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London Chowhound coming to NY - suggestions please!

Hi all,

I'm coming to NYC for the first weekend of Dec, staying in an apartment near Penn Station. After extensive research, my food itinerary is below - any thoughts??

Any other suggestions for breakfasts would be great, somewhere near the apt, or across in Hell's Kitchen. I can only manage about a 10-min walk before breakfast or I turn into a raging monster which is not a good look for a romantic weekend! Either a diner, a cafe, or just a takeout bakery.

Thurs
Lunch: Shake Shack 8th/44th
Highline Park, Hell's Kitchen, explore
Dinner (early): Babbo. Plan B: La Silhouette

Fri
Breakfast: skylight diner/tick tock diner/wichcraft/macaron cafe
Shopping, touristy Xmas stuff, 5th avenue and central park
Lunch: Ma Peche/Milk Bar? Angelo's pizza? A deli?
MoMA
Dinner: drinks at Mandarin Oriental MOBar
Cheap dinner nearby?? e.g. noodles, pizza

Saturday
Breakfast:
Lunch: Katz/Russ and Daughters?
WTC memorial, Battery Park, Brooklyn. Transit Museum. Botanic Gardens?
Dinner: Peter Luger/Brooklyn ice cream factory
Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Bar Seven Five/Rise Bar

Sunday
Am:
Pm: Minetta Tavern brunch

Am I missing an essential NY experience?

Thanks, G

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

Minetta Tavern
113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

La Silhouette
362 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

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  1. For an upscale breakfast near Penn Station, try Ai Fiori or The Breslin.

    For an inexpensive dinner near the Mandarin Oriental, try Angelo's Pizza, Totto Ramen, Szechuan Gourmet, Yakitori Totto, Menchanko Tei, or Katsu Hama.

    Ma Peche is great but if you're going to the MoMA you should also consider The Modern Bar Room (or even the museum cafe on the second floor).

    For an essential NY experience, try Keens which is near Penn Station.

    -----
    Yakitori Totto
    251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

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

    Angelo's Pizza
    117 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

    Menchanko-Tei
    43 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

    Szechuan Gourmet
    244 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

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

    Ma Peche
    15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

    Totto Ramen
    366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

    Katsu-Hama
    43 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

    Ai Fiori
    400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

    4 Replies
    1. re: H Manning

      Ah Keens... I've read all the threads and debated with myself but eventually came down on the side of PL as it fits in better with the non-eating stuff he wants to do (I know, priorities!)

      I looked at the Modern Bar Room but for some reason it didn't appeal, even though it's perfectly located. I'd quite like to see what all the buzz is about with David Chang's places.

      I'll look into the places near the MO, thanks :)

      1. re: gembellina

        Peter Luger is a fine alternative to Keens. I believe that Ma Peche is now serving pork buns which is an essential David Chang dish. I hope you get to try Babbo. Enjoy your visit.

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

        Ma Peche
        15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

        1. re: gembellina

          I've been to both the Modern Bar Room and Ma Peche, and prefer Ma Peche by a "mile".

          -----
          Ma Peche
          15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: ellenost

            I prefer the Bar Room at the Modern to Ma Peche by many miles. But as I always say, "Chacun à son goût." :)

            Bar Room at the Modern photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

      2. What intersection are you staying at? You might be within walking distance of some Chelsea bakeries. Or Sullivan St. Also Stumptown at the Ace Hotel has breakfast pastries that are quite good.

        Diners in NY have never impressed me, Tick Tock is eh.

        It'll be hard to find cheap eats close to MObar/Columbus Circle. H Manning has good suggestions. Or find something closer to where you are staying.

        Split up Katz's and R&D. That is too much food possibly, unless you share everything (one pastrami sandwich, one bagel sandwich--eaten on the bench outside). Russ and Daughters is more brunch/breakfast food anyways, do both for brunch and skip breakfast?

        Near MOMA, I'd do a halal cart meal (53rd and 6th, southEAST during the day, southWEST at night, look for yellow bags with a big "we are different" red logo), then move the Momofuku meal to Sunday night & do one of the East Village ones. I think most CHs prefer Ssam to Noodle due to variety on the menu.

