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Need the ambience says "Wow! We're not in Kansas anymore!"

Going with teens & adults from rural US, that have never been to NYC. Please help us plan, by giving names of restaurants that will cause us to say, "Wow! We're not in Kansas anymore!"

Food type & quality is not as important as ambience. Most of these kids are pizza, chicken finger type… so I'm not worried about the food bring back memories as much as the ambience leaving a lasting impression.

Lower price would mean we could do more of them… so that would be great! Not looking for ultra fancy, they will not be impressed by that. Not looking for Mars either, they've been to Rainforest type.

I've tried to search… Tao, Ellen's Stardust Diner, Charthouse Weehawken nj, seem like places I'm looking for. Maybe would like one with awesome view, one with cool decor, one with off the wall fun, one for China town experience… ???? (FYI we are also going to try to go to places that will hit their palate, like Shake Shack, Katz deli, John's pizzeria or another pizza place or two or three. Right now I seem to be able to find those in searching… just need help on the "Wow" ambience type)

Thanks for helping me out. I'm hoping to pack in memories for a lifetime in 5 days.

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

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

Ellen's Stardust Diner
1650 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

John's Pizzeria
260 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Tao
42 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

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  1. I'd suggest depending on the size of your party, to snag a table at one of the high end places for lunch. Lots of places will offer good lunch deals (Del Posto being prominent) that are top tier food and luxury NY at much lower price point (I think 3 courses at less than 30 bucks). I mean, if Tao was within your range, skip that and go somewhere else. I think everyone will be impress with the amuse bouche, extra desserts, and the room (at Del Posto, among other choices). Plus the Highline, Meatpacking, and Chelsea Market is also right there.

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

    8 Replies
    1. re: villainx

      How many of you are here?

      I would go to places like yakitori totto, momofuku noodle bar, Mile End, etc. But if you are a large group, that just isnt going to work.

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

      1. re: villainx

        Thanks Villainx! Will check it out!

        Thanks nmprisons! There will be up to 26 of us… but lots of times we will be in much smaller groups up to 6. Like the thought of yakitori totto.

        Please keep 'em coming!

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

        1. re: want2go

          Go to Chinatown, nothing like that in Kansas

          1. re: AubWah

            AubWah, would love to eat in Chinatown! What restaurant do you recommend?

            1. re: want2go

              Well for a group of 6...I would suggest Shanghai Cafe, Great NY Noodletown, South China Garden..

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

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

              Shanghai Cafe
              100 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: AubWah

                Thanks AubWah! Looks yummy! Love the name "Great NY Noodletown". Maybe we can try several of these, because of the lower price!

                1. re: AubWah

                  The Great New York Noodletown is awesome. Make sure to have the salt baked sr=hrimp and the roast pork!

                  1. re: laurabfriedman

                    A+ for Noodletown. If you are nightowls go there @ 2-3AM. The place will be packed and definitely not like Kansas!!!

        2. Ippudo for ramen. The space is very cool and probably very different from what you have back home. There's also a few conveyor sushi places. If the kids can do Indian, look at Panna II. It can get wild at night, but lunch could be ok with young ones.

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          Panna II
          93 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

          Ippudo
          65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

          2 Replies
          1. re: coasts

            Thanks coasts! Our kids love ramen. It would be good for them to enjoy something like the real thing! I have no idea what "conveyor sushi" means, but it sounds interesting. I'm not sure they can do Indian, but just saw a picture… Wow! Does it always have all the lights? That is something they would love! Any tips on Indian food for the not so adventurous?

            1. re: want2go

              Ippudo is one of New York's favorite ramen shops. you can't book it online, but you can make a same-day walk-in reservation. expect a long wait if you don't reserve, even at off hours.

              conveyor sushi involves a conveyor belt on which maki rolls and sushi are delivered to consumers sitting at the counter or surrounding booths. basically, the sushi "chefs" are preparing rolls in the center of the room and placing them on the belt, where color-coded plates determine the cost. a low value cucumber roll might be on a white plate and priced at $1.25/3 pieces. a more expensive spider roll will be on a gold plate and priced higher at maybe $6/3 pieces. the quality is not the highest, but it's cheap, fun, and fresher than many other places. we like East in Murray Hill.

              as for Panna II, they do always have the lights and the place is just fun - no question. it's cheap and BYOB, so even a failed meal wouldn't be a disaster. kids could eat tandoori chicken with basmati rice and naan, a fluffy warm bread that everyone loves. tandoori chicken is basically roasted chicken with indian spices, but it's fairly approachable.

              make no mistake - neither East nor Panna offers great food. however, the experience is worthwhile. of all of the other suggestions, i would say definitely go to Tao, which again only serves mediocre food. the food at NY Noodletown is more authentic, but might freak the kids out.

