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5 Day NYC Trip - Fine Tuning Itinerary - Suggestions please!

I am planning a trip for my boyfriend and myself for April and I am having a bit of difficulty trying to decide on where to eat (and WHAT to eat when I am there). Any suggestions, recommendations on what to eat, if the restaurants are worth going to or not, would be greatly appreciated

In addition I have a few questions:
- Any recommendations for great places for after dinner drinks (great cocktails or wine bars).
- Recommendations on where I can find great spanish hams i.e. jamon iberico - Some other places I would like to fit in are Five Points for the Yukon Gold Potato Pizza (is this worth the trip?) vs. Pizza such as DiFara or other choices I am open to as well
- I am on the fence about the Black Label Burger at Minetta as I have heard many mixed reviews - your thoughts?

Day 1 Lunch:
Shake Shack and Luke's Lobster
Dinner: Scarpetta (Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil, Ravioli)
Wine Bar: Ardesia

Day 2

Breakfast: --
Lunch: EMP (4 course vs. full tasting, and wine pairing?)
Dinner (?): Ten Bells Wine Bar (Happy Hour) - is it worth staying for the bar snacks for dinner or should we move on at this point?

Day 3
Breakfast: Clinton Street Baking (pancakes -- other recommendations)
Lunch: Sushi of Gari (Chirashi) - should we order the Tuna of Gari (worth the $49?)
Dinner: Aldea

Day 4:
Breakfast: ???
Lunch: Maialino (spaghetti carbonara -- what else should I order)
Dinner: Txikito vs. Tertulia vs. Casa Mono?

Day 5 - Russ and Daughters (lox bagel)
- Caracas Arepas
- Momofuko Noodle Bar (Pork bun)
- Doughnut Plant (PB&J, and any other recommendations) vs. Bathalzar's Nut Donut??
- Sugar Sweet Sunshine (cupcake)
- Pomme Frites
- Porchetta

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  1. Day 1:
    Scarpetta is good, but now that they're becoming a national chain it's a bit less than exciting. Also, in general, I think we have better Italian options - Babbo (if you can get a rez, or go early to grab seats in the bar room), Del Posto, and Lincoln (which I was iffy on at first but have come around to after a second visit) are all better IMHO. And there are number of others I'd consider equal as well.

    Is the famous Spag with T&B good? Yes. But I can make it at home, it's not terribly complex. If I went, I'd order something else personally, something with a little more creative flair.

    Shake Shack and Luke's are both solid, though.

    Day 2:
    If you've got room for the tasting, not a bad idea - but if you go four-course, and each of you order different things, you'll get to try pretty much the same number of different dishes. There might be a few extra bells & whistles with the tasting, but I usually lean towards getting different dishes if dining with a companion - more fun, you get to share, etc.

    For dinner, you'll probably only want something light after that big a lunch. Bar snacks might be the way to go. But if you're feeling up to a full dinner, there are a number of good options in that neighborhood. Small plates at either Stanton Social or Beauty & Essex (also good cocktails at both) - or a full meal (and spectacular cocktails - among the best in the city) at WD-50. Though doing WD and EMP in one day could be amazeballs overload. If WD-50 grabs your attention, I'd more likely pencil them in lieu of one of your other dinners, like Aldea or Scarpetta.

    Day 3:
    I'm not as big a fan of CSBC as some others are, but then I don't go for sweet brunches, more of a savory guy. If in that neighborhood, and you're prepared for a wait in line, Prune is the better option for sure. That said, if it's a weekday, Prune isn't an option at all.

    Nothing wrong with Sushi of Gari, and between pancakes and Aldea you'll probably want something lighter like Sushi for lunch.

    I'm also not as high on Aldea as some others - maybe because I really like Portuguese cuisine and I found our meals there less-than-Portuguese (more like New American with a few Portuguese touches) - that said, they have some winners on the menu. The much-feted Duck Rice is excellent, I won't deny.

    Day 4:
    All good options. Tertulia you'll be able to get your Iberico Ham fix, for sure.

