Former chowhounder Kobetobiko back to Manhattan for X'mas. Looking for recommendations!
Not sure if any of you remember me, but this is kobetobiko, a former chowhounder who lived in Manhattan for many years until I moved to Hong Kong 3 years ago. I am ashamed to say that I have lost touch with chowhounds and just came back to the forum today as I will be coming back to NYC for 10 days during X'mas time! I am so excited!!! I have been poking around the Manhattan board and trying to see where I should go for during the trip. It's so hard to decide as there are so many old restaurants that I want to revisit, yet so many new ones to try!
Some restaurants that I would like to REVISIT (but not a must):
EMP, Del Posto, Marea, Jean Georges, Minetta Tavern (for burgers and steaks), Momofuku (Ssam or /and ?), Katz, etc. etc. (So many!!!!)
Some restaurants that I HAVEN'T BEEN and thinking about trying:
Osteria Morini, ABC Kitchen, Torrisi, The Dutch, any restaurants inside Eataly
Any new (for me) restaurants that you would suggest to replace the above? In particular, there are some food / dishes that I want to have but don't mind trying out new worthy places. For example:
- Lobster rolls, oysters, seafood (go back to Luke's Lobster?)
- PIZZA!!!!!! (Still Motorino? Any new places worth going? Particularly interesting slices? Need a few!)
- Burger and steaks (any get enough! I love dry aged with a LOT of funks!)
- Deli, streetfood, carts, snacks, etc.
- Sweets! (Dessert bars, cakes or cupcakes, macarons, gelato, soft serve (momofuku milk bar?), or bars of any restaurants like Gramercy Tavern)
- May be one Japanese
Some restaurants I spotted on Instagram and have no idea if they are good: Bones, Forcella, L'Apicio, Marylane(?)
I know my question is so general (I hated it in the best when people just came and ask "staying for X days, what to eat", but I am doing the same now -____-). But I would really appreciate some suggestions from my trusted chowhound friends.
Since it is a vacation, my time is flexible (can do lunches or afternoon meals, etc). And budget is no concern.
Last but not least, I am wondering if any of you will be interested in a Chowhound meetup. I do know most people may need to return to their hometowns and gather with families. If you are hanging out in NYC and want to eat together, please let me know!
here is my email, firstname.lastname@example.org
my Instagram (little_meg_siu_meg)
If you have instagram, please let me know so I can following your eats! :)
Thanks a lot in advance!!!
I wouldn't dissuade you from going to Caracas, but in my experience--getting not only opinionated but also outer-boroughed here--the arepas (and everything else) at Arepas Cafe in Astoria, Queens are vastly superior.
For falafel, I would say Azuri Cafe is the best.
BBQ - consider Blue Smoke (in Flatiron or Battery Park) and/or Dinosaur, in Harlem.
I haven't been to Arepas Cafe, but based on my one visit to Caracas I'm not in a rush to go back. The space is super cramped and noisy. The arepas - the first one was interesting, but the by the fifth one I felt like there was just too much greasy carby dough.
I like Fette Sau (Brooklyn) for BBQ, despite almost dying after sharing 4.5lb of meat with my friend.
[. 1 .] "Revisits":
* EMP - EMP is in its third iteration since you were last here-- it's now a 15-16 course tasting that lasts around 4 hours. I'm sure you've read the NY Times piece on the over the top theatre that was incorporated into the dining experience; I actually happened to visit the same week and found the meal to be just fine. Subsequent visits seem to similarly echo a (comparatively) mellowed out experience.
* Jean Georges - There simply isn't another restaurant in the city (or country) that offers a similar experience.
* Del Posto AND/OR Marea - I'd suggest doing one of these for lunch in the interests of saving space for new experience, though if it's too tempting to do both, I don't blame you.
* Ssam - I'm curious if you worry at all about a drop-off in your perception of / reaction to David Chang's food after (presumably) being pampered with the best of Hong Kong food. Not that Momofuku is necessarily entirely predicated on food you'd have there, or any surrounding areas you may have been, but most of the harshest critics of Chang that I personally know cite experiences with similar (and cheaper) dishes in China, HK, TW, Korea, Japan that they feel Chang has 'bastardized' (not my words) and glorified for people who haven't tried the authentic versions from which Chang draws either full or partial inspiration. Maybe I'm opening a really big can of worms here...
* Katz's - I imagine you must be missing a good pastrami sandwich by now...
[. 2 .] "Haven't Beens":
* ABC Kitchen, Torrisi - yes, yes.
* The Dutch - my personal recommendation is to go for the burger, which comes with fries that are a contender for the best in the city (and indeed among the best I've ever had)
* Upscale Casual Italian - I prefer Maialino over Morini; it's a great option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
[. 3 .] Other Considerations:
* Seafood: Prima on 1st St.
