Critique my eating itinerary - Early Nov
I'm spending 4 nights with my lovely GF in NYC early Nov and I've endeavored to make this trip a culinary journey.
I have most of it planned in minute detail but since it's all been planned from afar and from online research there might be hindrances such as logistics, same-samey flavours or plain bad ideas that I would love to hear you point out. We're Scandinavian and have never been able to finish any tasting menu we've come across and American size portion generally leave us tackled to the curb. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on the following itin!
Arriving late to La Guardia so won't dare make a reservation in case there are delays. Will get a cab to Keen's Steakhouse and hope that there will be a spot for 2 open in their Pub room. After their Mutton chop we'll have a night cap at The Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Terminal.
After locating a good breakfast spot in Battery Park City (where we'll be staying) it's off to Brooklyn for a tasting of Grimaldi's and Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. We'll burn off the calories by walking the Brooklyn Bridge back and getting in the line at the TKTS ticket booth at the South Seaport. Depending on how much the ice cream and pizza slice has filled us up it's either time for a quick snack at Luke's lobster's downtown address or The Exchange at Setai if we still have plenty of room.
Dinner will have to fit with whatever musical tickets we get (likely Mamma Mia if available). Right now I'm thinking I'll just find something close by the theater through Savored but I'm open for ideas.
The two-course lunch at Jean Georges is in the plans. I was initially considering Asiate which is close by but it seems that it is only the view that's superior there to JGs.
For the evening I'm hoping to score a reservation for Minetta Tavern to try our hands at the Black Label burger. Having followed the last week how they are looking at Open table 30 days out an early evening table shouldn't be a problem. After that it's a show at Comedy Cellar next door and a drink at The Standard or Ph-D later.
We'll be rummaging through Chelsea market and the Union Square Market during the day. I know there's superb sushi to be had at the former and the latter has Union Square Café close by.
Dinner here is completely up in the air though. I want to try the 2 for $25 dishes at WD-50, I assume these are fairly bite sized so would probably had to follow up with a smaller main course nearby. Doesn't seem to be all that many options in the area that appeal to me though. Possibly DBGB...
Death & Co is close by for drinks afterwards at least.
A power brunch at Balthazar before we fly out sounds like a plan. I want to fill up real good so I pass out on the plane on the way back over the Atlantic.
Well there it is. Is it doable? Or am I being far to scheduled and ending up with an odd mix?
A couple of other thoughts: you could also mix it up a bit and try Korean food--there's a great place where you barbeque your own meat/chicken/fish at a grill at your table. They are open 24 hrs. a day too! They are at 1250 Broadway on 32nd Street. This neighborhood is referred to as Little Korea. There are also some dessert places there too, but not open as late . You could also try some American style barbeque--Hill Country Barbeque is very good texas barbeque. You go up to the counter, order your meats, then your side dishes and drinks are from the waiter. They are at 30 W 26th Street. I think they take reservations--its a very casual place, with live music downstairs which can be loud so decide beforehand if that's what you want. Both are near the theater district so it's a short cab ride away...
So, thanks to all the wonderful feedback and comments here I've ALMOST managed to nail down our itinerary. It's not as ambitious as I first envisioned it mainly because we have some shopping to take care of that will require
Wed 31st Oct:
Dinner: Keen's Pub room
Drinks: Library at The NoMad
Thu 1st Nov:
Lunch: River Café or Luke's Lobster downtown (depending on the time taken to get musical tickets and walk the Brooklyn bridge)
Dinner: EN Japanese Brasserie (might change depending on what musical tickets we get)
Drinks post-theatre: ?
Fri 2nd Nov:
Dinner: Minetta Tavern
Drinks: Employees only
Sat 3rd Nov:
Lunch: ? (will be moving around Chelsea market, likely Buddakan)
Dinner & Drinks: WD-50 coupled with the many options on Clinton St.
Sun 4th Nov:
After En you could have cocktails at Little Branch.