    Day 5:
    Russ & Daughters is not to be missed.
    Seems like it's a big day for carbs, overall. Might be a bit much.
    I'm not high on Doughnut Plant or SSS - but like I said, I'm not a sweets guy.
    I'd hit Momofuku Ssam Bar for lunch instead of Noodle Bar. The pork buns are good, but the "duck lunch" (especially to duck over rice) at Ssam Bar is outrageously good, especially slathered with the ginger-scallion duck fat sauce they leave at the table. Also, I think you can order the pork buns there during lunch as well, so two birds / one stone and all...
    Pomme Frites - an institution, but mostly for drunk NYU students. Nothing worth going out of your way for.
    Porchetta - not as big a fan, tthough I know I'm in the minority. I actually found the sandwich a bit TOO fatty / greasy, and woefully underseasoned. If I want pork between carbs, I'm going for a Cubano (I like Cibao on Clinton Street, personally, though there's great debate as to the best Cubano in town since Spanish-American Foods on 13th St closed a few years back...)

    Some other places to consider fitting in that it seems you'd like:
    Xi'an Famous Foods - three locations, the two in Chinatown tend to be less busy. A must-visit. The lamb and pork "burgers" are fantastic, as are any of the hand-pulled noodle dishes. Unlike any Chinese cuisine you've had before.
    Despana - for more Iberico goodness. They make little snacks at the back of the store.
    Blue Ribbon Brasserie - for the Bone Marrow with Oxtail Marmalade.

    Regarding the Black Label Burger: delicious? Yes. Worth it? I don't think so. YMMV, though. For me, there are much better things to order at Minetta that the BLB.

    Pizza: All the best places will be kind of out-of-the-way. Of the classics, I like Patsy's in East Harlem the best. John's on Bleeker is the only one in a part of town where you might find yourself doing other things as well though. Di Fara I like all right, but it's probably barely in my top five, and given the location nothing I'd go out of my way for.

    Five Points: nice enough place, but nothing worth excluding something else for. Probably the least interesting, to me, of their family of restaurants (Hundred Acres and Cookshop being the other two)

    -----
    WD-50
    50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

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

    Despana
    408 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

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

    Del Posto
    85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

    Stanton Social
    99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

    Doughnut Plant
    379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

    Five Points
    31 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

    Blue Ribbon Brasserie
    97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

    Gari
    370 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

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

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

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

    Cibao
    72 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

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

    Porchetta
    110 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

    Aldea
    31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

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

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

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

    Lincoln
    142 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

    Beauty & Essex
    146 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

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

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

    Tertulia
    359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    18 Replies
    1. re: sgordon

      Thank you so much. I live in Toronto and do have a Scarpetta here but I do LOVE the spaghetti with tomato and basil. It is kind of something I need to do and want to try it in NYC.

      I was thinking about WD-50 but feel it may be too much after EMP. I would love to go for their cocktails though - sound very interesting.

      How do you feel about Tertulia vs. Casa mono vs. Txitkito? I am torn to make a decision but Despana sounds great. I was also thinking about Degustation tasting

      The last day is a bit of an overload but we plan to order one thing and share - hence why we are trying to go to many places. I am still trying to cut down the list as to what is worth it

      1. re: kyra2224

        Not to belabor it, but now that we know you're coming from a city that actually HAS a Scarpetta - why not do something "only in NYC" instead? Conant's a professional. I guarantee the SP will be the same - exactly - as back home. I mean, I wouldn't go to Scarpetta if I was visiting Toronto, that's for sure. I'd go with Toronto's specialties that I couldn't get back here.

        But if you're set on it, you're set on it.

        As to Tertulia vs. Txikito vs. Casa Mono - they're all good. Since you mentioned Iberico I thought Tertulia would be a good call, since Mullen uses it like other chefs use salt. But they're all excellent. Tertulia has some more adventurous things - i.e. barnacles - now and then, so they might be a bit more fun.

        Despana is more the kind of place to pop in for a snack, not a full meal, or to pick up foodstuffs to take back home. But there's a big ol' leg of Iberico in the front window - heck, you could just order a quarter-pound and walk around snacking on that.

        1. re: sgordon

          I might skip Scarpetta for one of Michael White's pastas at either Ai Fiori or Marea. (I've not been to Osteriai Morini, also in his stable.) You will find no pastas better than his in this city, to my taste.

