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Your current NYC favorites

  • j

Will be making a much needed trip to the states in sept & will be traveling with my gf, along with my brother & his partner, as well as the old folks.. Will have 5nights/dinners & breakfasts, only 4 lunches

Although we won't be doing everything together (different shopping tastes/destinations and different plans for visiting sites), we all enjoy the same food/restaurants which makes it pretty convenient -
would like to know everyones current picks of what they would in each category and what you would order... or what I could add if I'm missing something that should be included
+ indicates a place we are pretty set on
- are options we've come up with to fill in (but as mentioned, please do mention if we are missing something youd recommend)
If you agree with the +, please recommend a must Eat dish

We are prepared to spend $1 to $200 for a meal, as long as it's value for money, the service isn't f*@$ off bad (meaning we are willing to bare AVERAGE service - given the food will be top notch) and we are not spending time on a meal that could/should have been spent elsewhere... So here's where Your help would be greatly appreciated

1) Breakfast
+ Locanda verde (everything looks good)
+ Clinton st baking co (gf loves pancakes)
- Maialino (willing to give a go although my brother received terrible service @ breakfast)
- cookshop
- shopsins
- patisserie Claude or Ceci cela (for choc croissant)
- Joseph Leonard (breakfast sandwich)

2) lunches
+ burger: (shake shack/burger joint/db bistro moderne/minetta tavern... Could even be moved to a dinner before broadway show if another lunch recommended)
+ EMP (seems like a ridiculous deal + highly recommended by brother)
- del posto (lunch special)
+ Katz (pastrami on rye)

3) dinners
+ babbo
+ pizza (will probably have 2 pizza meals - looking at sit down meals - narrowed down to lucali/motorino/keste)
- Xian famous foods (was thinking for a quick meal before Yankees game)
- ???
- 1 high end dinner would be nice... Preferably not Asian Food

4) other food
Hot dogs, will fit one in somewhere (crif dogs or grays papaya?)
Gelato, will most probably be eating desserts at restaurants.. But will get round to one, so after reading good reviews so far, la cremeria
Chocolatiers, Kees + la maison
Beers, spuyten devil + dba... Burp castle + blind tiger + vol de nuit
Cocktails, open to any suggestions - nice place to hang out

Even if you can only respond to one part, your input is really appreciated

-----
Joseph Leonard
170 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

Maialino
2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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  1. Just to confirm you'll be a party of 6? If so, that is kind of considered a large group in NYC, just so you know. Some restaurants only have 1-2 tables for groups of that size.

    > 1) Breakfast
    > + Locanda verde (everything looks good)

    Great choice, make a reservation if you plan to go on the weekend. I love their egg dishes, pastries, and the porchetta sandwich. The juice blend I had a little while ago was pretty great as well.

    > + Clinton st baking co (gf loves pancakes)

    Go on the weekday, the line is way too long on weekends. You'll be waiting an eternity for 6 people. Pancakes or breakfast sandwich with tomato jam and bacon. Mmmmm.

    Note that 6 people is the max for brunch party size.

    BTW, they serve the pancakes for dinner, too!

    > - Maialino (willing to give a go although my brother received terrible service @ breakfast)

    I think it's a fine choice and I've received excellent service during brunch/breakfast.

    > - cookshop

    Haven't been in a while, can't comment.

    > - shopsins

    Note their kind of weird hours and that they DON'T do parties of more than 4 people.

    > - patisserie Claude or Ceci cela (for choc croissant)
    > - Joseph Leonard (breakfast sandwich)

    Both great choices.

    > 2) lunches
    > + burger: (shake shack/burger joint/db bistro moderne/minetta tavern... Could even be moved to a dinner before broadway show if another lunch recommended)

    Minetta Tavern serves dinner and weekend brunch but not weekday lunch.

    Burger joint gets pretty busy during weekday lunch, not so much on the weekends I think.

    Shake Shack crowds are very dependent upon which one you visit and when -- UES, UWS, Midtown, Madison Square Park?

    > + EMP (seems like a ridiculous deal + highly recommended by brother)

    EMP's lunch prices were updated last fall. Now it is:
    Lunch- Three courses for $56, Four Courses for $74

    > - del posto (lunch special)

    Don't forget that you'll probably want to dress up for this one -- the room is quite fancy. Definitely make a reservation.

