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May 10, 2011 09:20 PM

New York Food Getaway: Is this a good lineup?

My parents and I are heading to the city this weekend for 7 days to unwind and eat some great food. I have made reservations at several restaurants and would love input on them and to fill in the blank spaces. I have scoured this board extensively for the past couple of months so I have done some homework! We are from Oregon and get to Portland quite frequently. We love great simplistic food, but also food that is creative and imaginative. Price is not really an issue and my dad is the only drinker. We enjoy all food although my mom doesn't enjoy Indian or Japanese.

Thanks for any feedback!

Arrive late afternoon
Reservation at Peasant

Dinner: Empellon

Brunch: Maialino
Walking Brooklyn Bridge
Dinner: Schezwan Gourmet
Seeing Billy Elliot

Lunch: Manzo at 2
Dinner: The Modern Dining Room at 9
*Spent a lot of time deciding between the Modern and Corton. I switched last minute to The Modern. Hoping this is the right choice...

Lunch: EMP at 1:45
Show: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Dinner: Shake Shack after show

Wed and Thurs I have completely open. Fri we leave around 3:30 so need lunch.
For breakfasts other than Sunday brunch, I have nothing specified because we are planning to walk everyday in Central Park. We are staying at the Metropolitan Club across from the Plaza. I have done a little research and found some casual places that we wouldn't be too dressed down in our sports clothes for. If anyone has any other recommendations for places either in the UWS or UES for breakfast that would be great!


239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

Empellon Taqueria
230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

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  1. I don't see any pizza, pastrami, hot dogs, smoked salmon/bagels, street food, etc on your schedule.

    Don't Leave NY Without Eating...

    My thoughts on Pizza in NYC

    Chowhound member RGR's famous self-guided Lower East Side Gustatory Tour, which begins at Katz's (for pastrami, of course) and includes Russ & Daughters, the Doughnut Plant, and several other tasty stops.

    LES Gustatory Tour:

    Note two changes: Guss's Pickles has closed, so substitute The Pickle Guys, on Essex just off Grand. And the correct address for Economy Candy is 108, not 145.

    UWS breakfasts:
    Barney Greengrass: note that it is closed Mondays
    Good Enough to Eat
    Nice Matin

    Barney Greengrass
    541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

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

    Pickle Guys
    49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

    Good Enough to Eat
    483 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

    Nice Matin
    201 West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024

    Economy Candy
    108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

    Doughnut Plant
    220 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Oops! Forgot to put some of those in there. Planned on doing Russ and Daughters one day for breakfast and trying Motorino or Keste. We have been to Katz's many times so I think we will skip it this trip. We are not big on hot dogs so probably wont try that.

      Thank you for the UWS recommendations. I had seen all of those but glad to know someone likes them.

      349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

    2. "*Spent a lot of time deciding between the Modern and Corton. I switched last minute to The Modern. Hoping this is the right choice..."

      No need to worry. The Modern Dining Room is a superb choice. We were just there for dinner on Monday, and the meal was stunning in its deliciousness.

      The Modern Dining Room photos:

      Re: Russ & Daughters. I presume you know that it's strictly take-out.

      1. I had the dinner tasting menu at Corton this week and was blown away by my pretty much perfect meal. I haven't had dinner at the Modern Dining Room, only the Bar Room, so I can't make a fair comparison.

        I also had dinner at Manzo last night and had a wonderful a la carte experience. I'm not sure if there's overlap between lunch and dinner (or if they're the same menus), but I loved the Crispy Lamb's Brain and Blood Sausage apps, Agnolotti and Spaghetti primi, Ribeye secondo, and Bonet dessert. Enjoy your trip!

        239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

        5 Replies
        1. re: sheio

          The lunch and dinner menus at Manzo are the same. We've eaten there twice, once in the dining room and once at the bar, and found the food to be uniformly delicious.

          Question, sheio, re: Corton. Is Liebrandt still doing the "plate explosion" thingy? That is, one main plate with accompaniments on several little plates? We're planning to go back to Corton soon since our last visit was some time ago. The two dinners we've had there previously were superb with the exception of Truitt's desserts. The first time, they were awful; the second time, passable. So, I'm thrilled that Shawn Gawle is now the Pastry chef as we loved his desserts when he was Veritas.

          1. re: RGR

            RGR - For some reason your link didn't work?! I see mentioned above that you have a self-guided tour - can you tell me more about it? I also see a link so I will go read Kathryn's link. We are Ny'ers and have been around to a lot but am wondering what your tour is like.

            Edit --- AHHHH - neva mind - great directions for your tour! Wonderful! My dad had a wholesale candy place on Ludlow many years ago - did business with Economy Candy - and all of those places are truly iconic!