For lunch near Chelsea Market, I might choose dell'anima instead.
For drinks after WD-50, I think you meant East Village options? I can't think of a cocktail lounge actually on Clinton St. The streets are numbered/lettered above Houston.
Looks like a good line-up. My own personal notes:
Thursday: eating at EN and then going all the way up to Midtown in time for a show might not be reasonable. Depending how much you're willing to spend on tickets, many Midtown places offer dinner + a show combo tix. Aquavit has a deal with Mamma Mia (of course - Scandinavian pride!) but you probably wind up paying more for tix than you would at TKTS. I think they do a scaled down three-course menu for pre-theater, with a couple options per course - standard for most pre-theater menus, as the full four courses would take too long for you to get to your seats on time.
Either way, I'd probably make rezzies somewhere in Midtown, assuming whatever show you wind up with tix for will be in the Theater District.
Saturday: speaking as someone who lives a block from WD-50, be prepared for an absolute madhouse on Saturday night. Unless you're planning on getting to the bar right when they open, you're going to have to wait, and IIRC they don't do the take-your-cell-number thing where they'll call you as soon as seats open up, though you could ask.
In fact, every suggestion for cool cocktail bars in the EV/LES area... I don't want to say "forget about it" - but... you're going to spend as much time waiting for seats at any of the big places (Death & Co, Mayahuel, etc) as you will drinking. Expect a good hour wait for seats anytime after 7PM. You're probably better off making Thursday your "no-rez" night and doing the theater on Saturday.
That said, I've done a sampling of the new menu at WD-50 at the bar, and as long as you ask your bartender about the dishes, you should be fine. The entree-ish dishes are basically appetizer sized, which when you come down to it - $12.50 to $15.00 each - isn't a bad price for an app at WD-50. And you get to sample from both the regular and the vault menu, so you can have a little more fun than a normal tasting menu diner. You could do three savories and a dessert each for $55/pp, or even four savories plus dessert for $70, and have a perfectly decent meal. (FWIW, the desserts from the tasting menu are better than the desserts on the current "vault" menu, IMHO... on the other hand, the vault foie gras dish is better than the "pho gras" on the new one... that said, the menus might have changed by November.)
Balthazar is good, yeah, but it's not like they're doing anything particularly cheffy or creative. If I were in that neighborhood, I'd MUCH sooner do brunch at Public - they're no rez, but go early enough and there won't be much of a wait, if any at all. And you can always dine at the bar there. One of the best, most creative brunches in town. Example: perfectly lovely eggs benedict at Balthazar versus tea-smoked salmon benedict with yuzu hollandaise at Public. Or blood pudding waffles with foie gras butter. Etc, etc. Much more exciting.
I caved in and reserved a table at Wd-50 for the Saturday, so I guess I'll be doing the vault menu in instead of just a sampler. I rarely do tasting menus but 5 courses should be within my limit.
Switched EN for Oceana for the thursday as well, not the most inspired choice but I realized I had no other real seafood place on my itin and Oceana appears to have a high lower limit.
re: Charles Yu
Yeah, I know. I still think Jean Georges is a worthwhile experience if you stick to non-fusion items, though. I haven't been in a while, though, so my opinion is stale.
For the record, I had a Restaurant Week meal at the Bar Room at the Modern, which I realize is different from The Modern itself, but I was impressed.
I'm sure that Grimaldi's/Brooklyn Ice Cream factory are OK, but not something I'd go into that part of B'klyn for--unless you're aim is the bridge (which is nice but can be a cold walk depending on the weather in Nov.). I'd say why not go into Chinatown for a meal after the bridge? Similarly the Chelsea market (which I live a few blocks from) is not my destination to eat b/c it's crowded and seating is limited. The sushi as other poster noted is not stellar. There is a nice Lobster place there but you'll be eating your lobster on a stool at a counter or at best a table in the atrium among all the crowds. We had a great experience at the Brooklyn flea market in Williamsburg (food stalls on a pier--but not sure it's open still in November). Good luck!
