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In search of sandwiches, sicilian squares and suggestions

Hi Manhattan - this is my first post ever to Chowhound!

I make it to your great city about once a year. My spouse, 3-year old and I are visiting from the sticks in California, and we'll be there in a couple weeks for 5 nights. We're staying near Prune in East Village. Given our food-deprived hometown, we make sure we indulge when we're on the road. This year, I intend to focus lunches on great places for sandwiches and Sicilian/square pizza. I'd love to hear your comments on what I'm thinking, as well on the dinner spots for which we have reservations. Dinner rice preference is moderate (roughly 50-60 per adult incl tax and tip; 2 smaller plates or 1 big plate, plus 1 glass wine or beer). Thanks!

Sandwiches (lots of options depending on where we are at lunchtime)
Eggplant Parm: narrowed it down to Parisi and Torrisi. Prefer hot versions vs warm or cold. Heard Torrisi eggplant might not be hot, so leaning toward Parisi.

Italian Combo: Faiccos

Meatball Parm/Sliders: Little Owl, Best Pizza (Brooklyn)

Burger: Little Owl, Shake Shack

Hot Dog: Grays Papaya, Crif Dogs, Shake Shack

Pastrami: Katz

French Fries: Pommes Frites

Falafel: Taim

Sicilian/square Pizza (Been to DiFaras (awesome) and Maffei and Joes (both ok)
Want to try: Artichoke, Best (Brooklyn), Adriennes, Bens?, any others?

Thin Pizza (Been to DiFaras, Joes, Bleecker St, Lombardis, Johns, Nicks-UES)
Want to try: Motorino, Rubirosa, Best

Dinners
First night (Wed) right after long flight: Walk to Frankie 17. Crostini, cavatelli and ravioli!

Thu (~6PM): Open. Any suggestions? Was thinking Spanish or Indian

Fri: Have 6PM reservation at Rubirosa (for pizza and pasta). Any recs on pasta?

Sat: Have 6PM reservation at Balthazar (daughter loved running around in there last year). I love steak frites. Would consider Le Parisien or Cercle Rouge.

Sun (~6PM): Open. Would like to try Ciano but they're closed. Went to Lupa last year.

Can't wait! Thanks again!!

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  1. Some additional Sicilian options:
    Piazza Seventeen On Cleveland off of Lafayatte
    Eataly's foccacio like squares
    Grandaisy's Pizza Bianca
    Artichoke's square

    For thin pizza:
    Keste (it's not the thinnest, but since you included Motorino....)

    For Falafel:
    HoomoosAsli

    For Pastrami:
    Miles End in Brooklyn

    Other sandwiches:
    Italian place at corner of Mulberry and Grand
    Banh Mi Saigon, also on Grand near Mulberry (NY is a step behind with Vietnamese sandwiches, compared to other regions, but they're still a big craze, and I like the chicken version here.)

    I would personally skip Shake Shack.

    Another additional to suggest would be one of the Frankies restaurants for meatballs, and pasta.

    If you're going to Brooklyn, you might want to pick Roberta's instead of Best Pizza. The location may be inconvenient, but Roberta's will be superior, and from some of the same owners.

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

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

    Banh Mi Saigon
    198 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

    Grandaisy Bakery
    73 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

    Hoomoos Asli
    100 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

    Alleva Dairy
    188 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

    Artichoke
    328 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

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

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

    Eataly
    200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

    Piazza 17
    17 Cleveland Pl, New York, NY 10012

    5 Replies
    1. re: sugartoof

      Thanks sugartoof. The pizza photos on the Grandaisy website look delicious! We'll definitely try to get there.

      The menu at Piazza Seventeen looks great, and so do the photos on Yelp.

      Walked by Keste on the way to John's last year and know about the recent award of best in NY. Hope to try them someday too.

      Never had Bahn Mi and the spouse gives it a thumbs up!

      1. re: foodiefrog

        BTW, Grandaisy serves roman style pizza, which is typically served room temperature, and more like a flatbread IMO. It's really tasty though the Bianca can sometimes be dry. I also like the potato/rosemary.

        1. re: kathryn

          It seems similar to some incredible focaccia we had from a bakery/deli in Vernazza, Itlay. Room temp is no problem as long as it has enough salt and oil, and tasty toppings sure don't hurt. I could see the Bianca being dry. The pomodoro, zucchini and funghi look nice.

          1. re: foodiefrog

            When dry, it can get a bit crunchy, and cracker like, as it's thinner than a focaccia. They don't chintz on olive oil or salt. I've also heated it up and enjoyed it.

