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Sep 12, 2011 09:44 PM

Please review/critique my list

Hi, Los Angeles hound here, we have visited NYC several times over the past decade. We're familiar with the city, subway system and have no problems walking a lot. Our last visit was in 2009 and we received some great suggestions in my specific question. Link here Much thanks to everyone on that thread, with a special shout out to Kathryn. I can't find my trip report post, I could have sworn I posted one. I found a rough draft in my laptop but I did remember having computer problems after my return and maybe I never got it up, apologies if that happened. I'm a big believer in posting reports.

We're arriving at Penn station on a Monday early evening and leaving for JFK mid evening Friday. Staying in LES. We might devote a day to Brooklyn and Luger's but not sure yet.

Anyway, I saved some notes from that 2009 thread and have done some recent research. We prefer food that are hard to find outside NYC. We have some standbys for every trip, Katz's, Russ and Daughters, Pommes Frites, Chickalicious, pizza, egg creams, hot dogs, that kind of stuff. We've done RGR's self walking tour, that was a lot of fun.

Our usual m.o. Is to compile a list for areas of town. That way as we wander around, we have options when the mood hits us. We're used to eating at off hours to avoid crowds and make reservations as needed. Budget, prefer to keep it at $100 for two before tax, tip and alcohol, but can go up to $150 or a bit more if food is worth it.

In addition to the standbys, last trip we really enjoyed Irving Mill and Momofuku bar. The afghan kebab place was also great and worked out really well around the museum visit. Thanks to Pan for that suggestion.

Below is the current list of new or only visited once places I have and would appreciate any feedback.

Darbar Grill

La Sirene
Cafe D'alsce (had this in 2009 and really liked it
Chez Napoleon

Near Murray's Cheese
Faicco Pork Store
Amy's Bread

Arturo's Pizza

Keen's (if we don't make it to Luger's)

Small Plates
Spotted Pig
Caracas Arepas

Stanton Social
Jules Bistro

Is Prune still worth a visit? We liked it back in 09 but that was before her book came out. Not sure if it's too packed now and if the kitchen gets overwhelmed.

Thanks in advance for any help. It's always a treat visiting NY and being able to wander the city, enjoy the great art, theater and food with a great subway system to help us get around.

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  1. Good list. For pizza I'd consider Keste, which is one of the best examples of Neapolitan pizza, which has become a fairly big thing here lately. It's just down the street from Murray's.

    I don't really think of Spotted Pig as a small plates place, though they do have a few. The burger there is great, as is the gnudi. And definitely have a cask beer.

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

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: ml77

      Thanks for the thoughts. Will add Keste to the list. Always good to have some options in that area, it's fun to wander around. We love cheese and poking our heads into Murray's is always a treat.

      Spotted Pig menu seemed like it was small plates. Maybe I was mislead by how they worded things and the pricing? Locally we do the gastropub thing regularly, just order up a half dozen plates or so and relax for a couple of hours.

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

      1. re: Jase

        You can definitely do Spotted Pig that way but don't miss out on their famous burger. Some of the larger plates at Spotted Pig are worth it.

        You should also take a look into the Breslin.

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

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

    2. Just a few comments;
      Just at a Chola and had a fantastic meal. Now my top ranked upscale indian in the city.
      Love Arturos and they keep pumping out great piizza. Get a large pie no matter what. They use the same amount of dough in the large and small pie so the large is a little thinner.
      Pass on Stanton Social, the food is average and the scene is early 20s and packed to the gils. Just too many other places in that hood that are better. I would also pass on Spotted Pig unless you are really into the whole gastro pub thing. For Italian you may want to add Apizz. Its a great meal and scene for a couple.

      106 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

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

      217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

      Stanton Social
      99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

      232 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

      6 Replies
      1. re: princeofpork

        I've been told Indian in LA is one of the few Asian niches that isn't well done. London Indian was fantastic of course. We were kind of leaning Chola over Saravanaas due to having meat options. Love lamb, goat, etc in sauces.

        Thanks for the Arturo tip. Wife has a lot of nostalgia for Lombardi's. Years ago in our very first NYC trip before they remodeled, we had a lovely meal there and she has a lot of fondness for the place, but I've been trying to convince her to try other places. We can only fit in so much food in one trip!

        Will keep in mind what you said about Stanton Social. We're definitely not into the early 20's scene.

        Spotted Pig jumped out at me because we love nose to tail eating. Items such as pig ears, etc. Love your handle by the way. But in my 2009 query, I had asked about offal and organ meats, that's why SP made it onto the list. And we do like places that do a variety of things so we can nosh instead of just having a couple of entrees to share.

