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2nd Visit to NYC....We want to be in the "know"!

e
excel Sep 5, 2011 01:47 PM

Hi Everyone!

We are coming for our second visit to NYC and can't wait to try more restaurants/food carts/food trucks! We want to know, what's new? What has a lot of "BUZZ" amongst foodies?

We will be staying for 8 days, so we basically have 8 lunches and 8 dinners to plan.

Just for reference, here's the thread from our first visit: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/665966

And here's some background info:
So for our last trip we ate at: La Bernadin, Jean George, WD-50, Momofuku Saam Bar, Katz's Deli, Russ and Daughter's, Prune, and the Halal Cart on 53rd and 6th.

In terms of "fine dining", we've already made reservations for Per Se and Babbo, so we don't need any more fine dining recs.

We would like to re-visit: the Halal Cart and Russ and Daughter's (amazing food!).

We have a friend who lives in Brooklyn who's taking us to Shake Shack, Luger's, and Frankie's 457.

Here's some questions:
How's Kefi? Spotted Pig?
Best Pizza?
Best Food Carts/Trucks? (no preference on type of food, just good food!
)Restaurant Recs in Harlem?

Thanks again everyone. You were AMAZING with your recs for our first visit.

  1. b
    bmarsden Sep 13, 2011 05:47 AM

    Another street cart worth considering is the Biryani Cart on the southwest corner at 46th St. and 6th Avenue. They serve rice dishes including chicken biryani but are probably best loved for their Kati Rolls (sort of like Indian tacos) - my favorite are the Spicy Buradi rolls. The Biryani Cart is also the two-time winner of the People's Choice awards at the annual Vendy street cart competition.

    Have a terrific time!

    -----
    Biryani Cart
    W 46th St and 6th Ave, New York, NY 10036

    1. e
      excel Sep 11, 2011 07:45 PM

      Thank you so much everyone, for all your honest opinions!! A few more questions though....

      So I think Kefi can safely be cut from my list, unless someone wants to convince me otherwise?
      Instead of Veselka, the Ukranian East Village Restaurant has been added to my list. Borscht and Perogies sound SO good right now!
      The menu at both the Spotted Pig and the Beslin look yummy, what are the pros and cons to each restaurant?
      We've added The Meatball Shop, Red Rooster, and Second Ave Deli to our list, thanks to your suggestions!
      As for Pizza, we've heard of Motorino before, but what about Paulie Gee's?
      For Chicken and Waffles.....Amy Ruth's or Sylvia's?
      Any BBQ suggestions?
      As for food trucks, we might try to find the Schnitzel truck and Wafles and Dinges, but any other specific trucks you would recommend that we shouldn't miss?

      Thanks again!

      2 Replies
      1. re: excel
        s
        Simon Sep 11, 2011 08:18 PM

        Spotted Pig: rude staff, oversalted food

        The Breslin: nice staff, comfy setting, very good food including a lambburger, chaturerie, etc

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

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

        1. re: excel
          s
          sugartoof Sep 12, 2011 08:25 AM

          Avoid Sylvia's. Amy Ruth's all the way. Unless you're staying in Harlem or very far uptown, you might not want to make another trip for Red Rooster too.

          Paulie Gee's is in Brooklyn. It's more of a secret than Motorino. Roberta's is another popular new "in the know" kind of spot. I would stay simple and look into Keste.

          Expect a potential wait at Meatball Shop, and consider Frankie's Spuntino on Clinton for meatballs as a backup.

          -----
          Sylvia's
          328 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

          Amy Ruth's
          113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

          Frankies 17 Spuntino
          17 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

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

          The Meatball Shop
          84 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002

          Red Rooster
          310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

        2. c
          cheeseisheaven Sep 9, 2011 08:25 AM

          if you have the patience, and are willing to go deep into Bklyn...Di Fara is the place to go for pizza...you can check it out on the bklyn board, and pre order on fb....

          1. c
            citykid426 Sep 9, 2011 07:57 AM

            Plus, you may want to consider having good breakfasts/brunches. Some people on this board already mentioned restaurants that have either breakfast or brunch menus. Try Locanda Verde in Tribeca, Minetta Tavern, Maialino, Clinton Street Baking Co. for the best homemade pancakes (on a weekday when you can just walk right in, NOT the weekend), just to name a few. And what about New York coffee? You shouldn't leave here without getting a good cup of joe- try Ninth Street Expresso, Joe, Think Coffee, and of course Third Rail Coffee on Sullivan St. (my favorite when I was studying for the bar)...

