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Feedback on NYC food itinerary

Hi everyone!

My wife and I have planned a visit to NYC in mid-May. It is our first time visiting since we lived there 7 years ago. We have thrown a couple of old favorites into our itinerary for old time's sake, but I'm on the fence about a number of our meals:

Wed Dinner -- Westville (our old standby)

Thurs Breakfast -- Russ & Daughters
Thurs Lunch -- Eataly (maybe dessert at Shake Shack after)
Thurs Dinner -- Luke's Lobster (before Fuerza Bruta)
-- Is the R&D/Eataly/Shake Shack plan a bit aggressive for a weekday morning??? --

Fri Brunch -- Clinton St. Baking Co.
Fri Dinner-- Momofoku Noodle Bar (fried chicken dinner with friends)
-- Is Clinton St. our action here or should we do something else? I've seen Locanda Verde mentioned on several posts. --

Sat Brunch -- Prune (before TBD musical)
Sat Dinner -- HELP!
-- Saturday's dinner is our "go big" date night. I would love to do EMP, but would love some tips on how to score a reservation (none available on OpenTable, haven't tried calling yet). Babbo, Maialino, and WD-50 would also be strong contenders, but same reservation situation as EMP. I'm holding a reservation to Gotham right now, which I've enjoyed before, but would love to try something new and exciting.

Sun Brunch -- Balthazar Bakery (before War Horse)

I would love feedback on all of the trip plan, and especially on what I should do for Saturday night.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Wed- I've never been to Westville
    Thurs- breakfast- Russ and Daughters doesn't serve breakfast, they don't have tables,Was that a take home smoked fish breakfast? Zucker's in Tribeca has smoked fish and seats and tables
    Thurs Lunch,,, Eataly,,that's worth checking out... they have desserts in Eatlay, You might try Chikalicious for dessert though.
    Thurs Dinner- Luke's is more of a lunch place ( i like the shrimp rolls there) Across the street from Lukes is Porchetta, try the potatoes with crispy pork , between meals there. Do Pearl Oyster Bar for dinner instead of Lukes.
    Friday Brunch,, Clinton St Baking is fine
    No lunch? maybe do lukes and Porchetta friday between brunch and dinner,, just a snack,,, or go to Nam Peng on 12th and University for a Cambodian pork belly sandwich or coconut shrimp sandwich, ( share one, so you don't fill up too much)
    Friday Dinner- i'm no fan of Momofuko, if you want Ramen go to Ippudo instead, they have pork buns too.
    Sat Brunch- Prune is good
    Sat Lunch- aww get a little snack,,,, how about a Char Siu Bao at Hop Shing. or a Japanese hot dog at Japadog on St Marks Pl... something light,,, get a gelato laborotorio gelato on houston St.
    Saturday Dinner- you havent had any good Japanese ,,, how about Kyo Ya for dinner, if you can't get in maybe Osteria Morini
    Sunday- Balthazar works

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      Russ & Daughters serves breakfast but it's takeout only. If it is nice out, you can eat on a bench outside the store. Since the OP used to live here, I assume they know that.

      They are getting the special group fried chicken dinner at Momofuku Noodle Bar, not ramen.

    2. Overall your plan looks good.

      Keep the Momofuku Noodle Bar fried chicken dinner reservation. Those aren't super easy to come by.

      Locanda Verde is stronger in pastries and egg dishes for breakfast. Their pancakes and French toast are solid but not amazing. Try their sheep's milk ricotta with burnt orange toast or the Ouvo Modenese. Clinton St is better for pancakes, eggs, bacon, and their biscuit breakfast sandwich. It is definitely simpler. It really boils down to what dishes you like for breakfast.

      EMP books at exactly 28 days ahead of time (4 weeks ahead counting the current day) at exactly 9am on both OpenTable and via phone. You must be ready exactly at 9am. If you try at 9:05am you might be too late.

      Maialino is similar--28 days in advance, but the reservations don't go quite as fast as EMP. They are on OpenTable.

      Babbo takes reservations at 10am, one month ahead to the numerical date. For example, this morning is April 19th and they will start taking reservations for May 19th. Babbo just started serving lunch, at a lower price point, so that might work too. They are on OpenTable but only book for parties of 3-4 right now.

      WD-50 takes reservations 30 days in advance at midnight. They are also on OpenTable.

      1. Why not Ciano for Saturday dinner?

        1. Thanks for the responses!

          Good call on Ciano. I moved my reservation from Gotham to Ciano, although I would still prefer EMP/Babbo/Maialino/WD-50.

          Unfortunately, I waited too long to post to Chow to learn the OpenTable tricks and I'm now just three weeks away from my preferred reservation date. Do any of these have waiting lists?

          Point taken on Luke's being a better lunch option than dinner. I'm trying to stay close to Union Square, since I'm seeing a show there at 8. I looked at Tocqueville/15 East, but both seem a bit more pricey than I was hoping for. Friend of a Farmer is about the right distance and price, but seems like more of a brunch spot than a decent dinner option. Cha-an looks interesting, though I don't understand their menu.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bluskey

            I believe Maialino keeps a waiting list. It is also quite close to Union Square -- perhaps you could go there Thursday night (I see 6:30pm on OpenTable right now).

