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Young Couple on a budget May 13-19th

Hi All!

I'm taking my boyfriend to NYC in May (we will be returning from a three week trip through Spain where he is from). We both love, love, love to try new places and new food. I have been to most of the restaurants in NYC that receive a lot of praise on this board but haven't been to Manhattan in almost 4 years. I'm hoping you all can make some recommendations for a new place for me to try and then help me narrow done where to take him!

We will be there for a week but we are on somewhat of a budget, especially since this will be our fourth consecutive week of travel. I'm hoping to do 3 "nice" dinners at a budget of no more than $70-80 a person (not including drinks). I love Degustation and I'm hoping it's still as good as it was when I used to go. Can anyone vouch for that? I would also like to take him to a Batali restaurant, what is the lower end one near union square called? Any recommendations for that one?

I am also looking for lunch recommendations throughout the city. We are very adventurous and are willing to travel throughout the Burroughs. We are originally from Phoenix and while the gastronomic culture here is getting better it is nothing compared to NYC. I am particularly looking for recommendations for:

Dim Sum
Dumpling House
Thai
Cuban
Best Food Truck Cart
Best place for lunch near the Park where will be spending an entire day.

Also keep in mind that our accommodations are on the UES but like I said, we can travel to wherever! Thanks so much!

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  1. on the UES is a thai place called LAND northeast Thai. very good thai, and a decent lunch special as well.

    just ate good, but not knock your socks off dim sum at a place called ken's asian taste in china town

    i like the taco truck on 60th street and 3rd ave (only weekdays before 3 or 5 pm not sure which)

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    Land Northeast Thai
    1565 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

    Ken's Asian Taste
    40 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

    1. You can easily do three courses at Babbo, the best Batali restaurant IMO, for $70-80 a person, not including drinks. Lupa and Otto are less expensive but also good.

      For Thai, Kin Shop is great, though it's more Thai-inspired than authentic.

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      Lupa
      170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

      Babbo
      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      Otto
      1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

      Kin Shop
      469 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      3 Replies
      1. re: Riverman500

        Thanks so much! Making note of these places.

        1. re: Riverman500

          it's a little more expensive, but i find lotus of siam more authentic and thai and quite good as well

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          Lotus of Siam
          24 5th Ave, New York, NY 10003

          1. re: cubicles

            Lotus of Siam is not remotely authentic...it's also awful...there is a long thread about this, and how the Las Vegas folks are not even involved anymore because it was too awful for them to be associated with...

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            Lotus of Siam
            24 5th Ave, New York, NY 10003

        2. Two suggestions: 1. Cuban. Look into Amor Cubano, hun11 & 3. (amorcubanorestaurant.com; #6 from 86th to hun10 & Lex). Should meet your budget and culinary goals and constraints. 2. "...the Park" Assume you mean The park, i.e. CP. Just get a bottle of wine and something from one of the deli's on Madison (or either of the Shake Shacks on the E and W sides) and have a picnic. Want to go upscale? Try Dean & Delucca's (85th and Mad) for a terrific picnic. In the park? Look into the Boathouse: thecentralparkboathouse.com. Unforgetable location; forgetable food. In case you don't mean CP, do yourselves a favor and head for Ft. Tryon Park and eat outside at the New Leaf Restaurant (www.nyp.org). the #4 bus will take you right there and bring you back. In any event, please let us all know what you do and how it all works out. Have a great trip!!

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          New Leaf Restaurant & Bar
          1 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040

          Amor Cubano
          2018 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10029

          Dean & DeLuca
          1150 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10028

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

          Shake Shack
          366 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

          Shake Shack
          154 East 86th Street, New York, NY 10028

          1 Reply
          1. re: Upperwestsider

            I do mean Central Park :) thank you so much for the reply and I'll be sure to look into Ft. Tryon Park.