        Will take a look at Apizz. Thanks again.

        81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

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

        217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

        Stanton Social
        99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

        232 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

        32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

        1. re: Jase

          You will LOVE Takashi then. See my post below.

          1. re: kathryn

            Hmm, do they do anything especially unusual? There's lots of great Japanese yakitori and robata places here in LA. They sound great, I'm just loath to make a special trip and a meal if it's not too much different from what I can get locally.

            1. re: Jase

              It's Japanese Yakiniku using only organic/sustainable, etc. beef. Since you said you like nose to tail eating, I thought you'd be into some of their more unusual cuts of meat. Think heart, liver, sweetbreads, first stomach, third stomach, four stomach, tendon, intestine...Some of these they do raw as well. Plus it's all from really high quality farms.

              456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

              1. re: kathryn

                Gotcha, thanks! Okay you and uwsister have convinced the wife and I. We'll move it up on our list.

              2. re: Jase

                Have not been to Takashi, but heard great things about them from friends and on here. I don't think I know of a similar place in L.A. It's a yakiniku place, not yakitori or robata. Perhaps there is one in Torrance, but probably not on Takashi's level. I'm thinking about taking a L.A. friend of mine there tomorrow, actually.

                I also second Keste - I've been converted a fan in recent months.

        2. Jase, Glad to hear you enjoyed my LES noshing tour. :)

          For Indian, since you mention loving lamb, you might want to consider going to Tulsi for Hemant's signature Tandoor Grilled Lamb Chops, which are senesational! And the rest of his food is not exactly too shabby either.

          Tulsi photos:

          Cercle Rouge serves an excellent cassoulet.

          Cercle Rouge photos:

          While I thought the pizza at Co. was fine, I much preferred Motorino.

          Co. photos:

          Motorino photos:

          Ciano is currently high on our list of favorite Italian restaurants. If you feel the cost of dinner exceeds your budget, go for lunch. The $21 prix-fixe is an absolute steal for food of this high caliber.

          Ciano photos here:

          and here:

          You might want to think about adding Luke's Lobster to your list.

          Luke's photos:

          Cercle Rouge
          241 W. Broadway, New York, NY 10013

          230 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

          45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

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

          349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

          211 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

          1 Reply
          1. re: RGR

            Oh yes, your tour was great, thank you! Like we need an excuse to go to Katz's and Russ&Daughter anyway. We also like the St. Mark's area a lot. The tour was great for efficiency of hitting everything in one fell swoop. Loved the donuts and bialy. We started at Katz's, did everything near there and slowly worked our way up to St. Mark's with egg cream, hot dog and pomme frites stops. We re-arranged some things so we wouldn't double back.

            Tulsi's is on the Indian list, thanks again. Can't have too many pizza places I suppose. We'll just see where we end up in our travels and go to the closest one.

            Will probably pass on the lobster as we're spending the first part of our trip in Boston and Cape Cod area. Love your blog! Thanks again.

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

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

            211 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

          2. > We have some standbys for every trip, Katz's, Russ and Daughters, Pommes Frites, Chickalicious, pizza, egg creams, hot dogs, that kind of stuff. We've done RGR's self walking tour, that was a lot of fun.

            I can't recall when this occurred, but the shop across from Chikalicious is now Chikalicious Dessert Bar and offers cookies, cupcakes, pastries, soft serve, etc for takeout. It may have still been the pudding focused one when you went. Check out also Spot Dessert Bar.

            > Irving Mill and Momofuku bar

            Sadly Irving Mill is no more.

            Which Momofuku did you visit? Noodle Bar? Ssam Bar?

            > Near Murray's Cheese

            Here's a list of my favorite places on Bleecker St. I think maybe you could do a noshing tour where you start near Washington Square Park and end near Chelsea Market/The High Line.