            1. re: sugartoof

              I've had ones at parties where the host bought an entire pizza bianca, and there was no olive oil to be found. Perhaps they think you'll add your own when you get home?

              Maialino has this same problem as well. The Sullivan St pizza bianca in the bread basket is usually olive-oil free.

              -----
              Maialino
              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    2. Another solid sandwich option is DeFonte's (The location in gramercy will be decidedly more accessible, though it lacks the firefighter-and-construction-worker-filled charms of the original in Red Hook, Brooklyn). They are famous for the roast beef and fresh mozz, but i personally find the firehouse special, nicky's special, and particularly the pepper and egg heroes to be the best.

      -----
      Defonte's Sandwich Shop
      261 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

      6 Replies
      1. re: tex.s.toast

        Second Defonte's! A coworker had the meatball sub yesterday and I was very jealous.

        1. re: kathryn

          Great call on Defontes, get the Firehouse. Then you can walk up about 18 blocks to 3rd and 38 and get he best Sicilian slice in the city (IMO) at Royal on 3rd. Light, fluffy, crispy, great sauce and cheese ratio.

          -----
          Royal Pizza
          592 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

          Defonte's Sandwich Shop
          261 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

          1. re: princeofpork

            - How's the eggplant parm at Defontes?
            - Good to know the meatball sub from Defontes caught Kathryn's attention!
            - And thanks princeofpork for the Royal rec for Sicilian. Will put that on the list!

            1. re: foodiefrog

              The fried eggplant itself is really good, and they make their own mozz, which is very mild (nothing terribly interesting, but nice texture, and fresh).

              -----
              Defonte's Sandwich Shop
              261 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: sugartoof

                I like to go with the eggplant, mozz and roasted rep peppers for a nice "light" sandwich

                1. re: princeofpork

                  Ok I'll put my 2 cents in: DeFonte's!!! The roast beef with eggplant, cheese and the works is a meal for 2. Enjoy!!

                  -----
                  Defonte's Sandwich Shop
                  261 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

      2. > Meatball Parm/Sliders: Little Owl, Best Pizza (Brooklyn)

        There's also Locanda Verde's, which are pretty good.

        > Burger: Little Owl, Shake Shack

        I thought Little Owl's burger was good but not great.

        See also Prune's lamb burger (lunch only), The Breslin's lamb burger, Minetta Tavern's Black Label burger (easiest to get at lunch/brunch, Wed-Sun), the one at the Dutch (lunch/brunch).

        I love Shake Shack's but be aware that it is more like an upscale version of the In 'n' Out burger. Get the Shack burger, not the plain or cheeseburger for the one people rave about.

        > Hot Dog: Grays Papaya, Crif Dogs, Shake Shack

        Shake Shack's hot dog is Chicago style, I didn't think it was all that, and also my Chicago friends say it's "wrong" for Chicago style.

        There's a newer place, Asia Dog, that you might find interesting with out there toppings (Japan style I suppose).

        Lately I've been loving the 100% beef hot dog at Dickson's, served with kimchee.

        > French Fries: Pommes Frites
        I think the fries here are too stubby and never quite crisp enough.

        Try DBGB, Balthazar, or the triple fried fries at the Breslin (my favorite).

        > Falafel: Taim

        They have a truck, too!

        > Sicilian/square Pizza (Been to DiFaras (awesome) and Maffei and Joes (both ok)
        > Want to try: Artichoke, Best (Brooklyn), Adriennes, Bens?, any others?

        The Artichoke one is hit or miss sometimes dependent upon which location you go to and when you go.

        > Thin Pizza (Been to DiFaras, Joes, Bleecker St, Lombardis, Johns, Nicks-UES)
        > Want to try: Motorino, Rubirosa, Best

        Motorino is excellent. All of these are different styles than the other ones you listed, just so you know. Motorino is more Naples style. Rubirosa is more crispy thin style. Best is unique.

        For completeness, you may wish to try Patsy's of East Harlem (and only that Patsy's).

        If you have time, Totonno's Coney Island.

        > Thu (~6PM): Open. Any suggestions? Was thinking Spanish or Indian

        The newly opened Tertulia in the Village is excellent but doesn't take reservations; Txikito in Chelsea is also very very good and they DO take reservations.

        > Sun (~6PM): Open. Would like to try Ciano but they're closed. Went to Lupa last year.

        Try Scarpetta or Maialino.