            -----
            Joe the Art of Coffee
            141 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

            Minetta Tavern
            113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

            Ninth Street Espresso
            700 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009

            Think Coffee
            248 Mercer St, New York, NY 10012

            Locanda Verde
            377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

            Third Rail Coffee
            240 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

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

            Maialino
            2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

            1. c
              citykid426 Sep 9, 2011 07:45 AM

              The Frying Dutchmen for pommes frites, The Cevap Truck for excellent cevapi, The Belgian Waffle and Dinges truck (sp?) for good waffles. Note: Kafana also makes amazing cevapi and overall good Serbian food (some of it is street style).

              Other places you might like: If you liked Russ and Daughters, you may like Barney Greengrass on Amsterdam Ave. and 87th Street (best salmon, sturgeon eggs, etc. in the city), PLUS you can sit down unlike R+D. Also on the Upper West Side and nearby is Kefi, which you mentioned. I went twice and thought it was just ok. My husband is Greek and didn't like it - he ordered ouzo and the staff didn't serve it a proper ouzo glass (that's like serving a French person in a French restaurant wine in a coffee cup). He asked to speak to the manager or a supervisor in Greek and see why a Greek restaurant that serves expensive ouzo on their menu has no ouzo glasses (and basically serves it in regular Ikea-like glasses) but no one spoke Greek. If you want a better suggestion, I'd say go to Queens. If not, go to Pylos in the East Village. There are actually Greek people working and cooking there and the dishes are very authentic.

              For Pizza, I like to go to Luzzo's, also in the East Village, on 1st Ave and 12th Street. It is crowded after 8/9pm but if you go earlier in the afternoon you should be fine and can sit as soon as you walk in. They have a real old school oven and make their pizza Neopolitan style- simple and damn good (just don't get a table too close to the oven or you will be sweating half way through the meal).

              As for Harlem, Pisticci on La Salle and Broadway is pretty good.

              -----
              Barney Greengrass
              541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

              Luzzo's
              211 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

              Pylos
              128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

              Pisticci
              125 La Salle St, New York, NY 10027

              Kefi
              505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

              Kafana
              116 Ave C, New York, NY 10009

              Wafels & Dinges
              New York, New York, NY 10001

              The Frying Dutchmen
              New York, New York, NY 10001

              1. MsAlyp Sep 7, 2011 12:36 PM

                Where are you coming from?

                I was recently impressed and very much liked the experience at Junoon which is Indian cuisine but "fancier" then your normal Indian place and has a very nice ambiance, cocktail list, etc.

                Depending on how adventerous you are feeling it's worth it to take the 10 minute train ride from 14th street union square in manhattan to the Bedford L stop (first stop in brooklyn on the L line) to visit Smorgasburg which is daytime food vendors outside on saturdays only. If you are looking for food carts this is a great alternative/ nice activity. Plus there is a lot of shopping, food and drink in that area.

                http://www.brooklynflea.com/smorgasburg/

                For Harlem the place right now is still Red Rooster

                http://redroosterharlem.com/

                someone mentioned meatball shop. it's very casual, not pricey and I love it!

                For cocktails I most def second PDT and also would add Pegu Club in there.

                Also what about sushi? depending on where you're coming from that might be a must!

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

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

                Red Rooster
                310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

                Junoon
                27 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

                1. g
                  gutsofsteel Sep 5, 2011 06:35 PM

                  You should consider going to Barney Greengrass instead of Russ & Daughters. You can sit there with table service, and the fish is just as good...(in fact they use the same suppliers)

                  -----
                  Barney Greengrass
                  541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

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

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gutsofsteel
                    u
                    Uncle Yabai Sep 7, 2011 03:12 AM

                    But is the lovely Nikki Russ Federman manning the counter at BG? Noo! But I see your point, and could probably agree if there weren't some good benches in the R&D neighborhood so you can eat al-fresco.

                  2. k
                    kathryn Sep 5, 2011 03:04 PM

                    I love Spotted Pig but go for lunch/brunch when it's got a shorter wait. Weekdays can be fun. Also look at her other restaurant, The Breslin.

                    Best pizza IMO is at Motorino but it's Naples inspired, whole pies. It is not a NY street slice nor the same as one of our famous coal oven pizzerias like Patsy's of East Harlem.

                    In Harlem, I like chicken and waffles at Amy Ruth's.

                    Since you're from Toronto, I would make sure to get some BBQ, fried chicken, and lobster rolls while you're here, in addition to the bagels/smoked salmon, halal cart, and deli. I might also go to Second Ave Deli for matzoh ball soup, chicken in a pot, etc. I know RGR is a big fan of their knoblewurst! They have stuff you probably won't find in Canada.

                    Here's something I wrote up in another thread, so sorry about repeats:

                    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.