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              Kaiten East
              366 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

          2. I'm pretty sure there are no places in NYC that screams "we're in Kansas!"

            So I think you're safe just about everywhere in NYC if that's your criteria.

            1. If you want atmosphere and chinese food, I will suggest Chinatown Brasserie. It's not the best food, though they have pretty good dim sum, but the feel of the place is Chinatown fantasy. The basic place in Chinatown is all about food and not ambiance with all the harsh lighting but CB is the kind of place that you would construct from your imagination of a Chinese place. Seating for 26 will be tough in most places but here they could put you at those tables for 10 in a cluster. Also would throw in Baltazar for another place full of atmosphere and pretty good food. It's the fantasy image of a bistro gone crazy. Great bar too. Keene's for old time NY though if you're from Kansas, the steak may not be anything special. But I doubt there is anything that looks like it back there.

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              Keens
              72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018

              Balthazar
              80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

              Chinatown Brasserie
              380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bkeats

                Thanks Bkeats! You go us right, Chinatown fantasy sounds ideal! Will check out the others too.

                1. re: want2go

                  you and another adult may want to enjoy Keens, but be aware a recent LUNCH there cost myself and a companion almost 200 dollars. i am from boston, which is not cheap, but was still surprised when the bill came. great place but probably not for your group.

              2. One sort of place they don't have in Kansas that would be great even with a large group is one of the banquet-sized places in Chinatown like Jing Fong. Larger than a football field and if you do go for dim sum, women will be going around with carts of steaming food that should please everyone from the pickiest eaters to the most adventurous. A real NYC experience that even New Yorkers love!
                http://www.jingfongny.com/

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                Jing Fong
                18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                11 Replies
                1. re: City Kid

                  WIth due respect to Bkeats, Chinatown Brasserie shouldn't be an option. There's no fun in that.

                  If you want to hit Chinatown, dim sum is an option, but do it during the weekdays. Most places are fairly busy during the weekdays (but manageably so), on the weekend, it's going to be a long long wait. Almost any place is decent, but I'd say focus on the bigger banquet style places: Jing Fong, Golden Unicorn, or Golden Bridge (among probably others). If you need a primer on dim sum, just ask.

                  In Chinatown is also Chinatown Ice Cream factory that has cool (and real good) flavors like Almond Cookie, Lychee, Mango, and so forth that is pretty good. Bubble Tea and egg custard tarts at the bakery and tea shop are good walking around snacks too. Finally, either downtown/Wall Street or Little Italy/Soho are accessible from Chinatown, if you want to plan out your visit a little better.

                  Aside from dim sum, you can check out Aubwab's recs. Dinner and lunch is ideal in Chinatown, cheap, accommodates large parties, and plenty of atmosphere.

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                  Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
                  65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                  Golden Bridge
                  50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

                  Chinatown Brasserie
                  380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                  Golden Unicorn
                  18 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                  Jing Fong
                  18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                  1. re: villainx