            Mille-Feuille - amazing croissants
            Third Rail Coffee - Chemex or cold brew
            South Brooklyn Pizza - a slice joint with a more artisanal approach than most
            Blue Ribbon Bakery Market - savory matzoh cracker with garlic, rosemary and parmesan cheese
            Victory Garden - salted caramel goat ice cream with creative toppings like havlah, figs, roasted tomatoes, etc.
            Joe's - slice joint
            Grom - I think I've finally come around to loving this pricey but delicious gelato chain from Italy, with my favorites being any flavor that contains chocolate, chocolate chips, and/or espresso
            Rocco's - freshly filled cannoli
            Amy's Bread - cake!
            Faicco's - try the Italian Special
            Bosie Tea Parlor - cup of tea, macarons, any one?
            Blind Tiger - for a mid-day pint
            Joe the Art of Coffee - excellent espresso & they carry Doughnut Plant doughnuts
            Jeffrey's - 1/2 dozen oysters and a pint of Little Wisco beer
            Taim - falafel
            Magnolia Bakery - icebox cake and/or banana pudding, skip the cupcakes
            dell' anima - one of my favorite casual Italian restaurants in the city, especially because of their 'Negroni sbagliato' ("wrong Negroni" in Italian) which uses sparkling wine instead of gin

            > Italian/Pizza

            Maybe Motorino? Peasant?

            See also Torrisi Italian Specialties for a more upscale take on Italian-American food at dinner, and sandwiches at lunch.

            > Stanton Social
            > Jules Bistro

            Neither of these is really worth a special trip.

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

            260 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

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

            222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

            Rocco's Pastry Shop
            243 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

            Magnolia Bakery
            401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

            Stanton Social
            99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

            Jules Bistro
            65 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

            Pommes Frites
            123 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

            Amy's Bread
            250 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

            Blind Tiger
            281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

            194 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

            Joe's Pizza
            7 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

            38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

            203 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

            Dessert Club, ChikaLicious
            204 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

            233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

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

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

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

            Bosie Tea Parlor
            10 Morton St, New York, NY 10014

            349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

            Jeffrey's Grocery
            172 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

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

            552 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

            Victory Garden
            31 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

            Blue Ribbon Bakery Market
            14 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

            Percy's Pizza
            190 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

            2 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              In 09, the other Chickalicious counter take out place was open already. This is the one with a few tables? We ended up doing both, the take out late one night and the restaurant after Irving Mill another night. Yeah, bummer about Irving Mill, I realized something was up when there was nothing new posted on them recently in my searches.

              Any thoughts on Prune? Worth it to go back again and fight the crowds? We're thinking of going there for dinner after we get into town since it'll be close to our hotel.

              We went to Momofuku ssam bar. We really liked the selection of hams. Sadly my existing rough draft report is incomplete as I don't recall what else I liked and there were a couple of dishes that didn't excite me.

              That's a great list for Bleecker St. area. Thanks! We're thinking of doing that on Friday so we can load up on things to take on the flight. Airplane food, blech! I really want to try Faicco as it was closed last time we swung by.

              What do you know about a risotto place a few blocks from Murray's? I recall seeing one that specialized in it and was wondering if they were any good. I liked the varieties they had, but once again my incomplete notes fail me.

              Appreciate the feedback on the two LES places. Will put Torrisi on the list, Italian is always of interest to us due to lack of choices in LA.

              Thank you so much for this and once again for 09 help.

              260 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

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

              1. re: Jase

                Prune takes reservations for dinner -- no need to fight the crowds if you plan in advance. I love the place and think it would be a good plan.

                I think I went to Risotteria once and it didn't impress me, but that was a long time ago.

                Have you been to Scarpetta in Beverly Hills, BTW? It's an outpost of a restaurant that started here, and is excellent.

                You might also want to put Locanda Verde on your list for something a little bit on the pricier side than Peasant, dell'anima, Torrisi. The food is excellent and you can dine at the bar; they also save some tables for walk-ins but the wait can get long. However, if you dine off-peak as you say, it shouldn't be a huge problem.

                54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

                270 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                Locanda Verde
                377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: kathryn

                Lol! That post from you was one I relied on heavily for this trip research. I looked at my 09 trip draft notes. You and other hounds might appreciate how stupid obsessed I can be sometime when it comes to trying a place.

                One night after midnight and back at the hotel post theater and snacking, we were still wide awake due to west coast body clock.. We decided to take a walk and maybe go to the Halal cart. Nevermind that it was Feb, in the low teens with wind chill factor, late at night and we were down by 29th/5th Ave. Wife and I decided it would be fun to walk and explore late night instead of cab or subway.

                These two thin blooded southern californians bundled up in several layers, hats, scarfs, gloves, etc and walked all the way up to the Halal cart up on 53rd just to try their stuff. The weather worked in our favor as the line wasn't too long. We plopped down with that fiery sauce to warm us up. Then we actually tried to look for the other carts in that area before making the walk back.

                My wife still uses that story to illustrate to my non houndly friends how idiotic I can get about trying new food.

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