    > + Katz (pastrami on rye)

    > 3) dinners
    > + babbo

    Babbo, I think has exactly one or two tables that fit six people. Good luck snagging a reservation. Don't forget that they take them starting at 10am New York time, exactly one month to the numerical date. If you don't get into Babbo, don't fret as we have many excellent Italian restaurants. Babbo + Del Posto may be too much Batali, I'd try to throw in maybe Scarpetta (which can more easily accomodate a group your size).

    > + pizza (will probably have 2 pizza meals - looking at sit down meals - narrowed down to lucali/motorino/keste)

    You'll be waiting an eternity for 6 people at Lucali, and possibly also for Keste. If your heart is set on Lucali, look up Giuseppina, the Lucali spinoff. If your heart is set on Keste, go for lunch instead of dinner, or at the very least, don't visit on a Friday/Saturday.

    > - Xian famous foods (was thinking for a quick meal before Yankees game)

    Note that the E Broadway location doesn't have a ton of seating. East Village does have a bit more but not much. I'm having trouble seeing 6 people in there. Maybe the new Mott St one would be best for you.

    > 1 high end dinner would be nice... Preferably not Asian Food
    Any preferred cuisines?

    > 4) other food
    > Hot dogs, will fit one in somewhere (crif dogs or grays papaya?)

    Hard to compare the two. Crif dogs are known for deep fried (no batter), creative hot dogs. Gray's Papaya are known for satisfying cheap eats and plainer/standard hot dogs.

    > Gelato, will most probably be eating desserts at restaurants.. But will get round to one, so after reading good reviews so far, la cremeria

    Not sure where you are coming from but Otto (olive oil), Grom (Italian chain, anything with chocolate or espresso, pistachio is good too), and L'Arte (they have more fruit flavors than Grom, I love the strawberry + mascarpone) are my favorites. Haven't tried La Cremeria yet.

    > Chocolatiers, Kees + la maison

    Kee's makes her chocolates fresh so go in the morning for the best selection. La Maison flies them in from France so less of a concern about selling "out" of flavors there. They also do a great chocolate ice cream in the summer.

    > Beers, spuyten devil + dba... Burp castle + blind tiger + vol de nuit

    Right by Burp Castle is Jimmy's No. 43, which you should pop into, and do a little crawl on 7th St.

    > Cocktails, open to any suggestions - nice place to hang out

    Will be difficult for a party of size as NYC cocktail bars can be quite small (that's the trend these days) and a good chunk of them have "no standing" rules. I'd say Pegu Club (bigger, allows standing), Death & Co (smaller, go before 7pm, hope that you snag a booth, no standing), Mayahuel (tequila/mezcal focused, good for groups). PDT is good too but you'd need to call at 3pm on the day of to try to get one of their booths. Reservations there so pretty fast.

    Best mixology / bespoke cocktails:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/609073
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/709227

    I see that a stop at Russ & Daughters is not in your itinerary and would suggest you get a bagel sandwich to go there (can be shared).

    BTW, if you're not from the USA, I'd suggest you get some more items perhaps not available in your home country like New England style seafood, BBQ, or Southern.

    Maybe add on Luke's Lobster, Pearl Oyster Bar, Pies 'n' Thighs, Redhead, etc.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/775164
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794934

    I also don't see any Chinese (outside of Xian), Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Spanish, French (maybe Jean Georges for the high end dinner?), New American/farm-to-table (like Blue Hill or Craft), etc. on your list. Again, not sure where you're coming from and what cuisines might be weaker in your home city!

    Lots of great ideas here:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/780317

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

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

    Patisserie Claude
    187 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

    Kee's Chocolates
    80 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

    Pearl Oyster Bar
    18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

    Burger Joint
    118 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

    L'Arte del Gelato
    75 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

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

    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    Blue Hill
    75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

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

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

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

    DB Bistro Moderne
    55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

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

    Minetta Tavern
    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

    Cookshop
    156 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

    La Maison du Chocolat
    30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020

    Otto
    1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

    Craft
    43 E. 19th St., New York, NY 10003

    Jimmy's No. 43
    43 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

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

    Pegu Club
    77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

    Crif Dogs
    113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

    Gray's Papaya
    2090 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

    Gray's Papaya
    402 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014

    Burp Castle
    41 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

    Grom
    233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

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

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

    The Redhead
    349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

    Keste Pizza & Vino
    271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

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

    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

    Clinton Street Baking Co.
    4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

    Joseph Leonard
    170 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

    Luke's Lobster
    93 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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

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

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

    La Cremeria
    178 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      I just want to say thanks for putting so much detail in! I think I've planned my whole trip off your one comment!

