NY first-timer with adventurous palate
Hello all! My name is Matt and I am traveling to NYC with my wife at the end of May to stay with a friend that lives in the UES of Manhattan. At age 27, this will be my inaugural visit to your sprawling metropolis. My wife and I like to consider ourselves entry-level foodies, and are unspeakably excited about spending a week in one of our country's great food meccas. We will be staying in town for 7 nights and would like to hear some locals opinions on some can't miss dining adventures. We wouldn't mind any suggestions, even touristy ones that might intrigue an outsider. However, we are admittedly partial to off-the-beaten-path eateries where food (not necessarily status and ambiance) is the focus. We would ideally like to sample a wide range of cuisines, and are honestly up for trying anything if it tastes good. I realize that a week is obviously not near enough time to sample all of the vibrant offerings that NY has to offer, but we'd love to say that we've eaten at some of your better places. So come on guys, it's bragging time! I'm looking for heavily opinionated responses, with rationale and 'best dishes' if possible.
Off the top of my head questions:
Where's the best place to be outside while drinking a local brew?
Best (freshest) sushi in town, what makes it stand out?
Most authentic NY steak, why?
Where would you drink a cocktail with some of your closest friends?
Can't miss people-watching vantage points?
Best live music venues?
Where should I satisfy the healthy eater in me after a turbulent evening about town?
Where should I satisfy the drunk eater in me during the wee hours of the morning?
Best dive bar?
Freshest seafood around?
The ultimate NY hot dog, where does it live?
What to avoid at all costs even if others swear we must go?
Sorry to ramble on, but we are brimming over with anticipation. Any help with my food upcoming food and beverage excursion would be sincerely appreciated. Hope to hear from many of you guys soon as I continue to investigate your town's exceptional dining options.
Welcome to NYC, hope you make the most of your time. Hope you're staying somewhere strategic and able to navigate the subway well! That will be the key.
Best place to drink outside while drinking local brew? I would focus on drinking outside, and say a beer garden: Radegast Hall and Biergarten in Williamsburg, or Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria, for starters. Not so much for local brews, but just read up and I'm sure you'd find a place in Brooklyn.
"Best (freshest) sushi in town, what makes it stand out?" Sushi Yasuda is fresh but hideously expensive....I would go to a great izakaya and have some sashimi there among other great stuff.
"Most authentic NY steak, why?" Keen's. Read some reviews to see why.
"Best live music venues?" Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Broadway Theaters. Birdland. Iridium. Vanguard. The list goes on!
"Where should I satisfy the healthy eater in me after a turbulent evening about town?" I don't understand the question.
"Where should I satisfy the drunk eater in me during the wee hours of the morning?" Sake Bar Hagi.
"Best dive bar?" Gay or straight?
"Freshest seafood around?" Mermaid Oyster Bar.
"The ultimate NY hot dog, where does it live?" Crif Dogs.
"What to avoid at all costs even if others swear we must go?" Shake Shack, and Magnolia Bakery!!!!!
Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions thus far! I feel like I'd be doing myself a great disservice by limiting myself to Manhattan alone. The friend that I am staying with is eager to take me outside of town and show me some scenic spots. Lastly, I have to admit that Peter Luger's is near the top of my list, and after your guys endorsements I'll be making reservations asap. Thanks again, and please keep em' comin'!
For a true NY Brooklyn experience take the train out to Coney Island. The train rides above ground for some of the trip and you'll get an eyeful of Brooklyn.
When you get to Coney Island get a couple of Nathan's hot dogs, french fries and a root beer. Walk up to the boardwalk and enjoy a fabulous meal.
You might also want to take a ride on the Cyclone roller coaster which is unique. Do this before the meal!!
Dutch Kills - Old speakeasy feel, very cool vibe, skilled mixologist
Donovan's - Old Irish pub feel - very cozy, old school, great pub food.
Sushi I would stick with Manhattan, there's excellent sushi in the boroughs but not eclipsing.
People watching is better in Manhattan although you will get more locals by people watching in the boroughs. Williamsburg is excellent for people watching, McCarren park and the flea market by the water are two musts in the borough.
Ultimate hot dog is at Zum Stammtisch - wurst with kraut - a little out of the way but so yum if you like German food
Steak - Peter Luger's - old New York vibe with history baked into the walls (i.e. walls smell like beef).
Freshest seafood - Flushing Chinese restaurants with fish tanks - walk up to tank, point, net and scoop, cook and you eat.
Drunk eater - Brooklyn Bowl - drunk bowling and scrumptious, finger lubricating bar food
Healthy eating - Di Fara's - plain pie - pizza is a vegetable according to the USDA
Music - depends on what you listen to.
Don't know where others have told you to go so hard to tell you what to avoid.
Second Peter Luger rec for porterhouse steak. I haven't been to every single steakhouse in Manhattan, but found Peter Luger to be better than Wolfgang's, Keen's, Strip House, Porter House, etc. Their tallow-fried french fries are not to be missed -- so much tastier than fries made in vegetable oil and even duck fat. It's like the old McDonalds fries but ten times better. And I love their chocolate mousse cake (it's more like a pie). Rich and light at the same time.