        -----
        Lupa
        170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

        Taim
        222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

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

        Minetta Tavern
        113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

        Little Owl
        90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

        Balthazar
        80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

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

        Prune
        54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

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

        Gray's Papaya
        402 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014

        Artichoke
        328 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

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

        Patsy's Pizzeria
        2287 1st Ave, New York, NY 10035

        Txikito
        240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

        Ciano
        45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

        Locanda Verde
        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

        DBGB
        299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

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

        Maialino
        2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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

        Dickson's Farmstand Meats
        75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        The Dutch
        131 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

        Rubirosa
        235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

        Taim Mobile
        , New York, NY 10001

        Asiadog
        66 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

        Tertulia
        359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        2 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          Grand Daisy and Sullivan Street Bakery's Roman style square pizza is my favorite. Espeically the potato pizza and the Bianca with tiny grape tomatoes in it. Lombardi used to be my favorite thin pizza but that was the Lombardi of yesteryear, the pizza was soggy, not crisp the last 2 times I went there. Cinque in Tribeca has excellent Square Sicilian style pizza. Rubirosa pizza i wasn't crazy about, i don't praticlarly like "cracker" style pizza, that's how crispy it is. Co. or Company has great pizza, not sure what style it is. San Mateo on 90th and 2nd has very good pizza and great sandwiches ( panuzzi). For just plain "old style" Sicilian square Ben's is consistantly good.

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

          Grandaisy Bakery
          176 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023

          Famous Ben's Pizza
          177 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

          Trattoria Cinque
          363 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

          San Matteo
          1739 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

          Rubirosa
          235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            Rubirosa has a Sicilian square?

            The lunch slices from the regular pies are thin with some crunch, but they're not too crackerish in the sense of an Eddie's or Vezzo pizza. I too wasn't crazy about it, though probably for different reasons.

            -----
            Rubirosa
            235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

        2. As of this coming week, Torrisi will no longer be serving sandwiches at lunch. For those, you will have to go their new spot, Parm.

          Sandwich: Hot knoblewurst on rye at Second Ave Deli

          2nd Ave Deli Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          Thin Crust Pizza: Vezzo

          Vezzo Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          Burger: Blue Smoke

          Blue Smoke photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

          3 Replies
          1. re: RGR

            Excellent point re: Torrisi. Here's the NYT on the change:
            http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

            Parm, 248 Mulberry Street (Prince Street), (212) 993-7189. A la carte items are $5 to $25. Open for lunch and dinner.
            Torrisi Italian Specialties, 250 Mulberry Street, will close from Nov. 6 through 11, and reopen with a four-course $60 prix fixe at lunch and dinner, and a 15- to 20-course tasting menu for $125 for dinner.

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

            Parm
            248 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

            1. re: kathryn

              Thanks for the update on Torrisi. I presume it will be packed for several weeks after opening?

              We'll walk by. If packed, we'll hit Parisi for eggplant parm. Anyone had it?

              Blue Smoke looks like a good burger option - thanks RGR. And happy recent birthday!

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

              1. re: foodiefrog

                Thanks for the birthday wishes, foodiefrog! And welcome to CH! :)

                FYI: The meat in the burger at Blue Smoke is the same as Shake Shack's. No surprise since Danny Meyer owns both. The only difference is that Blue Smoke's burger is much thicker. I'm also a big fan of the Shake Shack burger.

                Shake Shack photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                We've never been to Torrisi.

                I love eggplant parm. Two places that make a really good one (not a sandwich); Via Emilia, on 21st, b/t PArk Av. S. & B'way, and Campanile, on 29th, b/t PAS & Madison,

                I hope you and your family have a wonderful visit to NYC.

                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

          2. Few notes:

            1. As others have said I wouldn't go to Little owl for the burger, but yes for the slider. Coming from Cali, I wouldn't recommend Shake Shack either. It's great, but also our closest thing to In and Out. Instead go to Corner Bistro. Or head to Lugers for the best burger I've ever had.

            2. Motorino is awesome.

            3. since you like eggplant parm, and plan to go to Frankies Spuntino, I suggest trying theirs. It is not a sandwich, but I loved it and am not typically and eggplant lover.

            -----
            Corner Bistro
            331 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

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

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: uncledunkel

              I'm from CA and while you can't beat In 'n' Out for the price, the meat quality at Shake Shack is better.

