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Returning food visit, what would you change or suggest

  • m

I'm returning to NYC in late July primarily to eat. I will be on my own so real fine dining/upscale is not top priority. Here is a list of some places I've been and am thinking of going. Coming from SF what am I missing or would you suggest trying that I don't have listed. Will be in NY for 5 days.
Also, have not ben to any of the cocktail bars that are often listed on CH. How are they for solo visitors wishing to try some creative cocktails. And should add any wine bars worth checking out?

Have been to:
Bagels: H&H / Essa / Russ & Daughters

Deli: Carnegie / Katz / Stage

Pizza: Arturo's / Artichoke / Di Fara / Johns / Grimaldi / Lombardi / Keste / Motorino / Patsy's (e harlem) / Joes / Totonnos

Dogs: Grays / Papaya King / Crift

Burgers: Burger Joint /

BBQ: Virgils / Daisey May / Blue Smoke

Steak: Lugers / Keens

Italian: Al Di La / Bar Pitti / Bottega del vino / Becco / Dell'Arte / Esca / Cacio e Pepe / Lil Frankies / Lupa / I / Inoteca / Otto / Po / Maialino / Peasant / Scarpetta / Robertos (bronx)

Others: Gramercy Tavern / USC / Modern bar room / Degustation / Balthazar / Pastis / Schillers / Minetta Tavern / Spotted Pig / Spice Market / Tabla / Bar Bouloud / DB BIstro / River cafe / Momofuku Saam / Ma Peche

Breakfast: Clinton St Falaffel: Azuri cafe carts: 53rd & 6th and others
Spanish: Tia Pol / Casa Mono / Las Ramblas
Fine Dining: Per Se

Thinking about the following:

Burgers: Shake Shack

Bagels: Murry's

Italian: Locanda Verde / Babbo(bar) / Via Emilia (for Lasagna) / Torrisi(sandwich_lunch) / Da Andrea / Picolo Angelo / Eataly

Steak: Old Homestead

Falaffel: Taim

Japanese: Yakatori Totto

Thai: Zabb Elle

Chinese: Xian

Others: Prune(lunch) / Breslin / Txikito /

Will be in Boston just before so leaving out chowder, lobster roll etc

What should I leave out or fit in? Thanks

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

Taim
222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

Minetta Tavern
113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Da Andrea
35 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011

Azuri Cafe
465 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

Old Homestead
56 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

Via Emilia
47 E 21st St, New York, NY 10010

Txikito
240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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

Eataly
200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

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  1. Burgers:

    Shake Shack is worth it, just try to go during an off-hour because the lines aren't necessarily worth it

    Bagels:

    Skip Murry's. Stick with Russ & Daughters. Just have a different lox than you did last time, if you don't want to repeat.

    Italian:

    You can't really count on getting a seat at the Babbo bar, though as a solo diner it might be easier. If you go that route, have a back-up plan in the area.

    Torrissi - I prefer the turkey to the chicken parm, as far as the sandwiches go at lunch. YMMV.

    Locanda Verde - great.

    Eataly - worth expolring once. If you're going to eat there, I'd do lunch at the vegetable or fish resto, unless you want to do a fancy dinner - then go for Manzo.

    Other Italian place worth considering: Falai, for something more modern but still hearty (think Batali meets Wylie Dufresne)

    Speaking of Wylie Dufresne... dining at the bar at WD-50 ain't bad for a solo diner. Friendly bartenders, great creative cocktails on a level with many of the "advanced" cocktail dens popping up around town (Death & Company, PDT, Mayahuel, Ward III, etc... all of which will be happy to serve a solo drinker, mind you)

    Steak: If it ain't Keen's or Luger's, I don't see the point in bothering. I mean, you don't go to steakhouse for the creativity. You go for a well-aged steak. Might as well go to one the best and not mess around with the hundred or so second-tier places. But that said, if I were travelling, I wouldn't use a meal on a steakhouse, personally. I'd go for something more "only in NYC" / creative chef / etc. (Granted, I live in a city with two of the best steakhouses in it to start with..,)

    Falafel: Taim is great. Be prepared for a line, depending what time you go. The Sabich is awesome, also.

