NYC - 2 people visiting from CA - suggestions?
Specifically we are looking for something memorable but not $250/person.
We like almost every type of cuisine and would try anything new.
Also, 42nd street or below in Manhattan is perfect.
Too broad a question. In order to receive help of any relevance, please provide more details.
Your budget only rules out a few places actually.
When will this be? (some places book up fast)
What meal? Dinner?
"anything new" assumes we know what you usually eat!
Some of my current faves, without knowing any of the above:
Saxon and Parole
Blue Ribbon Brasserie
85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Blue Ribbon Brasserie
97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012
45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010
31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011
20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001
131 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012
27 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010
Saxon + Parole
316 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
$200pp WITH tax, tip, wine or BEFORE? It's better to give a food only price point.
From where in CA are you from? LA, SF, SD?
When in early April? Many places book up 3-4 weeks in advance, as others mentioned before. If you are coming sooner than that you might not be able to get into your first choices.
My favorite unique places in NY serve fusion Asian, creative Mexican, Xian (Chinese) food, Issan (Thai) food, organic/local/sustainable Japanese BBQ, authentic Basque (Spanish) tapas, creative diner food, pretzels, hot dogs, halal food, steak, upscale rustic Italian, Italian subs, creative Italian-American, high end non-sushi Japanese (like kaiseki), creative desserts, molecular gastronomy, mixology/creative cocktails, and upscale brunches (brunch is served every day here, sometimes even for dinner).
* WD-50 for avant garde/experimental cooking. Make sure you try the aerated foie gras, cold fried chicken, and some of their cocktails.
* Creative Asian at Momofuku Ssam Bar, Ma Peche, Fatty Cue, or Wong. Some of the most creative cooking in town is happening at these places. Do a search, lots of reports on these boards.
* While Empellon Cocina is pretty new, it's excellent based upon my meal there so far. Creative, modern Mexican cooking by an ex-Alinea and WD-50 pastry chef, who decided to go in a completely different direction. Don't miss the great mescal and tequila cocktails either.
* Txikito for Basque tapas. Don't miss the suckling pig, miss the sofrito/chorizo/quail egg pintxo, croquettas, padron peppers, suckling pig, torreja dessert or whatever is on the daily specials board, like this oyster mushroom carpaccio I had once where the mushrooms were sliced incredibly thin. The newly opened Tertulia is also pretty good as well, known more for their grilled dishes, as they have a custom indoor grill, and heavy usage of pork/jamon iberico.
* Zabb Elee for Issan (Thai) food, especially their excellent larb, sauteed Chinese broccoli with crispy pork, and more obscure dishes. No pad thai. No curries.
* Takashi for local/sustainable Japanese yakiniku. Awesome high-tech electric grills. Try the uni/shiso/wagyu dish, beef belly, short ribs, heart, liver, sweetbreads, first stomach, third stomach, four stomach, tendon, or whatever is good that day. Brain cream in a tube served with caviar and fresh blinis.
* Xi'an Famous Foods for food from Shaanxi province in China. Cumin lamb hand pulled noodles!
* Brunch at Minetta Tavern (takes reservations), The Breslin (no reservations), or Shopsin's (no reservations, note weird hours/crazy menu/cursing at Shopsin's).
Shopsin's is probably the most "innovative" breakfast place/diner in town. Breakfast sliders, mac and cheese pancakes, slutty cakes, sandwiches with the "bread" made out of french toast or pancakes, made-up soups from around the world (i.e., "this is what I think Kenyan soup would taste like" not "this is the kind of soup they eat in Kenya"). Some people hate it; some people love it.
* Bagel sandwiches with smoked salmon, capers, red onion, cream cheese at Russ & Daughters. Excellent smoked salmon, whitefish salad, sable, all the Jewish appetizing classics. Try a few smoked salmons before you settle on one. You can get a mini-sized bagel sandwich here, too, if you wish. Takeout only.
* A steak and/or a scotch at Keens (lots of history here, too). Say hi to Ms Keens in the bar.
* Katz's Deli (famous for great pastrami on rye, no mayo). Or 2nd Ave Deli for chicken in a pot, matzoh ball soup, I've heard their knoblewurst is good, too.
* Pizza at John's of Bleecker (old school, coal oven style) or Motorino (new school, Naples inspired). Pies only. Motorino is probably the more hip one. Try the Cremini & Sweet Sausage, Soppressata Piccante with fior de latte, or Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta (white) pie. Bask in the glory of their oven and lovely charred crust.
* A pretzel from Sigmund Pretzelshop (the street ones are crap). They have a cart in front of the Met Museum as well.
* Hot dogs at Papaya Dog/Gray's Papaya (not gourmet but cheap and satisfying, and an oddly NY thing).
