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Suggestions - Upper East Side

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Hi all,
My husband is headed to the city this weekend to participate in a fundraiser in memory of a friend of ours. He will be there from Saturday afternoon until Sunday afternoon and will have some free time, particularly Saturday night. He loves to eat and to try new things and is looking for any tips/suggestions folks might have. He is staying on East 92nd and would particularly be interested in some good places to grab a drink with his buddy who will also be in town. Are there other places in/around that neighborhood that shouldn't be missed while he is exploring during the down time? I appreciate any input! Thanks!

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  1. Budget? Types of cuisine? Is he interested in good/interesting wine and/or beer?

    I like the bar a Cafe d'Alsace for an excellent beer list.

    12 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I will definitely pass along Cafe d'Alsace! He is interested in ANY kind of cuisine and loves interesting beers and wines. We live upstate so I think he would enjoy any kind of food experience that he can't have in our area (Saratoga Springs). As for budget, anything that would be considered "moderate" would work. Suggestions can range from a good place to grab a bagel, to an interesting Ethiopian place, a specialty food market, etc. in addition to a great place for drinks. I know it's a broad range, but since he doesn't have set plans I think he might work around any suggestions that come from this board.
      Thanks again:-)

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      Cafe d'Alsace
      1695 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

      1. re: arp29

        Cafe d'Alsace is quite good for beer and wine, and the food is good. I like eating at the bar. I also like the bar at Parlor Steakhouse - good martinis, oysters, etc.

        San Matteo has by far (far) the best pizza on the upper east side, it's a delightful little Italian place with excellent salads, antipasti, salumi, etc. They just got a wine & beer license.

        There is an Ethiopian restaurant on York Ave close to where he's staying, but I don't think it's worth a meal on a short trip.

        I also really like Cascabel Taqueria, and nearby is Wa Jeal, very good Szechuan food.

        You can read the menus of all these places on menupages.com

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        Cafe d'Alsace
        1695 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

        Parlor Steakhouse
        1600 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10128

        Wa Jeal
        1588 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

        San Matteo
        1739 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          Wa Jeal is only so-so. It certainly does not belong in the "not to be missed category."

          1. re: scoopG

            I have been to Wa Jeal many times in the last several months, and have had consistently good meals. The kitchen is firing on all cylinders. I like it as much as Grand Sichuan on 54th & 2nd, and more than Szechuan Chalet. The OP is asking about upper east side restaurants.

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            Wa Jeal
            1588 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

            Szechuan Chalet
            1395 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              I understand, I just disagree. Wa Jeal is not worth it IMO. Based on my one visit to Szechuan Chalet, I think you can get a better experience there if you order right.

              1. re: scoopG

                I found Wa Jeel to be very, very average. At the most, a mixed bag. Some dishes had good proteins while the accompanying sauce was bland, and visa versa. I'm with ScoopG, it's not a "have to be there" kind of place.

                1. re: scoopG

                  I've been to both many times, and to Szechuan Chalet a few times with a friend of the house. I still think Wa Jeal is better.

                  You've only been to Szechuan Chalet once - try it some more and see what you think.

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                  Wa Jeal
                  1588 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                  Szechuan Chalet
                  1395 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    Would love to read your more specific notes/reviews on their dishes...

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/647302

                    1. re: scoopG

                      I have to agree with Guts, Wa Jeal is consistently good and the best Chinese of any sort on the UES. I don't know if it is because they know how I like my food but it has been well spiced on almost every visit.

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                      Wa Jeal
                      1588 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                      1. re: MVNYC

                        Consistently good at what dishes?

                        1. re: scoopG

                          Let's see - last week we had the following dishes, IIRC, and they were all very good:

                          Pork Belly with cucumber in chili garlic-soy sauce
                          spicy cucumber salad
                          string beans with minced pork
                          Cellophane Noodles with chili-minced pork
                          lamb with chili and cumin
                          ma paul tofu

                          1. re: scoopG

                            I mix it up here but I get the following dishes on a frequent basis

                            Ox Tongue and Tripe in Hot Oil
                            Szechuan Dumplins in Hot Oil
                            Diced Rabbit and Peanut
                            Ma Paul Tofu (sometimes with the fish too)
                            Thousand Chili Chicken (whatever they call the Chong Qing)

                            The dishes Guts mentioned are also usually good.

