                                  yes, the ricotta balls served with this, coated with toasted crunchy tasty things, were awesome.

                                                                                2. re: jys

                                                                                  At a recent lunch, I had the tortino, which was as great as everyone here says. I don't generally like savory ice creams, and I've never enjoyed any of the olive oil gelatos I've had before, but Del Posto's broke the mold. So creamy, and yet so savory at the same time.

                                                                                  If you're in the mood for a cheese course, the pecorino was fantastic. Never had a pecorino anywhere near as good, and the accompaniments complemented it perfectly.

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

                                                                              2. re: jys

                                                                                Re: BHSB. I think the best time to go is in the summer when that season's garden bounty really makes the menu shine. Our first time there was during the summer, and that dinner was superb. The second time we went was in early May, and we left rather disappointed.

                                                                                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                                                1. re: jys

                                                                                  Regarding BHSB: depends on what floats your boat, really - each season has its bounty. For me, one prime time would be fall and winter, as I'm big on root veggies and such - celery root, parnsips, turnips - and the kinds of hearty proteins one associates with the season - duck, venison, etc. My other prime time is early spring - that great, fleeting ephemeral time when ramps, morels, asparagus, fiddleheads, etc start showing up.

                                                                                  March is one of those "in between" months, though. You've got the holdovers from winter and the earliest spring items - spring lamb, of course, is wonderful, and there's still a bit of game meat as well as some good shellfish about, and crawdads are starting to pop up. But the great signs of spring - the ramps and whatnot - haven't quite arrived yet, that's more late April / early May.

                                                                                  So, no, I wouldn't do BHSB in March. I'd plan a trip there in November, December, or early May most likely. Not that you'll get a bad meal any time of year, but I think to feel like I really got my money's worth those would be the big months. But YMMV.

                                                                                  1. re: sgordon

                                                                                    normally i would go in the summer, around early/mid august, but, i'll take what i can get with bhsb right now

                                                                                2. I am coming to the Apple in March. I cannot wait to try WD-50's Tasting Menu-heard so much about it.

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

                                                                                  1. i'm thinking about checking out kosher cuisine. It's not something that's so...abundant in Vancouver. Also, anyone know how long the tasting menu takes at BH@SB?

                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: jys

                                                                                      Do you mean Jewish cuisine, or specifically kosher cuisine? Because, for example, Katz's has great pastrami but is not kosher.

                                                                                      1. re: Pan

                                                                                        i mean jewish. It's Katz actually good? Or is it just a tourist place? i was thinking about getting a corned beef sandwich there

                                                                                        1. re: jys

                                                                                          No, get pastrami, and yes, it's great! Stand on line, eat the sample slices the cutter gives you, and if you aren't fully satisfied with it, explain why, and the cutter will probably get another slab and give you another sample. Their corned beef is good, but it's their pastrami (and in 2nd place, their brisket, though only if you order it juicy) that are great.

                                                                                          1. re: jys

                                                                                            it's a tourist trap to some, and the holy grail last bastion of great deli to others. the only thing most agree on is it's pricey and the bread is of a low quality.

                                                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                              The bread is unimportant to most pastrami lovers. And if it's really important, you can bring your own. It's not cheap, but what's comparable in Manhattan that's cheaper?

                                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                I disagree about the bread being no good. I actually think it goes very well with the pastrami and stays intact.

                                                                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                  >the only thing most agree on is it's pricey and the bread is of a low quality.

                                                                                                  I'd say the other thing most agree on is that the pastrami is first-rate. And to echo Pan's post, I don't see a lot of people saying they're getting comparable pastrami for much less. Where have you found it?

                                                                                                  1. re: squid kun

                                                                                                    I've found it outside of NY. Our deli isn't in it's prime.

                                                                                                    I'd like to think it's possible to say less than positive things about Katz's without a feeding frenzy of challenges, or rehashing the same debates, but I guess not.

                                                                                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                      And the reason why not is that comparing it to delis outside of New York isn't relevant except for people who either live in or travel to whichever places you're thinking of. This is the Manhattan board.

                                                                                                      1. re: Pan

                                                                                                        I haven't directed anyone to anywhere outside Manhattan.

                                                                                                        Didn't someone ask if Katz's is actually good? I attempted to give a diplomatic answer, but I don't think out of towners should still be bothering with NY Deli pastrami or corned beef.

                                                                                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                          Precisely. Someone asked a question and got responses. And the answer is that it is clearly impossible to avoid the expression of pro and con opinions on Katz's on this board, whereupon visitors have to make up their own minds on whether to go or not.

                                                                                                        2. re: Pan

                                                                                                          I would say anyone asking for good Jewish deli is from somewhere where it is not available. Katz is a place that echos old school New York and they still manage to serve some delicious sandwiches. Old School Jewish Deli may not be as prevalent as it once was but I don't know of another city to do it better

                                                                                                  2. re: jys

                                                                                                    Katz is one of those rare places that both tourists and locals love. I would recommend it to anyone not from NYC. As to what to order, everyone has their choices. Mine is the Tongue but the Pastrami is what they are famous for.

