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l
LRTWR Feb 2, 2011 06:48 AM

Hi,

I'm visiting NYc from Europe for the first time in a few months and i'm doing some planning. I've read so much about lots of restaurants/burgerjoints/bakery's etc My questions is which ones must I absolutly visist.

I'm not interessted in expensive and very fancy restaurants. So far on my list:

- Carnegie Dell
- Shake Shack
- The Candy Shop
- Gray's Papaya
- Zabar's ( a shop, I know )
- Levain Bakery

Should I skip any of these?

I must add i'm not in to fish at all. Also i'd like to eat in Harlem.

Hope someone can help me, thnx in advance!

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

Gray's Papaya
539 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018

  1. p
    Pan Feb 4, 2011 06:04 PM

    I think you should go to one or more bakeries that feature American cakes, pies, etc. One that comes to my mind immediately is Two Little Red Hens. They have very good cheesecake, and New York cheesecake is something unique. I like some of their other items, such as their squares (lime/coconut, lemon, chocolate/pecan, linzer) even more. I also second the recommendation of Kee's chocolates. I don't know if there's anything uniquely American or New York-style about them; I think of them as sometimes fusiony takes on classic chocolate truffles. Either way, they sure are good!

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

    1. JungMann Feb 3, 2011 06:29 AM

      - Carnegie Deli is a fine choice for a NYC deli. Others may recommend Katz's or Second Avenue, but I still love Carnegie Deli's Woody Allen sandwich or their Reuben.
      - Shake Shack is definitely a tasty burger and a look into a beloved treat for many New Yorkers
      - Gray's Papaya or Papaya King are good examples of the standard NYC dog. I'm not a huge fan and more often get my hot dogs from Crif Dogs, as do quite a number of younger tourists judging from my past several visits there
      - I do a lot of my shopping at Zabar's, but in the end, it's a grocery store. I'm not certain how amazing it is. They do have a good cheese section, but Murray's would indeed be better.
      - Levain Bakery's chocolate chip cookies get a ton of praise, but I personally hate them. I find them heavy and too chocolatey, but I say that as someone who doesn't care for chocolates. I would be far more interested in trying some of the very interesting artisanal chocolates and macarons that are spreading across the city such as the ones one might find at Kee's Chocolates.

      In Harlem, I'd visit Charles' Country Pan-Fried Chicken, Amy Ruth's or Make My Cake if you're looking for American Soul food. There are also lots of Jamaican and African places to choose from.

      -----
      Kee's Chocolates
      80 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

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

      Carnegie Deli
      854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

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

      Make My Cake
      2380 7th Ave, New York, NY 10030

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

      Gray's Papaya
      539 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018

      Papaya King
      179 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

      1. daffyduck Feb 2, 2011 10:54 PM

        if you like chocolates don't miss kee's chocolates! i also like minetta tavern too. you can sit at the bar and enjoy their bone marrow and burger (it is rather pricey though).

        1. t
          tldmatrix Feb 2, 2011 03:25 PM

          momofuko ssam bar
          kefi
          pies and thighs
          blue smoke
          jean georges for lunch
          the breslin
          john dory oyster bar
          osteria morini
          del posto for lunch
          http://teenchefteddy.blogspot.com/

          1. b
            bkfan16 Feb 2, 2011 09:20 AM

            I would vote for Papaya King over Gray's Papaya. There is also a Shake Shack across the street from it and Patsy's Pizzeria is just another (not even) 2 miles further uptown. If you're coming in a few months, weather should be nice enough to spend the afternoon in Central Park so you can even hit all 3 spots in one day.

            -----
            Gray's Papaya
            539 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018

            Papaya King
            179 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

            1. k
              kathryn Feb 2, 2011 07:47 AM

              Where in Europe are you traveling from? Italy? Spain? UK?

              I'd say that if you can, you should try NY style pizza, bagels & smoked salmon, perhaps pickles, an egg cream, pastrami on rye, a steakhouse (if you can afford it), maybe a fancy cocktail (assuming you're not from a city where this is available like London/Paris/etc.), and a big American breakfast. And maybe some non-European ethnic food you cannot find at home?

              I know you said you're not into fish (is it the smell? texture?), but it might be worth it to stop into Russ & Daughters and just try a taste or two of their smoked salmon. I'm not sure what kinds of smoked salmon you have available to you in your home city.

              Regarding a steakhouse, perhaps stop in for a drink at Keens, maybe try something off the pub room menu (cheaper), and soak in the atmosphere and history.

              Not sure what Candy Shop you are referring to. Economy Candy? Dylan's? Other?