    Japanese:

    Yakatori Totto is good. For upscale you could check out Soto, Kyo Ya, or Kanoyama. Also Kajitsu for truly amazing Japanese vegetarian (I know... but really, they're a standout - Grant Achatz is crazy about them....)

    Chinese:

    Xi'an Famous Foods is a must-try. I'd say go to the Chinatown branch on East Broadway as it'll probably be the least busy at this point, now that they have two other branches in Manhattan. I like the pork burger, the spicy cumin lamb noodles, and the Mt Qi pork noodles personally. But everyone's got their favorites

    Others%3

    Prune is great, lunch is a good way to try it.

    Breslin: If you liked Spotted Pig, you'll probably like The Breslin. I like 'em both.

    For more fine dining, if you haven't been to Eleven Madison Park... well, they're kind of awesome. Of course every time one mentions them it tends to bring out a flurry of pro-and con- comments about them. from every side.

    nd you can try your luck every day a week beforehand at the Momofuku Ko lottery, of course. Good place to dine solo, I think.

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

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

    Yakitori Totto
    251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

    Taim
    222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

    Soto
    357 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

    Eleven Madison Park
    11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

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

    Spotted Pig
    314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

    Murray's Bagels
    500 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    Kanoyama
    175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Falai
    68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

    Kyo Ya
    94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

    Please Don't Tell
    113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

    Momofuku Ko
    163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Prune
    54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

    Death & Co.
    433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

    Kajitsu
    414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

    Mayahuel
    304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

    Ward III
    111 Reade St, New York, NY 10013

    Xi'an Famous Foods
    81 St. Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

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

    Xi'an Famous Foods
    88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

    Torrisi Italian Specialties
    250 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

    Eataly
    200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

    Manzo
    200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

    Xi'an Famous Foods
    67 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

    7 Replies
    1. re: sgordon

      sgordon Thanks for the WD-50 idea not sure how I've missed it this long. I hear you on the steakhouses and will google the Japanese restaurants. As far as Eataly was just going tolook around maybe have a pizza or some pasta. And like the suggestion on R&D, will probably try Murry's since will be staying in the general area. Thanks again.

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

      Eataly
      200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

      1. re: mick

        Murray's really slathers on the cream cheese so I'd ask them to go light for you.

        For Eataly, go on a weekday, before the lunch rush. Weekends are madness.

        For Japanese, also add on Takashi.

        Prune is also good for brunch. Locanda Verde also does a mean breakfast/brunch. And has a nice cocktail list. Ditto for the Breslin.

        lso, having breakfast at Shopsin's is something to look into as an "only in New York" thing.

        -----
        Shopsin's General Store
        120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

        Prune
        54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

        Locanda Verde
        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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

        Takashi
        456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

        Eataly
        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

        1. re: kathryn

          Kathryn, thanks always appreciate your suggestions especially Shopsin

          1. re: mick

            IMHO, Shopsin's is simply a disgusting unfriendly place and is to be avoided. It's bad diner food and not a nice setting.

            1. re: mick

              I personally love Shopsin's and think the food is great. Cash only, BTW. Must try dishes include the sliders, mac and cheese pancakes, slutty cakes, any of the "Pete" dishes. They also have good sampler platters.

              http://www.shopsins.com/

              1. re: kathryn

                I've never eaten there, but "I Like Killing Flies," the doc about Shopsins is now available streaming on Netflix.

              2. re: mick

                I'm gonna +1 for Shopsin's. I like the food - it's nothing fancy, but it's not like anything you'll find anywhere else, either. It might be a little pricey for what they serve.

                But that aside, it's a NYC institution, there's no place like it in the world. Granted, Kenny's not there as much as he used to be - and when he's there he tends to sit quietly, just talk with his regulars that he knows. His reputation is, as is the case with many iconic figures, a bit exagerrated - he's not as prone to tossing people out as the stories would have one believe. (Now watch, I'm gonna get kicked out for saying that and blowing his rep)

                But when I'm craving a ridiculously over-the-top brunch, there's little betta than the Mo' Betta - a bacon (or sausage) & egg sandwich using two of the famous mac-n-cheese pancakes for bread. (And a side of corned beef hash, thank you.) There are some great sandwiches on the (constantly expanding) menu, too - for all the love No. 7 Sub gets for their wacky creations, Kenny's been putting seemingly bizarre combinations of things between slices of bread for a long time already.

