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SF Chowhounder visiting NYC > cheap eats in Chelsea/Meatpacking & good reasonably priced dinners?

Hello NYC Chowhounders!

So the husband and I will be heading out to our favorite city (next our own) ;). We've eaten at some of the higher end places in NYC (Babbo, Le Bernadin, DB, Esca, Aquavit, Peter Luger..etc) and now we're on a budget for a tradeshow

We'd love to see if there are any great cheap eats for the Chelsea/Meatpacking area as we'll be going to a convention at Jacob Javitts Ctr.

We eat EVERYTHING, except I can't really have wheat. (I will try a good slice of pizza if it's really worth it) We do get good Korean, Mexican and Vietnamese here in Cali, but willing to see what NYC has to offer. We love seafood and a good steak.

For dinner, we'd like a nice sit down place, no more than $40 per person if possible.
Willing to travel outside of the Meatpacking if there are some good eats in that range.

Thanks!

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  1. I assume you already know this but the Javits Center is in a more remote part of town and to walk to where some of the interesting restaurants in Chelsea/MePa can take a while.

    Grand Sichuan on 9th Ave and 24th Street is one of the better Sichuan restaurants in town, but probably a 20 minute walk. I'm not sure about the wheat-free aspect though (soy sauce).

    Co. aka Company is across the street from Grand Sichuan, your wheat allergy may prevent you from enjoying their specialty, which is pizza.

    You might also be able to order carefully at El Quinto Pino and keep the price down. It's on 24th between 9th and 10th. Its sister restaraunt, Txikito, it around the corner, too.

    Keens is a good steakhouse within walking distance as well but you might go a little bit over your budget for a dinner there, but not by too much I think. 36th and Broadway.

    Chelsea Market has some options for you, like Lobster Place (they can steam a whole lobster for you) and/or Friedman's Lunch which is gluten-free. 15th Street, and the market takes up the whole block between 9th and 10th.

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

    El Quinto Pino
    401 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011

    Grand Sichuan
    229 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

    The Lobster Place
    75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    Friedman's Lunch
    75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    Txikito
    240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

    Co.
    230 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Location correction for Keens, our favorite steakhouse. It's on 36th, b/t 5th & 6th, just off the southeast corner of 6th.

      Keens photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

      Trestle on Tenth, on the corner 10th Av. & 24th St., might be a good option.

      Trestle on Tenth photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

      http://thewizrdofroz.wordpress.com

      1. re: kathryn

        Thanks Kathryn, my convention is at Jacob Javitts, but I'll be staying in the MePa. These all sound like great options! Anything in the MePa that's your favorite?

        1. re: berfahEATS

          Unfortunately, my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood will probably aggravate your wheat allergy and may be out of your price range.

          We like Pastis for brunch, Scarpetta for pasta, Del Posto for their prix fixe weekday lunch deal. There's not a lot of cheap eats in MePa. Maybe Legend? Coppelia? Again, it may not work with your allergy.

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

          Pastis
          9 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

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

          Legend
          88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

          Coppelia
          207 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

      2. El Cocotero is a good Venezuelan restaurant in Chelsea that serves very good, wheat-free arepas, empanadas and patacones (sandwiches made out of flattened, fried green plantains). It's inexpensive, though alcoholic drinks are pricey and not well made. (Recent review :http://www.girleatscity.com/search?q=...

        )

        Kyotofu in Midtown West (Hell's Kitchen) serves interesting Japanese-influenced comfort food and a number of wheat-free desserts. There's an inexpensive dinner set menu available.

        Ilili on 5th Ave. between 27th and 28th does *wonderful* Lebanese food. There is a set dinner menu available on some nights of the week that's a great value and the seafood I've tried there has been excellent. This is a year-old review, but may be helpful: http://www.girleatscity.com/search?q=...

        I love the steamed lobster at the Chelsea Market Lobster Place. It's a great value (doesn't cost extra; you pick your lobster -- about $11 to $13 a lb, generally -- and ask for it to be steamed in the back). It's served cracked for you, over a very simple green salad. If you like oysters, Lobster Place will also shuck your oysters for you so you can eat them at one of the tables right outside. I don't really like the sides at Lobster Place, but you can buy your own anywhere you like in Chelsea Market. (http://www.girleatscity.com/2011/06/l...

