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Mar 12, 2011 07:54 AM

Please fill in holes for late March weekend for six

My husband so enjoyed his visit to NYC late January (thanks to your great suggestions) that he has invited his two friends and their wives to join us the last weekend in March. Most are not planners, and, the folks from Florida don't want to stand in line and prefer making reservations. This is the first time that we have traveled together so really need your help. We want this to go well and we already know that have some food issues (me--gluten, hubbie--milk products), as well as a wide variety of food preferences represented. Our friends want Italian, and "ethnic." I love French, and the ladies liked the idea of both Bouley's and Bar at the Modern. The guys prefer more casual places.

We have made three reservations (Bouley's, Locanda Verde, Tolache) and really welcome your suggestions. We will be staying at the Wyndham near Penn Station.

It has taken us several weeks of email and phone discussions to get this far. You will love this--my hubbie said "not French" and then I pointed out to him that the wonderful place that he enjoyed so much the end of January--Bar at the Modern--is Alsatian French. Our friends from Florida have heard of it, so that is definitely on our list.

The ladies have overcome the guys anxiety about Bouley's and Bar at the Modern but we now need more casual, less expensive places so they don't grump too much. The guys wouldn't mind food trucks, diners etc. but as I said, one of the wives doesn't want to stand in line and they are from Florida so the weather will seem cold to them.My husband hates crowds so don't know whether Eataly is even something to consider.

After checking several of your earlier suggestions for italian pre-theater (some wouldn't reserve for a party of six, some wouldn't take any reservations, some got so-so reviews or were too expensive etc.), we decided to fit Italian into another meal

Here is our tentative itineary:

2:30 pm lunch at Bouley's
Pick up soup/salad at Whole Foods or similar?
Broadway musical tickets at 8 pm

100th anniversary of Shirtwaist Factory fire in Greenwich Village?
Walk/shop Bleecker Street?
1:30 pm lunch at Locanda Verde (Del Posto lunch is unavailable)
Free museum hours 4-8 pm
8 pm dinner at Bar at the Modern

Visit Ellis Island?
5:30 pm dinner at Tolache
Broadway shows at 8 pm

Self-guided walking tour in LES

So, we need breakfast suggestions for Friday & Sat, suggestions for Italian for Friday or Saturday (is Locanda Verde worth traveling to after Greenwich Village?), suggestions for picnic stuff we can take to Ellis Island (buy along Bleecker street the day before?). If Chinese, where would you recommend in Manhattan? Our friends are not interested in going to the suburbs.

Thanks so much.

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

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  1. Considering where you're staying, look into the Breslin at the Ace Hotel for your Friday breakfast. They don't take reservations and are very crowded on weekends and at dinner time, but weekday breakfast is a slow time. The food is very good and it meets a nice halfway point between casual (it *is* a gastropub, after all) and upscale (they have a Michelin star).

    You can put together a very nice picnic basket along Bleecker.... Be sure to visit Amy's Bread, Murray's Cheese and Faicco's. Those three will set you up quite nicely.

    Locanda Verde is not far from the Village at all, by NY standards. We frequently walk it, but if you don't want to walk, it will be a cheap cab ride.

    Murray's Cheese
    254 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

    260 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

    Amy's Bread
    250 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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

    1. For breakfast on Friday, I highly recommend Maialino. We'd been there for dinner many times, as well as for lunch and brunch, but had breakfast there for the first time a few days ago. (We rarely eat breakfast out.) We sat in the trattoria, which takes reservations. Breakfast is also served in the bar.

      We don't care for breakfast foods (though I'm sure they're well-prepared there), so we ordered prociutto & mozzarella and a salad with celery, fennel, hazelnuts, and pecorino. Dee-licious! Pastries -- brioche with toffee glaze and bomboloni -- were outstanding! And they make a truly fine hot chocolate. As is always the case at Danny Meyer restaurants, service was excellent. It was not super busy so much quieter than at other times (though it's never annoyingly noisy).

