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Feb 8, 2012 01:52 AM

First trip to NYC, help me narrow my list!

I'm turning 30 in a few short weeks and I've never been to NYC (gasp), booked a trip for just four short days starting feb 29th through early march 4th. Since I'm a major food nerd I've been compiling a list of places I want to try while in town but it's just too long right now and I'd love some help crossing a few off (ok, ok if you know I'm missing out on something incredible then offer a new suggestion). I'm only planning to do one super pricey meal and then a whole bunch of more reasonably priced small meals. Also want to check out a few markets, yes Eataly is a must! There are bars listed as well since I'll be with some of my boozier buds and it is my birthday so what the heck! So here's my list, any advice would be greatly appreciated! (I'm sure some of my neiborhood categorizations are not technically correct but I was just trying to sort it out the best I could)


Shelsky's- pastrami smoked salmon
Van horn sandwich bar
Pies n thighs 
Le Comptoir
Vinegar Hill house
Peterpan doughnut shop
Dressler (if they have brunch Saturday) 
Bierkraft (bar w/food)
Four and twenty blackbirds bakery
Beer table (bar w/food)
Bien Cuit (bakery)
Brooklyn bowl
The Counting Room (bar w/food)
Brooklyn flea (Saturday)*
Dekalb Market
Hester Street Fair (Saturday)

Chelsea/ Midtown/West Village

Cookshop (just bar?)
Doughnut Plant
The Red Cat (bar w/food)
Holland Bar (dive)
Tavern on Jane (bar) 
The Tippler (bar beneath market)
Jeffrey's Grocery
Chelsea Market

Soho/ Greenwich/ TriBeCa 

Taka Taka (Japanese Mexican fusion conveyer)
Greenwich Grill/ Sushi Azabu (lunch)
Gray's Papaya
Mark Forgione
Vault at Pfaffs bar w/food (door 643)
Minetta Tavern (burger)
Blue Ribbon (late night)
The meadow (salt)

East village/ Madison Ave/ Grammercy

Shake Shack
Doughnut Plant
Parm (meatball hoagie)
Northern Spy (lunch)
Clinton Street Baking (breakfast before 4)
Pommes Frittes (open late)
Russ and daughters (bagel) 
PDT (crif dog speakeasy)
Death and co (bar w/food)
2nd Floor on Clinton (bar only)

Central Park/ Grand Central Station

Shake Shack
Gray's Papaya 
Per Se (lounge)
Le Bernadin (lounge)
Sushi Seki (late night expensive)
Earls beer and cheese
Bouchon Bakery
Epecerie (liddabit sweets)
Dublin House (dive bar)
Amsterdam Ale House (beer bar)
Grand Central Market


The Queens Kickshaw

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  1. This is a huge list that seems to exclude any of the Momofukus, tapas, Italian (unless you plan to eat in Eataly), April Bloomfield, or anything authentically ethnic.

    Are these types of food off limits? This isn't a criticism in any way - just trying to figure out other suggestions that you might like.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Riverman500

      Yes, the momofukus were originally on my list in some form but had been edited out because I had heard how insanely busy they can be, but I suppose that may be the case with most places I try and visit! Which would you suggest if I was to visit one?
      I would love a tapas suggestion as well!
      I had read some mixed reviews of Rucola which was also initially on my Brooklyn list, would you recommend it, or another Italian place? I do plan to eat at Eataly, would you not recommend that?
      My boyfriend who I'm traveling with isn't quite as adventurous as I wish he would be so I was afraid to put any Indian or authentic Asian type places for fear of excluding him.
      Bloomfield is Spotted Pig, no? I think I might have removed that place when I realized I had been adding too many $100+a person spots. There are just so many great places I've heard about and I won't be able to do more then a couple of these pricier places.

      1. re: CheeksandLeeks

        Ma Peche is the least crowded of the Momofuku establishments. It's also my favorite one.

        Tapas/raciones - Casa Mono, Txikito, Tertulia, Boqueria.

        Nuela is great for Latin-inspired small and large plates.

