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Visiting from Montreal - Any suggestions?

Hi NY Hounds,

We are a couple of thirty-ish foodies from Montreal planning a weekend this fall with a couple of friends and are looking for new ideas. Our last trip to NY was quite successful with some very good meals, in particular at Ko. We also enjoyed Minetta Tavern, Mr.Wells, Bar Boulud, as well as Ssam Bar.

This time, we have already on our list NoMad, Acme, Fedora and another visit at Ssam or Noodle bar, unless we get insider tips from NY Hounds...

Our favorite places in Montreal now are Le Comptoir, Le Filet, La Salle à Manger, Kazu, and Pastaga. Common to all these places is good atmosphere, young crowd, nothing too fancy but serious work in the kitchen, mostly small plates, and elaborated wine lists.

Thank you in advance for your help!

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  1. The Modern is pretty good. Get a window seat there. Very pleasant.

    1 Reply
    1. re: commuter89

      It's pretty fancy, white tablecloth, wouldn't you say? Prix fixe required, not really small plates or a young crowd.

    2. If you liked Ko and Ssam, try Ma Peche.

      And look into Fatty Cue and Mission Chinese. Lots of interesting, bold, Asian accented flavors there.

      Fedora is a good choice. Gabe Stulman's Perla (a few blocks away) might also interest you.

      If you liked Bar Boulud, and you like offal, look into Takashi. Reservations are only for 4+ people.

      For other buzzy, interesting, small plate options:
      Txikito
      Recette
      Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya
      Bar Room at the Modern
      Empellon Cocina

      1. not a lot of chinese variation in montreal. why not take a trip out to flushing?

        1. i go to montreal often and just recently had dinner at le comptoir. i think you may enjoy the following:

          -casa mono...raciones...bigger than tapas...but big flavor. imagine is joe beef did tapas and you are in the ballpark. get the foie gras with 5 kinds of onions, the razor clams, the rabbit, the sepia with salsa verde. all delicious and a great spanish wine list.

          -ushiwakamaru for sushi...a no frills sushi bar with excellent fish and cold beer. i dont think montreal has good sushi. id recommend you go here. prices are reasonable considering the quality.

          -shopsins for breakfast...closed on sunday and saturday is usually packed but for breakfast, its just insane and a good experience. get the pancake sampler.

          -some outer boroughs recommendations: franny's in park slope for pizza and pasta and small plates...just awesome. ayada in queens for thai. vinegar hill house for a nice night out in vinegar hill/dumbo.

          as for your restaurants, im not a fan of fedora's food at all. i actually hated my meal there. i occasionally get roped into a drink there at the bar but even that is barely tolerable. im sure you see the apdc link with their chef but the food just plain sucks.

          i like acme but the food is super salty. i suppose id go there with a group but its like a club...not entirely good for a nice dinner with a significant other.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sam1

            Casa Mono is pretty popular -- you might face a long wait. Especially if you are more than 2. The restaurant is fairly small. You may wait outside or at the bar next door (Bar Jamon) but not inside.

            For Ushiwakamaru, make a reservation. Since you're more than 2 people, you'll have to sit at a table, most likely. It's not a huge place. I've been turned away without a reservation before.

            Shopsin's IS open on Sundays. You cannot dine at Shopsin's with more than 4 people, either. Also they don't take names down, you just wait in line to eat.

            Here are their hours:

            Wednesday to Saturday
            9:00am – 2:00pm

            Sunday
            10:00am – 2:00pm

            Closed
            Monday & Tuesday

          2. If you like Kazu, then New York has some major izakayas that you might find even better. Sagakura-very cool and a bit hard to find-downstairs in an office building on 43rd street. Young Japanese expats there. 100s of different sakes and very well executed Japanese tapas. For more "downtowny" more hip Izakaya in very him area, try Decibel. Related to Sagakura. For amazing meal midtown try Yakitori Totto or Ramen Totto depending on your orientation. Young crowd great food. If you want the best Japanese restaurant in NYC, get reservations right away-it's a vegeterrean place that serves a 10 course meal for under $90. It's called Kajitsu and has 2 michelin stars. Tori Shin has a Michelin star-very nice specializing in grilled chicken. En Bistro is very hip and nice with lots of style. Finally, Home made tofu every hour. All of these are of similar quality to the ones you like in Montreal, but much better than Kazu. If you want yakiniku, Takashi is very cool, though pricey-it serves all kinds of meat with an amazing grill that you do yourself. More hip version of that style of cooking is Yakiniku west, in the St. Marks area.

            You owe it to yourself to go for lunch at Le Bernardin. Very reasonably priced at lunch, and that's perhaps the best restaurant in NYC. It's not a young hip crowd, though. Very old fogey foodies there. But the chef is also from Bretagne like the cehf at Le Comptoir, with amazing skills and world reknown. Not a "small plates" place. This is a museum to great food preparation, seafood oriented.

            Very cool place; momofuko ramen since you have already enjoyed David Chung's restaurants before. But totto ramen has better ramen.

            Motorino is arguably the best pizza in New York with a very cool wine list. It's a creation of a chef from Belgium, and was determined by Ed Levine to be the best pizza in the U.S. I wouldn't go that far, but it's cheap, fund and wonderful. Neapolitan style-very authentic with tomatoes from San Marzano Italy, mozzarella di bufala and flour from Italy as well.

            Aldila is worth a trip to Brooklyn; authentic Venetian cuisine, but no reservations accepted. Very hip out in Brooklyn.

            Lupa is very cool restaurant by Batali. Younger crowd and small plates-different than Babbo (which is very nice) Eataly has some amazing fun choices and is a very nice place to go. It's really worth a trip.

            Good eating.

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodlovergeneral

              Just wanted to point out that Kajitsu lost one star this year, so they are down to one. Otherwise, some great suggestions there (going to Tori Shin next week for the first time myself).

            2. Consistently good and meeting most or your criteria is Craft.

              1 Reply
              1. re: porkpa

                Second the nomination for Craft-very very good and very elemental. Something similar to Chez Panisse-Alice Waters' restaurant in Berkeley and the showcase of Tom Colicchio. Best roast chicken in New York, arguably.

                I have heard very interesting things about the Vin sur Vingt-wine bar with bistro cuisine started by Parisian. Their menu is very classic French bistro with French wines. Might be a good comparable for Le Comptoir in Montreal. (I presume you mean the Comptoir Vin et Charcuterie and not the bistro on Phillips square-right?)

                Let us all know how your visit went.

              2. One other great place that is very hard to get into due to popularity is Hakata Tonton-it's Japanese specializing in many types of pig meat including "pied au cochon". It's so good, but hard to get into. Try it. Amazing. I think it meats your criterion-fun, hip, great food, cheap. It's like a Japanese version of the great Montreal resto Pied au Cochon, but perhaps not so intensely overpoweringly rich, and quite a bit cheaper.