Help this newlywed plan a Chowhound-worthy NYC whirlwind honeymoon!
I have been lurking around Chowhound for months (maybe years?) taking the advice of all of you wonderful people... Now I am hoping to enlist some help of my own!
My new husband and I will be taking an impromptu "mini honeymoon" down to NYC from Dec 13-19th. We have made a number of reservations, and was hoping to get any opinions. I've spent hours scanning the Boards, and would appreciate any advice you can give!
We will probably eat free (phew!) breakfast at the hotel, and graze for lunch. We're focusing our tummies (and wallets) on our dinners.
Dec 13th- We get in around 8pm that evening, so will probably stick near our hotel (300 Block of West 39th Street). Any recommendations close to there?
Dec 14th- We secured reservations for Babbo (after hours on the phone!) Has anyone out there experienced the Pasta Tasting Menu? Would you recommend that or sticking with the menu? How is the Spicy Two Minute Calamari prepared?
Dec 15th- ? Open to suggestions!
Dec 16th- Reservations for Public... Has anyone tried the Sunday Dinner? Seems like a steal of a deal!
Dec 17th- Hoping for an EMP reservation... Would be the experience of a lifetime, and a birthday celebration for me :) If we can't secure that, we've got a back-up reservation for Jungsik. Thoughts?
Dec 18th- NYC Ballet Nutcracker performance, so probably a quick bite before... Anything worthwhile near by?
We are also looking for the best ramen, hot dogs (yay street meat!), and pizza... Seems like there are lots of opinions out there! I'm also dying to try cookies from Levain Bakery and Pastrami on Rye from Katz's.
I will make sure to return and report on our trip when we are back... I always love reading everyone else's reports! Many thanks in advance!
> Dec 13th- We get in around 8pm that evening, so will probably stick near our hotel (300 Block of West 39th Street). Any recommendations close to there?
300 West 39th is near 8th Avenue -- most NYers refer to something in terms of cross streets (avenue and street). What are you looking for on this night -- something casual like Shake Shack? Or something more upscale? How far away are you willing to go?
Normally, I'd recommend Esca but you're doing Babbo the next night.
> Dec 14th- We secured reservations for Babbo (after hours on the phone!) Has anyone out there experienced the Pasta Tasting Menu? Would you recommend that or sticking with the menu? How is the Spicy Two Minute Calamari prepared?
If you are interested in a specific dish, I'd ask them (perhaps via Twitter or on the phone).
> Dec 15th- ? Open to suggestions!
Hmm, this is a Saturday night and some restaurants will start booking this tomorrow morning or will start booking it soon.
I think this would be a good night to slot in an Asian restaurant (maybe a casual one) if you don't end up at Jungsik. Maybe 15 East? Danji? Momofuku Ssam? Mission Chinese?
Where do you live? What cuisines are not well-represented where you live?
> Dec 18th- NYC Ballet Nutcracker performance, so probably a quick bite before... Anything worthwhile near by
Check out Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud. Both are very close to Lincoln Center, and excellent. And pick up some goodies from Epicurie Boulud, too.
Boulud Sud's menu might be a nice change from the rest of your eating itinerary.
There is also Lincoln, but you might not want more Italian.
> We are also looking for the best ramen, hot dogs (yay street meat!), and pizza...
For ramen, check out Ippudo. You can put your name down for dinner earlier on in the day, and skip the wait. Others here like Totto Ramen more.
For hot dogs/street meat, I like the deep fried sans batter ones at Crif Dogs.
You can't mention street meat without trying a halal cart!
We went to Public in FEB for their Sunday Supper. When we booked we were told there was no need to 'reserve' the dinner (they offer their normal à la carte menu as well). However when we sat down at 7:15, we were informed they had run out of the Sunday Supper offerings. After a bit of a discussion with our waiter, they agreed to serve us 4 of the 5 dishes, with a main course selected (by us) from their regular menu. The meal was great, but I thought I'd warn you of this same possibility...although maybe they've changed their policy by now and do book specifically for the Sunday Supper. Be sure to ask.
