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Restaurant Recommendations - 8 days in NYC - September 2012

I'm going to be going to NYC for 8 days and would like some input on what people would recommend.

I have gone through most of the CH threads and this is what I've come up with. Please let me know if there is anything you would recommend adding or taking off.

I am looking for delicious food and it does not matter if it is cheap (and dirty) or expensive. If it is delicious please let me know :)

These first few are restaurants that I am quite sure I am going to (I know it will be hard to get reservations for a few). I think they should all be at the top of their game. If there are any that are better please let me know.

Brooklyn Fare Chefs Table
Eleven Madison Park
Per Se
Tori Shin
Kajitsu
15 Restaurant
Di Fara Pizza
Shake Shack
Pastrami reuben @ Katz
Cookies @ Levain
Ippudo Ramen

The rest of the list are restaurants which I am still thinking about and researching.

Momofuku Noodle Bar + Momofuku Ko + Momofuku Ssam Bar
Gramercy Tavern
Maialino
Scarpetta
Co.
Babbo
Degustation
Blanca
Otto
Kyo Ya
Kurumazushi
Azabu
Soto
Yasuda (everyone always prefers 15 east)
Ushiwakamaru
Blue Hill
Al Fiori
Le Bernardin
Jean Georges

Are there are any particular restaurants that I have left out and should not be missed? Any hidden gems to look up? Any ethnic food restaurants recommended?

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  1. Your list looks great. I'd also consider the NoMad, Lincoln, Minetta Tavern, and some of the newer Chinese places like Wong, Yunnan Kitchen and Mission Chinese.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Tommy D.

      I love the Modern with a table overlooking the MOMA garden. Great food, great ambience.

      1. re: Tommy D.

        Thanks!

        Tommy: Thanks for the recs! I haven't added any Chinese yet.

        Teezee: I was thinking that too. I just saw Moma + Modern in someone elses itinerary and realized all I've been thinking is food, food, food (Moma + Lunch at Modern sounds awesome). :)

        1. re: quddous

          For Sichuan:

          Szechuan Gourmet (my favorite)
          Legend
          Cafe China
          Great Sichuan
          Grand Sichuan

          Some people like Lan Sheng but I've had very mixed experiences there.

          1. re: Tommy D.

            Haha! I was actually going to ask for Sichuan recommendations!! I guess Szechuan Gourmet it is then!

            I am planning to go to Sichuan (Chengdu) before my wedding in Shanghai in November. The Sichuan here in Vancouver is good but much worse than those I've had in Shanghai and Hong Kong (Da Ping Huo - private kitchen - 13 courses, $50 including tip). I think it's the effort they put in over there (plus better ingredients and more knowledgeable chefs where each dish is not just spicy but flavourful and different tasting from all the others).

      2. Don't get a ruben at katz's get it on rye with mustard. It is better. Don't forget to order an end cut (fatty). Your list is very ambitious.

        6 Replies
        1. re: tpigeon

          Thanks for the tip! I didn't know you could order fattier cuts.
          (light rye + mustard reminds me of Schwartz - My fiance is bringing me some back from Montreal on Tuesday - excited!)

          1. re: quddous

            VERY IMPORTANT: you totally should tell the counterman how fatty you want your pastrami at Katz's. You should ask him for a taste before he makes your sandwich so you can be sure the meat he's going to use is how you like it. And you MUST tip him.

            1. re: Sneakeater

              I've never had to ask for a taste; they always give me one.

              1. re: Sneakeater

                When do you tip? After the taste? How much do you tip per sandwich?

                1. re: walker

                  I always tip after the guy gives me the sandwich. Do what you like; I don't think they'd make the sandwiches better for me if I tipped first.

                  1. re: walker

                    There is a tip cup in front of each carver. I put the tip into the cup when I place my order. $1 per sandwich.

                    Btw, this tip is not mandatory; however, it has become a tradition, so most people do.

                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

            2. Here's a list of my favorites:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8383...

              I would also add/recommend:
              Russ and Daughters
              Motorino
              Momofuku Ssam
              Locanda Verde
              WD-50
              Prune
              Minetta Tavern
              Txikito
              Pearl Oyster Bar
              Empellon Cocina
              Takashi

              Second Mission Chinese, for sure.

              Manzo, maybe, if you can't get into Babbo.

              Degustation has a new chef, I haven't seen many reviews.