          -----
          Marea
          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

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

          1. re: erica

            Michael White is no longer at Ai Fiori. I'm guessing it's still worth going there, though. They have fabulous cocktails, and I would hope the food is still up to their previous standard of excellence.

            1. re: Pan

              Pan,

              You've got it wrong. Michael White is the Executive Chef/Partner of Ai Fiori. It's the chef de cusine, Chris Jaekel, who left. White has appointed a sous chef to replace him.

              http://tthewizardofroz.wordpress.com

              1. re: RGR

                Correct.

                Any idea where Jaekel is heading? Seemed like a super nice (and very talented) guy when we were there.

                http://endoedibles.com

                1. re: uhockey

                  I haven't seen any reports re: (a) why he left, or (b) where he's heading.

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                2. re: RGR

                  Oh, thanks for the correction.

                  I'd really like to know if the previous level of excellence has been maintained.

                3. re: Pan

                  When did Michael White leave Ai Fiori? He is still listed on the RW menu.

                  1. re: erica

                    See also the post by RGR and the followup by Pan, directly above.

                    "Pan,

                    You've got it wrong. Michael White is the Executive Chef/Partner of Ai Fiori. It's the chef de cusine, Chris Jaekel, who left. White has appointed a sous chef to replace him." -- RGR

                    "Oh, thanks for the correction.

                    I'd really like to know if the previous level of excellence has been maintained." -- Pan

                    http://endoedibles.com

                    1. re: uhockey

                      Thanks, UH! I should have delved further before asking.

              2. re: sgordon

                Despana is one of the few places selling jamon iberico hand sliced (and they give out samples as they slice). I know Murray's does it machine sliced, unfortunately. Despana also has the 5Js (Cinco Jotas) brand, which IMO tastes way better than the Fermin.

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

                Despana
                408 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

                1. re: sgordon

                  I also live in Toronto and have done a few big "foodie" trips to NYC recently. I would definitely pass on Scarpetta. I have been once in NYC (before it opened in Toronto) and twice in Toronto. The spaghetti and the polenta with mushrooms (2 of the most talked about dishes) were basically exactly the same in NYC and in Toronto. The service was slightly better in NYC. There are a number of Italian restaurants I would recommend you try in NYC instead including Maialino, Locanda Verde, and Babbo (although I was not as big a fan as some, I definitely think it is worth trying if you can get in). I also thought Dell'anima was very good on my last trip, but less "destination worthy" than the other 3 mentioned.

                2. re: kyra2224

                  Degustation lost their chef a little while ago, just FYI.

                  -----
                  Degustation
                  239 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Kathryn (or anyone else), is Degustation no longer worth making a trip?

                3. re: sgordon

                  I hear the Madison square location if SS is better? Does it matter which location i go to?

                  1. re: kyra2224

                    We're big fans of Shake Shack. The Madison Square Park location is the one we go to as it's just a few blocks from our apartment. However, we only go during the warm weather months because all seating is outdoors. While there are heat lamps, and people do sit out there druing the winter, you couldn't pay me enough to do that. You are coming in April, so the weather may be nice enough to sit outdoors. It is a delightful park, and we love eating our burgers al fresco.

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

                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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

                4. At Despana, you can buy a bottle of wine at their wine store, and go into the food store where they will decant it for you. Then you can buy some jamon iberico and eat it in back.

                  Cocktail bar wise, try these:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/817210

                  If you really want potato pizza, get a slice of Roman style from Sullivan Street Bakery.

                  The black label burger at Minetta is fine but a bit gimmicky. The other excellent food they do is overshadowed by the burger.

                  I'd move the R&D bagel with smoked salmon (unless you're sure you want lox, but I'm guessing you really want nova) to breakfast before EMP. Then nosh for dinner somewhere like Pegu Club or Death & Co. Perhaps end with a slice at South Brooklyn Pizza in the East Village. Keep it light!

                  At Clinton St, share the blueberry pancakes and a biscuit sandwich with bacon and tomato jam.

