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Need help with my NYC eatinerary

t
teenglutton Mar 16, 2012 12:23 AM

Hi

My mom and I will be staying in NYC for a week. This is our first visit. We want a good mix of high-end places and cheap eats plus a variety of cuisines. Planning where to eat is giving me a headache coz there are so many choices. I've been reading Yelp and Chowhound for a week now and I'm suffering a bad case of information overload. So any kind of help to narrow down my choices would be very much appreciated.

Friday dinner: Undecided (Any suggestions that's not too far from East 48th and Park Ave?)

Saturday lunch: Momofuku Ko
Saturday dinner: Double Dragon/ Best Fuzhou/ Ying Qian???

Sunday brunch: Minetta Tavern
Sunday dinner: Undecided

Monday lunch: Le Bernardin
Monday dinner: Halal cart

Tuesday lunch: Di Fara's (Better than Lombardi's? Grimaldi's?)
Tuesday dinner: Undecided (Good eats in Brooklyn?)

Wednesday lunch: Marea
Wednesday dinner: Ippudo/Totto (which is better?)

Thursday lunch: Joe's Shanghai
Thursday dinner: Daniel (I'm having second thoughts about this.. Maybe we'll go to WD 50 instead)

Friday lunch: Russ and Daughters
Friday dinner: Undecided

Saturday lunch: Undecided (Have a flight to catch at 5PM.. Preferably something easy near East 48th and Park Ave)

Planning to visit these spots but not sure when:
Levain bakery
Kyotofu (I was told that there's always a line here. Does anyone know when's the best time to go?)
Pearl's Oyster Bar (Is it worth going to?)
Donut Plant
Aldea
Boulud Sud
Rubirosa
Two Little Red Hens

Are there any places on my list that I should skip? Other good eats that I should add to my list?

Also, how's the dimsum in NY compared to HK and SF?

I'm really confused right now.. Thanks for the comments/suggestions.

P.S. My mom doesnt eat beef that's why Shake Shack, Katz Deli, Peter Luger, Keens, etc. are not on my list. She doesn't eat raw fish too so no sushi places.

  1. k
    kathryn Mar 16, 2012 06:50 AM

    NYC Pizza Primer:
    http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/08/nyc-pizza-cultural-literacy.html

    Here are some recent trips from Bay Area hounds which should help:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/830897
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/828542

    > Friday dinner: Undecided (Any suggestions that's not too far from East 48th and Park Ave?

    )

    You could try Bar Room at the Modern or Monkey Bar for something a little more upscale.

    > Saturday lunch: Momofuku Ko
    > Saturday dinner: Double Dragon/ Best Fuzhou/ Ying Qian???

    Make sure your mother is OK with sitting for 3-4 hours on a backless wooden stool at Ko. This is a LONG tasting menu. Otherwise, try Ssam Bar for lunch or dinner instead.

    You could also do brunch somewhere on Saturday.

    Best weekday breakfasts:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833022#7140919

    Best Sunday brunch:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/831766#7123676

    If you choose Ko make sure they know that she doesn't eat raw fish or beef.

    > Sunday brunch: Minetta Tavern
    > Sunday dinner: Undecided

    > Monday lunch: Le Bernardin
    > Monday dinner: Halal cart

    I'm sure you're aware that the halal cart (53rd and 6th I assume) is outside, no seating nearby, so have a backup plan if it is raining/etc.

    > Tuesday lunch: Di Fara's (Better than Lombardi's? Grimaldi's?
    )> Tuesday dinner: Undecided (Good eats in Brooklyn?)

    Re: Di Fara
    They are closed Tuesdays. Their posted hours are kinda... flexible. Meaning Dom opens and lets you in whenever he feels like it. If you go for lunch, and are the first in line, you'll probably be the first ones to get your pie. But there will be some waiting. DEFINITELY better than Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, but Di Fara is gas oven + meticulous ingredients + Dom's unique style of pizza making, so kind of not a fair comparison, as the two you mentioned are coal fired, offer table service, and do a lot more volume.

    As Pan mentioned, coal fired pizza is more about the texture of the crust, and trying to find the perfect intersection of chewy, crispy, and charred, while still remaining thin. (If you go in expecting incredibly flavorful crust -- like a Neopolitan/wood-fired place, handpicked/artisanal toppings, and creative topping combinations, you will be disappointed.)

    > Wednesday lunch: Marea
    > Wednesday dinner: Ippudo/Totto (which is better?)

    Do Ippudo for LUNCH not dinner to avoid a wait. Or swing by earlier in the day and put your name down.