        )

        I know you have great Korean where you are, but there's an interesting modern Korean restaurant in Midtown West called Danji that serves some innovative takes on the cuisine that you might find to be of interest. (http://www.girleatscity.com/search?q=...

        )

        And finally, if you like south Indian good bets in the East 20s include Chennai Garden (sometimes very slow service), Saravanaa Bhavan and Tiffin Walla (a bit greasier than the other two, but they make fantastic vada). There's a north Indian place called Dhaba in the area that some 'Hounds seem to like, but I haven't yet tried it. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/709887

        -----
        Saravanaas
        81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

        Tiffin Wallah
        127 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016

        Chennai Garden
        129 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016

        Kyotofu
        705 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

        The Lobster Place
        75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        Ilili
        236 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001

        El Cocotero
        228 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

        Dhaba
        108 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016

        Danji
        346 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

        9 Replies
        1. re: michelleats

          Kyotofu looks quite interesting. Thanks Michelle. I'll also check out Danji. and the Indian options too.

          Any recs for things in the MePa? I know I'm close to Pastis (overrated?) but anything else?

          -----
          Kyotofu
          705 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

          Danji
          346 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: michelleats

            One more question on Danji & Kyotofu...ok I've been a little frustrated with new renditions of asian bistros that are smaller in proportion and taste just the same as it's authentic counterpart (if not less). Is that the case at Danji? It's like the mentality of "oh let's make this cute and call it nouveau Asian" and charge more (but really a customer can get just as good a bibimbap at an authentic ethnic place.) If it's truly innovative and different, I'm willing to give it a go! Thoughts?

            -----
            Danji
            346 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

            1. re: berfahEATS

              I know what you mean re: cutesy nouveau food. That's irritating and I don't think Danji does that. Portions may be smaller than what the norm is in SF, but they're pretty generously portioned for tapas-style food in NYC. Take a look at the menu and see if it's your kind of place: http://www.danjinyc.com/menu.html A lot of the food probably has traces of wheat (in soy sauce), but it doesn't sound like you're that sensitive.

              Kyotofu portions are a bit smaller and it might fall into your cutsie category. I enjoy the food, but in all honesty, the savory dishes probably aren't worth spending your only dinner in the city on. If you happen to be in the area, it may be fun to drop by for a tofu based dessert... But I'm guessing SF has this type of thing, as well.

              IMHO, the food at Pastis is mediocre and overpriced, but the decor is pleasant. Fatty Crab is also in the MePa area. I don't personally like the restaurant at all (it presents itself as authentic, but it's not; I find it overpriced and the noise level obnoxiously high) but I mention it because there are 'Hounds with good taste who do like it.

              I like Scarpetta, even without the bread and pasta dishes. It's probably is out of your price range for this trip, though, unless you plan to eat very lightly. Same story for Recette, a very good restaurant not far south of MePa.

              Let me think on this a bit more, later. It sounds like you might prefer to sit down at a nice restaurant rather than grab a quick, casual meal -- is that right?

              -----
              Kyotofu
              705 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

              Pastis
              9 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

              Fatty Crab
              643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

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

              Recette
              328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

              Danji
              346 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

              1. re: michelleats

                Thanks Michelle! I think for lunch a good quick bit would be great and for dinner a casual sit down is what I'm thinking of. I will check out Scarpetta and Recette!

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

                Recette
                328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

                1. re: berfahEATS

                  Ok, I've been percolating on this all evening and I can't think of too many good places that haven't been mentioned already. But here are a few ideas:

                  - Eataly is a relatively short walk east of where you're staying and set up a bit like the Ferry Building in SF, with lots of dining options, mostly pretty casual. You can either eat at stations (one devoted to vegetable dishes, another devoted to fish, another to pizza, etc...) or you can sit down at Birreria (casual, mostly outdoor seating on the roof) or Manzo (white tablecloth, maybe more expensive than what you prefer). The crowds are no longer are horrific as they were about six months ago. http://eatalyny.com/

                  - I've heard some good things about Red Cat, which is fairly close to where you're staying, but I've never been, myself. I think opinions might be mixed on this board.

                  - Green Table in Chelsea Market is a pleasant, small sit-down restaurant in your price range and can sometimes be very, very good. (Menu here: http://cleaverco.blogspot.com/) But it isn't the most consistent kitchen and I've had some oversalted, poorly cooked meals on occasion. And anyway, if you're in Chelsea Market, I think it's fun to nosh on a variety of things from many different places.