            Also nearby Union Square are ABC Kitchen (I'd walk in around 6pm to dine before your show), Casa Mono (6pm available on OpenTable right now), Union Square Cafe (lots of availability on OpenTable).

          2. Quick Update:
            EMP is closed for a private event and Babby is completely booked for my evening.

            However, I was able to get reservations at both WD-50 and Ciano for Saturday evening.

            Which is the one to keep?

            2 Replies
              1. re: Bluskey

                I went to WD-50 precisely once. A friend said it was like Barcelona's innovative restaurants, but it's so not. The food is intellectual and pretentious--interesting but devoid of sensuality. There's not much good molecular gastronomy in NYC. EMP's tasting menu is leagues above WD. Corton is also better than WD. Adara in Montclair is also much better than WD. But, more to the point, do you want molecular gastronomy because you won't get it at Ciano from what I've read. So, in short, go to Ciano, unless you want molecular (or looking to have more of a truly unique intellectual experience than a great meal). I'm sure others here will disagree so please take my opinion for what it's worth.

              2. Revised Itinerary

                WED NIGHT - Westville

                THURS BREAKFAST - Russ & Daughters
                THURS LATE LUNCH - Eataly (+ Shake Shack?)
                THURS LATE DINNER - Maialino (9:30 rez after Fuerza Bruta)

                FRI BRUNCH - Locanda Verde (or Clinton St., depending on the mood)
                FRI DINNER - Momofoku Noodle Bar (6pm rez for Fried Chicken Dinner)

                SAT BRUNCH - Prune (before TBD musical matinee)
                SAT DINNER - Still deciding between WD50 (7pm) or Ciano (8pm)? A friend of mine also urged me to consider Cafe Boulus, which was not previously a contender.

                SUN BRUNCH - Balthzar Bakery (before matinee of War Horse)

                2 Replies
                1. re: Bluskey

                  Hi Bluskey,

                  I just came back from NYC a couple days ago. You said you used to live in NYC so I am not sure what are your oldies or newbies but will comment on the ones I went to this past trip:

                  I liked Russ and Daughters but Katz pastrami rueben is a favourite of mine. I am assuming you have been there before.

                  Shake shack - simple but delicious, greasy american burger - the shack sauce is delicious. Eataly can be crazy busy!

                  Maialino - really fantastic meal there. I enjoyed the fried artichokes, carbonara, the malfatti pasta and the suckling pig. I personally enjoyed Scarpetta more.

                  Locanda Verde - delicious brunch! Really cozy atmosphere and the good thing here is that you can MAKE A RESERVATION! no crazy lines, just awesome food. Get the ricotta with truffle honey and burnt orange toast and the modenese egg dish. If they have any donuts, that is also a plus

                  1. re: kyra2224

                    Thanks for the positive mention of Locanda Verde. I tried it yesterday for dinner and really enjoyed it, especially the duck--that was excellent. The rest of the food was very good--I tried the fried artichokes, lamb meatballs (very reminiscent of the chef's time at A Voce), and a really interesting carrot cake with an extra side of goat's milk gelato. But the duck was incredible--great flavor, very tender, and I even at the fat (served as thickish slices of breast, I guess close to a magret).

                2. WOW! What an amazing food feast! Thank you. I will definitely have to try some of theses next week.

                  1. Thank you, everyone, for your help! I wanted to update you on my NYC trip. I found it extremely difficult to adhere to the reservation that we'd planned, but we loved almost all of our food choices and will be returning in November to catch the restaurants we missed this time.

                    Westville -- didn't live up to my memories of the place. Still a killer burger, but the market plate was a disappointment and they no longer have the butterscotch pudding on the menu.

                    Russ & Daughters -- how did i never know about this place? they slice lox directly off the fish and onto your bagel. ridiculously good.

                    Co. (Company) -- one of these new style pizza spots is hot right now (along with Keste and Motorino). On the fancy side for pizza, but very good. I'm glad we checked it out.

                    Maialino -- AWESOME italian restaurant. we went really late after a show, which made it difficult to go all out. but this was really an awesome place with great food and great energy.

                    Dominique Ansel bakery -- fancy little bakery right by where we were staying in Soho. they make these addictive things called DKAs, which are basically small croissants covered in caramel and cinnamon sugar.

                    Collins St. Bakery -- best biscuit I've ever had in my life. I had read that their biscuit sandwich was the item to get, but I screwed up and went for a more lunchy item -- the crab cake sandwich -- which was alright, but half as good as the biscuit and jam I ordered on the side.

                    Momofoku Fried Chix Resy -- I freakin loved this meal. It was right up my alley, because I love fried chicken and anything mu shu. the pancakes were amazing and the southern style fried chicken was great. Wish we had eight in our party instead of six, because we didnt come close to finishing.

                    Momofoku Milk Bar -- didn't live up to expectations. the cereal milk ice cream was kinda strange for me, but the cookies were solid.

                    Cookshop -- surprisingly great brunch spot. Was right across the street from the Highline, which we enjoyed exploring after the meal.

                    Jungsik -- WOW. a true dining experience. Every course and every bite was a real surprise. Our "five course" menu was more like ten courses because of all the freebies during the meal. The bill was more of a ten course bill, however.

                    Hundred Acres -- another good brunch spot by the same owners as Cookshop. nice brunch menu, good food, would go back.