                                                                                                    As to the bread, it is not the best nor the worst in the world and to be honest the meats there are so good the bread is not what you are coming for.

                                                                                              2. Here's my updated (and very most likely finalized) list.

                                                                                                Blue Hill at Stone Barns
                                                                                                Ma Peche
                                                                                                The Modern Bar
                                                                                                Jean Georges
                                                                                                Per Se
                                                                                                Bouchon Bakery
                                                                                                Yakitori Totto
                                                                                                Momofuku Noodle Bar/Milk
                                                                                                WD-50
                                                                                                Del Posto
                                                                                                EMP
                                                                                                Shake Shack (Madison Park location)
                                                                                                Blue Smoke
                                                                                                Doughnut Plant
                                                                                                Levain Bakery
                                                                                                City Bakery
                                                                                                Bar Boulud ( haven't decided if i'll go for brunch or just two pates and boudin noir if its available a la carte)
                                                                                                sullivan street bakery
                                                                                                Kat's Deli
                                                                                                Pizza - still undeicded, but i might try Di Fara...maybe. Now i'm leaning towards Lombardi's again, even though it's a bit of a tourist trap. I suck at decisions

                                                                                                Maybe list
                                                                                                Daniel (if i REALLY enjoy my time at Per Se and Jean Georges, i'll go.)
                                                                                                Cafe Boulud. (again. This depends on my experience at Per Se and JG.)
                                                                                                Bouley (the lunch tasting is a good deal, but, i've got to do some food cost calculating. Right now I might have gone over my loose budget. So, we'll see

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Per Se
                                                                                                10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                                                                                                Cafe Boulud
                                                                                                20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                                                                                                Yakitori Totto
                                                                                                251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                                                                                                Bouchon Bakery
                                                                                                10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                                                                                                Blue Hill
                                                                                                75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                Jean Georges
                                                                                                1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

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

                                                                                                City Bakery
                                                                                                3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

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

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

                                                                                                Levain Bakery
                                                                                                167 W 74th St, New York, NY 10023

                                                                                                Bar Boulud
                                                                                                1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

                                                                                                Ma Peche
                                                                                                15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                                                                                                Doughnut Plant
                                                                                                220 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: jys

                                                                                                  Glad you have Ma Peche in your first list; I had a terrific prix fixe dinner there last night for $55 (foie gras torchon; lobster soup with shrimp; and the best sliced pork chop). Ma Peche also added a real dessert to their menu: a terrific apple tart for $8.

                                                                                                  Sorry that Bouley has gotten bumped to your second list. $36 5 course tasting lunch is a great value. The lunch is offered 6 days a week.

                                                                                                  1. re: ellenost

                                                                                                    i'm going to ma peche for lunch on my 2nd day.

                                                                                                    1. re: jys

                                                                                                      Different menu at lunch for Ma Peche (more casual with sandwiches). I've been loving the dinner menu more since they switched to the more casual lunch menu. They currently have a skirt steak on the lunch menu that I do want to try.

                                                                                                      1. re: lacontessa

                                                                                                        Yes, we all know and have been discussing it. Looks like Bouley has expanded the options for the courses to include things like Dover Sole. Still even for $45, a 5-course tasting lunch is a great value.

                                                                                                    2. re: jys

                                                                                                      also, going for pizza. Either Di Fara or Lombardi's. Might change my mind about where to go later on. So many places, so little time

                                                                                                      1. re: jys

                                                                                                        You seem to have a pretty nice list. But I'm curious why you have Yakitori Totto as you're from Vancouver. If you want to eat yakitori, I think Tori Shin is a better experience (though Totto is also good).

                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                        Yakitori Totto
                                                                                                        251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                                                                                                        1. re: jys

                                                                                                          Just curious, what part of town are you staying and will you have a refrigerator?

                                                                                                        2. Prune (brunch or even dinner) - VERY good and very local. Get there early or you'll have to wait. This is my favorite brunch spot. It's also been featured in "No Reservations" in New York.

                                                                                                          Clinton Street Baking Co- Best pancakes, no matter what anyone says otherwise. Just excellent! If you can go during the week, you'll probably sit down immediately.

                                                                                                          WD-50: very inventive, definitely go for the tasting menu.

                                                                                                          Per Se- I love this place! If you can get in (or have an Amex card with concierge service) definitely go.

                                                                                                          Daniel- so, so in my opinion. The quality of the food may be good, but it's just not as inventive for me. As an alternative, I'd suggest Veritas.

                                                                                                          NY Steak- try Quality Meats, it's very consistent and they have good wine list.

                                                                                                          Degustation- downtown, 10 course small bites menu. Not very expensive. The head chef was there last time I went and he explained how he comes up with all the dishes. You sit a very large counter and watch the chef cook in front of you.

                                                                                                          Socarrat- best paella. Also has a good drink list (my favorite is their sangria).

                                                                                                          BLUE HILL- STONE BARNS!!! This place is worth the trip. I just went on Valentine's day and it's perfect! Try their Sunday lunch, it is to die for. I prefer this location over the one in Manhattan and will drive out of my way from the city just to go up there for the experience. The service is not stuffy, food is from the property, both the sommeliers know their wines and KEEP TRACK of the wines you order from previous meals so when you come back they'll ask "madam, would you like to stick with the Chablis again or would you like something different this time?". Just perfect.