                  For lunch, Sushi of Gari is known more for creative nigiri, so ordering chirashi doesn't make sense to me. Maybe look into the prix fixe lunches at 15 East or Yasuda, assuming this is a weekday.

                  For breakfast before Maialino, perhaps Locanda Verde or Balthazar.

                  At Maialino, I'm not sure these are all on the lunch menu, but try the tripe, cacio e pepe, carbonara, bucatini all’amatriciana, malfatti al maialino, maialino for two (special), olive oil cake, affogato.

                  I think sgordon is right and if you love jamon, go to Tertulia. I love the sardine toast, broken egg toast, croquettas, padron peppers, iberico rib special, and whatever shellfish they happen to be grilling that night. The grilled meat dishes are usually hits with us.

                  At Doughnut Plant, I think the cake doughnuts are best. Blackout, salted peanut, tres leches, whatever the seasonal fruit on is. The larger yeast raised doughnuts tend to be more chewy than most people prefer.

                  At Sugar Sweet Sunshine, I like the lemon or pistachio most. They have a terrible red velvet. I actually prefer Butter Lane's cupcakes more, but SSS is pretty good, too.

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

                  Despana
                  408 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

                  15 East
                  15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

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

                  Sushi Yasuda
                  204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

                  Minetta Tavern
                  113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                  Doughnut Plant
                  379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                  Balthazar
                  80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                  Sushi of Gari 46
                  347 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036

                  Sugar Sweet Sunshine
                  126 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

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

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

                  Butter Lane
                  123 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                  Locanda Verde
                  377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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

                  Maialino
                  2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                  South Brooklyn Pizza
                  122 1st Ave, New York, NY 10009

                  Tertulia
                  359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                  31 Replies
                  1. re: kathryn

                    Thank you for the cocktail suggestions - Death & co and Pegu Club look particularily appealing. How do you rate the food here? The cocktails look fantastic. As per Iberico, Despana is bang on. I am looking to have some slices of iberico with some wine.

                    You said Sushi of Gari is more for creative sushi - what would you order there? The Tuna of Gari looks interesting .. or at 15 East or Yasuda any suggestions?

                    I have been on the fence about Bathalzars - what would you recommend ordering for breakfast there? I am definitely doing to Clinton Street Baking one of those days so perhaps savoury items?

                    Tertulia seems like the better option in terms of what I am looking for so I may opt for that choice. Would it be too much to go to Txikito on another day as you say both are great options.

                    The duck rice sounds awesome at Ssams bar and will definitely check that out as well.

                    Perhaps instead of cupcakes, I am more interested in cake.. I was thinking Amy's Bread? I really enjoy Coconut Layer Cake and Carrot Cake ..

                    1. re: kyra2224

                      The food is slightly better at Pegu Club. Particularly the deviled eggs with smoked trout and curry. At Death & Co, we love the truffled mac & cheese, blue cheese fries, and grape/red onion/taleggio flatbread.

                      At Gari, we have only done nigiri omakase, where each nigiri often came with its own special toppings and sauce. It really depends if you want more traditional nigiri or not. If you're sensitive to cost, both 15 East and Yasuda have a prix fixe lunch (no choices IIRC). Call to confirm. I believe Yasuda's is a nigiri set with appetizer, whereas 15 East's changes frequently.

                      At Balthazar, I like the waffles and eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, but if you really want a great savory breakfast, try the Ouvo Modenese at Locanda Verde.

                      If you are here for such a short time, I think two Spanish places and also Despana is overkill.

                      Minetta Tavern and Balthazar (restaurant and bakery) has a great coconut cake (I believe Balthazar bakes it for both). There is a very recent thread on coconut cake on this board; do a search.

                      For carrot:
                      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2010/0...

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

                      Balthazar
                      80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

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

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

                      Locanda Verde
                      377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                      1. re: kathryn

                        You mention you are a fan of Michael White - what do you think of Osteria Morini?

                        1. re: kyra2224

                          I like it but I think it's a little crowded, noisy, and pricey for what you're paying for.

                          -----
                          Osteria Morini
                          218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                          1. re: kathryn

                            So you would recommend Al Fiori or Marea over Morini?

