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Restaurant Advice for 2 day trip to NYC

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Hey, my girlfriend and I are going to NYC September 30th -October 2nd. We are staying a the plaza and looking for restaurant ideas. We have reservations at WD 50 othe 1st but are looking for other ideas. We both will eat anything and love to try fun or unique places. Any suggestions?

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  1. price range? where are you traveling from?

    2 Replies
    1. re: nmprisons

      Coming from Boston. Just taking a little weekend getaway. Pretty open for price range. But looking for ideas for lunch and dinner.

      1. re: PhoMonsterDave56

        Lunch: I really enjoy Minetta Tavern, Katz's, Xian Famous, Zabb Elee, and Ssam Bar's duck lunch

        Dinner: In addition to WD 50, I would consider Craft or EMP for American food, as well as The Modern, Corton, or Kyo Ya

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

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

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

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

        Minetta Tavern
        113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

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

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

        Corton
        239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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

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

    2. If you don't mind a little noise I would say Bar Room at The Modern for a lunch on Saturday, great menu with lots of choices. Depending on when you are coming in on the 30th maybe lunch at Jean George (maybe doesn't satisfy the fun/unique aspect but it's great and a good value). Dinner on 30th you could do something kind of casual but good, maybe MAS farmhouse or Public or if vegetarian doesn't bother you maybe Kajitsu.

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

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

      Mas (Farmhouse)
      39 Downing St, New York, NY 10014

      Public
      210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

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

      1. WD-50 is good. Make sure you try the aerated foie gras, cold fried chicken, and some of their cocktails.

        Some NY-specific and unique place ideas:

        * Txikito for Basque tapas. Don't miss the suckling pig, miss the sofrito/chorizo/quail egg pintxo, croquettas, padron peppers, suckling pig, torreja dessert or whatever is on the daily specials board, like this oyster mushroom carpaccio I had once where the mushrooms were sliced incredibly thin. The newly opened Tertulia is also pretty good as well.

        * Zabb Elee for Issan (Thai) food, especially their excellent larb, sauteed Chinese broccoli with crispy pork, and more obscure dishes. No pad thai. No curries.

        * Takashi for local/sustainable Japanese yakiniku. Awesome high-tech electric grills. Try the uni/shiso/wagyu dish, beef belly, short ribs, heart, liver, sweetbreads, first stomach, third stomach, four stomach, tendon, or whatever is good that day. I'm partial to the chuck roll sukiyaki they have Monday through Wednesday.

        * Xi'an Famous Foods for food from Shaanxi province in China. Cumin lamb hand pulled noodles!

        * Brunch at Minetta Tavern (takes reservations), The Breslin (no reservations), or Shopsin's (no reservations, note weird hours/crazy menu/cursing at Shopsin's).

        Shopsin's is probably the most "innovative" breakfast place/diner in town. Breakfast sliders, mac and cheese pancakes, slutty cakes, sandwiches with the "bread" made out of french toast or pancakes, made-up soups from around the world (i.e., "this is what I think Kenyan soup would taste like" not "this is the kind of soup they eat in Kenya"). Some people hate it; some people love it.

        * Bagel sandwiches with smoked salmon, capers, red onion, cream cheese at Russ & Daughters. Excellent smoked salmon. Try a few before you settle on one. You can get a mini-sized bagel sandwich here, too, if you wish. Takeout only.

        * A steak and/or a scotch at Keens (lots of history here, too). Say hi to Ms Keens in the bar.

        * Katz's Deli (famous for great pastrami on rye, no mayo). Or 2nd Ave Deli for chicken in a pot, matzoh ball soup, I've heard their knoblewurst is good, too.

        * Pizza at John's of Bleecker (coal oven style) or Motorino (Naples inspired). Motorino is probably the more hip one. Try the Cremini & Sweet Sausage, Soppressata Piccante with fior de latte, or Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta (white) pie. Bask in the glory of their oven and lovely charred crust.

        * A pretzel from Sigmund Pretzelshop (the street ones are crap). They have a cart in front of the Met Museum as well.

        * Hot dogs at Papaya Dog/Gray's Papaya (not gourmet but cheap and satisfying, and an oddly NY thing).

        * Halal Guys cart at 53rd and 6th. Eat street meat! Stand in line. It's worth it. Make sure you go to the southEAST corner before 8pm, and the southWEST corner after 8pm. They have yellow bags with a red circular logo that says Halal Guys: We Are Different. Don't use too much red sauce. Chicken and/or lamb with rice and a creamy white sauce.