                    For food trucks, try one of the Korean taco trucks, maybe the Schnitzel truck, Souvlaki, Luke's Lobster or Red Hook Lobster Pound, Wafels & Dinges...

                    -----
                    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

                    Amy Ruth's
                    113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

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

                    Minetta Tavern
                    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Wafels & Dinges
                    New York, New York, NY 10001

                    Txikito
                    240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                    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

                    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

                    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

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: kathryn
                      thew Sep 6, 2011 06:12 AM

                      this is a good list - i'd make the following changes - papaya king (they're the original), not greys, and definitely not papaya dog.

                      I'd opt for a good NYC street slice, over wood or coal oven pies.

                      in addition to pegu, pdt, etc i'd add little branch and angels share for cocktails

                      for BBQ head to dinosaur - i haven't been since they moved a few blocks south, but they're my favorite BBQ in the city. (great wings - i opt for the 2nd hottest sauce, as it has great flavor as well as heat) and amazing fried green tomatoes. don't miss their syracuse potatoes either.

                      -----
                      Papaya King
                      179 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

                      1. re: thew
                        k
                        kathryn Sep 6, 2011 06:59 AM

                        IMO Angel's Share is not as good as the others you mentioned.

                        -----
                        Angel's Share
                        8 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003

                        1. re: kathryn
                          thew Sep 6, 2011 10:17 AM

                          YMMV

                          1. re: kathryn
                            m
                            melo7 Sep 6, 2011 10:22 AM

                            Agreed.

                            1. re: kathryn
                              s
                              Simon Sep 6, 2011 10:55 AM

                              My last visit to Angels Share a few weeks ago will prob be my last visit to Angels Share: seriously downhill and bad vibe both from staff and customers

                              1. re: Simon
                                thew Sep 6, 2011 11:55 AM

                                its probably been 9 months since my last visit

                        2. s
                          Simon Sep 5, 2011 03:03 PM

                          -- you might enjoy newish chowhound fav Zabb-Elee for Isaan Thai food

                          -- maybe Kin Shop for Thai-influenced NY food

                          -- personally i'd take Scarpetta over Babbo any day

                          -- i'd do Breslin instead of Spotted Pig

                          -- maybe one of our many Sichuan places like Grand Sichuan on 9th Ave and 24th

                          -- Soba Koh

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          1. e
                            excel Sep 5, 2011 02:00 PM

                            Forgot to mention another restaurant that was interesting (featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate)....Veselka? Good for Borscht and Perogies?

                            Worth a visit too?

                            17 Replies
                            1. re: excel
                              k
                              kathryn Sep 5, 2011 03:06 PM

                              Good but more of a late night, post-drinking place. I like it but I'm not sure it's something you should plan as a destination...

                              -----
                              Veselka
                              144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                              1. re: kathryn
                                g
                                gutsofsteel Sep 6, 2011 06:37 AM

                                I'd recommend Veselka over Shake Shack in a heartbeat. At least Veselka serves interesting (if not excellent) food in a local atmosphere.

                                I applaud Danny Meyer and his genius marketing team, but the fact that Shake Shack has become a "destination" is one of the greatest frauds perpetrated on the dining public since....the emperor had no clothes. Shake Shack is now also a "chain," which loads of people would say disqualify it on some level.

                                It is a burger shack people, nothing more. To waste a meal there during a limited visit to NYC.....sigh.

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

                                Veselka
                                144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                1. re: gutsofsteel
                                  l
                                  lexismore Sep 6, 2011 11:04 AM

                                  I find shake shack to consistently produce the best simple burger in Manhattan (no lamb blends or specialized cheeses, etc).

                                  IMO, it is one of the few places in the city to actually live up to its hype.

                                  1. re: lexismore
                                    thew Sep 6, 2011 11:54 AM

                                    meh. maybe the best thin fast food burger in NY, but, to my mind, not the best simple burger - there are plenty of pubs and diners and restaurants that make a good simple beef burger that i prefer to shake shake any day

                                    1. re: thew
                                      l
                                      lexismore Sep 6, 2011 12:25 PM

                                      Such as?

                                      I agree the shack burger is too thin for the bun, but the double burger solves the ratio issue perfectly.

                                      1. re: lexismore
                                        thew Sep 6, 2011 01:12 PM

                                        off the top of my head, w/ no thinking about it -

                                        finnigans wake, on 1st and 73rd st. (my fave these days)

                                        go burger
                                        genesis on 2nd ave
                                        gracies diner.

