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Looking for Recs for 1st time Visit with Teenagers

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I am bringing my 3 teenage daughters to NYC in July for a long weekend. They are very adventurous eaters, as am I. We live in California and have lots of access to high quality Mexican and Asian, so would prefer something that we can't find at home. We definitely plan on hitting Katz's, Shake Shack, Zabar's and Russ & Daughters. I'm looking for some recommendations on sit down restaurants that are fun, good food and not excessively expensive. Would take Italian, Spanish or any other interesting cuisines. We are staying on the Upper West Side, but are willing to travel.

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

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  1. You can't find a fast food hamburger in CA? Please don't waste a meal at Shake Shack. In n Out is better anyway.

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    Shake Shack
    Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Shake Shack is so much better than In 'N' Out - I don't even know how some people can compare!

      I however do agree that the OP doesn't need to go to Shake Shack - there are too many wonderful fast food-style burgers in L.A. and that's not including In 'N' Out ;)

    2. What is "excessively expensive" to you? For some, that might only be ultra-high-end, for others a bit lower. For one example, WD-50 is certainly fun and adventurous, has a lot of appeal to younger diners because of the "wow" factor in presentation and such, but some might find it expensive while others would find it mid-range (at least for NYC... it'd be expensive most other places...)

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      WD-50
      50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

      1. Kefi for greek, Bistro Casis or Cafe Luxenbourgh for bistro french, Issabelles for american. Lanskys is also great. All on the UWS.

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        Kefi
        505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

        Cafe Luxembourg
        200 W 70th St, New York, NY 10023

        Bistro Cassis
        225 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023

        Isabella's
        359 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

        Lansky's Old World Deli
        235 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023

        8 Replies
        1. re: rkaene

          i'd say the OP may have to eat some UWS meals out of convenience but otherwise should avoid the area foodwise...i wouldn't consider any of the above UWS places worth a meal on a short trip, even if they are dependable on the sliding scale of the local UWS area...and i particularly disliked Kefi the one time i went...never been to Isabella's though...

          for the OP, consider Kin Shop: it's somewhat Asian (Thai-inspired NY bistro food by chef Harold Dietrle), but not like any other place i've been in Cali, and it'd be great fun w/ 4 people and you could try a lot of dishes...

          For a super-reasonable outdoor meal in far West Village, i love Malatesta: charming neighborhood classic...for higher end Italian, my favorites are Scarpetta and Maialino...

          i'd also consider DBGB on Bowery: delicious selection of sausages, raw oysters, salads...

          Enjoy, and please report back...

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          Malatesta
          649 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

          Kefi
          505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

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

          DBGB
          299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

          Maialino
          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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

          1. re: Simon

            On the UWS there are several places worth mentioning, among them Nice Matin, Bar Boulud, Fatty Crab, Bettola (good pizza), Celeste....and the wonderful and classic Barney Greengrass.

            ...this emphasis only on geography means missing out on some good food.

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            Barney Greengrass
            541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

            Celeste
            502 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

            Bettola
            412 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

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

            Fatty Crab
            643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

            Bar Boulud
            1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              hi guts...i have enjoyed some nice (no pun intended) meals at Nice Matin (they make a good tuna tartar)...but i wouldn't include any of those restaurants (or anywhere else on the UWS) as a food destination place for visitors on a short trip...for a convenient meal if it's near their hotel, for some them: sure/maybe...

              but with the possible exception of Picholine (which is really in the beginning of a separate neighborhood), i don't think there's a single restaurant in the UWS which would make a good list of Top 100 Places For Visitors to Try On a Short Trip...

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              Picholine
              35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

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

              1. re: Simon

                We are only staying on the UWS for its proximity to Central Park and others. We definitely plan on going throughout the city and are looking for restaurants throughout.

          2. re: rkaene

            They're going to Katz's, so why recommend Lansky's? And I can't agree that the other mundane places you mention would hold much appeal for adventurous eaters. kathryn's suggestion of Bar Boulud makes much more sense.

            Bar Boulud photos (including charcuterie): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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            Bar Boulud
            1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

            1. re: RGR

              on a trip w/ teenagers, DBGB would be a much more fun choice than Bar Boulud...

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              Bar Boulud
              1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

              DBGB
              299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

              1. re: Simon

                DBGB has really interesting things to look at, but I haven't found it notably good, food-wise. I haven't been to Bar Boulud, so I can't express an opinion about it, but I think lunch at Jean Georges is probably still a good idea. It's the least one can pay for a restaurant in a 4-star restaurant, even if it's more like a 2 1/2- to 3-star lunch.

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                Jean Georges
                1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                Bar Boulud
                1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

                DBGB
                299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                1. re: Pan

                  hi Pan, i'll admit DBGB isn't perfect but i like a lot of things there...here's my review from a few days ago:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787695

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                  DBGB
                  299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

          3. It's a lot easier to give recommendations if you can specify a price per person that doesn't include tax, tip, or beverages. $50pp? More? Less?

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            Bar Boulud
            1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

            Takashi
            456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

            1 Reply
            1. re: kathryn

              We are coming from Orange County (home of amazing Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean), but spend a lot of time in Los Angeles. We are probably looking for most of the time less than $50, but will go to at least one nice place for higher end dining. These choices so far sound great.

            2. Easily accessible for the UWS and it could be a fun thing for teens -- I'd recommend Zoma, an Ethiopian restaurant. The Frederick Douglas Blvd area of Harlem has really revitalized recently. (I'm not familiar with your area of CA so I don't know if Ethiopian is something that's common for you ... or not.)