Tough in evenings - call for an (attempted) reservation. HOWEVER lunch is MUCH easier - and it's now the identical menu (and price!). Can book through Open Table (on Monday for Dec 17th - still space available for 11-14 Dec for lunch, but nothing any day for dinner).
Keen's for your first night.
There is a PJ Clarke's across from Lincoln Center. While not scaling the foodie heights, and it's not the original on the East Side, it's a bit of a NY classic - great cocktails and good burgers.
If you like Sichuan food, go to Szechuan Gourmet at 39 St. between 5th and 6th the night you get in. If you like Korean barbecue, go to Madangsui, 35 St. between 5th and 6th.
On the 15th, if you want another Italian meal, and one that's not far from your hotel, consider Ai Fiori.
Another place to consider that's not far from Lincoln Center is Salumeria Rosi. It's less heavy and more informal than some of the other meals you'll be having, and they serve an interesting salumi-based menu.
I will concentrate on the Lincoln Center venues.
Lincoln is perfect and right across the "aisle" from the ballet.
A people watching spot with an emphasis on seafood is directly across the street at Ed's Chowder House in the Empire Hotel.
Dim sum can be had at Shun Lee Cafe a block away.
Seafood restaurant Atlantic Grill is right across from Shun Lee.
These are my favorite choices right in the area.
Others will mention more choices for you.
Have the BEST time!! It's a magical time to be in the Big Apple.
Be ever happy!
Wow, thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses! You've given me much to research and look forward to!
A couple other questions:
We love good coffee- especially deep, dark mochas! Any particular spots that aren't Starbucks that anyone would recommend? Especially close to where we're staying? (Times Square/Hell's Kitchen area)
Any bakery items that are must-haves? Bakeries are my weakness, and I'm not picky :)
We're still working on EMP reservations... But have WD-50 and Jungsik reservations as back-ups. Between WD-50 and Jungsik, which would people overall recommend? Looking for a unique, not stuffy, experience coupled with delicious food!
Last question... Grand Central Oyster Bar... Yay or Nay? Love me a good bowl of chowder, and would love opinions!
Thank you all!
I'm no coffee connoisseur, but since I work around Hell's Kitchen I've had the opportunity to snoop around. I think the die-hard coffee experts will tell you Times Square is a coffee wasteland, but I found Kahve (51st and 9th) and Blue Bottle (inside the Rock Center) to be quite good. Bouchon is pretty decent; Caffe Bene is terribly inconsistent, but if you get lucky they sometimes make a good cappuccino.
Suzie, where are you living? That's an important question because if there are great American-style bakeries where you live, it might not be important for you to go to Two Little Red Hens and have some of their squares (lemon, lime/coconut, linzer, chocolate/pecan, etc.). However, if you are going to the Metropolitan Museum, it's worth a walk.
Best mocha I've had in Manhattan is from Stumptown, they use Mast Brothers chocolate (Brooklyn), but I don't know if I'd call it deep and dark.
Any type specifically? German (like Landbrot)? Italian? Bread? Are you interested in French pastry or American?
Off the top of my head, you might to look into:
Bouchon Bakery - bouchon, TKO
City Bakery - scones, muffins, bakers muffin, pretzel croissant
Two Little Red Hens - cupcakes, cake, pies, cheesecake
First Prize Pies - pies
Amy's Bread - sticky buns, cake, cupcakes, twists
Bosie Tea Parlor - macarons, scones, cookies
Dominique Ansel - DKA, Paris-New York
Mille-Feuille - great croissants
Doughnut Plant - cake doughnuts only
Balthazar Bakery - chocolate bread, fruit, focaccia, sticky buns, their croissants aren't great though
Butter Lane - cupcakes
Momofuku Milk Bar - cookies (chocolate chocolate, corn, or cornflake marshmallow), cake truffles, candy bar pie
Maison Kayser - new Parisian bakery - lots of discussion here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/862772
Laduree - macarons imported from Paris as well
Best pastry and baked goods: