HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

non european food NYC recommendations

What would you recommend for a Londoner in town for a weekend - am looking less for french/modern european/italian options, since I can find that here, but rather something on the japanese/korean/mexican side of things. Other recommendations welcome. Would prefer either high end for a special meal, or low end for cheap good food.
Have been told that Toloache, Maya, Kajitsu, Kyo Ya, Zabb Elee, and Misoya are worth checking out- is this woefully misguided?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Kyo Ya and Zabb Elee are excellent but at opposite ends of the expensive (Kyo Ya) and cheap eats (Zabb Elee) spectrum.

    Misoya is brand new and a subject of debate here right now:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/807311

    Maybe you should consider Ippudo instead?

    Since you're from London, why not also focus on uniquely New York or uniquely American foods?

    Only in NY type foods: bagels and smoked salmon, classic coal-fired NY-Neopolitan hybrid style pizza, pastrami on rye, hot dogs & papaya juice, black and white cookies, cheesecake, egg creams, pickles, halal carts.

    How about American cuisines like Southern or BBQ? How about New England style lobster rolls? Or huge American style breakfasts? These foods might be fun and interesting for you to have while in the US.

    I might look into Pies 'n' Thighs, the Redhead, Blue Smoke, Hill Country, Pearl Oyster Bar, Luke's Lobster, in addition to classic NY places like Russ & Daughters, Katz's Deli, John's of Bleecker, brunch places like Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern, and obscurer Asian places like Takashi, Zabb Elee, Xian Famous Foods, etc.

    Don't leave NY without eating these foods
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610739

    I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles and note that Economy Candy's address is incorrect:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333

    2 Day NYC Tour focusing on eating, please help with suggestions...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/809852

    Restaurant Advice for 2 day trip to NYC
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8050...

    For non-Western European/American
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/729498
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/731732

    Foreign Street Grub
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701278

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

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

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

    Pickle Guys
    49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

    Hill Country
    30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

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

    Minetta Tavern
    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

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

    Blue Smoke
    116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

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

    Economy Candy
    108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

    The Redhead
    349 E 13th 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

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

    Takashi
    456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

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

    Ippudo
    321 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

    Ramen Misoya
    129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    1. El Parador for excellent Mexican
      Katz's Deli is essential NYC. Open on weekends until the wee hours.
      Chinatown, just wander and hop into any place that grabs you.
      If you are a night owl try Wo Hop @17 Mott St (downstairs) or Great NY Noodle Town both open all night.

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

      Great New York Noodletown
      28 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

      Wo Hop
      17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

      El Parador
      325 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016

      12 Replies
      1. re: Motosport

        Motosport, I must respectfully disagree with your El Parador recommendation. At the one dinner we had there a few years ago, the food was mediocre at best.

        My suggestion for Mexican would be Toloache.

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

        I do agree with kathryn's suggestion of Kyo Ya.

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

        1. re: RGR

          RGR, did you write up and/or photograph your meal at Kyo Ya?

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

          1. re: RGR

            I am a mole' sauce junkie. El Parador had some of the best mole' North f the border. We liked it overall.
            I will have to try Toloache.

            -----
            El Parador
            325 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016

            1. re: Motosport

              Speaking of Toloache, can anyone recommend good dishes to try?

              -----
              Toloache
              251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

            2. re: RGR

              Totally agree re. El Parador, RGR, 2 thumbs down. For Mexican, I have enjoyed Papatzul and Sueños and looking forward to trying Toloache.

              -----
              El Parador
              325 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016

              Suenos
              311 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

              Papatzul
              55 Grand Street, New York, NY 10013

            3. re: Motosport

              >Chinatown, just wander and hop into any place that grabs you.

              It may be that I have poor chow-radar, but that's never worked for me unfortunately.

              1. re: uwsister

                So many restaurants in C-town, so little time. We wander and look for places that are busy and filled with Asian clients. Sometimes there is a language barrier but we work it out and have had some interesting meals.
                Lately we have been working our way along E Broadway looking for a replacement for the late lamented Foo Joy restaurant and back room casino.

                1. re: uwsister

                  I find the "wander & hop" method isn't terribly effective in Chinatown if you don't have a somewhat broad familiarity with the various cuisines. I think, to some degree, the restaurants in Chinatown (Especially those West of Bowery) understand they're serving a lot of tourists, and feel they have to have certain warhorses on the menu, even if it's not a dish from their particular region. That's why nearly every Chinese restaurant has some version of General Tso's Chicken on the menu - and it's not going to be any better than the GTC you get in Peoria or Poughkeepsie. Sadly, most don't have pared-down well-edited menus of specialties. They often fall into the "pick a protein / pick a sauce" variety.