          2. -- i second the Kinshop rec...it's my favorite new restaurant in Manhattan...there is a long thread about it which lists fav dishes, etc...(also don't bother w/ the more traditional Thai options in Manhattan: they are all awful...if you want trad Thai, check out the Queens options on the Outer Boroughs board -- Sripraphai is worth the journey)...

            -- consider dining at the bar at Scarpetta for one of your nice dinners

            -- i'm a big fan of getting some raw oysters and maybe some fried ones at the Grand Central Oyster Bar (but only sit at the counter and avoid most of the cooked food)...

            -- another option for one of the nice dinners: the pub room (in between the bar and main dining room) at Keens Chophouse...

            -- for dimsum, i'd say you might want to make an excursion to Flushing, but given your time schedule, it might be too long a schlep...Red Egg or Triple Eight might be decent Manhattan options...

            -- also, if you like spicy food, consider trying one of Manhattan's several fine Sichuan places: the Grand Sichuan on 9th Ave/24th, or Szechuan Gourmet...(many threads here debating Sichuan)...

            Enjoy

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            Grand Central Oyster Bar
            89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

            Keens
            72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018

            Szechuan Gourmet
            21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

            Grand Sichuan
            229 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

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

            Red Egg
            202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

            88 Palace
            88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

            4 Replies
            1. re: Simon

              If you do get out to Flushing, one of the new favorites is "Hunan Kitchen of Grand Szechuan". Yes, it is Hunan style but is owned by one of the Grand Szechuan chains.

              1. re: Simon

                I've heard a lot about Scarpetta on Chowhound so I'll be sure to read up on it! Thank you for the suggestion!

                I'm not familiar with Sichuan as we don't have any that I know of in Phoenix but we love trying new things. Thank you!

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

                1. re: rhirhic

                  For Thai, if you can eat really, really spicy food, try one of these 2, which are the two best Thai restos in Manhattan:
                  - Zaab Elee
                  - Rhong Tiam
                  Both are pretty inexpensive, and certainly not fancy places, but both have great, very authentic food.
                  Kin Shop is also good, but its expensive and not as authentic as the other two.
                  There are numerous chowhound post about all three, so you should read up on them and see which one you like the sound of.

                  For Chinese, its not dim sum or dumplings, but if you truely like to try new things, you MUST go to Xian Famous Foods. Amazing northern chinese food - again, search for them on this board and you'll find lengthy descriptions!
                  There are a couple of locations in Manhattan (and a couple in Flushing).

                  Dim Sum in Manhattan is not great - best is Chinatown Brasserie, but it is relatively expensive. If you have time, go to Flushing on saturday or sunday morning for dim sum - search the outer boroughs board for reccos.

                  Best food cart - Mexicue, Korilla Tacos are both great

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                  Chinatown Brasserie
                  380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                  Mexicue
                  , New York, NY 10001

                  Rhong-Tiam Express
                  31 E 21st St, New York, NY 10010

                  Korilla BBQ
                  Mobile truck, no formal location, New York, NY 10001

                  Rhong-Tiam Garden
                  154 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

                  Zabb Elee
                  75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: rhirhic

                    Have to give another shout out to the supremely spicy and flavorful Szechuan Gourmet. Their Wok Fried Chicken with Green and Dried Chiles will make you cry, sweat and blow your nose...it is AWESOME!
                    http://fritosandfoiegras.blogspot.com...

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                    Szechuan Gourmet
                    21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                    Szechuan Gourmet
                    244 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                2. Salumeria Rosi http://www.salumeriarosi.com/ on Amsterdam and 73rd is not far from Central Park and is a fun place with really good Tuscan food. Cesare Casella, the owner/chef is a real character. We love it.

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                  Salumeria Rosi
                  283 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10023

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Salumeria Rosi is really really great, but the food is not Tuscan, it is mostly from the region of Emiila-Romagna, specifically Parma (have no idea where the chef is from).

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                    Salumeria Rosi
                    283 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10023