        2. Beers and a sandwich platter at The Heidelberg would be fine. 1648 Second Avenue between 85th and 86th Streets. http://www.heidelbergrestaurant.com/

          4 Replies
          1. re: Up With Olives

            The food at the Heidelberg is mediocre at best, and their beer selection is pretty bad.

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              I've always liked the Jaeger Schnitzel and the potato pancakes at Heidelberg. Since I don't drink beer, I can't comment on their beer selection.

            2. re: Up With Olives

              Heidelberg is especially a cozy place to go on a cold winter's night. Funny that the resident nay-sayer gutsofsteel has nothing positive to say about Heidelberg... it's ALWAYS jam-packed, not an empty seat to be had on weekend evenings. hmmmm, guess not to many people agree with ya there, Guts

              1. re: Tracy Au Lait

                McDonald's is packed too...does that make it good?

                Heidelberg is fun, but the food is really not very good.

            3. Cascabel Taqueria is very good and is a nice little place - albeit, very little! www.nyctacos.com

              2 Replies
              1. re: bkfan16

                No, it's not very little, since they moved down the block to a bigger space.

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  Didn't know that...guess I don't really wander 2nd Ave much in the winter - I'm on the west side of the street, too...and with the subway construction, it's hard to see much across the way.

              2. Zebu Grill on East 92nd btw 1st and 2nd for Brazilian and pretty good caipirinhas

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                Zebu Grill
                305 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128

                1. If he has a sweet tooth, the brooklyn blackout cupcake at Two Little Red Hens is not to be missed.

                  And I think my favorite bagel place is Tal Bagels on 86th between 1st and 2nd.

                  As far as bars...there are soooo many along 2nd Avenue. Nothing stands out to me in particular as a must see but then again, I usually look for the cheapest pitchers and best specials!

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

                  1. Beyoglu serves delicious Turkish food, although I can't speak to its authenticity. The complimentary bread is warm and fresh, and I always order the vegetarian platter. Everything else I've tried is great too, and portions are generous.

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                    Beyoglu
                    200 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028

                    1. Sunday morning... if he wants a big breakfast/brunch... he should go to Eli's Vinegar Factory just around he corner on 91st between York and 1st.On the second floor there's a rather rustic spot serving delicious stuff at the usual Eli price. -:)

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                      Eli's Vinegar Factory
                      431 E 91st St, New York, NY 10128

                      1. Thank you so much for your suggestions! I'll report back!

                        1. I like Hummus Kitchen on 2nd Ave & 84th, especially for lunch - skip the wraps and go for the Hummus Kitchen platter (with 4 varieties + pita).
                          I vote 'no' on Cascabel - when I went, the tacos were underwhelming - I don't understand all the hype about that place.

                          -----
                          Hummus Kitchen
                          1613 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: taxigourmet

                            I really like the tacos (and other food) at Cascabel....over at least 8-10 visits in the last 6 months.

                          2. i agree with the first response that Cascabel Taqueria @ 80th Street & 2nd Ave is a fun place to go. delicious food, really fun atmosphere & a few large screens above the bar to keep tabs on whatever sports might be happening---> 212-717-8226 http://www.nyctacos.com/ ....however always crowded in the evening

                            for mexican food, i'd also suggest MxCo @ 78th St and 2nd Ave -----> 212-249-6080 http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/... .....good food and FANTASTIC margaritas: perfectly tart, if you don't care for the sickly sweet margarita mix so many places dish out

                            but my first suggestion for a memorable cocktail is the Central Park Boathouse. a quick jaunt into the park and a very civilized experience in a historical establishment. their draft beer selection is slim pickins but the bar staff is above par & professional ....they can mix up just about any concoction you request. but they keep erratic hours during the winter months and sometimes close way too early, so i would DEFINITELY call before making the journey over there. -------> 212.517.2233 http://www.thecentralparkboathouse.com/

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                            Central Park Boathouse
                            Central Park East Drive E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021