    2. BTW, Patisserie Claude is closed for summer vacation through Aug 4.

      -----
      Patisserie Claude
      187 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

      1. I would recommend Ciano over Babbo, and it's much easier to reserve. For one high-end dinner, I would choose the Dining Room at the Modern. The current menu is amazing, food is delicious and beautifully presented, and I love the design and the view of the sculpture garden.

        -----
        The Modern
        9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

        Ciano
        45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

        1. 1) Breakfast
          + Locanda verde (everything looks good)...i find the place to be a bit too corporate but the baked goods are excellent for breakfast.
          + Clinton st baking co (gf loves pancakes)...if you are not from the states, then try it but the wait is just out of control. their blueberry pancakes are excellent though.
          - Maialino (willing to give a go although my brother received terrible service @ breakfast)...never been
          - cookshop...not the same as it used to be. food is mediocre and the crowd is not good these days.
          - shopsins...legendary. go on a wed or thur to avoid fri crowd. get the pancake sampler of course.
          - patisserie Claude or Ceci cela (for choc croissant)...both great options...claude has surprisingly excellent iced coffee
          - Joseph Leonard (breakfast sandwich)...i recommend going to jeffreys instead. joseph leonard blows...very cramped too. jeffreys has an excellent sausage biscuit sandwich.

          2) lunches
          + burger: (shake shack/burger joint/db bistro moderne/minetta tavern... Could even be moved to a dinner before broadway show if another lunch recommended)...shake shack of course, burger joint is good too...db bistro moderne's burger is horrible and made me ill. minetta's is of course an absolute marvel...great spot across the board.
          + EMP (seems like a ridiculous deal + highly recommended by brother)...never been.
          - del posto (lunch special)...not a fan but lunch is a bargain i guess.
          + Katz (pastrami on rye)...get it on club bread. got super popular over the last few years.

          ---id recommend you sneak in lunch at prune...just a fantastic deal and great vibe.

          3) dinners
          + babbo...best days are long gone. id go to dell'anima or spasso...a bit scene-y though.
          + pizza (will probably have 2 pizza meals - looking at sit down meals - narrowed down to lucali/motorino/keste)...keste all the way...its unreal and by far my favorite.
          - Xian famous foods (was thinking for a quick meal before Yankees game)...cheap and delicious.
          - ???
          - 1 high end dinner would be nice... Preferably not Asian Food

          4) other food
          Hot dogs, will fit one in somewhere (crif dogs or grays papaya?)...crif dogs sucks...the buns are cheap and the dogs arent anything special. grays papaya is fine when yr drunk i suppose.
          Gelato, will most probably be eating desserts at restaurants.. But will get round to one, so after reading good reviews so far, la cremeria...havent really craved it but grom was always excellent.
          Chocolatiers, Kees + la maison
          Beers, spuyten devil + dba... Burp castle + blind tiger + vol de nuit
          Cocktails, open to any suggestions - nice place to hang out...good choices...i love dba in the east village...terroir for wine, lorelay is a great german beer garden too. tom and jerrys is a good spot in the area.

          -----
          Ceci-Cela
          55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

          Loreley
          7 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

          Blind Tiger
          281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

          Dell'Anima
          38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

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

          Terroir
          413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

          d.b.a.
          41 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

          Vol de Nuit
          148 W 4th St, New York, NY 10012

          Spasso
          551 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

          Tom & Jerry's
          288 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

          1. 1) Breakfast

            I'm awful fond of Shopsin's, though they're not known for their service. It's not as bad as some make it out to be - Kenny has certainly mellowed with age - but it's fairly brusque, no-nonsense. I'd say persue the menu online before going, as it's 800 miles long and it'll be easier if you know what you want when you get there.

            Not as big a fan of Clinton Street Baking Co - they're good, I just don't think they're worth the ridiculous waits. If you go on a weekday, it's worth it, but I'd stay away on the weekends.

            I liked Cookshop's brunch the one time we tried it. Also in that neighborhood and very good for brunch is the "Tap Room" at Colicchio & Sons. They're also a good option for regular lunch. I actually kind of prefer the Tap Room to fancier Main Dining Room.

            Also of note: Russ & Daughters for bagels & lox.