                            Also any other Italian places that you enjoy ?

                            1. re: kyra2224

                              I've not done Ai Fiori or Marea yet but from what I gather, they are both a notch or two up in terms of formality, if that matters. Morini is more casual.

                              1. re: kathryn

                                Formality does not matter. Just looking for really yummy pasta

                                1. re: kyra2224

                                  Then as someone who has been to all 3, plus his previous stops at Convivio an Alto (White was in the kitchen when I visited Marea, Convivio, and Alto - but not Morini or Ai Fiori) I can say Ai Fiori is the best choice of his group for pastas.

                                  I' still go to Babbo or Lincoln first if you want pastas that truly rival Conant's beautiful work at Scarpetta.

                                  http://endoedibles.com

                                  1. re: uhockey

                                    I am going to Motorino but thoughts of the slice at Artichoke or Difara? I have been reading the threads but am completely torn if its worth making a special trip or if I should go to one vs. the other i.e. DiFara vs. Motorino?

                                    1. re: kyra2224

                                      I'm one of those who doesn't think DiFara is worth the schlep. But if you decide you want to try that pizza, you're more likely to avoid the crowds by going mid-week between 2 and 4.

                                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                      1. re: RGR

                                        DiFara's is worth it if you like pizza. If you're indifferent to pizza, other places are GREAT as well. I'm not a huge pizza fan but I've tried the heavies and I feel that DiFara's is recognizably the best, but I'd still be satisfied with a slice from Franny's, or Motorino or Keste, Artichoke, Lucali's etc...

                                        1. re: Pookipichu

                                          I really love Pizza hence why I am considering DiFara. How do you feel about Artichoke? As well, any other recommendations for a good NY slice? maybe perhaps vs. naples style?

                                          1. re: kyra2224

                                            Get a slice or two of the square (Sicilian) at Artichoke. It is similar, though not as rich, as Difara's version.

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

                                            1. re: Silverjay

                                              I was perhaps thinking of going to Motorino for lunch and grab a slice at Artichoke as it is not too far.

                                              I am crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and could cab to DiFara .. soo decisions to make!

                                              1. re: kyra2224

                                                Lucali > Difara.

                                                Also, the slices at Difara sit there waiting to be eaten. A whole pie is made hot.

                                                I liked Artichoke a lot, more than DiFara, but nowhere near Lucali (different style of pizza, obviously, so YMMV)

                                                http://endoedibles.com

                                            2. re: kyra2224

                                              DiFara's pizza has mystery pixie dust. Some sort of magical melding between fresh mozzarella and liberally drizzled virgin olive oil. The Sicilian has this rich crust that is caramelized in the heat of his oven, crisp, chewy, buttery.

                                              But then again, we are splitting hairs. You'll have a great pizza at Artichoke, top notch ingredients and an artisan's hand. It's just that Dom (Difara's) brings a little something extra to his pizza.

                                              Just don't go to Grimaldi's. Please. As a non-pizza person, I can't waste stomach space on a place like that.

                                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                                i think i will get a slice at Artichoke as it is close to Motorino and easy to access vs. traveling in Brooklyn. Is the margharita good as well? I don't know if I am crazy about the crab or artichoke slice? Also from reading some reviews, I hear the slices are HUGE. Should I go to Motorino vs. Artichoke? or two completely different things? I was thinking of having two pizzas to share at Motorino and walking over and sharing a slice (or two) at Artichoke? Also is the brussel sprouts and pancetta pizza worth the hype at Motorino? I am also liking the look of Sal & Carmine.

                                                1. re: kyra2224

                                                  The sauce they use for the margherita at Artichoke is too sugary IMO. I only like the square slice there. Also I find Artichoke to be a little inconsistent between locations. Their crust tends to be on the bready side.

                                                  Personally we (my husband and I) get filled up on two Motorino pies. You might have space to split a single square afterwards at Artichoke if you are big eaters. I know I couldn't. (Though they are two different styles, you may find Artichoke disappointing after Motorino. I love Motorino!)

                                                  The Brussels sprout pie at Motorino is good, I'd make sure to pair it with a tomato sauce based one, like the soppressata.