                                                                                                          Maz Mezcal- on the Upper East Side, great margaritas (my favorite). I like to sit at the bar, order a margarita and get their fajitas (also my favorite!).

                                                                                                          Atlantic Grill- great seafood. I always get the lobster. Popular with UES locals.

                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                          Per Se
                                                                                                          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                                                                                                          Veritas
                                                                                                          43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                          Quality Meats
                                                                                                          57 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

                                                                                                          Maz Mezcal
                                                                                                          316 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

                                                                                                          Socarrat
                                                                                                          259 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                          Clinton Street Baking Co.
                                                                                                          4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                                                                                                          Atlantic Grill
                                                                                                          49 W 64th St, New York, NY 10023

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: citykid426

                                                                                                            Going to Per Se for salon
                                                                                                            Veritas is closed

                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                            Per Se
                                                                                                            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                                                                                                            Veritas
                                                                                                            43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                          2. Katz's deli is very touristy in my opinion.
                                                                                                            For excellent salmon and cream cheese, I would try Russ and Daughters, also on the Lower East Side (just a few blocks away). You can only get stuff to go, but why not buy something and go to the park (or in my case, Sunshine Cinema for an independent film).

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: citykid426

                                                                                                              Tourists go to Katz's because it oozes New York feeling and history and is world-famous for its pastrami. If you don't like their pastrami, say so, but the fact that tourists go there is no evidence of anything other than its fame.

                                                                                                            2. By the way, the Second Avenue Deli is kosher.

                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                              Second Avenue Deli
                                                                                                              1442 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: citykid426

                                                                                                                Kosher but open every Saturday and thus not acceptably kosher to many Orthodox Jews. I say that not to debate because I don't take a position on what's acceptably kosher, but only to point out a fact.

                                                                                                              2. Damn I loved that place....

                                                                                                                1. report #1. this will be lacking in the details. i don't have the photos with me right now, just my memory.

                                                                                                                  I went to blue hill at stone barns on wednesday, to start my gastro tour. I enjoyed it. Had the traditional amuse buche. Veggies from the garden, beet burger, etc.

                                                                                                                  overall, i thought the food was good. There were hits and misses, and i found that most were salty, but not, send back salty. the service was flawless. I had better service there than Jean Georges and Per Se.

                                                                                                                  I also went to Shake Shack. Burger was fine, but I didn't see what the hype was. i'm going to go back and give it another try.

                                                                                                                  Jean Georges - I'm thinking about going back before I leave nyc, cause, the food was awesome. Their bread sucked, but, you don't go to a 3 michelin starred restaurant for bread. I had the foie brulee to start, the confit leg of chicken as a main, and citrus dessert to finish. Very good. i also got to meet Jean Georges. Didn't get to take a pic with him, but meeting him was a pleasure.

                                                                                                                  Per Se...letdown, to be honest. Food was fine, not great. The Gougere and Salmon Cornet were awesome, but that was it. The foie was not the best i've had, nor anything close to the best. Maybe its just my newly discovered preference for hot foie. I had the pork belly as well. All day braised with the smallest radish i had ever seen. The flavor of the pork reminded me of fried spam. I don't mean it in an offensive way towards Per Se, but it was just a memory thing i guess.

                                                                                                                  I also went to Bouchon Bakery. The tomato soup i had was fine, just tasted like pureed san marz tomato puree with stock. The cheese sandwich however, was great. I didn't expect to enjoy the sandwich very much, but i really enjoyed it. WD-50 is next, followed by the Modern Bar Room, Daniel, Del Posto, and EMP. I'm thinking about going for the tasting at Babbo.

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Per Se
                                                                                                                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                                                                                                                  Bouchon Bakery
                                                                                                                  10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                                                                                                                  Babbo
                                                                                                                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                                  Jean Georges
                                                                                                                  1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

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

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: jys

                                                                                                                    Shake Shack "works" for me because I like the buttered potato bun, a thin well salted fatty hamburger patty, that nice crust they get by doing the smash burger technique, and the sauce. Your mileage may vary if that is not what you seek in a burger. I've also had burgers there that were cooked slightly past medium and didn't have the right crust (not sure if that is what you experienced).

                                                                                                                    If you like grilled cheese sandwiches, the one at the Breslin is amazing.

                                                                                                                    Don't do the tasting at Babbo. Order a la carte:
                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/527074

                                                                                                                    More on dishes at Babbo:
                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/754619
                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/583928
                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701188
                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/563179
                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/543101
                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/524042

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

                                                                                                                    The Breslin
                                                                                                                    20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

                                                                                                                    1. re: jys

                                                                                                                      "I also went to Shake Shack. Burger was fine, but I didn't see what the hype was. i'm going to go back and give it another try."

                                                                                                                      No reason to use up another meal in NY there unless it's convenient. You may just fall into that group who thinks it's fine, but doesn't get the hype.