* Pizza: Don Antonio in Hell's Kitchen has sprouted up in your absence. Another Neapolitan option you may want to check out.
* Burgers: Along with Minetta, The Breslin and The Spotted Pig are the obvious contenders. A lesser known play is The Brindle Room, which in my view is on equal footing with the best.
* Delis: Did you hit up Russ & Daughters and/or Barney Greengrass in your time here?
* Sweets: Laduree opened up here on the UES. Not quite sure where you're going with the bars idea but I've had dessert at the bar/salon areas of Le Bernardin and wd~50.
* Japanese: My vote goes to something in the Totto empire -- Totto Ramen, Hide-Chan, Yakitori Totto, or Soba Totto. All four are fantastic.
[. 4 .] 'Instagrammed':
Forcella may be another consideration for you if Neapolitan style pizza is your thing. I don't have experience with the other three, though I know that L'Apicio is from the same folks behind L'Artusi.
[. 5 .] Appendix:
* Jungsik - Technically the Jungsik brand is more easily accessible to you (coming from Seoul) than going to this branch, though I wonder how different the restaurants are. You'll find that this garners universal praise throughout the CH boards.
* The NoMad - Chicken for two.
* Blanca - If given a choice between returning to The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare or paying Blanca a visit, I would choose Blanca. Thus, I recommend Blanca if you are interested in an at-the-counter tasting experience.
[. 6 .] CH Meetup:
Thanks for your detailed feedbacks and suggestions!
- EMP: I have heard a lot about EMP's continuous changes such as the (in)famous grid menu. That's why I am also a little hesitant. May be I should just do lunch? or perhaps I should just go to Nomad?
-Italain and French: I think Del Posto AND Marea is likely to be the case ;) and yes I don't think I can miss the main dining room of JG, probably doing lunch for it is such a bargain.
- Momofuku: I completely understand what you meant by the criticisms of Momofuku's empire. I grew up in Hong Kong before I went to Canada and USA when I was a teen, and I travelled back to HK and China every year. So I am as close to authentic Chinese food as to NYC. I had had the authentic pork buns in China and Taiwan long before Momofuku opened in NYC. Yet I love their version because they used pork that was much more flavorful and high quality than the normal version in China.
What I like about Momofuku is not the ramen or the dishes that are close to the original Chinese/Korean food. I love their takes on offals and non-traditional stuff. It's the reason why I like Ssam Bar more than the noodle bar. And I went to Momofuku Ko the 2nd day it opened. I am tempted to try their ribeye or frankensteak, and any new offal dishes that they offer (and the duck lunch may be?)
- Seafood: Thanks for suggestion on Prima. Also is John Dory Oyster Bar worth a visit?
- Pizza: Don Antonio and Forcella - Marked!
- Burgers - Had been to Minetta Tavern for black label burger, Spotted Pig for the burger with blue cheese. Haven't been to The Breslin. I of course will go for some more casual burger treats, like Shake Shack, Bill's Bar, etc. (so many places to go, so little time!!!!)
- Japanese: I have tried all the Totto's and pretty much all the high end Japanese in NYC unless there are new ones that opened recently (but I haven't noticed?). Since these days I travel to Japan 3 -4 times a year, it's hard to find any traditional Japanese food in NYC that beats that ones in Japan. But I actually am interested in doing something more contemporary, such as going back to Soto (have been there, not sure how it fares out now), or something new and interesting.
- Sweets: I go to Laduree and Pierre Herme and Sadaharu Aoki all the time when I travel to Japan. And Laduree is also opening a shop in Hong Kong next week. So I want to go for desserts that are more unique to NYC or at least something that I can't experience in Asia.
- Meetup: Yes, we should plan something! :D
Thanks again for your suggestions! They are really helpful!
I was there late summer, just before a menu change, I believe. But I recall some tempting dishes back then, including shaved Foie Gras, potato puff stuffed with gruyere, a Bento box with morsels of duck meatball and fried Brussels sprouts and oatmeal ice cream with apple sauce and apple gelée!
I was just at Momofuku Ssam yesterday for lunch - nothing I ate I would remotely associate with traditionally Asian food. I also almost make a point to not order their famous pork buns (blasphemy!); I just feel like that's probably the least creative thing on the menu and I don't wanna spend $10 on two bites of something I can get in Asia for a toonie. What we did get (prix fixe with Spanish Mackerel, Charred Octopus, and Corn Ice Cream Pie, along with the Duck Sandwich and the Duck over rice) were pretty tasty though.