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

        Sullivan Street Bakery
        533 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

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

        Szechuan Gourmet
        21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

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

        Tick Tock Diner
        481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

        Stumptown
        18 W 29th Street, New York, NY 10001

        Totto Ramen
        366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

        3 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          Actually it's W29th/8th - I had thought it was north of Penn. So Chelsea is probably better. Will stick to cafes and bakeries then if diners aren't as much of an NY thing.

          I was only planning on one of Katz or R&D! But Google maps says they're almost next door to one another? Will probably do Katz for lunch then. Haven't decided on what to do in the morning but it will definitely reqire a full stomach to start with :)

          Unfortunately we're leaving on Sunday afternoon so a late brunch will be our last meal. Ma Peche wasn't my first choice of the Momofuku bunch but it is in the right location for where we'll be during the day. As long as it's not actually bad? A cart is a good idea that I hadn't considered. Will do some research - I assume there are plenty of discussions on the subject on here.

          Thanks!

          -----
          Ma Peche
          15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: gembellina

            "Unfortunately we're leaving on Sunday afternoon so a late brunch will be our last meal. Ma Peche wasn't my first choice of the Momofuku bunch but it is in the right location for where we'll be during the day. As long as it's not actually bad?"

            Ma Peche and Ko are tied as my favorite David Chang restaurants. The food at Ma Peche is really very good. The pork buns from Ssam Bar and Noodle Bar are also served at Ma Peche. Love the squid salad, pork loin, shirmp curry, noodles. Milk Bar is on the main level, so you should stop by and get some yummy cookies/slice of crack pie. My current favorite treat at Milk Bar is the chocolate malt milkshake.

            -----
            Ma Peche
            15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

            Momofuku Milk Bar
            15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

            1. re: gembellina

              You're within about a 10 minute walk of:
              The Doughnut Plant (I recommend the cake donuts (the small ones), and less so the yeast doughnuts
              Stumptown (which carries Breslin baked goods and Momofuku Milk Bar croissants)
              La Bergamote (known for their croissants)
              La Maison du Macaron (they have brioche, and croissants, and sandwiches, too)
              Financier Patisserie
              Joe the Art of Coffee (Ceci-Cela croissants, other pastries)
              Cafe Grumpy

              You should know that Ma Peche's head chef just left the restaurant. They've promoted their sous chef to replace him.

              -----
              La Maison du Macaron
              132 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

              Cafe Grumpy
              224 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011

              La Bergamote
              169 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

              Joe the Art of Coffee
              405 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

              Stumptown
              18 W 29th Street, New York, NY 10001

              Momofuku Milk Bar
              251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

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

              Ma Peche
              15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

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

              Financier Patisserie
              688 6th Ave, New York, NY 10010

          2. Please note that the MOBar has two areas. The area with Central Park views are reserved for hotel guests only and they will check. Non guests are invited to the Island Bar area (in photo below) which is perfectly fine. Have a Manhattan with Burnt Orange and relax in style.
            http://www.mandarinoriental.com/newyo...

            -----
            MObar
            80 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10023

            5 Replies
            1. re: scoopG

              Oh no! The views were the whole point of going. Well in that case, maybe the whole city is my oyster for cocktails and a cheap dinner. Thanks for the info :)

              1. re: gembellina

                Make a reservation at JBird if you want cocktails with a view. Pricey, but excellent quality.

                -----
                Jbird
                251 W 48th St, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: kathryn

                  ooh ok. how pricey is pricey? their website is less than helpful! do you have to get there at 8pm?

                  1. re: gembellina

                    All cocktails cost $16. Reservations recommended as it's not a huge space.
                    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/22/fas...

              2. re: scoopG

                You can always go to the Lobby Lounge at the MO, which has a great view and is open to anyone, and you can get cocktails, small bites, tea and coffee. The seats by the window tend to fill up quick, but it's usually not too crazy busy except immediately after work hours.