                -----
                No. 7 Sub
                1188 Broadway, New York, NY 10001

        2. You can get healthy vegetarian leaning falafel all over the Bay Area, so I wouldn't bother with Taim. It's more West Coast style than authentic. SoomSoom or Hoomos Asli are some substitutions.

          Burgers are a notable hole for you, it sounds like. Shake Shack will just be a copycat variation of Taylor's. I'd say try Molly's, or any of the other thick patty, hearty pub style burgers NY does so well.

          ining solo for a steakhouse might be tricky, but Strip House has won over most hardened steak fans, even some of the Lugar's die hards. The sides are the key.

          Mile's End isn't in Manhattan, but for deli foods, it's worth an excursion into Brooklyn. In fact, since you sound more accomplished than most locals, food wise....I'm going to suggest you take a look at the outer boroughs board, and look into food trucks, and more cheap eats.

          Caracas Arepas would be a place to check out. I'm not aware of anywhere in the Bay Area serving the same style arepas.

          New Amsterdam Market is worth a visit.

          Falai was a good suggestion, and the Lafayette location has an expanded lunch takeout shop now too.

          La Columbe for a dark italian roast espresso spiked iced coffee, olive oil cake, or croissants seems to be a crowd pleaser, even with West Coasters.

          Breslin is okay but the best part in my opinion is spending time in the Ace Hotel, and you can do that with a visit to Stumptown, where they now have Cafe Pedlar, Milk Bar, and Bouchon (I think) baked goods.

          -----
          Molly's
          287 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

          Taim
          222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

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

          Caracas Arepa Bar
          93 1/2 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

          Hoomoos Asli
          100 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

          Falai
          68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

          La Colombe
          270 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

          Strip House
          13 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

          Stumptown
          18 W 29th Street, New York, NY 10001

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

          Soom Soom
          166 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023

          New Amsterdam Market
          South St Peck Slip, New York, NY 10038

          18 Replies
          1. re: sugartoof

            sugartoof Thanks, great suggestions will look at other falafel places. Have had only Azuri cafe in NYC how does that compare to Taim and others mentioned?
            Think I've got to try Shake Shack have avoided to long. Have had Taylors or new name Gotts many times and thanks for reminding me I have had a burger at Molly's, which was quite good. Like the Falai take out idea and Caracas has been on my radar so might have to check it out. Out here there's Pica Pica in Napa and now SF. IMO its allright. Mr Pollo in SF does apepas have heard some good things but haven' tried. Trying to work in some time to get out to Queens but seems there is an overwhelming selection so not sure where to start> Thanks again.

            -----
            Taim
            222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

            Azuri Cafe
            465 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

            Falai
            68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

            1. re: mick

              >Trying to work in some time to get out to Queens but seems there is an overwhelming selection so not sure where to start

              Start here: it's a fresh Outer Boroughs thread on Queens restaurants ... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787411

              1. re: mick

                You'll find the sensibilities in Brooklyn are similar to San Francisco at times, and it will open up a whole new world of fun options. Most of it is easier to navigate than Queens, and it's not as daunting as the endless ethnic eats of Queens.

                You're right about Mr Pollo, he does make both styles of Arepas, but not with the options or Caracas (although, they're pretty open to requests). Pica Pica sure looks equivalent though.

                I've never been to Azuri, so I wouldn't be able to compare, but they're all what's come to be known as "Israeli style", which usually means thicker quality pita and a lot of condiment options. Taim isn't traditional. They make a lighter, healthier tasting falafel and then offer hot sauces which I'm convinced is the real draw, and all that most people are tasting there. Falafel shouldn't taste like junk food, but it shouldn't taste like health food either.

                -----
                Taim
                222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

                Azuri Cafe
                465 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: sugartoof

                  I prefer Azuri over Taim.

                  -----
                  Taim
                  222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

                  Azuri Cafe
                  465 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

                  1. re: sugartoof

                    re: sugartoof

                    place with a daunting supply of endless ethnic eats, many many of which have been discussed here at the friendly chow palace of words, is where I send folks.

                    Mick, if time is a factor be aware that these Queens or Brooklyn trips eat up hours

                    1. re: wew

                      yes, indeed. i just think brooklyn has a slight edge for accessibility.
                      a 20 minute train ride can open up a world of options.

