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Oct 1, 2012 04:45 AM

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?

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  1. 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.

    6 Replies
    1. re: mitchleeny

      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.

      1. re: OverseasEater

        Pastis is nothing special.

        Agree about Motorino or Keste (or Arturo's, for NY style).

        I think you're one of a few people who didn't like the drinks at Pegu.

        1. re: mitchleeny

          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.

          1. re: OverseasEater

            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.

            1. re: kathryn

              It's possible mine was an isolated experience, but if you'll be unhappy with a bartender with attitude, I'd caution you against Amor y Amargo. We really wanted to love the place but the bartender made it VERY hard.

      2. re: mitchleeny

        ...or, better yet, head to Middle Branch, which is Little Branch's midtown location - and close to Keen's: http://www.urbandaddy.com/nyc/nightli...

      3. My comments:

        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.

        Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: thegforceny

          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.

        2. 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!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Lesliepbg

            I like to go to Minetta Tavern after plays. It's fun to be there late at night & to sit at the bar.

            1. re: topeater

              Isn't it usually packed at post-theater hours though?

              1. re: OverseasEater

                No, it isn't. There's almost always a seat at the bar then (at least on weeknights).

                (It isn't anywhere near the Theater District, and doesn't get a post-theater rush.)

            2. re: Lesliepbg

              Smorgasburg happens every Saturday, rain or shine, through November 17.

              Starting September 9, Smorgasburg is also in the Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO, every Sunday through November 18.

            3. Don't bother with Grimaldi's. If Juliana's is open by the time of your trip, that might be worth checking out. Juliana is a new pizza place by Patsy Grimaldi. The Grimaldi of Grimaldi's pizza.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Bkeats

                ...while I personally love Grimaldi's, there is a location in Manhattan now. I like the reco for Motorino and I'm going to add Rubirosa, because I think their pies are fantastic.

                1. re: LeahBaila

                  I'm glad to hear that I don't need to feel guilty for never making it to Grimaldi's! I agree, the pizza at Motorino was awesome.

                  1. re: pizzajunkie

                    ...as are Motorino's meatballs! Cannot stop thinking about them............

              2. Fellow Singapore chowhounder Fourseason and myself had a chowmeet at Jean George this weekend. We were both 'underwhelmed' by the experience. A subsequent meal at The Modern was more impressive!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Was that at the dinning Room or Bar room?

                  1. 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.

                    1. re: Pan

                      You'll most likely enjoy The Modern Dining Room even more then. :)