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Suggestions Please for mini-Honeymoon, Early December

j
jufison Nov 17, 2012 11:05 PM

Thanks for checking this out.

My fiancee and I are taking a quick honeymoon, early December, Sun-Wed. We are staying somewhere in midtown, but are willing to travel for great food. This is our second trip as a couple, and these boards helped immensely on our last trip.

I am hoping to have another special food trip. Last time we had lunch at EMP, dinner at Momofuku Noodle bar, and plenty of great bagels. Hoping for better pizza this time around (we went to the famous touristy place in Little Italy, also a Michelin listed place in the Village). Also went to Rogue Tomate, which was okay.

I am hoping for at least one ultra-special meal. I will take a shot at Ko (for dinner) when it comes around. We are not rich, so I just can't see dropping the kind of money necessary for Per Se or Masa. Any other suggestions? We are very willing to try some of these top end places for lunch. About how much should I expect at Jean-Georges for lunch? It seems Daniel does not do lunch. Bernandin is too fish focused for us. Is Ko worth it over Jean-Georges or Daniel?

Is Blue Hill of the same caliber as the above? Any others to consider? Atera?

How much should I expect at 15 East? Any other sushi/japanese considerations (Kyo Ya)?Is it a spot where lunch is advisable? My fiancee is part Japanese and one exceptional Japanese meal would be nice, but would be nice to have an option a bit cheaper than 15 east.

We loved Momofuku Noodle Bar, hoping to try Ssam this time, but will likely also go back to the Noodle bar. Or is Ma Peche the way to go over Ssam?

She has never been to Brooklyn, so we may head over there. Any suggestions there would be great as well.

Thank you for any advice. I will keep poking around the boards. We aren't concerned with particular cuisine, we are just looking for great experiences that aren't going to destroy our bank account.

  1. j
    jufison Dec 8, 2012 09:34 AM

    Just got back a few days ago.

    Thank you so much for all of your input!

    Started off the trip with dinner Sunday night at Szechuan Gourmet as we could walk to it from the hotel. The chinese suggestion was a good one.

    Monday - Breakfast at Ess-A. Lunch at Jean-Georges, which was a little disappointing. Dinner at Momofuku Ko, which was outstanding.

    Tuesday - Russ and Daughters to try Salmon on a bagel for the first time. Donut Plant. Skipped lunch for more donuts. Had some snacks at the union square Christmasmarket, then Motorino for dinner, which was damn good.

    Hit Ma Peche for lunch (close by, kind of on way to LGA, and took reservations as we had a tight time frame) on the way out of town.

    We really hope to get back soon and try more. Would have done Ssam if Ko hadn't of panned out. Did have drinks at Booker and Dax after Ko. Next time maybe we'll ease up on Momofuku and try to get to Babbo or Del Posto.

    Thanks again!

    3 Replies
    1. re: jufison
      p
      Pan Dec 8, 2012 02:25 PM

      Glad you had a good trip, overall. What did you order at Jean Georges?

      1. re: Pan
        j
        jufison Dec 8, 2012 03:32 PM

        The wife had some kind of turnip ravioli as her first course, and then Sauteed Veal scaloppine, Flying Pig Ham, Mushrooms, and Lavender. Hers were both quite good. There was a surprisingly large amount of veal, I had to finish it for her, which worked out well given how disappointing my meal was.

        I went in planning on adding a course, but nothing looked terribly appetizing. My first course was butternut squash soup, which was very good but was just a butternut squash soup. I didn't expect much, but I just can't pass up one of my favorite soups.

        The real disappointment was I splurged and got the Carmelized Waygu Beef Tenderloin, delicate squash confit, Mole with Sherry vinegar. It was teeny tiny, which I know isn't really the point but it was almost comical. It was not cooked as I ordered, the outside was pretty well done and the middle was almost bloody. I would have sent it back but I didn't know if they could do any better. The mole was good but didn't really mesh with the meat. Too strong. The squash was okay. It was disappointing, especially as it was a 15 dollar additional charge. That's almost an entire other course.

        We also split (I was full after all the veal) the Holiday dessert tasting. It had some highs and lows.

        The high points of the meal were probably the extra little dishes, especially the dessert one.

        We went to EMP for lunch on our last trip, before they started serving their dinner menu and before they seemingly had some kind of ascendancy (sorry, I only check in on the NYC scene when I go there, and they weren't getting the same kind of love as they are now). EMP blew them away. The food, the service, everything. The service at Jean-Georges was kind of odd and neither of us was a fan of our waiter.

        Anyway, I may try them again next time. I am sure we did not get their best.

        1. re: jufison
          p
          Pan Dec 8, 2012 09:21 PM

          I'd be disappointed if a portion of wagyu beef was tiny and not cooked as I ordered, too.

    2. k
      kathryn Nov 19, 2012 01:45 PM

      You might also want to put Txikito on your list. AFAIK, MIlwaukee doesn't have an excellent, proper, authentic Spanish tapas place.