                      1. re: wew

                        From Chelsea, whats the train ride to Queens for food stops 45min-hour?

                        1. re: mick

                          F, M, and E trains are pretty quick from Chelsea once they arrive.

                          Long Island City isn't too time consuming, but a lot of destinations in Queens would eat up a lot of time. Obviously I think Brooklyn is more manageable.

                          1. re: mick

                            From Chelsea, walk to Penn Station and take the LIRR. It has stops in Woodside and Flushing. It's only about 20 minutes.

                            From the Woodside stop it's a only a few blocks to Sripraphai. From the Flushing stop, you're right in the middle of a ton of great food.

                            There's even a discount on weekends under the CityTicket program.

                            http://www.mta.info/mta/cityticket.htm

                            1. re: kathryn

                              Awsesome, thanks for very specific Queens info. I know this is not the outer bourough board but are there 1 or 2 "must do" places in Brooklyn. I will check there board. Thanks

                              1. re: mick

                                Miles End, Diner, Fette Sau all attract Manhattanites for good reason.
                                .

                                1. re: sugartoof

                                  Google maps will tell you how to get from point to point on the subway along with travel times and schedules. It's very handy as a vistor trying to figure out how far apart things are.

                        2. re: sugartoof

                          I don't think Pica Pica's arepas are especially good; you'll never find a South American eating there.

                        3. re: mick

                          I think Shake Shack's burgers are quite a bit better than Taylor's and definitely worth trying, esp if you can get there during off-hours.

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

                          1. re: daveena

                            In that case, I'd suggest going in the evening, or heading to the Hells Kitchen or new Battery Park locations instead of the Madison Square Park flagship.

                            -----
                            Shake Shack
                            691 8th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                            Shake Shack
                            215 Murray St, New York, NY 10282

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              I had a good experience at the UWS location in the early afternoon - after lunch but before school let out. There was pretty much no line.

                              -----
                              Shake Shack
                              366 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

                          2. re: mick

                            I'll say (much as I like Chef Falai's various restaurants) that the new take-out place - Bottega Falai - isn't necessarily anything to go out of one's way for. It's mainly a coffeeshop, with pastries, a few sandwiches, and mini-grocery with the kinds of things he uses in his kitchen, and the couple of dried pasta brands he'll use at home (his restos only serve fresh pastas) - think, like, a 30 square foot version of Eataly. The macarons I found fantastic, with a real intensity and depth of flavor I haven't had elsewhere, but this is coming from someone who isn't a big macaron-head or even has much of a sweet tooth. Maybe a "traditional" macaron is supposed to be more subtle, I dunno. But I liked 'em. And the coffee is good.

                            Caffe Falai, next door, is a nice spot for a casual lunch or dinner - not a destination restaurant like his flagship (just plain "Falai") but very good for its price point, and nice big windows to watch the streetlife of SoHo wander by while you dine and sip a glass of wine or two.

                            -----
                            Falai
                            68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                            Caffe Falai
                            265 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                            Bottega Falai
                            267 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                            1. re: sgordon

                              Well if underwhelmed by the days offerings (sometimes it depend when you hit them up) you can always go next door for paninis, salads, and pastas.

                        4. For a special Japanese go to Kyo Ya.

                          You have shown willingness to travel to Brooklyn so try Queens Thai at Sripraphai or Chao Thai. In Flushing the Golden mall will contain Xian, the lamb noodle place, and a whole bunch more. All have extensive literature for your 7 train trip.

                          -----
                          Kyo Ya
                          94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: wew

                            Thanks for Queens info. Been reading anout Zabb Elle in Manhattan lately, any comparison to Sripraphai or Chao. Kyo Ya looks great. Got my work cut out for me with new recos and trying to decide on places. Sort of aiming for foods I can't really get out in the bay area or restaurants/foods that are just over the top in their deliciousness.

                            -----
                            Kyo Ya
                            94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

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

                            1. re: mick

                              Hey Mick, I'm planning a similar trip at the end of this month.

                              I got lots of great recommendations for foods that are hard to find in the bay area.
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/786665

                              I used to focus on pizza and pastrami in NYC, but happily we don't need to worry about pizza any more. So more time for Greek, Eastern-European Jewish, and Dominican.

