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Apr 27, 2012 09:34 AM

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.

So Thankful,

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  1. Matt, you need to move this post to Manhattan

    1. For outdoor drinking, people watching Bohemian Hall Beer Garden in Astoria (short subway ride from UES) fits the bill.

      4 Replies
      1. re: johnk

        That's a great suggestion; a very pleasant place to enjoy a pretty day. BTW johnk I *love* your avatar.

          1. re: johnk

            Don't I know it. Makes me yearn for Rags the Tiger!

        1. re: johnk

          I strongly second Bohemian Hall. You'll want to be sure it's a bright sunny day at this time of year. Hit it on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

        2. I posted this initially on Manhattan board. I just wanted to post here as well to get a broader perspective. Not wanting to necessarily confine myself to Manhattan. Should have stated that in my post. Sorry for the confusion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: moongas44

            We are in NYC and already confused. it's all good.

          2. Bars:

            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.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Pookipichu

              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.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                Peter Luger rocks!!!
                I may be wrong but I don't think they accept credit cards other than their own Peter Luger credit card.

                1. re: Motosport

                  I heard that they now accept Debit Cards. (Unfortunately no more steak for us so I haven't checked this out).

            2. 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!!