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I'm leaving NYC forever - need a goodbye list

jen223 Oct 2, 2012 03:22 PM

OK, maybe it won't be forever, but I'm still very sadly leaving NYC, and my love affair with the city's restaurants will have to come to an end. I have until mid-December before I leave. Granted I'm only moving to Princeton, NJ, but it just won't be the same!

My question for you all is: what would be on your list of eating establishments to go to one last time before you leave the city "forever"? Old standbys, new openings, low or high end, specific dishes? I've tentatively started my list below but wouldn't mind some inspiration:

Big Wong - beef chow fun
Eleven Madison Park (if I could only get a reservation...)
Corner Bistro
Torrisi Italian Specialties - tasting menu
Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar
Pok Pok NY - have never tried
Sripraphai - have never tried
La Sirene
Xi'an Famous Foods
Grimaldi's or Keste or Di Fara (for pizza fix)
Momofukus - pork buns
Peter Luger (or try St. Anselm?)
Death & Co (OK that's drinks, but still)
Little Piggy Had Roast Beef
Tia Pol
Breslin - lamb burger

  1. r
    rbraham Oct 9, 2012 01:54 PM

    Yonah Schimmel knish bakery. It's where they all come from. It's tiny, but have a sit-down. Walk from Katz's (pastami/rye, as previously mentioned, or tongue--ask, or tip, for the tip of the tongue, which is fattier and tastier' celery soda, don't forget stuffed kishkes and chopped liver, of course), and then pick out to go America's freshest and widest selection of herring (a zillion styles, imported) at Russ & Daughters. A hundred years of fantastic Jewish cooking within 10 blocks.

    3 Replies
    1. re: rbraham
      tpigeon Oct 9, 2012 05:29 PM

      I'd skip Schimmel

      1. re: tpigeon
        rbraham Oct 9, 2012 05:48 PM

        Well, you're right, it's not a culinary peak. But it's right there, and it's cool that it's the source of the best knishes you find anywhere where fine knishes are served. I was happy when I discovered it.

        1. re: tpigeon
          rose water Oct 9, 2012 05:49 PM

          Yup, I'd skip Schimmel too.

          As would many others: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/224578

      2. p
        Pan Oct 4, 2012 11:34 PM

        As I'd expect, you've been steered very well by others, so I'll just chime in with some of my own additional suggestions:

        I like Txikito better than Tia Pol and recommend you go, especially if you can get a crowd together to share a few bottles of wine and try a bunch of stuff. I've only been there once, though, so I wouldn't be able to recommend specific dishes for you.

        For a high-end Italian place, I recommend Ai Fiori. Get the incredible cocktail that's first on their list and bourbon-based. A lot of their dishes are great, and so is their wine list, but thinking back on the meals I've had there so far, what I most remember are the vellutata and the bouillabaisse. So if you like seafood, I highly recommend those dishes, which are in my experience so far consistently perfect and among the best food I've ever tasted. If you go by yourself, you could eat at the bar. I found the bartenders very personable guys who had well-justified pride in their work.

        Another high-end place you should try to get to if you can is Kyo Ya, for kaiseki. It's a truly sublime experience in all respects. Get some of their great sake to accompany your meal. Alternatively, there's a place that does vegetarian Kyoto-style kaiseki. I don't remember its name, but someone else will.

        I think the best thing at Xian is the cumin lamb noodles. I think you might consider checking out some Chinese restaurants in Flushing, though, because once you're in Princeton, it'll be a hell of a lot harder for you to get to Queens than it is now. Post to Outer Boroughs for recommendations. There are a lot of good and interesting Chinese restaurants there. There are also, so I've heard, great Korean barbecue places on and around Northern Boulevard from Flushing out to the Nassau County line and beyond. But New Jersey has wonderful Korean food, so it's probably not essential for you to go to Queens now for that.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Pan
          RosalineS Oct 5, 2012 07:42 PM

          You must try Sripraphai - the best Thai food!
          Adding Ippudo NY for ramen
          Adding Tamarind 22 for Indian

          1. re: RosalineS
            bearmi Oct 9, 2012 04:50 PM

            I agree.. Sripraphai is great! I second that recommendation!