                  Understanding the differences between the regional cuisines and going with their strengths is really necessary to get the best experience. For a newbie, Cantonese is probably the way to go. I wouldn't send someone just dipping their toes in for some Fujianese fish maw soup or "lamb in wine dregs" - however good I may find them.

                  That said, for Cantonese there are a few names that come up regularly:

                  Oriental Garden - generally considered the best place in Manhattan (though I'm sure some will debate it) for fresh seafood. Has some celebrity chef fans (Davids Bouley & Chang most notably) which has helped boost them on the foodie radar. A little more expensive than some of their neighbors, but I find it worth it. Even for a splurge, a fancy night at OG will be half the price of a fancy night in some midtown French joint. Simple-sounding dishes like whole steamed fish in ginger-scallion sauce or clams with black beans aren't the gloopy, thick sauces of most American Chinese food, but deftly applied to perfectly cooked seafare.

                  South China Garden - also excellent, I find their treatment of land-fare better than at OG (I stick to seafood exclusively at OG) and their prices are a bit lower. Chowhounder Lau wrote a great write-up of them that I can't do any better than, so I'll just link to his review: http://www.lauhound.com/2010/11/south...

                  Fuleen - if you're feeling adventurous, Fuleen is the choice. The menu is a bit more esoteric than the Cantonese places on the other side of Bowery, and given it's location it appeals to the Chinatown locals or the hardcore foodies who're willing to wander off the beaten path. Dishes like Geoduck Two Ways you won't find at many other places, and their "preserved duck and taro root" is beautiful, hearty and rustic - perfect for a rainy day like today. Heck, I just might go there for dinner tonight.

                  Ping's - a bit controversial, as they've had their ups and downs. Some feel that Chef Ping has spread himself a bit too thin, running two restaurants (the other in Queens, which many feel is the better of the two and where he concentrates his efforts, since it's for a mostly Chinese clientele) - but my recent trips to the Manhattan location have all been spot-on, with a couple exceptions. He's one of the more creative chefs in Chinatown, and one of the few willing to mix it up with other cuisines. There are dishes with Thai, Portuguese, French, and other elements throughout his menu. I'm particularly fond of one of his signature side dishes, the Jicama Siu-Chow, a hot slaw with jicama, fried fish, and all kinds of other goodies that become much more than the sum of their parts. The kitchen is great with simple seafood dishes - squid in black bean sauce a couple weeks ago was great, the squid as perfect a texture as one can make it. His XO sauce is among C-Town's better ones, as well. I was seriously digging the Scallops & Pig Stomach (much better than beef tripe, IMHO - but still, probably not for everybody) w/ XO on our last visit.

                  -----
                  South China Garden
                  22 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                  Fuleen
                  11 Division St, New York, NY 10002

                  Oriental Garden
                  14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                  Ping's
                  22 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                2. re: Motosport

                  Agreed on disagreeing about El Parador. For Mexican, I'd go with Toloache or Empellon. Suenos and Crema are also both superior.

                  Cheery - the tacos and ceviches are generally pretty right on. Some might find the tacos a little pricey, but they're standard for higher-end Mexican restos. I'm partial to the Suadero and Langosta. If they have the chapulines, you might want to give them a try for the thrill of eating grasshoppers - though I prefer the chapulines in the chapulqueso (a concoction of 'hoppers and cheese, as the name suggests) at Casa Mezcal on the LES. The Huitlacoche Quesadilla is also a good starter if you're hankering for something goopy-cheesy. Most of the starters are fairly traditional and simple, overall. The entrees show a bit more creativity - Black Cod w/ Mexican Chocolate was a surprisingly good combo, I thought. I'm used to cocoa in savories, I use it a lot myself, but rarely with seafood. Here it clicked. Dig the tuna as well. The paella and suckling pig are both pretty solid, as are the two chicken options (enchiladas with fig salsa and a chipotle-rubbed breast with pinto bean dumplings) - he also makes a couple good vegetarian entrees, an adobo eggplant and a veggie pozole. Overall I find that his seafood dishes work the best for me. There's a Sopa De Mariscos (brunch only) I'm pretty fond of as well. Beef options (other than the tacos) I found good, if nothing to write home about. But then, I rarely order beef entrees. If I'm in a beefy mood, I hit a steakhouse or a burger joint. At "composed dishes" kinds of places I find it to be one of the less interesting proteins.