              Blanca hasn't started taking new reservations yet. They will on Aug 1st. You do have some hard to get into spots on your list.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kathryn

                The reports I've read about Degustation under their new chef have not been complimentary, unfortunately.

              2. This is a very good list. On your "maybe" list, there are some that I would recommend a lot more than others -- esp. Momofuku Ko/Ssam bar, Maialino, Babbo, Kurumazushi, Co., Jean Georges.

                Several friends have recently gone to Bernadin and independently reported being underwhelmed, especially by the snotty/indifferent service. Personally I find Gramercy and Blue Hill to be nice but not spectacular.

                You might want to consider venturing out to Brooklyn or Queens for one day. New York magazine has published many good features on food crawls in each borough (see e.g. http://nymag.com/restaurants/cheapeat... but note that M. Wells is closed). You can also get a lot of info on the "outer boroughs" board here.

                7 Replies
                1. re: The Cookbook Addict

                  I have since added the following restaurants to my list

                  Keste
                  Modern
                  Wafas
                  Taci's Beyti
                  Azuri
                  Dominique Ansel Bakery
                  Levain

                  I am not so sure about the Momofuku franchises at the moment. Only Sssam bar and Ko have 4 star ratings on yelp while everything else is 3.5 or lower. This does not show very well on the franchise as a whole.

                  I was quite excited to go to Mission Chinese too but the reviews on yelp are disheartening.

                  1. re: quddous

                    Yelp has a lot of noise. I would rely on the regular posters on the NYC board here instead.

                    1. re: tpigeon

                      Keste is my favorite pizza in the city. Try to hit it on a week-day when it's not so crowded. Head to Grom afterwards for some crazy delicious gelato.

                      The Modern + Moma is one of my favorite ways to spend a day.

                      I wouldn't miss Red Barn or The Dutch and can suggest Yasuda for lunch (great value).

                      Happy eating!

                      1. re: lavendula

                        Keste + Grom sounds great. (Modern + Moma also!)

                        Thanks!

                      2. re: tpigeon

                        I agree. I don't base decisions of where to go from yelp but it's more of a rough compass (and where not to go).

                      3. re: quddous

                        Many people on Yelp used to rate the Momofukus low because they were expecting a traditional Korean or Japanese restuarant (which they are not) and/or they were just out of college and expecting Koreatown prices. Both of which are unfair comparisons to make; those reviews are probably still skewing the average. It is a young userbase who like freebies and are overly price conscious.

                        One of my favorite places, Txikito, has a 3.5 rating on Yelp. People who don't know what a pintxo is complain about the portion sizes, talking about sangria (which I never saw when I was in Basque country), etc. A friend of mine calls Yelp "Livejournal plus credit cards."

                        Definitely go to Mission Chinese. Don't expect traditional Sichuan dishes and yes, it is very spicy.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          I read through to see most of the negative comments on Noodle Bar, Milk Bar. There are some complaints about price but the price is not *that* ridiculous so the food quality should counter the cost.

                          As to Mission Chinese, I did notice that quite a few of the people who did not rate it well were not familiar with sichuan food (and sichuan peppercorns). I will read some of the chow reviews on it.

                          I agree with your statement that many people rate pricier restaurants lower. Almost every negative review for one of my favourite restaurants here in Vancouver is that it is too expensive. I really wish yelp would have a food taste rating where the people rate the food by itself (as opentable has) and don't downgrade their rating based on price.

                    2. Interesting no one mentions 'Casa Mono'?!! If OP loves the flavour explosion of HK's Da Ping Huo's food, then he should love CM's food?!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Casa Mono looks amazing. I did look at it before and thought the food looked amazing (like you said, it looks like a taste explosion) but I thought it was too seafoody for my taste (I am more of a meat person) and I am not the biggest fan of Spanish tapas (I have had many meals I thought were good/great but none which are my favourite all time). I looked at the photos again and I do think I will go. Thanks!

                      2. Nice lists :)

                        From your consider list, i especially like Ushiwakamaru and Scarpetta.

                        You also might consider Osteria Morini. And, while it's in Brooklyn, St. Anselm is great.

                        My favorite of the Sichuan places is Cafe China, for both food and atmosphere. I've spent time in Chengdu, and lived in Shanghai, and i think Cafe China is as good or better than a lot of the Sichuan places in Shanghai.

                        Enjoy.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Simon

                          Thank Simon! (btw the Sichuan restaurants we liked in Shanghai were Lanxiang and Ma La You Huo)

                          I will look into those recs.