* Halal Guys cart at 53rd and 6th. Eat street meat! Stand in line. It's worth it. Make sure you go to the southEAST corner before 8pm, and the southWEST corner after 8pm. They have yellow bags with a red circular logo that says Halal Guys: We Are Different. Don't use too much red sauce. Chicken and/or lamb with rice and a creamy white sauce.
* Shake Shack (multiple locations). A high-end fast food burger, get the Shack burger, which has the Shack sauce on it. Contentious. Debated. Delicious. Sitting in Madison Square Park on a nice day has its own particular charms. Arrive at 11:45am to beat the lunch rush.
* Babbo, Locanda Verde, or Scarpetta. High end Italian, which is really buzzy in NYC right now, book a month in advance. Babbo books one month in advance to the calendar day, i.e., call on August 28th for September 28th. Scarpetta has LA, Miami, and Toronto branches now, though, so if you visit those cities, it may not be such a draw.
* Eleven Madison Park for a really splurgy meal, if you are going all out. Reserve 4 weeks in advance (including the current day). Have a drink at the bar beforehand as they won Best Restaurant Bar at Tales of the Cocktail 2011. Try not to eat all of the housemade chips or the honey peanuts, or those fruity green French olives. For your meal, you are presented with a grid of ingredients like "pork" or "lobster" for a menu. It's definitely a bit mysterious what you're going to actually get, also the service is incredible. Book ASAP, I think they book up about 4 weeks in advance.
* Defonte's. You know that "sandwich day" episode of 30 Rock? That's this place..
* Torrisi Italian Specialties for upscale American-Italian with global influences (Jamaican, Chinese, Jewish). There's a prix fixe menu ($60) based upon what's local and fresh as well as a much longer chef's tasting that draws from the history of New York.
* Lots of high end Japanese if you are into that. Soto for creative uni/sushi dishes, Kyo Ya for kaiseki cuisine that changes with what's in season (they once served me edamame still attached to the branch), or Kajitsu for Shojin cuisine. I'm assuming these are hard to find in your hometown...Depends upon where you're coming from.
* scoopG's Chinatown list is worth a look, too especially if you are interested in the more obscure regional Chinese cooking available here:
* If you're bereft of lobster rolls & BBQ, look into Pearl Oyster Bar, Pies 'n' Thighs, the Redhead, Blue Smoke, Hill Country, Luke's Lobster....
* If you have time to get into Brooklyn or Queens, look into Di Fara (odd hours/long lines), Mile end (Quebec food -- pastrami, poutine, Montreal bagels, sells out quickly), Kabab Cafe for Egyptian food and offal, Red Hook Ballfields for a series of food trucks serving arepas, huraches, ceviche, elote, agua fresca, and more (hopefully they will be open when you are here), and/or M. Wells (assuming their new location is open by then -- possibly not).
* Cocktails at Pegu Club, PDT (speakeasy inside of Crif Dogs and takes reservations at 3pm on the day of), or Death & Co. Similar to Drink in Boston. Best time to go is around 6pm before they fill up. Especially since you are here on a weekend.
* For unusual sweets, Doughnut Plant (try the cake doughnuts only) has flavors like tres leches, blueberry, green tea, and more.
I am a big fan of the pretzel croissant and/or the baker's (leftovers) muffin at City Bakery.
Victory Garden has goat milk soft serve (don't miss the salted caramel if they have it) and frozen yogurt, with unusual toppings like sungold tomato, honey comb candy, maple marshmallows, havlah.
The Joyride Truck has caffeinated frozen yogurt.
You might also look into Spot Dessert Bar (Pichet Ong) or Chikalicious Dessert Bar for creative, plated desserts served outside your normal dinner setting.
Where to get offal:
Amazing, thank you!
We are in LA and will be in NY April 5th. So far Takashi looks like MY top choice (wife might not be so hot on it). We already have a WD-50 reservation but looking to see if theres something else to try.... Ssam looks great as well, so does Babbo (sounds very filling).
Is there a place in NY like Animal out here?
Babbo books one month in advance to the calendar day, if you're here starting April 5th, you might be too late to grab a reservation at a decent time. They started taking reservations for April 5th on March 5th, etc. I'd call them ASAP if you are interested.
Haven't been to Animal, but seems unique to LA. Though I have actually heard Animal in LA being compared to Momofuku Ssam as having a similar philosophy/culture/vibe.
Just had dinner at Annisa last week. Delicious cuisine, excellent service, lovely ambiance.
A friend we dined with took this photo of the room: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmoranmoya/6804425702/in/set-72157629141118054
13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014
This is a broad request. If you can specify your food budget, before drinks, tax and tip, you'd probably get some useful responses.
That said, for under $250 per person you can pretty much dine at any of the top restaurants if you order the prix fixe and a couple of glasses of wine. The exceptions would be Per Se, Masa, and the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare.
Here are some restaurants that my friends from California have found memorable:
50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011
52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023
113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012
155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019
9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019
251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019
27 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010