                -----
                Lobby Lounge
                80 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

              3. I should point out that some of your itinerary might be difficult. Doing Battery Park & the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in the same day might not really work. And getting from the BBG to Peter Luger's is pretty involved - as is getting from Luger's to the Brooklyn ice Cream Factory. Both trips would involve taking the subway back into Manhattan and then back out to Brooklyn. Sadly, intra-borough public transport has never been particularly good, especially when going from North BK (where Luger's is) to South BK (where the Transit Museum, BBG & BICF are) - and even within South BK, it can be a pain. Transit Museum & BICF are within reasonable distance from each other, but the BBG is kind of out of the way from both of those.

                So, a few ideas:

                Thursday - looks fine. Get to Babbo EARLY if you want a seat in the bar area. Like, 4:30 or so you should be safe. It's a weeknight, so probably no need to go even earlier, but if you were to show up at 4:00 you'd be even safer. As long as you're willing to wait, you'll be fine. And it's worth it. Good place to go with a couple more people, so you can try lots of things.

                Friday - if you're going to be at MOMO, you could always do dinner at the Bar Room at The Modern. Not "cheap eats" but a darn sight cheaper than the main dining room.

                Saturday - this is the day it seems like you'll be trying to cram too much in. If I had to choose either the WTC/FiDi or Brooklyn to skip, I'd skip WTC/FiDi. Frankly, there's just not much around there, and quite a lot is closed on the weekends.

                Now, I'd narrow it down to one part (or two neighboring parts) of Brooklyn. It seems like you've got more in South Brooklyn on your list, so we'll start there. Instead of Luger's, you could do dinner in Brooklyn Heights or nearby Carrol Gardens / Cobble Hill. In the Heights, there's the local "in the know" foodie favorite Henry's End, which specializes in wild game during the winter. Fantastic, cozy little neighborhood place that's a few blocks from the promenade and a short walk to the BICF. For something fancier, you could do the River Cafe - they're a little high-priced for what they serve ($100 prix fixe) but no one who's dined there in a windowside two-top will deny it's the single best view in NYC. There's something about dining over the water, with Lower Manhattan twinkling across the river and the Brooklyn Bridge over your head that's positively transporting. It's so NY, it's like dining in a Woody Allen movie. Both restos have lovely ambience and delicious food, though. For after-dinner cocktails the Henry Public is quite nice, and nearby. Beforehand, there's lots of good shopping and some decent little lunch/brunch nooks along Smith and Court Streets, near the Transit Museum.

                If your heart is set on Luger's though, there are things to do in Williamsburg. You could take a tour of Brooklyn Brewery beforehand and go for an early dinner. Afterwards, there's no lack of hip cocktail bars in the area. Normally, though, I dissuade tourists (at least those coming from other major metropolitan areas) from doing steakhouses. While Luger's is great (heck, I'm going there myself in a couple weeks), I'm sure you have dry-aged steaks in London. It's not a place you can get something (aside from the atmosphere) that you couldn't get back at home.

                If, on the other hand, you're set on doing WTC etc, you might want to save Brooklyn for another trip. After the day Downtown, you could wander up to Chinatown for dinner. That's a pretty essential NYC experience, unless you're coming from a city with a major Cantonese population.

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

                8 Replies
                1. re: sgordon

                  Since the OP is coming first weekend of December, Babbo hasn't started taking reservations for that day yet -- hopefully they will get lucky.

                  OP: They start taking reservations for Saturday, December 3rd on November 3rd, at 10am Eastern time. Better get your redial button ready!

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

                  1. re: sgordon

                    Somehow I missed this post - thanks! We did manage to get a table at Babbo for the first night; jet lag means we're happy to eat at 5.45!

                    The info about Brooklyn is really useful. I think it might be too cold for the gardens anyway. I drink a lot of Brooklyn lager here in London so a trip to the brewery would be great! We might not go to the Transit Museum as the bf would rather go to the Air+Space museum and there's only so many planes and trains I can deal with. I think we'll try and spread Brooklyn out over the whole day; I'll have a closer look on a map but I guess we could always get a cab between places if necessary. I was tempted by River Cafe but it did seem expensive, I suppose I can cough up a little more for the best view in the whole of NYC!

                    We've also extended our trip by two days so there are plenty more eating opportunities now!