                    Chinatown Brasserie was not that bad a choice, although the OP would be better off going to China town. Great NY Noodletown, i think is a weird choice. It isn't impressive, you cant really fit 26 people, the food is nothing to write home about, and i doubt if Kansas people will enjoy that place at all, unless they are Chinese. My Chinese friends like that place. Jing Fong, 88 Palace, or Golden Unicorn are the best places to go for a Chinatown "feel" and food.
                    Katz's is as NYC as you can get. Buddakan is big enough to accomodate a big party and it's a "wow" atmosphere.
                    Jung sik would be really different totally worlds apart from anything i've ever seen in Kansas.
                    Lombardi's pizza is a good idea,there are so many seats that 26 people would not be difficult if you call ahead.
                    The Modern is a wow kind of place and it will be memorable. Cinque is NY italian and they have a back room for large parties. Takahachi Tribeca has a back area that would work also.
                    Kutsher's will surely be different serving "jewish" food, you won't get that in Kansas.
                    I would suggest a ride to Coney Island and check out Nathan's.it's fast food but it is totally a New York experience. I won't recommend steaks because kansas has real good steak and real good bbq. Big Nick's might be a good place for a New York feel and great burger, Walker's is another idea for a burger. Ippudo was a good suggestion for Japanese ramen. 32 West 32nd street for Korean Bbq right there in Ktown might be different. Balthazar was a good suggestion for the feel of Soho.
                    and as another poster suggested, walk around and get the NYC feel . E. 7th street and st marks place and MacDougal St are good walking places as well as Ludlow St. You have Porchetta, Luke's Lobster Rolls, Mamoun's, Taisho, and a cannolli and cappuccino for dessert Veniero's is real New York

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

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

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

                    Balthazar
                    80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                    Big Nick's
                    2175 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

                    New York Kom Tang Soot Bul Kal Bi
                    32 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                    Walker's
                    16 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

                    Chinatown Brasserie
                    380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                    Golden Unicorn
                    18 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                    Jing Fong
                    18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                    Veniero's
                    342 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003

                    Yakitori Taisho
                    5 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                    Takahachi
                    145 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

                    Mamoun's Falafel
                    22 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                    Lombardi's
                    32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                    Ippudo
                    65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

                    88 Palace
                    88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                    Trattoria Cinque
                    363 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

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

                    Jung Sik
                    2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

                    Kutsher's
                    186 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013

                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                      Thanks Foodwhisperer! So Chinatown Brasserie is not in Chinatown, I've got so much to learn! I really like the looks of Golden Unicorn.
                      I know Katz is a definite. I think Buddakan is too, seems definitely WOW!
                      Love the thought of riding to Coney Island for Nathan's… since we can buy them in the grocery store.
                      Got to put Luke's Lobster Rolls as a definite too!
                      And Veniero's!!!
                      Looks like at this rate, we will not have any time for anything but eating!

                      1. re: want2go

                        if you go out to coney island, Totonno's has some of the best pizza in NYC.

                        1. re: hyde

                          The one on 2nd ave and 27th street closed about a year ago. No idea why but its too bad.

                          1. re: princeofpork

                            Why? Because the pizza was mediocre at best. I recall reading somewhere that the only connection to the flagship was the name, and they were not involved in running it.

                            http://thewizardofroz.wordprss.com

                            1. re: RGR

                              Very interesting. The fact that a "famous" NYC pizza place would lend its name and not have anything to do with the quality of the product is curious. Imagine Johns or Patsys doing that?

                              1. re: princeofpork

                                I'm not sure the Totonno's situation is unique. There are a lot of people who think the pizza at John's near Times Square is not as good as the flagship G.W.location. I can't say since we've only been to the flagship, and that wasn't exactly a stellar experience. However, that goes back more than five years, and we'll be trying it again there in a couple of weeks when we do the uhockey pizza crawl.

                                As for Patsy's, there are quite a few locations with that name. I don't know whether any are related to the Patsy's in E. Harlem which, I gather, is the "original." I've only been to the Patsy's on 3rd near 34th (though not recently), and the pizza was nothing special.

                                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                    2. re: villainx

                      Thanks Villainx! Will put Chinatown Ice Cream Factory down as a definite! Will also look in to the others you mentioned.

                      1. re: want2go

                        speaking of Ice Cream(gelato) , try Amorino on University Place it's so good. I've been to the one in Nice, France and it's pretty much the same. Also in that neighborhood, go to Nam Peng ( in the garage or parking lot) a small place for Cambodian sandwiches. The coconut shrimp sandwich is great, so is the pork belly ,and the pulled pork sandwich.
                        In Chinatown , i do go to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

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                        Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
                        65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                        Num Pang Sandwich Shop
                        21 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                        Amorino
                        60 University Pl, New York, NY 10003

                    3. re: City Kid

                      Thanks City Kid! Restaurant larger than a football field would be wild to see!