    > Thursday lunch: Joe's Shanghai

    Probably a skip if you are from SF. Best XLB (soup dumplings) I've had in NYC are at RedFarm, but they are pricey! There's usually a long wait at RedFarm and the rest of the menu isn't traditional Chinese (it's upscale Americanized Chinese).

    > Thursday dinner: Daniel (I'm having second thoughts about this.. Maybe we'll go to WD 50 instead)

    WD-50 should definitely be something unique.

    > Friday lunch: Russ and Daughters
    > Friday dinner: Undecided

    If your mother won't eat raw fish, will she eat smoked salmon? The bagels are good, not great, it is the smoked salmon where they shine. I'm fond of red onion, capers, regular cream cheese, and tomato on mine. Try a few smoked salmons before you settle on one, they're surprisingly different (and belly lox is not the same as smoked salmon, because belly lox is salmon cured in salt brine, and most people actually prefer the more modern, Nova-style smoked salmon). Takeout only, but they have two benches outside.

    > Levain bakery
    > Kyotofu (I was told that there's always a line here. Does anyone know when's the best time to go?)

    I would call them directly to ask.

    > Pearl's Oyster Bar (Is it worth going to?)

    Yes, and weekday lunch is much less crowded than dinner.

    > Donut Plant

    Make sure you get the CAKE doughnuts, like the tres leches and blackout. Not a big fan of the yeast ones (too chewy).

    > Aldea
    > Boulud Sud
    > Rubirosa
    > Two Little Red Hens

    You may also want to add some French pastry to your list, like Dominique Ansel or Mille-Feuille, or Laduree for macarons.

    Here's a list of my favorite places in NYC:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8383...

    In particular Asian fusion, East Coast Italian-American (like Parm or Torrisi), and lobster rolls would be a great addition to your list.

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

    Pearl Oyster Bar
    18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

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

    Doughnut Plant
    379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

    Joe's Shanghai
    9 Pell St, New York, NY 10013

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

    Momofuku Ko
    163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

    Monkey Bar
    60 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022

    Ippudo
    65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

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

    Grimaldi's
    47 W 20th St, New York, NY 10010

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

    Parm
    248 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

    Laduree
    864 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

    Mille-feuille
    552 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

    RedFarm
    529 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

    Dominique Ansel Bakery
    189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

    1. j
      John Francis Mar 16, 2012 04:58 AM

      No Indian restaurants? When I travel, that's always on my list, and New York has some very good ones. My favorite is Sapphire on Broadway near 60th Street, convenient to Lincoln Center if you're going to take in a performance. Sapphire's menu goes beyond the usual standards. Others here may have other suggestions.

      Also in the Lincoln Center area, Bar Boulud specializes in charcuterie but has a full dinner menu as well. I had coq au vin there last week that was out of this world. And there are plenty of light options if you feel you've had too many heavy meals in too short a time.

      -----
      Sapphire
      1845 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

      Bar Boulud
      1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

      1. p
        Pan Mar 16, 2012 12:59 AM

        Skip Joe's Shanghai. It's probably not worth going to and certainly not worth standing on line to get into. Shanghainese food is weak in Manhattan, but if you feel impelled to go to a Shanghainese place, your best bet in Chinatown is probably Shanghai Cafe. But it's merely OK, really.

        I find Kyotofu's desserts a bit strange-tasting and overpriced, but you may differ.

        Traditional dim sum in Manhattan is not comparable to really good dim sum houses in the Bay Area. I'm not sure how Chinatown Brasserie is lately - it's expensive, so I haven't been there in a few years, but I used to think their dim sum and cocktails were excellent. Comparing New York dim sum to Hong Kong? That's just an insane idea, no way! Do you think pastrami in Hong Kong is comparable to Katz's?

        DiFara's is better than Lombardi's, but so are many other pizzerias. I can't recommend one over the other for you without knowing more about what your preferred type of pizza is, how long you're willing to wait for your pizza, etc. I haven't been to DiFara's for at least a couple of years and probably longer, because I'm unwilling to wait for an hour or more for pizza, but if you're going for the experience and are willing to deal with whatever comes your way, it's probably worth doing once. That said, there are a number of excellent places to get pizza in Manhattan and Brooklyn that don't require such a long wait. But do you want coal-fired New York-style, Neapolitan style, gas-fired New York-style? There are choices among those styles and more.

        Are there other places you should add? Way too broad a question! As you know, there are thousands of restaurants in New York, so there's no way you can go to every good one in one week!

        For more discussion of your Brooklyn options, post to the Outer Boroughs board.

        It looks like you're off to a good start. Enjoy your week in New York!

