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I'm leaving NYC forever - need a goodbye list

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

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  1. 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

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

        1. re: tpigeon

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

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

          2 Replies
            1. re: thegforceny

              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. 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

                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

                  I had the lamb burger at brunch.

              2. 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

                  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

                    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

                      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


                        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

                          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

                            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

                              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.

                        2. re: Cheeryvisage

                          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

                            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

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

                              1. re: kathryn

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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

                                              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. 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. 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. 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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                This might help:

                                The Suckling Pig dinner at the Breslin is great.

                            2. 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

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

                                1. re: RosalineS

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

                                2. re: Pan

                                  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. 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: tpigeon

                                      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.