              Like thew, I'd say Katz's over Carnegie. It's worth the trip. Patrami on rye, mustard.

              I love Shake Shack but yes, do keep in mind, it's a thin patty with special sauce and only one style of burger available in NYC.

              2nd Dinosaur BBQ for pulled pork and Amy Ruth's for fried chicken and waffles -- I like to eat it with butter, maple syrup, and hot sauce for a salty/sweet/spicy combination.

              Here are some threads on things I think NYC is good at, like brunch, bagels/smoked salmon, pickles, egg creams, pastrami, pizza, mixology, "ethnic" niches, street food etc.

              Best breakfast and brunch:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/707772

              Please help me eat during a month in new york
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/716238

              Don't leave NY without eating these foods
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610739

              Pizza in NYC
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/692820#5454962

              BTW, I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333

              Foreign Street Grub -- there's probably ethnic food in there you can't find at home
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701278

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

              Pickle Guys
              49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

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

              Economy Candy
              108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

              Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
              777 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027

              35 Replies
              1. re: kathryn
                l
                LRTWR Feb 2, 2011 09:36 AM

                Thanks all you guys for your anwsers! I'll explore them all on the net first and i'll see which ones i'll visits.

                To awnser Kathryn's questions:

                I'm coming in from Amsterdam and we get lots of different foods around here from different cultures.

                I don't like fish because of the taste. Be it Salmon, Shrimp or whatever. When I eat any kind of fish I get the same taste in my mouth as if I where smelling raw fish even when it's spiced. Deep fried takes it a way little bit, but still not a fan.

                Thanks again all of you for your help!

                1. re: LRTWR
                  t
                  tpigeon Feb 2, 2011 01:06 PM

                  What attracted you to zabars exactly?

                  1. re: tpigeon
                    l
                    LRTWR Feb 2, 2011 01:55 PM

                    It was recommended to me as a must see/visit place. I am a big cheese fan, which holland is famous for, so i really want to see if the cheese is as good as I read everywhere. Just all in all a quality goods shop is what is seems to me. O and ofcourse it was in Seinfeld. But if you tell me it's nothing special, I won't go there just for zabars.

                    1. re: LRTWR
                      p
                      pauliface Feb 2, 2011 02:05 PM

                      If you like cheese, go to Joe's Dairy for their smoked mozzarella.

                      Also, fairway market has a nice cheese section.
                      At fairway you can construct a lovely european style picnic lunch, but with american ingredients.

                      Do you like falafel? Try mamoun's on Macdougal.

                      -----
                      Joe's Dairy
                      156 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                      1. re: pauliface
                        f
                        FoodDabbler Feb 2, 2011 03:19 PM

                        If you (OP) go to Mamoun's, which I also recommend, go to Murray's on Bleecker for the cheese.

                        If you go to Katz's, which I also recommend, go to the Essex St. market for the cheese shops (and other delights).

                        In a perfect world if you went to Katz's and didn't object to fish, you could go to Russ and Daughters. As it stands, though, you should avoid it like the sable.

                        1. re: pauliface
                          p
                          pauliface Feb 2, 2011 03:37 PM

                          It looks like you are after cheap and classic favorites. So...

                          There is another, erm, "delicacy" that is specific to New York (and the general tri-state area).
                          It is what they call "chow mein," which is not really the same thing as chow mein anywhere else.
                          I tend to crave it as I don't live there anywhere else.

                          The word 'chow' literally means noodles (I think), and so it's supposed to be a noodle dish. But in NY it's not. It's a lovely concoction of celery, onions, meat ( I prefer chicken chow mein) and a garlicky white sauce. Served over rice and sometimes sprinkled with some skinny fried noodles on top.
                          A cheap and delicious snack/meal you can get at any chinese takeout hole-in-the-wall. Also they still make the big fat tasty egg rolls in NY, not those skinny 'spring roll' affairs.

                          Anybody out there (who shares my love of the dish) have a recommendation for a place to get good chicken chow mein?

                          1. re: pauliface
                            s
                            small h Feb 2, 2011 08:30 PM

                            <The word 'chow' literally means noodles (I think)>

                            Nope, mein means noodles. Chow means stir-fried. Or maybe just fried. And the chow mein in Manhattan does have noodles - those skinny fried (chowed!) ones on top.

                            1. re: small h
                              p
                              pauliface Feb 2, 2011 09:54 PM

                              Ah, I knew it was one or the other. Oops.

                              But it's not a noodle-based dish like it is elsewhere, resembling what to a New Yorker looks like lo mein.

                              Anyhow, my main point here is that NYC chow mein is unique, and tasty.