                              1. re: Windy

                                windy Thanks, checking it out right now. Have a great trip. Happy eating!

                              2. re: mick

                                i'd say both Xian and Zaab-Elee are musts...re: Zaab-Elee vs Sripraphai: Zaab-Elee is Isaan food which harder to find made-well (anywhere outside of Thailand and Laos) than are the central Thai dishes that Sri makes well...so i'd say go to Zaab-Elee

                                for Japanese, consider going to Soba Koh in the E.Village and getting the cold inaka soba...

                                i'd also rec addining Kin Shop to your list...it's great for bar dining and the bartender makes excellent cocktails...

                                -----
                                SobaKoh
                                309 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003

                                Xi'an Famous Foods
                                81 St. Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

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

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

                            2. Ok, so thanks everyong for all the in fo thus far. I'm still a few weeks away from my trip but have sort of dwindled things down a bit. I guess ultimately I'm looking for foods I haven't tried, cant really get in SF bay area, are unique to New York or are so delicious restaurants/foods that they shouldn't be missed. So here is what I'm looking at right now.
                              Queens over Brooklyn: Day time half day trip. Have never been to Queens and after research seems its ethnic food is quite unique. My only food visits to Brooklyn are Al Di La, Lugers and Di Fara. Must amit Mile End deli looks enticing.

                              Eataly: If just for the experience of walking around.

                              Xian

                              Locanda Verde: Love Italian food and the menu einterested me particuarly the tartare and gramdma raviol.

                              Via Emilia: Love lasagna, here its really good. Is it?

                              Zabb Elle: If I go here and Sripraphai in Queens am I duplicating. What dishes stand out at both?

                              Caracas Arepas: The few in the bay area I have not enjoyed all that much and supposedly here they are great?

                              Shake Shack: I'm sure I've had similar in SF area but seems its an institution that at this point I should try for myself.

                              Yakitoro Totto: Love yakatori and its open until 1:00am for at least one late night craving.

                              WD-50: Seems tyo get rave reviews as well as supposedly having great cocktails. Is it similar to anything in SF area.
                              Shopsin: Seems wildly interesting or uinque need to try and decide for myself.
                              On the fence: Babbo/Kyo Ya/Takashi/Cafe Falai(decent food relax and people watch)/Kin Shop/Taim

                              Ruled out steakhouses even though its one food I love can have back home but if craving hits might have to go. Love Mexican, not sure if there is anything unusual or so good that is not in Bay Area.Love so many foods, all ethnic types,spice etc that its very difficult to decide in advance. I notice I don't have much in the way of seafood. One place that looked really good is Marea but sometimes when dining alone try to avoid upscale places unless can get a bar seat. Finally some of the things that I have most enjoyed on past NY visits. Azuri cafe-falafel/Di Fara-pizza/ Lugers-steak/ Modern Bar Room/ Maialino/ Per Se/ Cart food-late at night/DB Bistro-fois gras-truffle burger (although too expensive) /Katz-pastrami/Clinton St-banana pancakes/Inoteca-truffle egg toast/Criff dogs/Grimaldis-I thought good but also walking back over Brooklyn Bridge/Blind Tiger-grilled cheese/Russ&Daughters-bagel w lox

                              I'm Hungry! Can you help me figure out what I want to eat> Thanks

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

                              Caracas Arepa Bar
                              93 1/2 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                              Marea
                              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: mick

                                Instead of Mexican, go more Latin. I think the Red Hook ball fields Popusas are superior to what I had in SF, if you're near one of their other concessions (instead of going to the ball fields). Cubanos, Mofongo and that kind of thing maybe? Margon is a popular lunch spot for Cuban Sandwiches.

                                -----
                                Margon
                                136 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

                                1. re: sugartoof

                                  Doesn't appear to be many Puerto Rican restaurants in manhattan not sure about Queens. In San Rafael, I think Sol Food is great, but it is my only experience with PR food.

                                  1. re: mick

                                    New York is home to the largest Puerto Rican and Dominican community in the US. A dish like Mofongo would be hard to come by in the Bay Area.

                                    If you're really looking to branch out, El Malecon is a great Dominican/Carribean diner.

