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Wkend itin for SF couple, staying in soho

Would love feedback on itinerary for weekend of April 20-23. I'm in NYC with my husband. I.m frequently in NY for work and used to live in the city. My husband hasn't been in over 10 years. Want this to be fun for him. We are both foodies and enjoy all the great SF restaurants. Looking for truly NYC places that have not only the food but importantly the atmosphere right---we just don't get that exciting, fun yet still adult (not 20's fun vibe in SF). Love the dimly lit, artsy, only in NYC vibe. Love Casa Mono, Craft, ABC Kitchen and Babbo. Also loved Del Posto, but looking for a more fun, lively atmosphere for this trip. Here are current reservations I've made....would love Torrissi Specialities for dinner but don't seem to have reservation available

We're staying in Soho and prefer to stay downtown. Would like feedback on these (and alternatives if we could do better) and suggestions for places to go for drinks before/after). Worth trading any of these to eat at Babbo at the bar?


Mas Farmhouse 6pm Friday
Minetta Tavern 11am brunch Sat
Public 7:45 Sat
Rubirosa 7:30 Sun
ABC Kitchen lunch Mon
WD-50 6:30 dinner (sounds so unique and unlike anything in SF)

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  1. Been to the last three places on your itinerary.

    We wemt to Rubirosa as part of a group pizza crawl. The pizza is of the thin crust variety, which is my favorite style, so I really liked it. We also sampled the rice balls and one of the sandwic hes. Both were very good.

    Rubirosa photos can be seen in this set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

    I was never interested in going to WD-50 because science experiments on the plate held absolutely no appeal to me. However, recentnly, I heard from people whose opinions I trust that the food, while still maintaining some aspects of molecular gastronomy, has now taken a turn towards the more "normal." So, I decided to give it a shot and was very pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was. Our server couldn't have been nicer, and the atmospherics were very pleasant. I think you'll enjoy it.

    WD-50 photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

    As for ABC Kitchen, since you've already been there, what's your reason for going back instead of trying someplace you haven't been to before?


    1. Minetta is good choice.
      WD-50 is different and worth the visit
      Osteria Morini is a good Italian place, I would go there instead of Rubirosa as far as food goes
      I'd do Co. for the pizza
      Kittichai would be a fun choice, the bar in the hotel is great.
      Robataya is a fun place to eat, in that you watch them grill your food and pass it to you on long paddles.
      Ippudo is a fun ramen place, good pork buns too

      1. After dinner at Mas, try Little Branch or Employees Only for cocktails. Both will be pretty lively. LB often has a line later on, though, it's not a big place. Both have tables in back, and standing in the bar area, but only EO has bar stools. EO is much larger.

        Before Public, drop into their brand new cocktail bar next door, the Daily. You can also try 1534 or Mother's Ruin, or walk to Pegu Club. Though Pegu will probably have a line after dinner.

        Where are you having Sunday brunch?

        I might try to do Locanda Verde for Sunday dinner, great and lively vibe, but it's very popular, so you might not be able to get in so close to your trip.

        For Monday lunch, consider Pearl Oyster Bar or Momofuku Ssam Bar's all duck lunch, for some foods you probably can't find at home. I think Fatty Cue recently started lunch service, too.

        WD-50 for dinner is a good choice. I prefer the a la carte menu, which is a little bit safer and more accessible in terms of flavor, than the tasting. For cocktails afterwards, you can walk up to the East Village, and try Death & Co, Mayahuel, Vandaag, or PDT for cocktails. Hopefully the waits won't be bad, I assume this is for Monday night?

        1. Mas is a great choice, very adult, refined but not stuffy. I think your dinner reservations are a bit on the early side for NY. I would try to make dinners about 8pm/8:30. I think Minetta Tavern is completely and totally overated. Public is great and unique, good food, fantastic atmosphere. I like Rubirosa but i would sub it out for Pulino's or Osteria Morini as someone else suggested. Pulino's (another in the Keith McNally empire) is casual, energetic and has, believe it or not one of the best pizzas around. If you want to head to Tirbeca you can try Marc Forgione, it's absolutely romantic/rustic and phenomenal food/service in a non stuffy approachable atmosphere. WD-50 isn't my cup of tea. Raoul's in Soho is a classic and always hip (go on the late side). I'd replace WD or Minetta with The Dutch in Soho. If you go to the West Village try Dell'Anima or Spasso. L'Artusi, Cafe Cluny or Fedora (very cool vibe, menu not my favorite but love the atmosphere). All these suggestions are age appropriate for you.