                  For sides, the avocado fries are pretty novel & tasty. And of the three guacamoles, I like the "Frutas" the best, but YMMV - you can order a sampler of all three.

                  -----
                  Toloache
                  251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                  El Parador
                  325 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016

                  Crema
                  111 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                  Suenos
                  311 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                  Casa Mezcal
                  86 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

                  Empellon Taqueria
                  230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

                  1. re: sgordon

                    Wow, thank you for your great and extremely helpful recommendations. Looks like I'll be making a few visits to Toloache in the near future.

                    1. re: sgordon

                      Hi sgordon, I want thank you for the detailed recs again. I had just gone to Toloache for lunch and was very impressed. We got the paella and the veal head taco, both super delicious.This place is totally going on my "regular visit list" and eventually, I'll work my way through all of your recommended dishes.

                      -----
                      Toloache
                      251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                      1. re: Cheeryvisage

                        Glad to. They're - like I said - a solid place, worth having in the rotation, certainly better that most similarly-priced options. Not going turn anyone's conceptions of Mexican cuisine inside out or anything, but until Rick Bayless or someone moves to town, it'll have to do...

                  2. For high-end dining, I strongly recommend trying for a reservation at Momofuku Ko for either dinner or lunch. Reservations are available on the Momofuku website.

                    -----
                    Momofuku Ko
                    163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    1. For inexpensive eats and likely not to be found in London:

                      Henan Flavor:
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/774685

                      Xian Famous Foods:
                      http://www.xianfoods.com/

                      -----
                      He Nan Flavor
                      68 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002

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

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: scoopG

                        Thanks all. My tentative list based on everyones feedback is Zabb Elee, Toloache, Kyo Ya, Locanda Verde, Xi'an's Famous Food. Is Katz Deli a genuine recommendation or just one for the tourists? What would you recommend getting?

                        -----
                        Toloache
                        251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

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

                        Locanda Verde
                        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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

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

                        1. re: cactus24

                          I'm as local as it gets (live a couple blocks away) and I'll say Katz's is a definite yes. Go with a pastrami or corned beef (on rye, mustard only) and wash it down with a Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray. Perfection.

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

                          1. re: cactus24

                            Go to Katz's, get the pastrami.

                            And I reiterate my recommendation of getting some Southern cooking or BBQ or lobster rolls while you're here.

                            No NY style pizza on the final list?

                            1. re: cactus24

                              Katz's is definitely *not* just for tourists. Get the pastrami as that is what Katz's is best known for. My drink of choice: Dr. Brown's Cream.

                              Katz's photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                              1. re: RGR

                                Just there the other night for a late night pastrami attack. Had a nosh of my wife's frankfurter as well. Delish.

                                Katz's has the best pastrami in the city. Went to 2nd ave and to Sarges within the last month too, and neither hold a candle to the Katz's sandwich....Mile end on the other hand....

                          2. i would say definitely hit up momofuku. ssam bar is my favorite but noodle bar is definitely worth going to as well, maybe for lunch, especially if you want ramen (i wouldn't recommend ippudo - if you want more traditional style ramen i'd try minca). for more good food with asian influence: kin shop, fatty crab, or fatty cue. for cheap chinese, x'ian is great. for slightly more pricey japanese, i'm really partial to the pigs' foot hot pot at hakata ton-ton (but be sure to make a reservation).

                            for mexican, on the more expensive end i would try hecho en dumbo. for cheaper eats (in this case tacos) pinche taqueria.

                            if you want bbq i would head over to fette sau, which has a fun vibe, is very new brooklyn. pies n' thighs i am not very impressed with, although i think the chicken biscuit there was pretty good. regular fried chicken is unimpressive and the pie is too sweet (hit roberta's for fried chicken, four & twenty blackbirds for pie).

                            also, i would not recommend going just anywhere in chinatown (unless you're in flushing). a lot of it is really awful.

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

                            Minca
                            536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009

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

                            Hakata TonTon
                            61 Grove Street, New York, NY 10014

                            Pinche Taqueria
                            227 Mott St, New York, NY 10012

                            Fatty Crab
                            643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                            Ippudo
                            65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

                            Hecho en Dumbo
                            354 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

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

                            Fatty 'Cue
                            50 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014