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

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

                                                  1. re: kathryn

                                                    I definitely am getting the soppressata. I really enjoy white pizza as well, hence my natural lean to the brussel sprouts/pancetta pizza. Any other recommendations at Motorino?

                                                    1. re: kyra2224

                                                      The clam pie is good, as is the crimini mushroom and sausage, or prosciutto (daily special sometimes).

                                                  2. re: kyra2224

                                                    The crab and artichoke slices at Artichoke make me gag just thinking about them. Imagine you go to Houston's or some other crappy American chain restaurant and they dump that rich dip appetizer on a slice of pizza. I couldn't eat my artichoke slice.

                                          2. re: kyra2224

                                            I've been to Artichoke only once, but when I tried their crab pizza, I thought it was a mess, and the artichoke slice was worse - and I love artichokes, so that wasn't it. I haven't been back because I didn't see a good reason to give any of their other slices a chance.

                                            I also haven't been to DiFara's for years because while I've always loved everything I've gotten there, I don't think it's worth waiting more than an hour for it. I haven't been to Motorino, though, so I couldn't weigh in on that.

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

                                            1. re: Pan

                                              The crab and artichoke slices are gimmicky. The round is decent, the square is excellent.

                                              1. re: Pan

                                                Call me crazy, but loved the Artichoke.

                                                Planning another pizza crawl for my February trip to NYC and will see how Keste, Forcella, Rubirosa, Co. all stack up to the quality in Brooklyn from last year's trek.

                                                http://endoedibles.com

                                                1. re: uhockey

                                                  I won't call you crazy. I dug the Artichoke slice, too. It's kind of stoner food, but what the heck - stoner food can be satisfying.

                                                  1. re: uhockey

                                                    My big objection to the artichoke slice is that practically all I could taste was a huge amount of cream. When I got artichoke topping at DiFara's, I tasted wonderful California artichokes.

                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                      I don't disagree there. There is a difference between the artichoke slice and a pie that simply has artichokes added. We added the artichoke hearts to Lucali last year - still my #1 pizza ever.

                                                      http://endoedibles.com

                                                      1. re: Pan

                                                        True that. It's more of an "artichoke dip" slice than an "artichoke" slice. But I like it for what it is - especially if it's late I'm slightly drunk.

                                                        1. re: sgordon

                                                          The artichoke slice to me tasted exactly like the spinach artichoke dip from any generic bar or chain restaurant on a thick slice of flat bread. Some people like it and some people don't.

                                  2. re: kyra2224

                                    Sushi of Gari covers up their fish with distracting sauces. If you like pristine raw fish I would go elsewhere like Yasuda or 15 East.

                                2. Skip Doughnut Plant and ESPECIALLY Sugar Sweet Sunshine.

                                  Look into Sweet Revenge for cupcakes worth the calories.

                                  http://endoedibles.com

                                  -----
                                  Sugar Sweet Sunshine
                                  126 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                                  Sweet Revenge
                                  62 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

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

                                  1. i really like the food at Ten Bells -- happy hour raw oysters, beet salad, crab/avocado salad, and the wild boar sausage are my favorites...

                                    -----
                                    The Ten Bells
                                    247 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

                                    17 Replies
                                    1. re: Simon

                                      OKAY so i decided to scrap Scarpetta. From all these previous comments, I agree it is probably the same here and should do something I can only get in NYC. I am loving the idea of Marea but my boyfriend isn't a HUGE seafood fan and Michael White's menus seem to be seafood centric. I am weary about Babbo or Del Posto - various reviews that either LOVE it or HATE it. I am perhaps thinking about the pasta tasting menu? Not sure though. I just love simple Italian food (i.e. went to Rome this past April) - any other suggestions?

                                      For Drinks I think I have decided Ten Bells Wine Bar, Pegu Club and Death and Co. Do you recommend going to Pegu Club or Death & Co before dinner drinks or after? I think one may occur on a Friday and another on a Sunday ..I am looking for a nice evening with my boyfriend vs. crazy club sort of vibe. I don't mind a wait as long as there is seating available

                                      If not doughnut plant, where would you recommend for a good doughnut? I do enjoy the ones that a fresh to order in restaurants and it doesn't have to necessary be a doughnut shop specifically. Or any other sweet treats you would recommend highly in NYC.