          2. re: Pan
            jen223 Oct 7, 2012 08:46 AM

            I very much like Michael white's other restaurants, so ai fiori sounds like a must. Apparently there is an osteria morini in NJ, so that's a plus!

          3. p
            peter j Oct 4, 2012 12:44 PM

            It will be harder to plan large format meals when you move, so I'd do the fried chicken or bo ssam thing with your friends at Momofuku if you haven't tried it yet.

            I'd also focus on the non-res/long wait restaurants like Mission Chinese, Perla, Spotted Pig, etc.

            I also just discovered Rouge et Blanc. Definitely try it before you leave. Also the appetizers and dumplings at RedFarm (the main courses are good but not stellar IMO).

            4 Replies
            1. re: peter j
              LeahBaila Oct 4, 2012 01:02 PM

              100% second the large format - as far as which to choose, I'd go w/ the bo ssam. It's life altering...

              1. re: peter j
                jen223 Oct 4, 2012 01:08 PM

                good point! i've actually done both the fried chicken and bo ssam, but i think the breslin has a suckling pig dinner as well. i wonder what other good ones are out there.

                will add the other ones to my now unrealistically long list!!

                1. re: jen223
                  peter j Oct 4, 2012 01:18 PM

                  Ma Peche has a new chicken/lamb and rice large format dinner: It looks amazing though I haven't seen any posts about it.


                  1. re: jen223
                    kathryn Oct 4, 2012 08:55 PM

                    This might help:

                    The Suckling Pig dinner at the Breslin is great.

                2. s
                  swannee Oct 3, 2012 01:56 PM

                  Some added suggestions:
                  Singapore Chau he fun (the thick rice noodles, insist!) at NY Noodletown
                  Roast duck ditto--be sure you get it room temperature, NOT reheated
                  A burger at Nick's on B'way
                  The crispy pork belly with basil, duck salad, shrimp paste fried rice at Sripaphai
                  the dried tofu with celery and 3 glass chicken at Spicy and Tasty in Flushing
                  the kasha varnishes at the 2nd Ave. Deli

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: swannee
                    rodchenko Oct 3, 2012 02:24 PM


                  2. j
                    Justine_Burke Oct 3, 2012 10:03 AM

                    I recently left my job in NYC for a job in NJ and I made sure to hit up Bon Chon one last time for the soy garlic strips and happy hour special. So. Dee. Lish. Us.

                    1. LeahBaila Oct 3, 2012 06:46 AM

                      Pastrami reuben - KATZ DELI
                      Pork carnitas cemita - CAFE OLLIN
                      Dandan noodles and pork dumplings in chili oil - CAFE CHINA
                      Dandan noodles - LAN SHENG
                      Crispy beef tacos, chips + salsa, fideo, Mexican rice - FLORENICA 13
                      Meatballs - MOTORINO
                      Vodka pizza - RUBIROSA
                      Prix-fixe brunch - ILILI
                      Burger - PEELS
                      Cupcake(s) - SPRINKLES
                      Green chile mac 'n cheese - GOOD

                      19 Replies
                      1. re: LeahBaila
                        Cheeryvisage Oct 3, 2012 06:51 AM

                        For Pork Dumplings in Chili Oil, my favorite place is Land of Plenty.

                        I've had this dish at Szechuan Gourmet, Cafe China, Lan Sheng, Wu Liang Ye, etc. Land of Plenty makes the best version out of these places.

                        1. re: Cheeryvisage
                          LeahBaila Oct 3, 2012 06:55 AM

                          Land of Plenty is on my list of places I'm dying to try. This is great info! The thing about Cafe China's version is that chili oil! I could drink that crap. It's sooooooooooo good.

                          1. re: LeahBaila
                            Cheeryvisage Oct 3, 2012 07:01 AM

                            What I like about Land of Plenty's version is that the dumplings have more filling and they're very juicy and flavorful. The chili oil just further enhances the deliciousness. Let me know how you like this dish at Land of Plenty. :)

                            Here's a photo of the dish at Land of Plenty: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheeryvi...

