CT Hound ISO "Exotic" Eats north of Midtown
My boyfriend and I are planning a weekend getaway for late May. Our only solid plans so far are to visit the Bronx Zoo, but we're waiting to book our hotel until we figure out the important part...dinner! We're both pretty adventurous eaters, and we'd like to find something we can't really get around here. We have pretty solid sushi, Thai, Indian, etc. Our only restrictions are nothing too spicy, and nothing too seafood-centric (fish is fine, but he's not a fan of most shellfish). We've discussed Moroccan, Ethiopian, Mongolian, Vietnamese (beyond a typical pho joint, please), a really top-notch hibachi place...anything, really. We want something that will be both delicious, and an experience. We'll have a car...proximity to the zoo is a factor, but there's a reason I didn't post this in Outer Boroughs. Thanks in advance!
I have a couple of hearsay recommendations from friends I trust. My friend Eric, who has a lot of experience with the cuisine, says his favorite Vietnamese in NYC is in the Bronx. Here's his blog post about it: http://ericeatsout.blogspot.com/search/label/Bronx . I believe Jim Leff wrote about this place as well.
Another African-food exploring friend recommends a new Ethiopian on W 135th between Adam . I went by it the other day just to see it but don't remember the name. It's between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell, near the police station. The number was either 270 or 272.
She also recommends a Senegalese restaurant, Keur Sokhna (http://www.keursokhnaplus.com/) in Harlem.
I recently discovered a great soul food buffet at Jacob Restaurant on the corner of 129th & Lenox when I was hanging out at Lenox Coffee on 129th. I loved the oxtails, the baked salmon, the baked short ribs, and the collards and mashed potatoes. A friend of mine recommends the fried chicken. I bet most things there are top notch. It's only $6.49/lb, so the barrier to entry is low.
You won't find much in the way of good Vietnamese food in Manhattan, and if I were you, I'd forget about getting any uptown. And I don't know of any Mongolian food to be had at all. However, many hounds' favorite Ethiopian restaurant in Manhattan, Zoma, is on 113 St. and 8th Av. (Frederick Douglass Blvd.). (I haven't been, so I can't give you my own appraisal.) Not sure about Moroccan, but there has been discussion of West African eateries in Harlem, so you might do a search. You might also consider the interesting fusion of Ethiopian, Middle-Eastern, African-American, Swedish, and East/Southeast Asian cuisines at Red Rooster, if you don't mind paying for upscale food and cocktails.