      1. k
        kathryn Nov 18, 2012 06:59 PM

        > My fiancee and I are taking a quick honeymoon, early December, Sun-Wed.

        So in 2-3 weeks? Some of the places you mention may already be fully reserved for your dates. Or only have the very early and very late times left.

        Note also that many fine dining restaurants are not open on Sundays.

        > Hoping for better pizza this time around (we went to the famous touristy place in Little Italy, also a Michelin listed place in the Village).

        Sounds like you went to Lombardi's and Keste. I found Lombardi's to be soggy one too many times and have given up on them. I also tried Keste a few times and found it much too wet and heavy for my preference. I would steer you towards Motorino, instead. Much lighter, puffy crust.

        > We are very willing to try some of these top end places for lunch.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/874731#7664889

        For less fancy options for prix fixe lunch:

        ABC Kitchen - 3 courses for $32, includes their famous sundae, not upscale, more "shabby chic" and "reclaimed furniture," weekdays only.

        Momofuku Ssam Bar - 3 courses, weekend lunch only. I think it's still around $25 or so.

        Kin Shop - 2 courses and ice cream for $20, daily.

        > Is Blue Hill of the same caliber as the above? Any others to consider? Atera?

        I've been to Blue Hill at Stone Barns and while the meal was excellent, I think many of the ones you listed are better. For whatever reason, the dishes on the tasting menu often have repeated ingredients. Not sure if the downtown one is the same.

        Additionally, Blue Hill starts taking reservations a month in advance. They may already be fully booked if you're coming so soon.

        > How much should I expect at 15 East? Any other sushi/japanese considerations (Kyo Ya)?

        15 East also has a $29 prix fixe lunch.

        The menu is pretty clear in terms of pricing:
        http://15eastrestaurant.com/wp-conten...

        10 pieces of nigiri sushi for $60, and I'd expect you'll probably want to add an appetizer or something on top of that.

        > My fiancee is part Japanese and one exceptional Japanese meal would be nice, but would be nice to have an option a bit cheaper than 15 east.

        You're not going to find good nigiri sushi here for less than $50pp, IMO.

        > We loved Momofuku Noodle Bar, hoping to try Ssam this time, but will likely also go back to the Noodle bar. Or is Ma Peche the way to go over Ssam?

        I love both Ssam Bar and Ma Peche, but if you are concerned about price, Ssam is gentler. I also like both a LOT more than Noodle Bar. Both the menus at Ssam Bar and Ma Peche are much more diverse and interesting. I'm not in love with the ramen at Noodle Bar, even though I am a big Momofuku fan (do a search here, you'll see many feel the same).

        > She has never been to Brooklyn, so we may head over there. Any suggestions there would be great as well.

        You need to post to the Outer Boroughs boards for that. Brooklyn is pretty big... have at least a neighborhood or two in mind.

        6 Replies
        1. re: kathryn
          j
          jufison Nov 18, 2012 07:20 PM

          Thank you all and please keep the advice coming.

          Sorry for being all over the place in my original post, I shortly after found many of the specifics. Wedding details and all have my head spinning.

          Have a reservation at Jeam-Georges for lunch Monday.

          1. re: jufison
            k
            kathryn Nov 18, 2012 07:51 PM

            Where do you currently live?

            Any reason you don't have any Italian, Thai, Spanish, Chinese, etc on your itinerary?

            1. re: kathryn
              j
              jufison Nov 18, 2012 08:27 PM

              Milwaukee. Get to Chicago occasionally.

              Lot of good Italian around me. While I am sure there is better in NYC, it isn't a priority.

              We do love all those cuisines and really I am just looking for great experiences. Willing to open the wallet, just not at Per Se levels, unfortunately. Great Thai and Chinese always welcome, and I did make note of some of the Italian places mentioned in other threads. A native told me once that all the really good ethnic food was outside Manhattan so I never considered it much, even knowing it was likely false.

              Unfortunately, we only have 3 dinners and 2 lunches so we are limited. Already planning on something like a heavy snack at WD-50 in the bar and then a late dinner just to fit in more places.

              Thank you for all of your help, and would love to hear more. Ssam bar or Ma Peche? Our last trip pre-dated Peche and Ssam bar wasn't an option for some reason I have forgotten. Frankly, we may do both. She really loved the Noodle Bar.

              Maybe I just need to visit more.....or get a job and move.

              1. re: jufison
                p
                Pan Nov 18, 2012 10:16 PM

                "A native told me once that all the really good ethnic food was outside Manhattan so I never considered it much, even knowing it was likely false."

                It's not false, just overstated, and depends on what "ethnic" means to you. There is some very good Sichuan, Cantonese, Korean, and Indian food in Manhattan, for example. My favorite Sichuan places in Manhattan are Szechuan Gourmet, 2 locations (that I know of): 56th St. between Broadway and 8th and the original location at 39 St. between 5th and 6th. For Korean, you can get delicious barbecue and banchan at Madangsui and Don's Bogam. Anjappar is an excellent Chettinad restaurant (a type of South Indian food). Great NY Noodletown is old reliable for roast duck and other Cantonese specialties.