                            1. re: Cheeryvisage
                              LeahBaila Oct 3, 2012 07:29 AM


                              I literally just drooled on to my keyboard. I will CERTAINLY be ordering these ASAP. Perhaps even today! What else do you like @ LoP? How are the Dandan noodles?

                              1. re: LeahBaila
                                Cheeryvisage Oct 3, 2012 07:36 AM

                                Unfortunately, I haven't gotten a chance to try their dandan noodles yet. But, I've had their steamed whole fish in ginger and scallion, and loved the sauce they used (delicious and aromatic).

                                I also had their pork spare ribs in glutinous rice with bamboo leaves, which were super succulent (very similar to zongzi, I recommend sharing the dish because the ribs in glutinous rice were filling and slightly heavy).

                                I also love their sticky rice balls (under the sweets/dessert section of the menu). They have 3 different varieties of this.

                                1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                  LeahBaila Oct 3, 2012 07:40 AM

                                  Your pics, btw, are GORGEOUS. Thanks for sharing.
                                  I love zongzi, so the ribs/rice dish sounds ideal! Thank you so much - I will report back. : )

                                  1. re: LeahBaila
                                    Cheeryvisage Oct 3, 2012 07:44 AM

                                    Thank you for your compliment! The dishes I mentioned were from this past Monday's dinner. I'll try to get the photos off my camera and upload them. Hope you have a great meal.

                                    1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                      LeahBaila Oct 3, 2012 07:50 AM

                                      Of course. : ) Thanks so much!!

                              2. re: Cheeryvisage
                                rose water Oct 3, 2012 09:33 AM

                                Your photo also got me drooling, and got me planning a trip. This place wasn't on my radar at all, so thanks. There seem to be two things listed on the menupages menu--
                                Szechuan Pork Dumpling with roast chili soy.
                                Szechuan Pork Wonton with sesame chili pepper corn.
                                Which is the delicious stuff in your photo, and any idea what the difference is between these two options?

                                1. re: rose water
                                  Cheeryvisage Oct 3, 2012 10:43 AM

                                  The one I mentioned is Szechuan Pork Dumpling with roast chili soy.

                                  The pork wonton is also very good, but I prefer the pork dumpling because the dumplings are meatier and more satisfying. :)

                                  1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                    kathryn Oct 3, 2012 12:53 PM

                                    How sweet are they? I like Szechuan Gourmet's version because there's a little bit of sweetness.

                                    1. re: kathryn
                                      Cheeryvisage Oct 3, 2012 02:14 PM

                                      The chili oil used on the dumplings I had at Land of Plenty was just slightly sweet. I personally thought it was just right. Best to try it and judge for yourself since this is pretty subjective though. :)

                                      1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                        LeahBaila Oct 4, 2012 10:23 AM

                                        OK...so I ordered LoP for lunch today:

                                        Prawns w/ minced chili pork - The prawns were plump and ample in size. There were plenty of spicy red peppers dotting the dish, in addition to a few broccoli florets, chunks of garlic, and green onions. I found the chili pork to actually be too "porky" in flavor - in a not-so-pleasantly-porky type of way.

                                        Szechuan pork dumplings w/ chili oil - Pillowy and stuffed with a nice amount of lovely, gristle-free ground pork, I still found that the sauce/chili oil came second to my beloved Cafe China.

                                        Wonton soup - Great wontons in the soup, however, the broth also had that unpleasant porky taste. It's hard to explain!

                                        I will definitely give this place another shot, as I can only imagine how delicious some of their other dishes are. :)

                                        1. re: LeahBaila
                                          Cheeryvisage Oct 4, 2012 10:59 AM

                                          Ah, I see. The chili oil used on Cafe China's dumplings is quite a bit on the sweet side for my taste. Even when I ask them to not add any sugar to the chili oil sauce, the chili oil still tasted a bit too sweet. This is probably just a difference in taste between you and I. I like Land of Plenty's chili oil because it isn't as sweet as Cafe China's. Though Lan Sheng's chili oil has no sweetness at all, which I find not as interesting. I guess everyone has their own preferred degree of "sweetness".