            2. OK! Our itinerary is filling in but still have a few questions:

              Wed night: Frankies 17
              Thu lunch: Somewhere downtown - need rec see below
              Fri lunch: Possibly somewhere near Guggenheim / MOMA / Met / AMNH - need rec see below
              Fri night: Rubirosa
              Sat lunch: Possibly near Central Park - see below
              Sat night: Balthazar
              Sun lunch: One of many places already recommended depending on where we end up.
              Sun night: Farm to table / local / sustainable / in season restaurant - need rec see below

              Thu lunch: We have reservations for 9/11 Memorial in morning and want to do a tour of Federal Hall in the afternoon, so we need to do lunch down there. Been wanting to try Adriennes. Can you recommend or please suggest other good options nearby?

              Sat lunch: The spouse is going to participate in an organized run in Central Park in the morning, so would like a lunch rec nearby. Any good burgers, sandwiches or squares up there? If not, how about Greek? Been wanting to try Kefi.

              Sun dinner: Want to support/try a good locally sourced, in season, farm to table kind of place that is not too expensive. Found Green Market and ABC Kitchen. Mas Farmhouse looks great but pretty expensive. Any recs?

              Thanks everyone!

              -----
              Kefi
              505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

              ABC Kitchen
              35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

              Rubirosa
              235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

              4 Replies
              1. re: foodiefrog

                Forgot to say that Thu night is Txikito - thanks Kathryn!

                -----
                Txikito
                240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                1. re: foodiefrog

                  Add Blue Hill to your list of farm to table options. Diner or Roberta's in Brooklyn offer farm to table that's more casual. Brooklyn has more options actually. Back in Manhattan, and casual, Back Forty and Jimmy's offer comfort food using sustainable ingredients, but with most dishes the source of ingredients is incidental rather than showcased. New Amsterdam Market's schedule might be worth a look. It's an outdoor market dedicated to the whole slow food, farm to table thing, and there are food vendors.

                  -----
                  Blue Hill
                  75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

                  Back Forty
                  190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

                  Jimmy's No. 43
                  43 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

                  New Amsterdam Market
                  South St Peck Slip, New York, NY 10038

                  1. re: foodiefrog

                    Near MoMA, you could do Bill's Burger or burger join in the Parker Meriden. It's not exactly a neighborhood rich in great pizza, burger, etc options. Check out midtownlunch.com for more choices. We usually just do halal cart chicken and rice from the cart on the northeast corner of 53rd and 6th during the day.

                    There's an UWS and UES Shake Shack, too. The UES Shake Shack is a little far from museums though. Sometimes we do walk it to there or Luke's Lobster. Check out Danny Meyer's Untitled in the Whitney, too. The UWS Shake Shack is very close to AMNH and Central Park,

                    For your farm to table restaurant, what's your budget? For cheaper than Blue Hill and Craft, I do like ABC a lot but it books up fast. About 4 weeks in advance. Hearth is good too. Maybe Northern Spy or Westville? I find this type of cuisine to be on the pricier side anyway.

                    -----
                    Burger Joint
                    118 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

                    Blue Hill
                    75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

                    Westville
                    210 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

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

                    Shake Shack
                    366 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

                    Luke's Lobster
                    242 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028

                    Shake Shack
                    154 East 86th Street, New York, NY 10028

                    Bill's Bar & Burger
                    45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020

                    Untitled
                    945 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

                    1. re: foodiefrog

                      One of my favorite sandwiches at the moment is the bahn mi at Épicerie Boulud. It's wonderfully spicy and flavorful and while a bit pricey at $10 I think it's worth it. It's right near Lincoln Center and Central Park so it could work for one of your lunches.

                      -----
                      Epicerie Boulud
                      1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

                    2. The best Sicilian slice is at Ozone Pizzeria at 96-15 Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park, Queens. They are well known in the Ozone Park area but not as much outside that area. The place has been there since 1964 and the Sicilian is awesome. Much like Spumoni Gardens with cheese on the bottom and the suace on top this place is better than Spumoni Gardens. The original owner was Paolo and Joe. Paolo passed away a few years ago and his son Vito is the owner now. Same great Sicilian pizza.

                      1. Someone mentioned the Italian spot at the corner of Grand and Mulberry...might you mean DiPalo? In any case, they make my favorite eggplant parm in the city. They don't always have it, and you'd need a spot to heat it up, but it's something special!

                        1. My favorite Sicilian slice is Little Luzzo's (Upper East Side)/Luzzo's (East Village)...the potato with gorgonzola is a standout.

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

                          Little Luzzo's
                          119 E 96th St, New York, NY 10029