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May 6, 2012 08:59 AM

East Coast Canadians Visiting NYC May 26 - 30 NEED HELP!

I know, I know. Another one of "those" threads. My apologies in advance but would like to get some help from this very helpful community regarding an upcoming 4 night trip to NYC from May 26 - 30. One of the things I have found by reading like threads like this one is that is helpful to provide some insight about us as well as our likes, dislikes, etc. So on that note, here we go:

- We are a mid thirties couple coming to NYC (my second time but my wife's first time).
- We live in a pretty small city in Atlantic Canada that I can almost gurantee no one has heard of.
- We are not huge into "fine dining" (i.e. EMP, WD-50,Ko etc) but prefer everything from good hole in the walls and food trucks to great casual spots with a nice atmosphere to restaurants that are a little different (Saam Bar, Noodle Bar).
- We are staying in a Hampton Inn on 35th East most are not restrained to Mid Town (obviously)
- In terms of our Food likes and what we are looking for:
Good Casual Mexican (not expiremental\fusion or upscale)
Great Fried Chicken (specifically Breast Meat) and preferabbly an option with waffles
A spot with lots of food trucks to choose from.
A couple of cool drinking spots that are not too busy. My wife is not a big drinker but will have 1 or 2 mixed drinks. Also would prefer somethign with a good sountrack\juke box (i.e. like all kinds of music from 60s soul to 00 indie rock)
Any other good recommendations that line up with our likes (we like pretty much everything so open to suggestions with the exceptions of our dislikes below):

- Food dislikes\what we are not looking for: Seafood heavy restaurants, sushi, Nova\smoked salmon
- Budget: The primary focus on this trip is to Eat, Shop with touristy stuff at the bottom of the list.
- We are likely going to stay midtown - south with most time likely spent in areas like LES, Chinatown, East Village, Midtown. We *may* go to Brooklyn for 1 day. I would prefer not to go up to the Upper East\West sides or north.

Here is what our itininerary looks like so far:

Lunch - Katz\Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
Dinner - TBS: Needs some suggestions here. This will be our first night in NYC and we may prefer somethign closer to our hotel as we will have been up very early and would prefer to get another day of getting our bearings under us to travel to far at night.
Drinks: TBS: Again looking for something close to home base to cap the night off.

Lunch - Get supplies at Eataly and have a picnic in Madison Park
Dinner - TBS: Totally open here
Drinks - TBS: hopefully some place close to the dinner spot or back at home base

Lunch - Gray's Pappaya
Dinner - Babbo (already have reservations)
Drinks - Hopefully some place close to Babbo or back in Mid-town

Lunch: TBS - Totally open. This may be the day we do Brooklyn though this is not set in stone
Dinner: Noodle Bar / Milk Bar for Dessert
Drinks: Same as above. Hopefully some place in the East Village near by or back up in mid-town

Phew, ok hopefullly that s enough to go on. Let me know if you ahve questions and thanks in advance for all of the help and suggestions!


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  1. Did you mean the Koreatown Hampton Inn on West 35th?

    A quick and easy dinner the first day would be somewhere like Madangsui for Korean BBQ.

    There's not a whole lot of cocktail action nearby, but I'd go to the NoMad for drinks.

    After Babbo, I'd do Pegu Club or Lani Kai but both can get kinda nuts late in the evening. Monday shouldn't be too bad.

    After Milk Bar, do Momofuku's cocktail bar, Booker & Dax.

    For the other meals, it depends. What are some cuisines you like that maybe you can't find at home? Or something you'd lIke to try? Chinese? Non-sushi Japanese like ramen or yakitori? Thai? Greek? Spanish? BBQ? Pizza?

    What's your budget per person before tax, tip, drinks? Even the non upscale places can add up here.

    For non-superupscale Mexican, look into Toloache.

    I'd do Amy Ruth's for fried chicken and waffles. They will also ask for your light meat or dark meat preference.

    Hard to find many food trucks parked together unless it's a special event due to parking issues, cannibalization/territory issues. Some restaurants and incumbent vendors can make it tough for food trucks that are new. Instead, try an open air market like:
    Madison Square Eats
    Hester St Faire
    New Amsterdam Market
    Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

    As for cocktails, a less crazed/crowded place might be one that doesn't allow standing. But this also means you might not be able to get in.

    6 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks for the reply Kathryn. Here are the responses to your questions:

      - Budget per person: Dinner, $60 pp, Lunch $35. These are it carved in stone though. We would be willing to do another Babbo like restro from a $ perspective. As I mentioned, food is arguably the top priority on this trip.
      - Other cuisines we would like to hit up: Chinese, Pizza, Southern Food, "street eats", Tapas, Mexican, Cheese Steaks (yeah I know, wrong city)

      Thanks again in advance for your suggestions!
      - Hotel: it is close to Korea town, but it s called the ESB Hampton Inn.