            1. re: smilingal


              I've tried all the links above, and they work. But whatever the problem you were having, good that were able to get the info re: my tour. Enjoy!


            2. re: RGR

              Hi RGR,

              Good to know Manzo's appealing menu is available for lunch too. I can't claim extensive steak expertise but last night's ribeye rivaled my steaks at Peter Luger, Minetta, Keens, and Strip House. I also love fresh pastas and hope to try every one.

              At Corton, a few courses did have one additional side plate, but I did not find any of them distracting. The servers also treated us to a couple table side presentations before plating, and some of the sauces were poured for us at the table. As for dessert, I savored every bite of my saffron vanilla fudge. I look forward to seeing your pictures and hearing what you think.

              239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

              200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: sheio

                Thanks for the info, sheio. :) A friend of ours was just there and said he was surprised that the plate situation was as you described it since there had been many more in the past. I actually didn't find that a problem.

                The last time we were there (Sept. '09), the photo ban was in effect. Happily, they have since relented, so there will be a set next time.


          2. Looks like you've got some good eating ahead of you.

            For Saturday lunch you could do a bit of the LES tour - bagels & lox at Russ & Daughters is a good start, and leaving out Katz's will lighten the stomach-load considerably. You could also attempt the famous brunch at Prune - the lines are always quite long, so that would depend on how old your folks are / if they're up for a wait. Prune could be a good option for dinner on one of your open nights as well - easier since they take rezzies for dinner.

            Another option might be Momofuku Noodle Bar - normally I'd say Ssam Bar, but with their recent lunch revamp I'm not sure I'd recommend as of yet. But the waits at the various Momo joints are always lighter during lunch hours. Don't let the Japanese name put you off, it's New American food first and foremost (aside from the ramen and a few other items) - right now there's some great spring produce on the menu: a crab salad with asparagus and ramps, pig tails with pickled pears, octopus with fennel and grapefruit - good place to split a bunch of small plates. Only caveat is the backless seats. I know some older folks who are less than thrilled with that. But if neither of them have bad backs, it could be a good lunch option, when most of the other restos in the area are doing more "brunchy" things on Saturdays.

            Momofuku Ssam Bar could be a good option for dinner, though, on Weds or Thurs, as long as you eat on the earlier side and beat the rush. If you're more likely to eat around 5:00 / 5:30, you could get in pretty easily without a wait. The menu at Ssam is more ambitious than at Noodle.

            Public has a great brunch on the weekends - esoteric influences, interesting flavors. The tea-smoked salmon with yuzu hollandaise is great, as is the venison burger.

            It seems that, from the places you've listed as definites, you guys like big, hearty flavors. With that in mind, some other options coming to mind for Weds / Thurs:

            Lunch at Del Posto: it's an absolute steal at $30 (I think it's still $30) for three courses, with the option to add a fourth course (to make it a "proper Italian meal" - i.e. antipasti, primi (pasta), secondi (entree), dolci) for not too much more. Gives you an excuse to stroll the High Line before or after. Wonderful food, nice space, great value.

            Vandaag: relatively new Northern European (mostly Danish & Dutch, with a bit of Norwegian) place in the East Village. Bold flavors, and a cuisine style you don't see too much of elsewhere. I've compared it favorably to Aquavit, a big "Haute Scandinavian" place in midtown favorably more than once, and at half the price.

            WD-50: controversial, yes. But it's one of those "only in NYC" places that serious gastronomes all feel they have to try once, to see if they're in the camp or not. Obviously, I'm in it. Some find it pretentious, but really it's just playful. Dufresne like to have fun with presentation, but in the end it's about putting out delicious food.

            Blue Hill: while not quite as exciting as the upstate branch (Blue Hill at Stone Barns), it's a good way to sample what our resident King of Locavores is up to. Not as expensive as many other top-tier places, too.

            Cafe Boulud: supposedly Daniel Boulud's "second tier" restaurant but it's first-tier in the only way that matters to me: the food. Chef Gavin Kaysen is the bomb. Great seasonal, market-driven selections, as well as the "Voyage" menu of rotating inspirations from other cuisines (currently Mexico)

            Marc Forgione: our newest Iron Chef puts out fantastic, hearty fare - rooted in local, New American flavors but with influences from all over the map. It's one of the best "neighborhood" joints we have, for my money - casual and cozy and food that you can coo over without overanalyzing (except the Hiramasa tartare, a dish that annoyingly comes with instructions...) - the chili lobster and barbecued oysters are dynamite, and the chicken-for-two is one of the most well-regarded birds in town.

            50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

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

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

            Momofuku Ssam Bar
            207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

            Blue Hill
            75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

            Del Posto
            85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

            Momofuku Noodle Bar
            171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

            210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

            54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

            Marc Forgione
            134 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013

            103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003