                                          I'm curious about the porky taste you speak of. Very strange. I know sometimes the food I eat hours or even days before can have an effect on the taste of food I eat later. I wonder if that has anything to do with the strange porky taste you experienced.

                                          1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                            LeahBaila Oct 4, 2012 11:08 AM

                                            Oh, 100%. See, I LOVE the sweetness factor at CF. :) Lan Sheng's version was unmemorable, but I ADORED their dandan noodles.
                                            I know, the "porky taste" thing was really interesting because, generally, I love me a good ol' porky taste. But it was extreme. Almost like as if it had been cooked in rancid oil.

                                            1. re: LeahBaila
                                              Cheeryvisage Oct 4, 2012 11:11 AM

                                              Ouch, that's pretty terrible. The only pork dish I've had at Land of Plenty other than dumplings/wontons are the pork short ribs in glutinous rice with bamboo leaves. I did not notice anything odd about the taste of the pork in that dish. It was delicious and porky in a good way.

                                              1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                                LeahBaila Oct 4, 2012 11:13 AM

                                                I *honestly* think it was just a fluke. A "bad/off day," if you will. Because of your praises - and my trust in your opinion - I'm absolutely going to try LoP again.

                                                1. re: LeahBaila
                                                  Cheeryvisage Oct 4, 2012 11:29 AM

                                                  Hope you have a better experience there in the future. Not sure if you got delivery or ate at the restaurant. The restaurant itself is very nice and the food is probably going to be more enjoyable fresh from the kitchen.

                                                  1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                                    LeahBaila Oct 4, 2012 11:35 AM

                                                    Oh, without a doubt. Nope, I got it delivered, as I can't really leave the desk during the day. I do, however, plan to dine-in upon my return.

                        2. Spiritchaser Oct 3, 2012 05:08 AM

                          Although I think you are far from "leaving" these are things I would want if they weren't going to be readily available:

                          Breslin - steak and eggs on breakfast menu
                          NoMad - chicken sandwich on brunch menu
                          Keen's - mutton chop
                          Fatty Crab - chili crab
                          Toto Ramen
                          Kajitsu - veg Japanese
                          Hangawi - veg Korean
                          Red Farm

                          Lunch rez at EMP or ala carte at the bar

                          Dessert tasting at Per Se

                          Drinks at Lantern's Keep, D & Co, Gin Palace, Amar Y Amargo, Pegu Club, NoMad

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Spiritchaser
                            jen223 Oct 3, 2012 10:19 AM

                            i wonder if the breslin has their burger on the brunch menu as well - i do like a good steak and eggs despite the protein overload.

                            i definitely need to add NoMad to my list - still haven't checked it out.

                            1. re: jen223
                              kyph0515 Oct 3, 2012 10:45 AM

                              I had the lamb burger at brunch.

                          2. u
                            UES Mayor Oct 3, 2012 04:00 AM

                            People commute from Princeton to NYC everyday! You ain't leaving!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: UES Mayor
                              prima Oct 3, 2012 07:46 AM


                              1. re: thegforceny
                                jen223 Oct 3, 2012 10:09 AM

                                I know, but it really feels like I am! Going from eating out average 7 times each week in NYC to once in awhile taking the train in from Princeton on the weekend severely hampers my NYC food consumption...

                              2. t
                                tpigeon Oct 2, 2012 03:47 PM

                                try emp for lunch. it is easy to get a res on open table if you do it 28 days in advance.

                                Katz's Deli - pastrami on rye
                                Dominique Ansel - dka, almond croissant, blueberry religieuse, macarons
                                Motorino for pizza fix - especially the brussels sprouts pizza
                                barney green grass - nova lox & onions
                                russ & daughters - super heebster
                                kee's chocolates

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: tpigeon
                                  jen223 Oct 2, 2012 04:02 PM

                                  yum, the DKA at Dominique Ansel is a great call - will add it to my list.

                                  1. re: tpigeon
                                    Pookipichu Oct 3, 2012 11:28 AM

                                    Yum +1 on Kee's chocolates.

                                    1. re: tpigeon
                                      tpigeon Oct 8, 2012 10:59 AM

                                      btw - I meant eggs nova and onions for barney green grass.

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