        -----
        Kyotofu
        705 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

        Joe's Shanghai
        9 Pell St, New York, NY 10013

        Chinatown Brasserie
        380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

        7 Replies
        1. re: Pan
          t
          teenglutton Mar 16, 2012 01:44 AM

          Hi!

          Since Shanghainese and dim sum aren't really Chinatown's forte, what kind of Chinese food should I try?

          I'm interested in New York-style pizza. I tried googling coal fired pizza vs. gas fired pizza and nothing useful came up. Do you mind explaining to me the difference? Regarding the outrageous wait times, I dont think my mom would be too happy about that..

          Hmmm.. I guess I'm looking for the kind of food that I wouldn't be able to find in San Francisco since I live here or a cuisine different from the aforementioned restaurants. Although I don't think these criteria make my question less broad.

          Thanks so much for your reply!

          1. re: teenglutton
            p
            Pan Mar 16, 2012 02:29 AM

            You should try either Sichuan food, Xian-style food, Cantonese food, or Fuzhounese food. I think the best Sichuan restaurant in New York, though, is not in Chinatown but either at 56 St. or 39 St. - Szechuan Gourmet. But Famous Sichuan on Pell St., right across from Joe's Shanghai, is good. For Cantonese food, Great NY Noodletown is very informal and has good congee and noodle soups but also has great Chinese barbecue, good casseroles, and good dishes with yellow chives or pea shoots, but their bathrooms are usually filthy. Oriental Garden serves banquet-style Cantonese food and costs more than Noodletown. Really fresh fish and seafood, generally quite high level of execution. I haven't tried their dim sum items lately and can't vouch for them, but they do a good dinner. The Xian food is at a small and quite inexpensive chain, Xian Famous Foods. I patronize their East Village location extensively, but they also have a couple of locations in Chinatown. With the exception of a couple of lamb offal soups that taste a bit strange to me, it's great.

            If you do want dim sum in Manhattan's Chinatown, your best bet is Dim Sum Go Go, which serves modern Hong Kong-style items to order and also has some worthwhile things on their regular menu. In the past, I've found their buns too starchy and soggy, but I've liked their dumplings, tripe, chicken feet, and desserts.

            I really can't advise you about Fuzhounese places, but there's been a lot of discussion. One thing to watch out for is that people tend to illegally smoke in some of those restaurants without being told to stop, so if you are sensitive to smoke, that's a consideration. I'm not willing to eat at places where two entire tables of men decide to smoke while I'm there.

            Coal-fired pizza is cooked in a super-heated oven for 30 seconds or so and has a thin crust with good char. Gas-fired means cooked in a typical pizza oven, and most places that do that serve ordinary pizza, with DiFara's as a huge outlier because of his great, fresh ingredients, slow cooking methods, and the care he takes, but though his crusts are good, it's really more about his ingredients, whereas the coal-fired pizza is more about the crust. And if you want an Apollonian version of coal-fired pizza, go up to East Harlem to the original branch of Patsy's and get a "regular." If you want two pizzas (which is not excessive for 2 people), try a fresh mozzarella one. I've also liked Arturo's, but some hounds have reported that it's not as good lately, and I couldn't tell you otherwise because I'm mostly on a low-carb diet lately and haven't been back there for perhaps a year.

            The third kind of pizza is wood-fired, and those are mostly Neapolitan-style.

            By the way, I have had some good pizza in SF, but what you definitely don't have is coal-fired, so I think you should get some here.

            And Katz's should be on your list. You can have a pastrami sandwich, and she can get a juicy turkey sandwich.

            Let's go through a list of SF's fortes: Mexican, locavore/organic (Californian), Thai, Central American, what else? Cantonese is pretty good, so maybe don't have any here, though we've got some good ones. What other Chinese cuisines are strengths? I remember having some interesting Beijing-style Muslim food; we don't have that in Manhattan. And you have some decent South Indian food, so no need to get that here. I'm guessing your Japanese food is also pretty strong? And you probably have some good Asian/French fusion? What are you lacking in, other than Jewish food, New York-style pizza, and French food? How's your Greek food, for example?

            And there is something else. If you really want the best Chinese food in New York, are you willing to take the 7 train or the Long Island Railroad to Flushing? If you are, there are a whole bunch of interesting regional cuisines out there, and you should post to the Outer Boroughs board and find out about them.

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

            Arturo's
            106 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

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

            Dim Sum Go Go
            5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

            Szechuan Gourmet
            21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

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

            Famous Sichuan
            10 Pell St, New York, NY 10013

            Szechuan Gourmet
            244 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

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

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

            1. re: Pan
              t
              teenglutton Mar 16, 2012 03:42 AM

              Thank you so much for your in-depth explanations and suggestions!