          5 Replies
          1. re: colly_r

            Thanks, everyone! These are great and helpful suggestions. My first post to Chowhound, and
            a great experience. Happy to return the favor for visitors to SF! :-)

            1. re: coopet

              Thanks for the suggestions -- Updated itinerary:

              Friday, Raoul's - 9pm
              Saturday, The Dutch -- Brunch at 11am
              Saturday, Public -- 7:45pm (Drinks nearby -- at bars at The Daily or 1534 or Mother's Ruin)
              Sunday -- Brunch -- at family's
              Sunday -- Dinner -- dell'anima -- 7:30
              Monday - lunch -- ABC Kitchen (only had a snack last time)
              Monday - Dinner -- WD-50 -- intrigued as different from anything we have here

              1. re: coopet

                Why Raoul's over Mas? Mas is very good.

                I think Minetta's brunch is better than the Dutch's brunch, and has a much more unique room.

                1. re: coopet

                  Raoul's - PASS - unless you're only going for "atmosphere". Their great food days are long past. Dinner at Minetta is a better bet, or even one of the Blue Ribbons.
                  Rubirosa is great for a slice. That's about it.
                  WD-50 - fun!
                  How about Acme?
                  Why not Parm for late Mon lunch?

              2. re: colly_r

                Thanks, do you think one of the others might have better atmosphere, than Mas? We are in our late 30s/early 40s...you have so many great suggestions (Marc Forgione...looked great from the photos!)

              3. Raoul's sounds like it has a fun, hip NY atmosphere -- whereas Mas, while the food sounds amazing,
                appears to be more like restaurants we can find in SF (the whole farm to table thing...). Now conflicted
                with Minetta's ... I heard great things (including New York magazine review), and then others (including, but
                not only one post here) saying it was overrated...wish we were there longer!! Might go back and see if Minetta's is
                still available.....!!

                4 Replies
                1. re: coopet

                  "Raoul's sounds like it has a fun, hip NY atmosphere -- whereas Mas, while the food sounds amazing,
                  appears to be more like restaurants we can find in SF (the whole farm to table thing...)."

                  You nailed it. Absolutely right. I like both. Food at Mas is brighter, more innovative. Raoul's is just so much more fun. Always someone interestingly famous. Loud, convivial, great, stylish NYC crowd. Food is solid; wine list tends to be sorta stale and safe. One of my all time favs though.

                  1. re: thegforceny

                    I originally suggested Raoul's as coopet mentioned they were staying in SoHo and Raoul's is a nice option. However, perhaps I would do Mas for dinner and Raoul's for dessert...they have a great sticky toffee pudding. If you do have dinner at Raoul's request the front area near the bar (more happening and people watching going on) and try the steak au poivre, they have one of the best au poivre sauces.Either way you can't go wrong. Raoul's is more "fun" with bistro classics and Mas is more refined with lovely food.

                  2. re: coopet

                    Makes sense to me. I'd still try to squeeze in Minetta somehow. The Dutch shows signs of expanding (just opened a Miami one I think), but there's only one Minetta Tavern.

                    1. re: coopet

                      Raoul's is fun, if no longer exactly hip -- but it has one dish that's passable (the steak frites) and mostly food that's just not good.

                      Minetta, OTOH, is the coolest, and one of the best, restaurants in New York.

                      Mas (Farmhouse) is, like, OK.

                      Take your pick.

                    2. Good (updated) list so far, though I agree with everyone that Raoul's should be excised. I'd also probably remove dell'anima - they're good, but nothing particularly write-home-about. More of a local neighborhoody place for fairly traditional fare.