                                      1. re: kyra2224

                                        The Beagle is another option for drinks. Right now, their cocktails are my favorite in the city. Also, you can reserve a seat. The atmosphere there is perfect for the evening you describe.

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                                        The Beagle
                                        162 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

                                        1. re: Nancy S.

                                          Hi Nancy, so you say you can reserve a seat. How far in advance can I book this and do they take late night bookings? I am thinking of going on a Saturday late night (after dinner) or would it be better to go before dinner?

                                          1. re: Nancy S.

                                            I am debating between the Beagle and Pegu Club for drinks when I return on June. The trouble is that I cannot look at the Pegu Club menu, thanks!

                                            1. re: kyra2224

                                              The left side of the menu:
                                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/hellokit...

                                              This side rarely changes -- it is all their house classic drinks. On the right side is seasonal drinks and champagne based drinks.

                                              Here is a photo from the end of April:
                                              http://campl.us/i7ak

                                              1. re: kathryn

                                                Thank you so much for this. I mean both places look great .. so hard to choose :) thanks again

                                          2. re: kyra2224

                                            As far as Pegu vs. D&C vs. TB - they're ALL going to crazy on a Friday. Ten Bells would be the easiest to get into without a wait, and probably the most relaxed. But you'll probably get in to the others, since you'll only be a two-top, with less than an hour's wait. Depends if you feel like wine or cocktails, really.

                                            Back on the Italian subject: I'm on the love side of the Batali restaurants, though I understand why some don't like the vibe at Babbo - it's a bit more bustling, can be a little loud, they don't play soft jazz in the background. Dining in the bar room can be a bit crowded. For me, though, as soon as the food hits the table the rest of the room fades away. That aside, I do prefer the more casual ambience. I'm not much for the jacket-required white-tablecloth scene.

                                            I'm not a big fan of the pasta tasting menu, as it's just carb overload to me. Assuming you do the "full Italian" four courses (antipasti, pasta, secondi, dolci) and are each ordering different things, (and assuming you share) you'll wind having your own "tasting" of eight dishes that you got to pick out yourselves, at basically the same price as you'd pay for either tasting, often a bit less.

                                            Also, Babbo is arguably THE hardest reservation in town (aside from, say, Brooklyn Fare or Momofuku Ko or the like) - I'd say give it a go, call them at exactly whatever time it was you're supposed to on whatever day is right (check the website, I can never remember the exact rules) - and if you get a table, lucky you. You're the envy of many people, so might as well go with it.

                                            Much of the lack of love for Del Posto seems to come from people who simply don't think Italian food can ever warrant four stars or that price point. I'd try to filter by the opinions of those who generally like Italian food to begin with. There are number of Francocentrics among us here, who seem to find Italian food is inherently "less than" Haute French.

                                            I'm guessing, though, that since your initial itinerary only had one resto that could remotely be called French (and I wouldn't even go that far), you're not in that category.

                                            The Michael "Midtown Mario" White suggestions are pretty good. I'm not as HUGE a fan of his as some others - I agree with the most common criticism of Marea, that up to the pastas they're great, but the secondi are lacking - not BAD, just a bit boring and uninspired. And I don't really do the whole / "simply grilled" / by the pound fish options because frankly, I can cook that at home for a third the price. At that price point, I want a little creativity for my money, not just flawless execution.

                                            But since your BF isn't terribly into the sea fare, there's always Ai Fiori (which has a bit of French influence) or Osteria Morini (whch is all about big, meaty, hearty stuff) - at the latter I've found a few dishes there almost TOO rich (to the point of being a bit greasy), but that's what a good bottle of Lambrusco is for, I suppose. Cuts right through.

                                            1. re: sgordon

                                              My boyfriend and I are 23/24 so we don't mind loud or bustling. As long as we will be eventually seated for drinks - or is Sunday, Monday, Tuesday a better day to go after dinner?

                                              I am also thinking of TRYING to get into Brooklyn Fare .. I am assuming as impossible as Babbo/Momofuko Ko.

