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Mar 12, 2011 04:22 AM

Inspire me New York


Heading to Manhattan from London (UK) for 5 nights over Easter weekend. Really want to be inspired by the food. Last time I was there is 10 years ago... so a bit lost for ideas.

Planning on one trad French fill at Daniel (is it worth it? Always wanted to try it after reading The Fourth Star, though I know this came out yonks ago).

Then need some more ideas...
For those of you who know the London scene, I love the food at places like Ottolenghi, Providores, Caravan, Texture, Maze, Salt Yard, - all have seriously creative chefs/kitchens.
And for atmosphere The Wolseley, La Petite Maison, Dean Street Townhouse, River Cafe - which all do knock-out food too (though a bit less innovative).

Not really interested in swanky and expensive, just big atmosphere and great food.
Heard The Lion is the happening place to be? True?

Would also like a good sushi rec.
And... is Momofuku any good? Loved the book (which has been a hit here in the UK) but heard it's a victim of its own success.

Staying opposite Central Park, but happy to explore all areas. There are four of us, ranging from 50 to 20, so places that suit all please (ie no thumping music, likewise nothing to staid).



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  1. i'm not familiar with the dining scene in London, so i won't comment on that, but i will say that Momofuku is more than "any good". there are several restaurants under the Momofuku name, so check the website to see which one interests you most. Ko is the most difficult to get a reservation for. the fried chicken dinner at Noodle Bar is fun, but it's very casual and would be a lot of food for just four people. i don't care for their ramen so much. haven't been to Ssam Bar, but i'd like to.

    about your location, you should mention what side of the park you'll be on, as there may be some hyper-local spots nearby that shouldn't be missed.

    1. I've been to Momofuku Ssam Bar for the Bo Ssam. As the place filled up, the noise level became so hideously high, that shouting was the only way to communicate around the table. Not my idea of a pleasant dining experience.

      Bo Ssam photos:

      We've also been to Noodle Bar for the chicken dinner. As coasts said, it's a boatload of chicken. There were four of us and we took home quite a bit of leftovers. The noise level was high but not as horrible as at Ssam Bar.

      Photos of Chicken Dinner at Noodle Bar:

      We haven't been to London in ten years. Presuming the Maze in your list is Gordon Ramsay's casual spot, we do have one here in The London Hotel. We had dinner there a couple of years ago and liked the food a lot.

      Along those same lines, I would recommend the Bar Room at The Modern, in MoMa, the more casual side of The Modern Dining Room. Delicious food, a very good wine list, excellent service, and a pleasantly upbeat vibe without any thumping music.

      Bar Room at The Modern photos:

      For Italian food, I highly recommend Maialino. The eponymous maialino-al-forno is THE thing to have (perfect for 4 people) -- though everything else on the menu is equally wonderful. Friendly service. Casual and very pleasant atmospherics. It's extremely popular, so getting a reservation can prove difficult. They accept reservations 28 days in advance. If you want the maialino, be sure to tell them when you book, and they will reserve one for you.

      Maialino photos here:

      and here:

      8 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        Thanks. Love the sound of Bar Room. Not so keen on Italian.
        Will look into Momofuku and see which one suits best.

        Location is 2 East 61st Street if that helps for recs.


        1. re: miss chicken wing

          the Food Hall at the Plaza is nearby to where you're staying and probably worth hitting for a drink and snack. it might be less interesting to someone from UK, as it supposedly pales in comparison to Harrod's food court. never been - couldn't say.

          Ma Peche, the only Momofuku spot in midtown, is also not far from where you'll be. the brisket pho-like noodle dish is delicious, as are the sweets from the adjacent Milk Bar.

          just a few blocks east is Serendipity III. they're famous for their desserts, which are done in true American fashion - big, sweet and clunky. these aren't delicate French pastries. it's ice cream sundaes with chocolate cake shoved on top and then piled with whipped cream. it's not for everyone, but be aware that it is nearby. the board typically has plenty to say whenever this comes up - usually not good.

          places to avoid include Tao, Serafina, Lavo, Philippe, and Persephone. don't waste a meal at any of them, despite proximity.

          Serendipity 3
          225 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022

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

          Plaza Food Hall
          1 W 59th St, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: coasts

            Serendipity and the food hall at the Plaza? Talk about overpriced tourist traps.

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              Cakes at Serendipity are $8 or $9. The more expensive options, averaging around $15, are big enough to share. That's not overpriced. You just don't like the place. I mentioned that it's controversial, but it is close to where they're staying and it is widely popular.

              The Food Hall - again, I wouldn't say it is overpriced at all. I work nearby and enjoy having a lunch there or a glass of wine at the end of the day. flatbreads are $10-14. the hot and cold apps, most of which are quite large, are $8. it'd be a fine place to have a drink and a snack, just as i said.

              1. re: coasts

                I would never, ever send a tourist to a basement of a hotel. Why not something a bit more New York - y?

                Ssam Bar is a good option, but don't do one of the reserved dinners - just go.

                I would choose Cafe Boulud or Bouley over Daniel,

                Fatty Crab is very loud, but not far from where you're staying and the food is good. Malaysian.

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

                Fatty Crab
                643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  I, too, would choose Cafe Boulud rather than Daniel. We just had another sensational dinner there.

                  Cafe Boulud photos:


                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    I doubt it if Fatty Crab's "Malaysian" is as good as the good ones in London.

                    Fatty Crab
                    643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                2. re: gutsofsteel

                  I agree. Few people there when we stopped by and we thought it was pricey. What got to me though was the first ingredient in their barbeque sauce for sale at the entrance was corn syrup!

          2. i like momofuku ssam, but was the bo ssam was the least favorite thing ive had there

            1. Since it sounds like you're staying at The Pierre, the closest Momofuku restaurant, and one of my favorites, is Ma Peche. I had a terrific dinner there last evening: lobster, seared foie gras, ricotta gnocchi with truffles, duck, crab salad, and apple tart. Casual atmosphere and great fun. Service is friendly and attentive. Great cocktails too.

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

              1. Some ideas, a variety of cuisines but all doing some innovative food:

                La Silhouette
                Oceana (you can get a basic piece of fish prepared well, but the standouts are the composed dishes)
                Kin Shop

                With regard to The Lion, I've never been and have no desire to go, but it seems pretty well known that its popularity has nothing to do with food.

                251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

                120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020

                31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

                The Lion
                62 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                43 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

                La Silhouette
                362 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019