                                    La Fonda Boriqua, Sofrito and Casa Adela get high marks too.

                                    Cibao in the LES is cheap and really good place for a pernil sandwich or rice dish.

                                    -----
                                    El Malecon
                                    4141 Broadway, New York, NY 10033

                                    El Malecon
                                    764 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

                                    Sofrito
                                    400 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022

                                    Casa Adela
                                    66 Ave C, New York, NY 10009

                                    La Fonda Boricua
                                    169 E 106th St, New York, NY 10029

                                    Cibao
                                    72 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                                    La Fonda
                                    1634 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029

                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                      I'm a big fan of Cibao, or at least two items from the menu: their Cubano and Mofungo. The Mofungo's the best I've had in the city, lots of crispy bits and whatnot studded throughout. And the Cubano's the best I've had since the (sad) shuttering of Spanish-American Foods on 13th, my old standby. Get one of each and you won't need to eat for the rest of the day, all for $10 or so. (You might also need a nap, granted...)

                                      -----
                                      Cibao
                                      72 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                                2. re: mick

                                  Locanda Verde is a great choice. Note that you can also dine at the bar if you wish. Good cocktails, too.

                                  Zabb Elee and Sripraphai have some dishes in common (larbs, sauteed vegetables with crispy pork, papaya salads) but also special dishes.

                                  More on what to order at Zabb Elee%3

                                  http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0...

                                  But at Sripraphai, the dishes are (I believe) more central Thai.

                                  My favorites that also aren't on the Zabb Elee menu (leaning towards curry and carb-y dishes)%3

                                  6 Crispy watercress salad

                                  N5 Drunken noodles with chicken

                                  N9 Kao soy

                                  C21 Penang curry

                                  C22 Massaman curry

                                  C25 Green curry with duck

                                  Coconut rice

                                  There's tons of debate regarding Sri on the Outer Boroughs board.

                                  Babbo, Kyo Ya, and Takashi are some of my absolute favorite restaurants ever. Kin Shop may not be necessarily if you are already doing Sripraphai and Zabb Elee.

                                  -----
                                  Babbo
                                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                  Kyo Ya
                                  94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                  Locanda Verde
                                  377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                                  Takashi
                                  456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

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

                                  1. re: kathryn

                                    Kathryn re:

                                    Baabbo Kyo Ya and Takashi, which might be best for solo dining possibly at the bar and atmospheric whatever that might mean.

                                    Also, WD-50 worth a dinner? The above would all be dinner choices as well as Yakatori Totto need to pair it down and seems heavily on the Japanese end.

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

                                    Kyo Ya
                                    94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                    1. re: mick

                                      Babbo has a small bar where you can dine. You may have to wait for a seat; the front room contains both the bar and some tables reserved for walk-ins, and waiting area for those waiting to be seated, as well as the host's station. It can get rather crowded there. It's best to go early or late. I believe you have to talk to the host if you wish to dine at the bar, as they manage all of those seats as an extension of the main dining room.

                                      For Kyo Ya, there's a sort of "sake bar" area in the middle of the room and the chef's counter in back. The chef's counter is pretty fun but I think it might actually be better with more people so you could share dishes and/or get the kaiseki tasting. The chef is very friendly though.

                                      For Takashi, I think they have 6 seats around a prep area, so it's actually fun to sit there and watch them make some of the dishes. It is pretty solo diner friendly in terms of seating arrangement and watching the chefs. I think Takashi has the slight edge if you wish to try tendon, heart, stomach (first, third, fourth), intestine, tongue, etc.

                                      I've not been back to WD-50 in some time but a friend went recently and did speak highly of it. I really respect Chef Dufresne and all that he's done but I think maybe his flavor combinations just aren't for me.

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

                                      Babbo
                                      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                      Kyo Ya
                                      94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                  2. re: mick

                                    "Shake Shack: I'm sure I've had similar in SF area but seems its an institution that at this point I should try for myself."

                                    What? This is pure marketing. It's a burger place, it is NOT special.

                                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                                      gutsofsteel

                                      perhaps institution is too strong of a word and I'm not sure but I think Shake Shack's are outside the city now or soon to be but regardless I like burgers so don't care if there popularity is marketing going to give it a try to see if I like it. Thanks