      Breakfast at Maialino:

      We've not been to Locanda Verde and I'm not itching to go there because I've heard that the noise level is horrendous, which is one of my restaurant peeves. I would suggest you consider Manzo in Eataly. It's the only sit-down eating spot there that accepts reservations. Its location in the back also means that you won't have people streaming past your table as is the case with several of the other dining venues. The food is excellent, service is very pleasant and professional, and the noise level is conversation-friendly.

      Manzo photos:

      Eataly would, of course, be a place where you can pick up some things for your picnic the next day, for example, salumi, cheese, bread, and pastries.

      Eataly photos:

      I presume it's my self-guided eating tour of the LES that's on your schedule? Enjoy!

      ETA: Btw, just to be accurate, it's Bouley (no 's).

      4 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        Thanks for the reply RGR. Yes, have modified your LES tour to include Babycakes (gluten and dairy free options for hubbie and I). You mentioned in earlier postings that you are making changes to your tour? Is that ready to share?

        I checked Maialino and it does not take online reservations for more than 4 people. Not sure whether call it would be a different story? Hmm. Manzo looks more expensive than both Locanda Verde and Maialino. Am trying to have our other meals be less expensive/fancy than the Bar at the Modern and Bouley's.

        248 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

        Locanda Verde
        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

        2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

        1. re: lacontessa

          The problem that kept me off the computer for 4 months at the end of last year (if curious, I discussed it on my blog) is what's caused the long delay in getting the revised tour ready for publication. I had a huge backlog of photos to upload + some other things to work on. I hope to finish the new version and post it sometime soon.

          I'll be deleting Guss's Pickles, which closed, and substituting The Pickle Guys. There's nothing secretive about the places I'm adding: Sugar Sweet Sunshine for cupcakes and stops in the Essex St. Market at Saxelby Cheese, Roni-Sue Chocolates, and Pain d'Avignon.

          Maialino will definitely take a reservation for six people via a phone call. There are a couple of round tables in the trattoria that can accommodate a party that size. So, definitely give them a call.

          Take a look at SD26 to see if it fits your budget. We've been there several times and like the food a lot.

          SD26 photos:

          1. re: RGR

            Yup, you should remove Guss Pickles, they are still around but they are commercial now, The Pickle Guys are like the way the old Guss use to be, with barrels of pickles, tomatoes, olives. Check them out, they pickle everything.

            1. re: pickleboy80

              Of course, I've been to The Pickle Guys! :) There's no place on my tour that I've not been to and sampled myself.



      2. Thanks so much. I can't count. We have made four reservations: bouley's locanda verde, bar at the modern, toloache.

        8 Replies
          1. re: RGR

            Yep. Smile. You are a "giant" on this board and appreciate your suggestions.

            1. re: lacontessa

              I'm truly flattered by that compliment, lacontessa! :)


              1. re: RGR

                RGR, i arrived in NYC yesterday. I have a week here, and have just found word of your LES tour, but can't find it. Is it MIA while you revise it? Thanks!

                  1. re: chocokitty

                    Thanks for such a quick reply, chocokitty :)

                  2. re: mb5070

                    Hi mb5070,

                    Welcome to NYC! Glad you're considering taking my tour.

                    Changes to note. Guss's Pickles has closed. Substitute The Pickle Guys, on Essex St., just off Grand. Also, Economy Candy is at 108 Rivington, not 145.

                    You might also want to add the following stops which will appear in the revised tour:

                    Sugar Sweet Sunshine, on Rivington
                    Roni-Sue's Chocolates, Saxelby Cheese, and Pain d'Avignon, in the Essex St. Market.

                    Hope you have a great stay!


                    Pickle Guys
                    49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                    Saxelby Cheesemongers
                    120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                    Roni-Sue's Chocolates
                    120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                    Sugar Sweet Sunshine
                    126 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                    Economy Candy
                    108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

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

                    Pain D'Avignon
                    120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002