                None of these places are luxurious in ambiance, and Noodletown is downright shabby. For an upscale ambiance, you might consider the new Korean place that is high up in an office building and has a view: Gaonnuri. I haven't been there, but it's gotten good reviews in the press and on this board. And of course, there's Jungsik (which I also haven't been to), but that's modern Korean, not classic BBQ, etc.

                1. re: Pan
                  kosmose7 Nov 19, 2012 11:59 AM

                  I strongly recommend Gaonnuri on 32nd St. & Broadway for authentic Korean too! :)

                2. re: jufison
                  k
                  kathryn Nov 19, 2012 08:04 AM

                  I have family in Milwaukee and we visit at least twice a year, sometimes more. I also go to Chicago quite frequently while we're in Milwaukee.

                  Depending upon how often you get to Chicago, you should load up more on Asian cuisines while in NYC. My brother in law lives in Milwaukee now and basically eats only Asian food when visiting us in NYC.

                  > A native told me once that all the really good ethnic food was outside Manhattan so I never considered it much, even knowing it was likely false.

                  As Pan says, this is an exaggeration. Especially if you take into account the recent openings of places like Mission Chinese, Zabb Elee, Xian Famous Foods, He Nan Flavor (which moved/is moving?) and more, all IN Manhattan. And this statement definitely isn't true for Japanese cuisine!

                  Regardless, what you find in Manhattan for Asian cuisines will definitely be much better and more interesting than what you find in Milwaukee.

                  If you liked the ramen at Noodle Bar, check out Totto Ramen or Ippudo instead. For Ippudo, you can also put your name down for later on that evening. So maybe WD-50, a few dishes at the bar, chased by some hearty ramen?

                  Ssam doesn't take reservations for 2 people, Ma Peche does. However, the atmosphere is much more hip, loud, crowded, bustling at Ssam Bar, and you can have a molecular cocktail next door at Booker & Dax while waiting. Ma Peche is a bit more comfortable, less loud, and less crowded, but the room is also a large, windowless space, with high ceilings, in a hotel. At Ssam, small dishes run $8-13 and large dishes run $12-26. At Ma Peche, the small dishes run $9-16 and the large dishes run $16-32.

          2. j
            jufison Nov 18, 2012 12:43 AM

            Wow. That post was scatterbrained. Sorry.

            A rough itinerary, would appreciate thoughts.

            Sunday supper at Public OR Blue Hill (Thoughts?)

            Lunches at Jean-Georges and Aquavit. Tocqueville in mix, or a Japanese place.

            Dinner at one Momofuku, the other is open. A somewhat relaxed Japanese could be nice.

            Any places have a great weekday breakfast? Else we will confine ourselves to the bagels and bialys y'all so selfishly keep to yourselves.

            Thanks!

            3 Replies
            1. re: jufison
              p
              Pan Nov 18, 2012 02:56 AM

              Tocqueville is a great place to go for lunch.

              The lunch menu at Jean Georges has very simple pricing:

              Two plates $38, each additional plate $19

              Farm Cheese
              Selection of Two Pieces $10
              Selection of Three Pieces $14

              Dessert Tastings
              $12 each

              I copied all of that off their online menu.

              3 courses plus dessert for each of you would be plenty.

              1. re: jufison
                k
                kyph0515 Nov 18, 2012 08:55 AM

                I just went to Tocqueville for lunch yesterday; I found the food to be vastly superior to the lunch offerings at Aquavit (maybe I'm just too new to Scandinavian fare). We were also apparently lucky to have gotten the best server in the house, Miguel, whose impeccable service added to our fantastic meal.

                I have not had dinners at Public or Blue Hill so I can't comment on those.

                If you want to notch a 3-star, you'd be hard pressed to find a better deal than JG's lunch, which, in addition to your selected courses, comprise a number of amuses, marshmallows, and petit fours. The value is hard to beat.

                If you want a Japanese place for lunch (and don't want to stray too far from midtown), you can take a look at Ramen Totto or Yakitori Totto. Very, very casual at both places. You'd need to get to Ramen Totto by 11:30 or so (before they open at noon) to secure a table. Yakitori Totto, on the other hand, seems to under the radar still, so you'd have an easier time finding seats there (they do fill up by 12:30 or so).

                FWIW I also had a very pleasant lunch at Gotham Bar and Grill. Their greenmarket prix fixe is $25 IIRC.

                Momofuku Ko is best known for their lunch, but given your schedule it doesn't look like an option. Might want to think about Momofuku Ssam for dinner as well. For a Japanese sushi dinner, I hear Sushi Azabu is reasonably priced (~$100?).

                Clinton Street Baking Company is open for breakfast throughout the week, and unlike the weekends will not have a 2-hour wait (I hope).

                1. re: jufison
                  k
                  kathryn Nov 18, 2012 06:59 PM

                  Best weekday breakfast:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8330...

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