      1. re: Thebunk

        For fried chicken I highly suggest Blue Ribbon- I think it's the best in the city.

        As far as your area is concerned you are hitting the city at a great time of year when Mad. Sq. Eats is going on right around Madion and 25th street. There are a ton of food options here including tacos from Calexico, wonderful smoked beef brisket sandwiches from Mile End (Actually a canadian import so maybe not something you need to try). Lots of craft beers and just a good place to sit outside in the sun and enjoy the city. You can also get pizza from Roberta's there which would fit your pizza fix as well.

        For something near you and different maybe check out Mad for Chicken. Located on the 2nd floor of an office building it has the best Korean Fried Chicken going. I can't even do justice to how delcious it is. Plus it's a fun atmophere that I don't think you'll find anywhere else.


        1. re: roze

          No waffles with the fried chicken at Blue Ribbon, though. If they want fried chicken and waffles, I'd say go up to Amy Ruth's.

          1. re: kathryn

            My husband has been wanting chicken and waffles forever so we are thinking of going to Amy Ruth's for dinner tonight. I have no idea what to expect in terms of crowds or wait times. Any idea what it might be like if we get there by 5:30? I just want to manage our expectations.

            1. re: valerie

              Hard to say as it is a holiday weekend but for some reason the city didn't empty out quite as much as some people predicted.

        2. re: Thebunk

          For lunch you might want to try the pub room menu at Keens Steakhouse, close to your hotel, and an old school NY steakhouse with a lot of history.

          You're not too far from Szechuan Gourmet for delicious, spicy Sichuan food. It is close to Bryant Park and Lord & Taylor if you are sightseeing.

          For pizza, Motorino is excellent, Naples style, and has a great lunch deal. It's in the Easy Village, a short walk from Momofuku Noodle Bar actually.

          Hill Country BBQ and Hill Country Chicken (fried chicken) aren't too far from your hotel either. I do not think HCC has chicken and waffles, though. I also like Blue Smoke for BBQ, which is not too far a walk away from where you're staying (but not super close).

          Definitely check out Madison Square Eats while you are here as it is a short walk from your hotel:

          You might like Calexico's California style Mexican fare, Asia Dog's take on hot dogs, Roberta's pizza, Sigmund's pretzels, and more. Might be a nice supplement for your picnic in the park!

          For tapas, try Txikito, a little bit west of where your hotel is. I love their Basque take on tapas, and especially their txakoli wine, suckling pig, shisitos peppers, croquettas, and house made sausages/charcuterie.

      2. Thanks to everyone for their replies. The Madison Square Eats is definitely going on the list and Mad for Chicken could be a fun night out as well.

        A few more suggestions would be helpful for:
        - other Mexican options
        - any good Dim Sum or Dumpling Restaurants
        - good roof top / out door drinking and dining options
        - any good laid back places for a drink and good live music (singer song writers or artists that play covers at requests of audiences)
        - any other uniquely NYC options

        Thanks again

        4 Replies
        1. re: Thebunk

          Dumpling options range from 4 dumplings/$1 places like Prosperity, which have no atmosphere and may have somewhat dirty front rooms (food-stained, napkin-strewn) to high-end places like Chinatown Brasserie, where a plate of 4 dumplings may cost you $9 or more. So how much do you want to spend, and what kind of environment would you like to have?

          1. re: Pan

            From above, the OP wrote:
            - Budget per person: Dinner, $60 pp, Lunch $35. These are it carved in stone though. We would be willing to do another Babbo like restro from a $ perspective. As I mentioned, food is arguably the top priority on this trip.

            1. re: kathryn

              Yeah, I know, but they might have a different idea of how much they're willing to pay for dumplings.

          2. re: Thebunk

            You should note that restaurants with outdoor space usually have those tables as first come, first served. You may end up waiting a while to eat outside. In addition to that, our weather is fickle and thunderstorms (esp sudden ones) may "dampen" your al fresco dining mid-meal. Also a lot of outdoor seating is on the sidewalk, which I personally find to be a little odd if you are on a busy street with lots of traffic (buses, garbage trucks, taxis).

            Here are my favorite places in NYC:

            For uniquely NY, I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles and note that Economy Candy's address is incorrect:

            For great dim sum, try Chinatown Brasserie or Red Farm. CB takes reservations, RedFarm does not so I recommend lunch over dinner.