                              Anyhow, here in SF where I live now, and everywhere outside NYC, what you get when you order chow mein looks to me like lo mein from NYC. But NYC chow mein is hard to find in most places.

                              1. re: pauliface
                                thew Feb 3, 2011 03:29 AM

                                we have had this conversation elsewhere - but chow mein in NY does have noodles. they are deep fried and crunchy and under the meat and veg and stuff. it is hong kong style chow mein.(and can be found on the west coast as hong kong chow mein) it looks like this photo.

                                 
                                1. re: thew
                                  s
                                  small h Feb 3, 2011 03:54 AM

                                  I would call those pan-fried noodles.

                                  1. re: small h
                                    thew Feb 3, 2011 04:53 AM

                                    i would too - in english. in chinese i'd call them "chow mein"

                                    1. re: thew
                                      s
                                      small h Feb 3, 2011 05:45 AM

                                      Then how do you account for the presence of both chow mein AND pan-fried noodles on the same menu (I've chosen this one at random, but I've seen it many times)? If they are synonyms, why list them twice? And price them differently?

                                      http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

                                      1. re: small h
                                        thew Feb 3, 2011 06:45 AM

                                        i would have to see what charlie mom or any of those palces means by both those dishes before i "account" for it.

                                        chow mein means fried noodles. there is obviously a lot of room for variation under that name.

                                        1. re: thew
                                          s
                                          small h Feb 3, 2011 07:06 AM

                                          Indeed. I can't eat two entrees at one sitting, or I'd march right over there and order both. But I'll tell you what - I see several places that serve both dishes on the Upper East Side, where I'll be eating lunch for the next 14 Fridays. So I'll do a compare and contrast. But it'll take some time!

                                          1. re: small h
                                            thew Feb 3, 2011 07:28 AM

                                            where on the UES? that's my 'hood

                                            1. re: thew
                                              s
                                              small h Feb 3, 2011 07:35 AM

                                              71st between 2nd & 3rd. Not that there are any restaurants on that block (except for Per Lei & Grace Trattoria, which are too rich for my blood). But somewhere in a 10ish block radius of there, is where I'll be, eating.

                                              1. re: small h
                                                thew Feb 3, 2011 07:42 AM

                                                thats 3-4 blocks from my house.

                                                i like tatany 72 for homestyle japanese on 73 and 2nd

                                                1. re: thew
                                                  s
                                                  small h Feb 3, 2011 07:49 AM

                                                  I will check it out, thank you. I walk by there frequently. I like Szechuan Chalet, Helen's (further afield, on Lex between 62nd & 63rd), and Beijing Wok, believe it or not. I made a concerted effort in the fall to find the best seafood noodle soup in the area. Beijing Wok beat all comers, even Tang, which I thought would be the best.

                                                  1. re: small h
                                                    thew Feb 3, 2011 08:05 AM

                                                    i don't know beijing wok - where is it? i loves me some noodle soup.

                                                    i can't warm up to szechaun chalet - much prefer wa jeal on 82 st, though thats further afield for you.

                                                    1. re: thew
                                                      s
                                                      small h Feb 3, 2011 08:13 AM

                                                      Beijing Wok is a grab & go, looks-like-nothing cheap Chinese on 2nd between 69th & 70th. The kind of place where you can get fried chicken wings. And, oddly, really good seafood noodle soup. I had one miserable lunch at Wa Jeal, shrimp in Robitussin sauce (I think the menu called it something else). I am planning giving the place another try at some point.

                                  2. re: thew
                                    p
                                    pauliface Feb 4, 2011 06:10 AM

                                    Thew: What you show in your picture is absolutely 100% NOT what I am talking about.

                                    1. re: pauliface
                                      thew Feb 4, 2011 06:24 AM

                                      i understand that. i know what you are talking about, but i'm saying that very noodle dish IS served as chow mein in NYC.

                                      1. re: thew
                                        p
                                        pauliface Feb 4, 2011 06:36 AM

                                        well that's not what I get when I order chow mein in NYC.

                                        1. re: pauliface
                                          thew Feb 4, 2011 06:41 AM

                                          i didnt say all chow mein is that - much is indeed a knockoff of that that sprinkles noodles on top instead of having them underneath - but it does exist as the hong king style noodle dish in chinatown

                                          1. re: thew
                                            p
                                            pauliface Feb 4, 2011 06:43 AM

                                            Okay fine.

                                            Again, my point is that what you call the knockoff is what many new yorkers grew up with, and it's unique to the area, and it's really really good, and the OP might want to try it.

                                            1. re: pauliface
                                              thew Feb 4, 2011 06:48 AM

                                              50 year old native NYer here.