            2) lunches

            The lunch at Del Posto is a steal and a half. Given the number of freebies - the bread course, which is notable, the amuses, petit-fours, etc - it's more like five or six courses, and probably the best $30 lunch you could find anywhere.

            Katz's - hard to go wrong. The sandwiches are FILLING, you could easily split one. The corned beef and tongue are also great, though.

            Burgers: Shake Shack is great, more "fast food" style, if anything but fast given the lines. The DB burger isn't so much what one thinks of as a "burger" though it is excellent, and a classic dish if there ever was one.

            Also of note: Prune has a solid lunch, and the lines aren't as crazy as they are for the weekend brunch. The "duck lunch" at Momofuku Ssam Bar is excellent, especially the duck-over-rice (make sure to slather it in the ginger-scallion sauce!) and the broccoli with smoked bluefish vinaigrette. Momofuku Noodle Bar is also a good lunch option, as they're not as busy as they are at night - split a bowl of the Momo Ramen and an order of the famous pork buns, maybe add a couple of seasonal specials depending how many of you there are, and you'll do just fine.

            I'd also consider switching Xi'an Famous Foods to lunch. Dinner hours they can be mobbed (though the East Broadway location isn't too bad, now that they've expanded - no seating, but you can take your food into the East Bradway Mall where there are tables set up, eat among the dried ginseng vendors and whatnot.)

            3) dinners

            Babbo is one of our NYC treasures, but good luck getting a reservation. Good other options for an Italian meal are Falai (very refined, modernist Northern Italian, but casual and unpretentious vibe), Marea (seafood-centric, though I find the secondi a little lacking), Scarpetta (excellent, though now that Conant is branching out across the country it's not so only-in-NYC and thus a little less exciting), and though I haven't been yet, many I trust have recommended Ai Fiori. But that said, if you can get that elusive Babbo rezzie, go for it. Best with a group (but not too big - they don't serve parties larger than 6) so you can try a lot of different things.

            For high-end, what do you like? Babbo and the other Italian places listed above are quite high-end already, especially if you're doing a "proper Italian" meal (i.e. four courses - antipasti, pasta, secondi, dessert), though you could certainly go higher. I think Eleven Madison Park is the best of the budget-blowers currently, and not as stuffy as the usual Haute French places like Daniel, Jean-Georges, Le Bernardin, etc. Corton I haven't been to in awhile, but many have said they're really on their game of late. For something a little more adventurous (and a little lower budget, though still pricey) WD-50 is one of those "you have to try it at least once" places. Controversial, yes - some love it, some hate it. Some find it pretentious, others playful. I'm in the pro-WD camp, myself.

            4) other food

            All the beer choices are good - I'm fond of d.b.a and Burp Castle in particular. Blind tiger has excellent bar food, though.

            For cocktails, I'll bring up WD-50 again - possibly the best cocktails of any restaurant in the city right now, on a par with any of the uber-creative cocktail dens we've had pop up over that last few years. Easy enough to grab a couple seats at the bar if you're just looking to casually sip, and you can always order a couple appetizers or desserts or whatever if you to try a bit of food while you're there.

            For cocktail bars, the East Village is the plce to be: Death & Co., Mayahuel (the tequila- and mezcal-centric spinoff of D&C), PDT (in which you can try some of Crif Dog's fancier creations, killing two birds with one stone)

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

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

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

            Babbo
            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

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

            Le Bernardin
            155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

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

            Falai
            68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

            Crif Dogs
            113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

            d.b.a.
            41 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

            Burp Castle
            41 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

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

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

            Corton
            239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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

            Marea
            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

            Clinton Street Baking Co.
            4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

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

            Colicchio & Sons
            85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

            Ai Fiori
            400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

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

            4 Replies
            1. re: sgordon

              You like the tongue at Katz's? I'd never recommend that! The time I tried it, it was really unpleasantly offal-tasting, and I think you're the first person I've ever seen recommending it. Now 2nd Av. Deli, that's a place where you can get good tongue, the way I remember it from my childhood. Katz's has great pastrami, very good corned beef, and very good brisket, on the condition that you ask for it juicy. But tongue? No way, as far as I'm concerned.

              1. re: Pan

                The few times I had a hot tongue on rye at Katz's it was great. That being said, I prefer the pastrami like everyone else.

                1. re: Pan

                  im not a fan of their tongue either, it is better when heated up though. FWIW i'm a very big fan of Katz's chicken liver sandwich.

                  1. re: daffyduck

                    Yeah, their chopped liver is good. I tried it once.