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              Zoma
              2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

              2 Replies
              1. re: LNG212

                Another really interesting restaurant in Harlem is Red Rooster. And I'll bet the bartender would make some delicious virgin cocktails for the teenagers to go with the unique food.

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                Red Rooster
                310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

                1. re: LNG212

                  Zoma is better than any Ethiopian restaurant I've been to in L.A. but I'm not sure if it's worth a meal when the trip is so short. Red Rooster probably is though - I haven't been but I definitely can't think of an equivalent in L.A.

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                  Zoma
                  2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

                  Red Rooster
                  310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

                2. I dont live in NYC but will toss in my opinion that, for a long weekend, I wouldn't do Katz's and Russ & Daughters both. Also, while I adore Zabar's you do know that it's a grocery store, don't you? One of the most wonderful ones but still....

                  For UWS, I love Salumeria Rose at 73rd and Amsterdam. I understand they've added some sidewalk seating.

                  http://www.salumeriarosi.com/en_ny/home/

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

                  Katz's Delicatessen
                  205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                  Zabar's
                  2245 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

                  Salumeria Rosi
                  283 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10023

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: c oliver

                    Why on earth wouldn't you do Katz's and Russ & Daughers? There is almost no overlap in what they serve. Katz's you go for pastrami and other meats, Russ & Daughters you go for smoked fish.

                    But Russ & Daughers is take out only. For equally good smoked fish with table service in a classic NY atmosphere, go to Barney Greengrass on the UWS.

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                    Barney Greengrass
                    541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

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

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      I consider them both "delis" and, if I had only three or four days in NYC, I'd be casting a bigger net. YMMV. BTW, let me take this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoy your posts. Yeah, I'm sucking up :) But still. Also love BG.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        While Katz's is a "deli", Russ & Daughters is definitely not: it is an "appetizing" store that specializes in smoked fish. Big difference. Definitely cannot get a pastrami sandwich in Russ & Daughters. Although if they ever did sell it, I'm sure it would be delicious!

                        BTW, since the OP is on the UWS, they should try Barney Greengrass for a wonderful breakfast of smoked fish and egg dishes.

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

                  2. Most of these choices feel very adult. Teenaged girls in NYC: candy, pastries, pizza. Sure, a fancy meal or two, but snacking is more fun than too much sit down in a city like New York.

                    Somewhere classic (and yes, touristy) for pizza like Lombardi's or Grimaldi's. Papa Bubble. Jacques Torres for hot cocoa? One of the millions of sweets trucks and macarons stores?

                    Someone recommended the Hester Street Fair, which is right by Russ & Daughters and Doughnut Plant. I'm excited to check it out in a few weeks. There's also a Hell's Kitchen flea market with food trucks the NYTimes just wrote up.

                    I used to just love people watching when I was a teenager visiting Manhattan. Get some takeout and hang out on the High Line or in the parks.

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

                    Doughnut Plant
                    379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                    Lombardi's
                    32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                    Papabubble
                    380 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

                    Hester Street Fair
                    Essex St Hester St, New York, NY 10002

                    Jacques Torres
                    75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                    Grimaldi's
                    47 W 20th St, New York, NY 10010

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Windy

                      arrrgh...ok, Jacques Torres is a fun stop...but Windy, when someone posts a question like this, why must someone always insist on trying to dumb-down the choices just because teenagers are mentioned?...the OP said the daughters are adventurous eaters...why send them to crappy tourist traps like Lomardi's and Grimaldi's?...i'm all for snacking and casual places, but there is no reason to take the food and vibe quality down a notch...

                      1. re: Simon

                        Although I don't live in NY any more, I have trekked out to DiFara's and Lucali's and many other Chowhound-approved eateries. But we also love Grimaldi's in Dumbo and enjoyed Lombardi's, and the neighborhoods and atmosphere.

                        So these are not dumbed down recs. I apologize if it's unsophisticated that I actually like them (and the Carnegie Deli) rather than standing in line somewhere trendy. I also like pretzels sold on the street; looking forward to trying those pretzel croissants in a couple of weeks.

                        By all means, recommend better pizza/bakeries/ice cream/food trucks. Just don't force three teenaged girls to spend their whole vacation in bistros with adults drinking wine and eating marrow bones with pickled ramps.

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                        Carnegie Deli
                        854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                        1. re: Windy

                          I gotta say that when our daughters were teenagers they'd have taken the marrow bones with pickled ramps over the candy, pastries, pizza. They were and are sophisticated eaters and sounds like OP's are also. YMMV.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            My girls are more on the sophisticated side, but they also enjoy a good pizza and fun desert. I'm proud to say they have inherited my palate and taste of adventure. Where should we go for pizza? On other threads I see Artichoke for a slice, but what about a whole pie?

                            1. re: mkleinbart64

                              Artichoke is overrated and not good.

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                              Artichoke
                              328 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

                              1. re: mkleinbart64

                                Motorino, for me, is the best. And, I like the atmosphere as well.

                                -----
                                Motorino
                                349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                            2. re: Windy

                              there's nowhere where they'd have a longer time waiting in line than at Lombardi's and Grimaldi's...

                              -----
                              Lombardi's
                              32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                              Grimaldi's
                              47 W 20th St, New York, NY 10010

                              1. re: Windy

                                When I was a teenager, I loved spending tmie in bistros with adults drinking wine and eating actual real and good food. I agree - don't dumb it down.