                    Thanks everyone :)

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

                    1. re: sgordon

                      A quick question about the River Cafe, if you wouldn't mind answering: in the probable event that I can't persuade the bf to wear a jacket, is it still worth it to eat in the Terrace Room rather than the main dining room? The photos on their website still look pretty spectacular from there.

                      1. re: gembellina

                        I'm not sure if it has been said earlier, but I would skip River Cafe. It's so dated, in terms of food, service and style. To me, it's like eating in a suburban country club.

                        1. re: Nancy S.

                          I think we've been sufficiently warned that it's not the best food in NY but could well be the best view. We've had loads of good advice from everyone here about the must-eats so we can manage one meal as total tourists :)

                          I'll pack him a jacket in my suitcase and spring it on him before dinner.

                        2. re: gembellina

                          I must (respectfully) disagree with Nancy S. regarding the River Café experience, which, to me, is far from dining in a suburban country club. I have always found the service to be excellent and the food extremely well-prepared, tasty & varied. Although you may find better food in NYC, the wonderful setting/view give it extra points. I have not dined in the Terrace Room nor have I seen its menu, but I would suggest you put extra pressure on the bf to wear that jacket so you can leisurely enjoy your dinner in the main dining room - or, if he just does not want to pack one, find out if the restaurant has a 'loaner' (ugh?)

                          1. re: boredough

                            I disagree regarding the food as well. I don't think it's up to its price point when taking the food in a vacuum - they're probably worth around a $75 - $80 prix fixe. They're not particularly creative - the days of Larry Forgione, Charlie Palmer, David Burke, or Rick Laakkonen being in the kitchen are long gone - and I'm not sure the current guy is going to be joining their elite club when he busts out on his own. But it's quite solid, and as long as you're not ordering the salad and the chicken or the occasional questionable item (salmon in November? I think not...) you're not going to feel ripped off, especially if you get a window table.

                            And that's the key, I think. I'd say if you can get a guaranteed window table, then why not... go for it. (Normally I'd add to book your table so your dinner will overlap sunset, but this time of year that's not really an option...)

                            If you can't, you'll be sitting across the room or off to the side jealous of those that got them, which can kind of take away from the meal - so stick with the rest of your daily plan and, since you'd be in the same 'hood, do Henry's End for the wild game menu. Also magical in their own way. Then wander down to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for dessert and enjoy nearly the same view as you'd get at RC (but without the tinkly piano music) over a couple of cones on the pier.

                            -----

                            Also, a side note: in the Terrace Room, IIRC, they only serve appetizers - (and at entree prices...) - so you'd need to order a few to make a full meal, really, and you'd wind up spending nearly as much as in the Dining Room.

                            1. re: sgordon

                              Couldn't get a table at RC anyway so that solves that one! I liked the sound of Henry's End better anyway...

                      2. Just wanted to report back and thank everyone for their suggestions. We had many wonderful meals, highlights of which include the octopus appetiser and wild boar pappardelle at Babbo, poached eggs with curried lentils at The Breslin, and the duck hash at Minetta. Solid meals at Ma Peche, Oriental Garden, La Bergamote, Empanada Mama (you know you're a Chowhound when you'll walk 25 blocks up 8th on a Saturday night cos someone on the internet told you it was good!). Some good cocktails at PDT and good beers at Pony Bar. Slightly dry and disappointing ribs at Rub. Only one dud when we went off-board for breakfast at a cafe in Soho, and my spinach and cheese omelette came filled with nacho cheese, ugh!

                        -----
                        RUB BBQ
                        208 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

                        Babbo
                        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                        Minetta Tavern
                        113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                        Oriental Garden
                        14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

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

                        La Bergamote
                        169 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                        Empanada Mama
                        763 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                        Pony Bar
                        637 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

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

                        Ma Peche
                        15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: gembellina

                          Did you eat a dirty-water hot dog on your trip, g'ina? -really, you can tell us!

                          1. re: Phil Ogelos

                            Ha I couldn't have squeezed in another bite outside of the restaurants, and I'm choosing to believe my Crif dog was nice and fresh! The chilli-cheese waffle fries were pretty down-and-dirty though...

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