                  - Socarrat Paella Bar is just a smidgen north of MePa, in Chelsea. It isn't, in truth, the best paella in the world, but it is good for NYC and the tapas are fair to good. Very few dishes are wheat-based.

                  Please don't hesitate to neg suggestions. That way we can help you narrow your options down to something that will really make you happy!

                  -----
                  The Green Table
                  75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                  Red Cat
                  227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                  Socarrat
                  259 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

                  Eataly
                  200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                  Manzo
                  200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                  Birreria
                  200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                  1. re: michelleats

                    Thanks Michelle! Eataly looks pretty amazing...did that just open? This looks like a great place to just nibble and try different things.

                    Our "splurge" restaurant is Babbo. We've eaten there before and it's been some of the best Italian we've had (and we've been to Italy!). We're happy to try something new if you have any other suggestions.

                    Thanks again!

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

                    Eataly
                    200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                    1. re: berfahEATS

                      Eataly opened about a year ago. It's set up like a giant grocery store with separate restaurants inside, and one checkout area for retail purchases.

                      So it is not that easy to nosh at multiple ones unfortunately, as they're all waiter-service, save for the dessert and coffee stands. Note also that wine/meat/cheese one has counter seating and standing height tables--the tables are set up really awkwardly IMO at the main junction of the retail space, making a huge bottleneck.

                      It's still very popular, especially on weekends. If you go, definitely do it on a weekday, like around 11am.

                      -----
                      Eataly
                      200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                      1. re: kathryn

                        It is possible to do a bit of a noshing "tour" in Eataly since several of the dining venues, including Le Verdure, Manzo, and Birreria have bar/counter service, which would be quicker than table service. Plus, as you've pointed out, there are those standing height tables for charcuterie -- though I agree their location makes them feel horribly crowded.

                        Manzo's bar can be seen in this photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                        Birreria's bar can be seen in this photo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                        The nosh could also include gelato, pastries, and chocolates.

                        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                      2. re: berfahEATS

                        I like Babbo, but always wondered if I perhaps I didn't love it quite as much as some other Chowhounds because I have to avoid the wheat-based options on that menu for the most part, as well. (These days, Batali restaurants all offer wheat-free pastas, but the texture just isn't the same...) I think I'll try Babbo again, sometime, since you liked it so much and probably aren't basing your opinion on the pastas!

                        I thought Manzo in Eataly was even better than Babbo based on my one visit, there, and the sample of dishes we tried. (http://www.girleatscity.com/2011/07/m...) I may be mentally weighing the carne sala ($15) very heavily, though: It was fantastic. Manzo is a pretty spendy restaurant, but if you order carefully (i.e. have only an antipasti and primi or share an antipasti and two mains), you can get out for $40 or under (not including tax, beverage and tip).

                        I noticed that Birreria has a pork shoulder dish for $19. That seems like a very good deal if it's a main course. I haven't personally tried it, since it's been too hot for my dining companions to want to brave the roof-top seating every time we've attempted to go, but I bet other Hounds have a lot to say about it! Here's one nicely written review from roze: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787715

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

                        Eataly
                        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                        Manzo
                        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                        Birreria
                        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

            2. By the way, I don't know if it's been mentioned but there are a number of places that do gluten free pizzas. Keste in the West Village (not too far a walk from Meatpacking) does gluten free pizzas that a friend of mine is a fan of.

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

              2 Replies
              1. re: InfoMofo

                I think Keste only has GF pizza on Mondays and Tuesdays. In my experience, it's been rubbery and tough. That may be because I've only tried pizzas without tomato sauce, though. (I do think their non GF pizzas are excellent.)

                1. re: michelleats

                  Hmm, I'll give Keste some thought...I've succumbed to the fact that I may not ever get a good GF pizza. Didn't know that Babbo has non-wheat pasta...I may have to try it! Thanks everyone for the suggestions. These are all awesome!

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

              2. If you have the time for a detour Victory Garden has some interesting goats milk soft serve, and if you haven't visited Faicco's pork store, and Murray's Cheese before, the three are close by.

                -----
                Murray's Cheese
                254 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                Faicco's
                260 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                Victory Garden
                31 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014