                                        havent been in years but i used to like the burgers at corner bistro, and at prime burger

                                        there a place on houston that i dont know the name that a friend took me to

                                        even stand has a better burger than shake shack as far as im concerned

                                        -----
                                        Finnegan's Wake
                                        1361 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021

                                        Genesis Bar & Restaurant
                                        1708 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

                                        Gracie's Corner
                                        352 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

                                        Go Burger
                                        1448 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

                                        1. re: thew
                                          l
                                          lexismore Sep 6, 2011 01:34 PM

                                          I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I haven't been to all the above places, but I find the meat in the shack burgers to be infinitely more flavorful than those at corner bistro, gracie's and stand.

                                          1. re: lexismore
                                            g
                                            gutsofsteel Sep 7, 2011 05:27 PM

                                            You can barely taste the meat at Shake Shack with that sauce in the mix.

                                          2. re: thew
                                            MVNYC Sep 6, 2011 08:53 PM

                                            I had the burger at Genesis recently and thought it was really good. A nice thick patty of well formed juicy meat. It was nice and loosely packed and was cooked rare, exactly how I ordered it.

                                            -----
                                            Genesis Bar & Restaurant
                                            1708 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

                                          3. re: lexismore
                                            s
                                            Sneakeater Sep 7, 2011 03:38 PM

                                            Surely you're not arguing that the Shake Shack burger is better than the two burgers at Minetta Tavern.

                                            -----
                                            Minetta Tavern
                                            113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                                            1. re: Sneakeater
                                              l
                                              lexismore Sep 7, 2011 03:57 PM

                                              I find the Minetta burger to be good, although if I'm going through the hassle of dining at Minetta Tavern, I wouldn't order it again. I have a hard time comparing it to Shake Shack because they're not exactly the same style of burger (thin fast food style vs thick homestyle). For the price, service, and ease of getting a table, I'd rather go to Back Forty for a burger than Minetta.

                                              The black label burger is completely different. I enjoy it, but to me it tastes more like a steak in a burger costume. I can certainly see why it's so widely lauded, but I'd rather have a real burger, or a real steak.

                                              -----
                                              Minetta Tavern
                                              113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                                              Back Forty
                                              190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

                                              1. re: lexismore
                                                g
                                                gutsofsteel Sep 7, 2011 05:29 PM

                                                I can walk up to the bar at Wolfgang's any day at lunch, with no wait, and have a burger which makes Shake Shack seem like the burgers at Cumberland Farms.

                                                -----
                                                Wolfgang's
                                                4 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                          4. re: thew
                                            m
                                            melo7 Sep 6, 2011 12:37 PM

                                            What diner in Manhattan is making a good burger? I can't recall having anything but a pre-formed patty.

                                        2. re: gutsofsteel
                                          i
                                          InfoMofo Sep 6, 2011 01:21 PM

                                          I'd respectfully disagree here. I find Veselka to be much more inconsistent- and as someone who lives blocks away from there, their status as a destination has also baffled me at times. I mean, it is notable as an institution, but so is "Tom's Diner" up in Morningside Heights...

                                          The poster is asking for low-end manhattan dining options, and I think the burger options and shake flavors at Shake Shack are interesting enough to suggest it. If you do go, I recommend the Shack Stack and the Cheese Fries.

                                          -----
                                          Veselka
                                          9 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

                                          1. re: InfoMofo
                                            Wilfrid Sep 6, 2011 04:09 PM

                                            A visitor to the city with a limited number of dining options should not even be considering Shake Shack (which, whether you like it or not, is modeled on and similar to a number of chains elsewhere in the country) or...Veselka. Really? Veselka?

                                            The OP was looking for "buzz". That is not Veselka. Arguably it's Tertulia, Peel's, the Meatball Shop, the duck lunch at Ssam Bar, any number of places in W'burg (wrong board!). It is not Veselka.

                                            Harlem: Red Rooster if you can get a table.

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

                                            The Meatball Shop
                                            84 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002

                                            Peels
                                            325 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                                            Red Rooster
                                            310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

                                            Tertulia
                                            359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                                            1. re: Wilfrid
                                              s
                                              sugartoof Sep 10, 2011 12:59 PM

                                              Agree about Shake Shack, we shouldn't be sending visitors to a chain.

                                              Disagree about Veselka, though I would say Ukranian Home is better now. The OP wanted in the "know" not trendy scenes. They're talking about "foodie" buzz, and if you're a New Yorker, you have to try pirogies and borscht at some point.

                                              -----
                                              Veselka
                                              144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                              Ukrainian East Village Restaurant
                                              140 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                      2. re: excel
                                        c
                                        City Kid Sep 6, 2011 05:49 AM

                                        If you are interested in authentic Ukrainian food go to Ukrainian East Village Restaurant.
                                        http://menupages.com/restaurants/ukra...

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                                        Ukrainian East Village Restaurant
                                        140 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

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