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First time in NYC: rate my choices please

Hello board,

I'll come to NYC in September for the first time (from Europe) and I have already planned pretty much every meal. I've been reading dozens of threads here and at Zagat and these are the places I'd like to visit. Anyone care to let me know if I'm doing some horrible mistakes? Keep in mind I'll be based in the East village, so that part of town is heavily represented.

- Luke's Lobster: never had a lobster roll, apparently this is a good place
- Perilla: long fan Top Chef sucker, Dieterle has been around enough time
- Colicchio & Sons: have I mentioned I'm a Top Chef sucker? I'd like to try the tap room (any other suggestion for great beer?)
- Fette Sau: seems like a great BBQ place
- Bahn Mi Zon: Bahn Mi hasn't arrived to Europe yet and this place is really close to where I'm staying
- Del Frisco's: apparently crab cakes here are good
- I'm still looking for a great Mexican (here in Europe mexican food is terrible): any suggestions?

Thank you everybody for your help!

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  1. I had a lunch at Colicchio & Sons and it was merely good, until a piece of plastic was served in one of a dining partner's dishes. Of course, the manager apologized profusely and said that should never happen, but he's right: That should never happen in a restaurant of that class. So I was unimpressed. I also was a little unimpressed with my last visit to Craftbar, where I got a dish of veal that tasted good by was 1/3 inedible gristle, and which in retrospect, I probably should have sent back (but it would have been somewhat unpleasant for my girlfriend). However, I've had two good experiences at Riverpark, so you could get your Colicchio kicks there:

    http://www.riverparknyc.com/

    I don't think you'll find any great Mexican food in Manhattan, but Tehuitzingo is authentic and good for this side of the country (I maintain that it would be unimpressive if transported to the Mission District in San Francisco, but you won't get there on this trip).

    I haven't been to the rest of the places you mention. How long will you be here, and what other special interests do you have? I live here in the East Village, and there are other places I could recommend to you, depending on your preferences. For example, Momofuku Ssam Bar is a fun eclectic bar/restaurant that I and a lot of other hounds like. We also have a very good Isaan restaurant (if you stick to Isaan specialties), Zabb Elee. There also are various good Sichuan restaurants in town, including a couple in the East Village, though my favorite so far is Szechuan Gourmet, further uptown. And I also had a really impressive meal some time ago at Apiary, also in the East Village. We also have a fantastic kaiseki restaurant, Kyo Ya, where I had one of the better meals ever, but it may be hard to reserve since it got 3 stars in the New York Times. For less elevated Japanese cuisine, Soba Koh is a very pleasant and civilized soba restaurant with good desserts. I could go on for quite a while. So consider your budget and preferences.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pan

      Thank you for your reply! Just to show you how much behind the curve we are over here, I had never even heard of Isaan food... thai is thai is thai!
      The looks of Riverpark are really good, we'll definitely keep it in mind!

    2. Luke's and Perilla are good. I might actually Kin Shop (Harold's other restaurant) instead given that you probably don't have great Thai at home.

      Can you afford Craft? I had a great meal there a few months ago.

      For Mexican, Hecho en Dumbo is close by.

      You might also want to look into the Red Hook
      ball fields.

      I agree with Pan that your list seems quite light on Asian food.

      I might also add Southern food at Peels or The Redhead.

      Also weekend brunch at Prune or breakfast at Clinton St Baking Co (weekdays).

      There's lots of great beer places in the East Village like Burp Castle, Jimmy's No. 43, do a search.
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/832411

      4 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Agree with kathryn, Momofuku Ssam and Hecho en Dumbo are great East Village choices. Hecho en Dumbo does a chef's tasting where you sit at the bar that is very reasonable. If you go to Colicchio & Sons I do recommend just eating at the Tap Room, I don't think the main dining room is really worth the splurge in comparison to other NYC places. The tap room is a nice place to have a meal if you are going to the High Line. People on CH like Luke's but personally my husband and I are bigger fans of Ed's lobster rolls, also not far from the East Village. Either way if you haven't had lobster rolls, you are in for a treat!

        1. re: The Cookbook Addict

          Looking forward for those lobster rolls, apparently lobster prices are really low right now... good thing for us spending poor euros :)

        2. re: kathryn

          Thanks for the great tips! Hecho en Dumbo looks like a great suggestion for Mexican. I understand it's not southern california but hey, if you'd see what we get here for mexican you'd be really unimpressed.
          Thanks also for the Burp Castle: we live in Belgium so we're used to great beer and I find it a bit funny that the most common beers over here are a special on tap in NYC!

          1. re: malmostoso

            Since you are coming over from Belgium I would stick to American craft beers that do not make it over the pond. Kathryn's link above has good suggestions. Since you are going to be in the East Village, Coopers Craft and Kitchen is relatively new and has a nice rotating selection of beers. It is on 2nd avenue and 5th Street.

            If focusing on US beers, try those from these breweries if you see them. Mind you this is an extremely small list and there are many more good providers.
            Local Breweries to try:
            Captain Lawrence
            Sixpoint
            Brooklyn
            South Hampton

            National Breweries to try
            Stone
            Ballast Point
            Founders
            Troegs
            Dogfishhead
            Cigar City
            A lot more that I can't think of right now.
            There is good Mexican but it is uptown in Spanish Harlem. Are you planning on heading uptown at all? Even if you don't go to Harlem and you go to the Met, you can walk over to Cascabel on 2nd Ave and 80th street. Their tacos are very good. I am partial to their lengua and carnitas varieties.

            http://www.nyctacos.com/cascabel-taqu...

        3. It would be a sin to come to New York and eat in a substandard steakhouse chain like Del Frisco's.

          New York just isn't really the place for Mexican, unfortunately. (Having said that, Empellon Cocina is one of my favorite new restaurants here. But I don't think it's what you're looking for.)

          If you have to let TV guide your dining choices, Craft is much better than Colicchio & Sons (at least you're not saying you want to go to Les Halles).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sneakeater

            Haha well coming from Belgium I've had my fair share of french/belgian brasserie food so I don't need to look for it in NYC. And I can't stand Bourdain anyway.
            Thanks for the mexican tip though!

          2. For an intersting take on Mexican food, try Empellon Cocina in the East Village.

            1. If you want to try American Craft Beer head to the Pony Bar on 10th Avenue at 45th street. I know it's not in the East Village but they have a great and constantly changing selection of beers. It's well worth the trek.

              http://hk.theponybar.com

              I liked Ed's but I do prefer Luke's. I also prefer Craft over Colicchio and Sons.