                      I suppose I could say the same for Minetta, though... the vibe there is fantastic, very NYC, but the food isn't anything you haven't had before (okay people, start your gushing about the Black Label Burger in 3... 2... 1...) - I'd consider them for lunch or something, though.

                      Were I in from another major metropolitan area, I'd stick to places with more creative streaks, more "cheffy" menus, especially for dinner. The two that have been mentioned that I'd easily replace Raoul's and dell'anima with would be Acme and Marc Forgione.

                      MF looks like a nieghborhood joint, but the food is a step above - some dishes are pretty straight-forward if excellent (the roast chicken for two) but his more creative dishes really shine - the BBQ Oysters and Chili Lobster are classics. The current halibut and octopus dishes are excellent as well.

                      Acme is the current "it" restaurant, and it manages to combine being sceney with fantastic and creative food. The "Barley & Clams" are not to be missed, and Chef Refslund's vegetable dishes are mostly spectacular. Great place for doing lots of shared plates.

                      As to your other choices... wouldn't change a thing. WD is great. Public is great. The Dutch is solid (even if I didn't find their feted fried chicken terribly exciting) - sounds like you're going to have an excellent culinary downtown tour.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: sgordon

                        Thanks for all the great advice. I've updated my list, so it's now:

                        Friday, Raoul's - 9pm -- keeping for now, as none of the other suggestions seem to have availability on Friday at a time that isn't too early--originally had a too early Mas Farmhouse reservation -- which is fine for SF where everyone is packed up for the night by 10pm :-)

                        Saturday, The Dutch -- Brunch at 11am or Minetta Tavern at 11 am (HAVE TO DECIDE WHICH!)
                        Saturday, Public -- 7:45pm (Drinks nearby -- at bars at The Daily or 1534 or Mother's Ruin)
                        Sunday -- Brunch -- at family's
                        Sunday -- Dinner -- Marc Forgione 7:45
                        Monday - lunch -- ABC Kitchen (only had a snack last time)
                        Monday - Dinner -- WD-50 -- intrigued as different from anything we have here

                        1. re: coopet

                          Sounds fantastic. You have a really great itinerary. If you keep Raoul's for dinner I think you should go to Minetta for brunch as Raoul's and the Dutch are directly across the street from each other. Minetta is in Central Greenwich Village which will be nice to wander about afterwards.i also recommend getting to Marc Forgione a few minutes early to grab a drink at the bar or one of the communal tables to soak in the atmosphere. Have a great time!

                          1. re: colly_r

                            I'm excited!! Thanks for all the help. Really great advice.

                          2. re: coopet

                            I'm assuming you want to dine in the 7:00 hour, give or take, since aside from WD your other rezzies are in that time slot. Looking over opentable's options for that Friday, I see a few better choices than Raoul's - I limited the initial search to Downtown, to keep things in your area:

                            Mas La Grillade (probably a better substitute for Mas Farmhouse...)
                            Morimoto (since the rest of your itinerary has no Asian, could be fun to mix it up a bit - a fun space, food is good and often great if you have an advance idea what to order. Skip the sushi, stick to composed dishes.)
                            SHO Shaun Hergatt (a bit more fancy-pants in ambience than the rest. Also often offers 30% off deals on savored.com, worth looking into)
                            Soto (another spectacular Japanese option, especially if you like Uni. Though it can get VERY pricey since the portions aren't exactly huge...)
                            David Burke Kitchen (playful NewAm, not as fancified ambience as his uptown space)

                            ...you also might consider winging it and doing a no-rez spot, a la Momofuku Ssam Bar. The wait shouldn't be crazy long for a two-top (are you a two-top that night?) especially before 8PM, when the crowds start getting thicker. And there are decent places to grab a drink nearby if the wait's a bit longer.

                          3. re: sgordon

                            The food at Minetta isn't DIFFERENT from anything you've had before. It's just MUCH MORE consistently excellent than at most places serving that kind of food. (Not that you find crepinettes with oysters on every menu around town.)

                            An example is the roastbeef au jus sandwich at lunch. Big deal, right? It's just that Minetta's is great, while most places' are awful to pretty good.