                                              1. re: kyra2224

                                                Well, it's worth a shot - and since BF's rezzy line opens six weeks before the date (as opposed to a month for Babbo, or most other places, and a week for KO) it doesn't hurt to try. If you get in, great. If not, you've got two weeks to try the next option.

                                                That said, BF is VERY seafood-centric. If that's not your boyfriend's scene, might not be worth it.

                                                1. re: kyra2224

                                                  FYI Pegu Club has a bar and tables but allows standing, so it gets much more hectic
                                                  on weekends.

                                                  Death & Co doesn't allow standing.

                                              2. re: kyra2224

                                                I found Del Posto soulless and uptight - every other Batali spot was outstanding, east coast or west.

                                                For Italian I'd say Babbo, Lincoln, Scarpetta, Ai Fiori, A Voce, Del Posto, Marea in that order.

                                                For sweets the places I'd recommend are: Sweet Revenge (Cupcakes,) Two Little Red Hens (Cupcakes,) Dessert Club Chickalicious (Cupcakes,) Bouchon Bakery (anything,) Momofuku Milk Bar (Soft Serve and Pie,) Levain (Cookies,) Petrossian (Almond Croissant and Canelle,) La Bergamotte (French Pastries - particularly the Almond Brioche and Religeuse ,) Cici Cela (French Pastries - particularly the Brest and the Almond Croissant.)

                                                Visits for my upcoming trip will be Dominique Ansel, Dough, Laduree, Mille-Feuille, and Bosie Tea Parlor.

                                                http://endoedibles.com

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                                                Two Little Red Hens
                                                1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                                Bouchon Bakery
                                                10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                                                Ceci-Cela
                                                55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                                                Babbo
                                                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                                Del Posto
                                                85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                                                A Voce
                                                41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

                                                Levain Bakery
                                                167 W 74th St, New York, NY 10023

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

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

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

                                                Sweet Revenge
                                                62 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

                                                Marea
                                                240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                                                Petrossian Boutique
                                                911 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

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

                                                Lincoln
                                                142 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

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

                                                1. re: uhockey

                                                  I'm not familiar with Sweet Revenge but would generally second your sweets recommendations. I don't find Sugar Sweet Sunshine too impressive. I'd add Spot Dessert Bar for great cupcakes and cookies and interesting "dessert tapas."

                                                  1. re: uhockey

                                                    I was recently in Paris so I am leaning towards avoiding French like pastries. I don't feel they will be worth my time. Thanks for the other suggestions. How do you feel about the coconut cake and carrot cake from amys bakery?

                                                    1. re: kyra2224

                                                      I went to Paris after New York (1 month later) and can say for sure that Cici Cela is up to snuff.

                                                      I went to Amy's a while back - don't remember it very well and I know I didn't order any of those options. Sorry.

                                                      http://endoedibles.com

                                                  2. re: kyra2224

                                                    Maybe Maialino or Locanda Verde?

                                                    Pegu opens at 5 and isn't too crazy then. D&C opens at 6. I'd recommend getting there before dinner, right when they open. For both, if you go later, there will be a wait. Especially on a Friday. You'll also likely be waiting outside.

                                                    For freshly fried doughnuts, I like Shopsin's, Bar Room at the Modern (beignets), Perilla. See also:
                                                    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0...

                                                    I find Sweet Revenge's cupcakes to have cake that is too light/not intensely flavored. Also they are quite ugly IMO. Meh.

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                                                    Perilla
                                                    9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

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

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

                                                    Sweet Revenge
                                                    62 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

                                                    1. re: kathryn

                                                      Maialino is already in the schedule for sure.

                                                2. Txikito for exquisite Basque dishes you won't find elsewhere, let the capable staff guide you through the menu. You won't be disappointed.

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                                                  Txikito
                                                  240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: ronk212

                                                    I was recently in San Sebastian/Barcelona so I am indifferent to the type of experience I get between Tertulia and Txikito. I am leaning towards Tertulia because I want as much Jamon as possible! I am still trying to decide

                                                    Beagle sounds great as well -- i am thinking also about WD-50 for a few before dinner drinks as I hear they are great.