              I'll probably skip Cantonese/dimsum since I can get it here in SF. However, I'll probably dine at one Fuzhounese place because I'm Fujianese and I'm really curious about the places I've read in other threads. No Sichuan food for us because she doesn't like to eat spicy food. But I'll definitely check out the places that you've mentioned next time I go to NY w/o my mom.

              I'll add Patsy's, Katz's and Xian Famous Foods to my list.

              When you say Japanese, do you mean sushi places? My mom doesnt eat raw fish so no bueno. Yakitori and ramen places are fine though.

              Yes, there are a lot of Asian/French-fusion restaurants in SF. Do you think that this kind of cuisine is better in SF? Also, what are your views on Daniel? Would you suggest that I go to a different place like WD 50?

              I haven't lived in SF that long so I havent really explored Greek food here in SF. Please recommend good Greek food in NY.

              How's Spanish food in NY?

              Do you still remember the name of the Beijing-style Muslim restaurant in SF? I would love to try that!

              I will start browsing the threads of the Outer Boroughs board to get info about the Chinese restaurants in Flushing.

              1. re: teenglutton
                p
                Pan Mar 16, 2012 04:10 AM

                I don't remember the name of the Beijing Muslim place; it was a few years ago, and it could be gone. Check the SF board.

                I haven't been to Daniel, so I can't comment. You might consider a neigborhoody French place like La Sirene, though, either instead of or in addition to a high-end French place. La Sirene is mid-priced, rather than cheap, but it's classic bistro food by a chef/owner who has real pride in his cuisine and what the French call accueille - reception, if you like, his hospitality to his guests. I also haven't been to WD-50, but I don't think you have a restaurant like that in SF.

                When I was asking about Japanese places, I was asking whether that's a strength of SF, generally. If it is, no reason to get it here. My brother and his Japanese wife liked Yakitori Totto a lot for yakitori, though, and Ippudo for their classic ramen.

                I've visited SF several times but I'm not expert enough to know whether they do fusion better than New York, which is why I asked you. I do like the eclectic cuisine at Momofuku Ssam Bar, but I haven't been to other Momofuku places yet, other than Milk Bar, which has great cookies.

                For Greek food, you could consider looking into places in Astoria, Queens (check the Outer Boroughs board), but where are you going to be staying? For some reason, Kefi doesn't get too much love on these boards, but I've literally never had anything but a good to very good meal there. I also like Pylos, which has a cool suspended amphorae decor in its dining room. There are more expensive Greek restaurants near on 7th Av. near Carnegie Hall, but I haven't been to one of them ever, and haven't been to the other (Molyvos) in a long time. It was very good when I went, but I'm not willing to pay that much money on Greek food for just one level up in quality.

                If you want Tapas, I've been to Txikito once. They serve Basque-style tapas, and they're excellent, with good wines to match.

                Do a search for posts by Lau here or on lauhound.com for comments on Fuzhounese restaurants and hand-pulled noodle places. Most of them are on or around Eldridge St.

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

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

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

                Molyvos
                871 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

                Pylos
                128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                Kefi
                505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

                La Sirene
                558 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013

                Ippudo
                65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                Txikito
                240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

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

                Ippudo
                321 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: teenglutton
                  p
                  Pan Mar 16, 2012 04:17 AM

                  By the way, I just want to emphasize that your mom needs to ask for juicy turkey, and if the sample they give her is the least bit dry, she needs to tell the counterman who's serving her. When they make the sandwich with juicy turkey, it's great, but otherwise, it can be merely better than everyone who doesn't make a sandwich with fresh turkey.

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

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

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

                  Pylos
                  128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                  Kefi
                  505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

                  La Sirene
                  558 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013

                  Ippudo
                  65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  Txikito
                  240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                  Ippudo
                  321 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

                  1. re: teenglutton
                    scoopG Mar 16, 2012 05:44 AM

                    Then by all means try Best Fuzhou or Double Dragon on Eldridge Street. Double Dragon's menu is only in Chinese.

                    Best Fuzhou (The former Best Fuzhou on Eldridge is now Henan Flavor):
                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/483902

                    Double Dragon:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/714304

                    Something not found in SF yet is likely He Nan Flavor – food from China’s heartland:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/774685

                    -----
                    Best Fuzhou
                    71 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                    Double Dragon
                    13 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                    He Nan Flavor
                    68 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002

                    1. re: teenglutton
                      k
                      kathryn Mar 16, 2012 07:04 AM

                      Make sure you only go to the Patsy's in East Harlem. 2287 1st Avenue. The other Patsy's around town are unrelated.

                      Txikito is excellent and they take reservations. 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.

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

                      Txikito
                      240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

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