        * Shake Shack (multiple locations). A high-end fast food burger, get the Shack burger, which has the Shack sauce on it. Contentious. Debated. Delicious. Sitting in Madison Square Park on a nice day has its own particular charms. Arrive at 11:45am to beat the lunch rush.

        * Babbo, Locanda Verde, or Scarpetta. High end Italian, which is really buzzy in NYC right now, book a month in advance. Babbo books one month in advance to the calendar day, i.e., call on August 28th for September 28th. Scarpetta has LA, Miami, and Toronto branches now, though, so if you visit those cities, it may not be such a draw.

        * Eleven Madison Park for a really splurgy meal, if you are going all out. Reserve 4 weeks in advance. Have a drink at the bar beforehand as they won Best Restaurant Bar at Tales of the Cocktail 2011. Try not to eat all of the housemade chips or the honey peanuts, or those fruity green French olives. For your meal, you are presented with a grid of ingredients like "pork" or "lobster" for a menu. It's definitely a bit mysterious what you're going to actually get, also the service is incredible. Book ASAP, I think they book up about 4 weeks in advance.

        * Defonte's. You know that "sandwich day" episode of 30 Rock? That's this place..

        * Torrisi Italian Specialties for upscale American-Italian with global influences (Jamaican, Chinese, Jewish). No reservations. Show up at 5:45pm to put your name down. There's a nightly prix fixe menu (~$50) for dinner based upon what's local and fresh. It changes all the time.

        * Lots of high end Japanese if you are into that. Soto for creative uni/sushi dishes, Kyo Ya for kaiseki cuisine that changes with what's in season (they once served me edamame still attached to the branch), or Kajitsu for Shojin cuisine. I'm assuming these are hard to find in your hometown.

        * If you have time to get into Brooklyn or Queens, look into Di Fara (odd hours/long lines), Mile end (Quebec food -- pastrami, poutine, Montreal bagels, sells out quickly), Kabab Cafe for Egyptian food and offal, Red Hook Ballfields for a series of food trucks serving arepas, huraches, ceviche, elote, agua fresca, and more (hopefully they will still be open then), and/or M. Wells (assuming their new location is open by then -- possibly not).

        * Cocktails at Pegu Club, PDT (speakeasy inside of Crif Dogs and takes reservations at 3pm on the day of), or Death & Co. Similar to Drink in Boston. Best time to go is around 6pm before they fill up. Especially since you are here on a weekend.

        * For unusual sweets, Doughnut Plant (try the cake doughnuts only) has flavors like tres leches, blueberry, green tea, and more.

        I am a big fan of the pretzel croissant and/or the baker's (leftovers) muffin at City Bakery.

        Victory Garden has goat milk soft serve (don't miss the salted caramel if they have it) and frozen yogurt, with unusual toppings like sungold tomato, honey comb candy, maple marshmallows, havlah.

        The Joyride Truck has caffeinated frozen yogurt.

        You might also look into Spot Dessert Bar (Pichet Ong) or Chikalicious Dessert Bar for creative, plated desserts served outside your normal dinner setting.

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

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

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

        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

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

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

        Minetta Tavern
        113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

        City Bakery
        3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

        Doughnut Plant
        379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

        Second Avenue Deli
        162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

        John's Pizzeria
        278 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

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

        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

        ChikaLicious
        203 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

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

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

        Halal Chicken and Gyro
        106 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

        Txikito
        240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

        Defonte's Sandwich Shop
        261 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

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

        Locanda Verde
        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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

        Sigmund Pretzel Shop
        29 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

        Spot Dessert Bar
        13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

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

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

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

        Takashi
        456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

        Papaya Dog
        333 Sixth Ave, New York, NY 10012

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

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

        Tertulia
        359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        Victory Garden
        31 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

        3 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          Amazing list. I would just add that if you get the pastrami on rye at katz's make sure you stand on line to order and get order the pastrami fatty.

          1. re: kathryn

            kathryn, you are just so amazing.
            i should print this list...thx from me and all the other NY lurkers.

            1. re: kathryn

              Great list, Kathryn. We have very similar food preferences. To the original poster, I would just add Num Pang as something unique for a casual lunch. Two locations: original near Union Square, new one near Grand Central (although that one's closed on Sundays). They make Cambodian sandwiches and are delicious.

              -----
              Num Pang Sandwich Shop
              21 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

              Num Pang Sandwich Shop
              140 E 41st St, New York, NY 10017

            2. I love Tocqueville, great food, beautiful room, nice people. Also their sister restaurant, 15 East if you like sushi and Japanese food.
              Both in the Union Square area, a very interesting area of Manhattan.

              -----
              15 East
              15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

              Tocqueville
              1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003