If you're staying in Queens, why spend the money and time to take a cab into Manhattan - esp if jetlagged? Go for Chinese in Flushing or something like that. (Search on outerboroughs board.)
Do you really want to stand outside in line for over an hour with a bunch of tourists for mediocre pizza? While the walk over the Brooklyn Bridge is indeed worthwhile, get your pizza fix in Manhattan at Motorino or Keste.
Did you know there is a TKTS ticket booth in downtown Brooklyn on Jay St/Metrotech? Less crowded all the time. Within walking distance of the bridge.
Jean Georges blows away Asiate.
Reservation for Minetta Tavern - prime hours are often blocked out by the restaurant for VIPs.
"We'll be rummaging through Chelsea market and the Union Square Market during the day. I know there's superb sushi to be had at the former and the latter has Union Square Café close by."
There is not "superb sushi" at the market. There is 'sushi' at the fish store within the market. Not even close to "superb'. USC is played, stale and for old people. For truly 'superb sushi' near green market go to 15 East for lunch.
I think the OP meant Morimoto for sushi in Chelsea Market? My last meal there was so-so, they are not known for their sushi, more for their composed/cooked dishes.
For something Greenmarket-y on Saturday, I'd make a reservation for lunch at ABC Kitchen.
15 East doesn't serve Saturday lunch.
If you're going to Keen's for your mutton chop, and staying in BPC, then why not have your nightcap on the way downtown rather than schlepping up and east to GCT, for nothing special at Campbell Apartment? I'm thinking Little Branch or Pegu Club for the nightcap.
WD-50's 2 courses for $25 are indeed pretty small. Additional courses may be had for $15 each. One of the "Top Chef" losers just opened a restaurant on Clinton St. nearby and Yunnan Kitchen on Clinton St. isn't bad for another dish after WD-50. Also, if you want to try a different style of burger, you could take your still hungry body to Black Iron Burger on 5th & B, and see how a "fast-food" style burger matches up against the Minetta Tavern's.
Yes, Death & Co., is fairly close by for drinks afterwards, but it's a Saturday night and you might not get in for an hour or two. Gin Palace, right up the block, is a nice alternative.
Thanks for your pointers.
I should have mentioned that due to the late arrival on Wed we are staying at a hotel closer to the airport in Queens (also because I could use some hotel point there). Hence the backwards trek to The Campbell Apartment which I love the decor of (visited previously). You are correct that they do not offer any particular drinking experiences though (I have not tried their special prohibition punch).
Pegu club on the other hand I have not enjoyed previously, wrote about the experience here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/pegu-club-new... (don't hold it against me that I'm on Yelp)
Little Branch does look cozy, I'll have to do some more research on it. Thanks for the tip!
Hearing you on the WD-50 situation. I might sling that idea completely and opt for Pastis which I've had recommended though it's a completely different experience. Dufrese's particular style of cooking was mostly the only thing that drew me to the area.
I won't argue that the drinks were well-made at Pegu. But New York or not I have little tolerance for service with attitude, especially when you're not getting what you're ordering.
I realize I might be asking too much to be finding a great dining place in close proximity to a great bar/lounge on a Saturday night in Manhattan.
Wednesday night in Midtown go have a nightcap at Lantern's Keep instead, or go to the Library at the NoMad Hotel, which is fairly close to Keens.
Friday night, instead of the Standard, try the bar at Fatty Cue (especially if you like spicy cocktails) or maybe Employees Only for a fun scene. Both are in the West Village, a short walk from the Comedy Cellar.
Saturday night, you will probably get shut out of Death & Co after dinner but there are a lot of alternatives nearby in the East Village. Pouring Ribbons, Mayahuel, Amor y Amargo, Booker & Dax, the Beagle, the bar at Empellon Cocina, etc.