        Manzo in Eataly is very good. I haven't tried the other food outlets except for Le Verdure which I also liked.

        As an alternative to Spotted Pig, try The Breslin which is also April Bloomfield's restaurant. You can usually dine at the bar without waiting too long or spending a fortune. John Dory is another one of her restaurants but I haven't been there yet.

        Casa Mono
        52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

        53 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

        240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

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

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

        43 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

        The John Dory Oyster Bar
        1196 Broadway, New York, NY 10001

        359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        1. re: Riverman500

          Ma Peche also allows reservation. I don't think any of the other Momofuku's (other than Ko) lets you make a reservation if you aren't doing one of those large format dinners.

          1. re: Riverman500

            If you end up at The Breslin, eat some of their fries, then cross Pommes Frites off the list. In my experience, the value of PF is in the multitude of sauces -- if you're really into dips, great, but if you're in it for the fries, there are plenty better to be had (Breslin definitely being one of them).

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

      2. If you could give us an idea of your definitions of "super pricey" and "reasonably priced" it'd help greatly - to some (I suppose most) people, Marc Forgione AND Per Se might be considered "super pricey" - to others, the former is reasonably priced and only the latter.

        So, what's "super pricey" - say, food price only, before tax/tip/drinks?

        Also, do note that the Hester Street Fair isn't in Brooklyn. Nor is it even open until Spring, same for Dekalb Market.

        And Bierkraft isn't a bar, it's a shop. Also, Jeffrey's no longer exists.

        All that said, there are a number of things I'd cross off your list...

        Places that are good, and I don't want to dis, but I wouldn't put them on an "I've only got four days in NYC" list:

        The Red Cat
        Jeffrey's Grocery
        Shelsky's - if you're already going to Russ & Daughters (which you should, absolutely) there's no need to do more of the same at Shelsky's. I like Shelsky's, but I wouldn't send anyone out of their way to go there.

        Places that just aren't worth the calories or time:
        Pommes Frites (it's fine for drunk & stoned NYU students... that's about it.)
        2nd Floor On Clinton (for a good cocktail on the LES, get drinks at the bar at WD-50 across the street - plus you can sample some apps or desserts while you're there.)

        Places or foods other people seem to like, but I'm not exactly a fan of:
        Doughnut Plant - caveat being I don't have a big sweet tooth.
        Minetta Tavern (burger) - caveat being I actually quite like Minetta Tavern, I just think the burger is staggeringly overpriced
        Per Se Salon - if you're fine paying $40 for a single scallop, or $45 for a mere two ounces of beef, be my guest. But the general consensus seems to be that you'd have to spend nearly as much as you would on a regular meal there in order to actually leave somewhat satisfied. Regardless what they call them, pretty much everything is appetizer-sized (mostly small appetizers at that) and for higher prices than most high-end places charge for entrees.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sgordon

          I think I would consider super pricey (the type of meal I can only do one of) anything more than $150 a person before tax, tag and title. A more "reasonably" priced meal to me would be something where we could get out of there when alls said and done for less that $200 a couple, I will probably enjoy 3-4 meals in this range. Everything else will be cheap eats, grabbing a donut or a bagel, an appetizer at a bar, snack from a market, etc.
          Thanks for the heads up on the markets, I was afraid that might be the case!
          I'm afraid I may have jumped the gun and bought a groupon for shelkys (gasp, a coupon, but don't worry that is in no way how I intend to pick places I eat, it's just that it was already on my list of options when I saw the discount site) however I'm kind of a lox and bagel junky so I think I can manage trying both.
          I will pass up pommes frittes, unless I happen to be drunk or stoned and in the area. But I will require a donut while I'm there so I'll have to choose between Peter pan in Brooklyn or donut plant depending where I am when I get the craving, I definitely have a sweet tooth though!
          I definitely don't want to overpay for a burger but orlando (where I live) is really missing an incredible burger so it's a must get, what's the best burger in the city in your opinion?
          Thanks for all the other info, finding out which places aren't quite worth it if I'm only there for 4 days was exactly my point. Great advice!