                                              i'm not knocking your, or anyone's, love for the dish - just taking issue with the statement that in NYC "it's not a noodle-based dish like it is elsewhere"

                                              even they style you are talking about is ALWAYS served with the crunchy noodles to sprinkle on top......

                                              1. re: thew
                                                p
                                                pauliface Feb 4, 2011 07:08 AM

                                                Okay this is my last post on this, you are driving me nuts.

                                                I mentioned the crunchy noodles in my first description. They are sprinkled on top. But it is not the same lo-mein-like, noodle-based dish that you get everywhere else.

                                                You've already said you have to go to china town for it. I'm talking about what every tri-state area kid grew up with in NYC in the 60s and 70s, if they were not actually chinese. And you still get that at any hole-in-the-wall takeout place on 8th avenue or wherever, if you don't go hunting down the genuine hong-kong-style article.

                                                END OF TRANSMISSION.

                              2. re: pauliface
                                p
                                Pan Feb 4, 2011 06:01 PM

                                I wouldn't say there's an important reason for visitors to New York to seek out old-fashioned American-Chinese chow mein. My favorite chow mein in New York is the Beef and Chinese Broccoli Chow Mein at Congee Village, but that's real Cantonese chow mein. And while it's good, and I never object when someone in my party orders it, and order it myself if it's something a group I'm part of wants, it is by no means among my favorite dishes at Congee Village.

                              3. re: pauliface
                                p
                                Pan Feb 4, 2011 05:58 PM

                                I have to demur on Mamoun's. Their original Manhattan branch on MacDougal St. is cheap and fine, but it is not nearly as good as:

                                (1) The great sit-down food available at Gazala Place (though they also do takeout), where I've probably had the best falafel I've yet tried.
                                (2) Takeout from Taim (they do have some space to eat in, but not much).

                                Taim is in the Village and certainly reasonable to walk to from Murray's, which FoodDabbler mentions.

                                -----
                                Gazala Place
                                709 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                              4. re: LRTWR
                                a
                                addictedtolunch Feb 2, 2011 04:41 PM

                                There's an anti-Zabar's bias on this site. Maybe because the place is big, renowned, and has no hole-in-the-wall appeal. (Same about Luger's here- everyone wants to de-throne the king). Go there-it's fun and the quality is very high as a whole.

                                1. re: addictedtolunch
                                  t
                                  tpigeon Feb 3, 2011 03:51 AM

                                  I have nothing against zabars btw. I was just trying to root out the reason they were going so the OP could be made aware of other specialty shops for the specific items they were looking for.

                                2. re: LRTWR
                                  c
                                  City Kid Feb 3, 2011 09:38 AM

                                  I believe that Zabar's is a very special place -- a very New York place -- and well worth a visit for an out-of-towner.

                              5. re: LRTWR
                                k
                                kathryn Feb 2, 2011 03:10 PM

                                Anything maybe you want to try, an ethnic cuisine not found in Amsterdam?

                                1. re: LRTWR
                                  f
                                  FoodDabbler Feb 2, 2011 03:34 PM

                                  I've spent time in Amsterdam, and eaten well there. Still there are things you'll find in New York that you won't find there. If you like cheese you should try some American cheeses at Murray's (which I recommend elsewhere in this thread as well), or at Saxelby's at the Essex Street Market. There's also Formaggio in the same market, but I don't know how strong their American cheese selection is (as opposed to their main store in Cambridge, MA, with a strong New England selection and a reasonable California one). You'll find a wider range of Chinese and even Italian food than you'll find in Amsterdam (unless something big has happened there in the last few months). You'll even find better Indian food (but not Indonesian) even though that's a cuisine that's not a Manhattan strength.

                                  But you won't find places, even in Greenwich Village, alas, with, ahem, interesting aromas floating out.

                                  -----
                                  Essex Street Market
                                  120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                                  1. re: LRTWR
                                    MVNYC Feb 2, 2011 10:43 PM

                                    Definitely go to Zabars. It is a great market and one I think all visitors to NYC should go to.

                                2. thew Feb 2, 2011 07:09 AM

                                  skip carnagie - go to katz's - have pastrami

                                  i'm not crazy about shake shack - but i prefer large burgers to fast food style . for the style they are they are very good. just not my preference for a burger

                                  i like papaya king better than grey's papaya

                                  if you want to eat in harlem a few suggestions:

                                  dinosaur BBQ - this is food you cannot get in europe
                                  amy ruths for fried chicken and waffles
                                  yolandas tamales (its a cart)
                                  Mofongo del Valle on b'way and 135th

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