For burgers, I'm going to plug Korzo Haus again. I think it's pretty unique in Manhattan. I much prefer the Feta lamb burger at Breslin to The Spotted Pig's Roquefort burger. Too much blue cheese and salt in the latter, not enough beefiness.
Interestingly, I also have a Hong Kong -> Canada -> USA -> Hong Kong trajectory. I'll be relocating to Hong Kong in January.
Thanks again for your reply! Those you listed I have actually all tried when I was in NYC! and Per Se's salon for dessert tasting sounds like EXACTLY what I wanna do, esp. I am not that keen on going to Per Se again for full tasting. This is perfect! Is it available all day any day?
Thank you once again!
There are always the chocolates at Kee's; some of them have unusual flavors. Also, it might be worth going to Hundred Acres just for this: Brioche bread pudding with salted caramel ice cream. I believe they flambe the bread in brandy. Not so unusual, but despite whatever misgivings I have about general saltiness of savory food at Lupa, I love their tartuffo.
I have a local gelateria that's decent. It's a branch of an Arezzo-based chain, and it's on 2nd Av. between 4th and 5th Sts. It's not unbelievable, though; some flavors are excellent, others less so. Also near here is the Big Gay Ice Cream shop. I haven't been there because whenever I've wanted to go, there's been a very long line or it was closed, and whenever I haven't been in a mood for ice cream, there was a short line. :-)
For the most part, good upscale restaurants also have excellent desserts, I find, but I don't know if you can go into any of them and just order drinks and dessert, or that you'd want to. Sorry, I feel like I haven't been that helpful, which is funny for someone with a sweet tooth. But truth be told, it's much more common for me to buy something to go. I go to the Astor Place branch of the Financier chain now and then, patronize Moishe's, my local kosher bakery, go to Silver Moon when I happen to be on the Upper West Side, and buy Haagen-Dazs. I really should be eating fewer carbs...
Kobetobiko - welcome back!
Ramenbound's list is a pretty good list
* brindle room: i wouldn't go, ive tried it 3 times and i've found it lackluster and doesn't compare to the other top burger places (sorry ramenbound, don't mean to shoot you down or anything)
* burger joint: not new or anything, but this place and minetta are still my favorite in the city
* breslin: i'd go for their lamb burger, which i think is really exceptional (if you go at lunch, its really mellow and not a total shtshow trying to get a table or anything)
* Forcella: its pretty good although i'd go motorino over it (i like motorino alot)
* rubirosa: this is totally different type of pizza; its not "real" italian style pizza, but it isn't really NY style pizza either. I really enjoy this place (and pizza generally isnt very good in HK)
- Russ & Daughters: great idea and totally not available in asia
- Japanese: i haven't been here yet, but my friend told me its awesome http://www.yelp.com/biz/mihokos-21-gr...
- steak: i like steak way better in America, so maybe peter luger's or I really like the steak at Diner in brooklyn alot (put your name down, get apps / drinks at marlow next door)
- Korean: korean food sucks in HK (although you could go to korea reasonably easily). Hanjoo from Flushing recently opened a branch in the east village (I just ate the one in flushing at really enjoyed it). they specialize in sam gyup sal (pork belly bbq), it's really tasty and maybe worth a try
- Hong Kong: btw you should post on the HK board! i've been posting a little (i usually go once a year, but put lot of posts up when i get back) although i've been bogged down trying to re-do the layout of my blog, which is almost done, but ill be posting again soon
No hard feelings :). Interesting you mention burger joint--I usually prefer a balanced burger that's more akin to this type, but have found myself let down by B.J. The Brindle Room is definitely a different profile burger from what I prefer, but somehow I find myself drawn to it--no supporting veggies, only small supporting cast of very little caramelized onions and cheese that allows the meat--which, where it lacks in dry-aged funkiness, delivers on flavorful sear-- to be the main star. That said, I certainly wouldn't push a trip to Brindle Room above The Spotted Pig or The Breslin for anyone who hasn't been to those.
+1 on Han Joo, if it is anywhere near the quality of the Flushing outpost.
im a specific when it comes to burgers, i dont actually like any vegetables on it. i prefer just meat, cheese, caramelized onions and bun (and i like ketchup as well, but i don't like it on the burger, prefer to put it on the side and dip as necessary, find people lather it on too hard if they put it on already). so like that profile you talk about.
Brindle: anyhow, brindle i found to be sort of unremarkable b/c if i wanted a good dry aged burger, i'd get minetta, but if i wanted a sort of no frills regular normal burger i'd go burger joint, so just didn't do it for me for some reason.
Hanjoo: i should've caveat'd with i haven't tried the one in the city yet, so i can't definitively say it's the same as the one in flushing, but it's likely similar since it just opened
yah HK's western food is generally ehhh unless it's very high end (and then generally very expensive) although i think generally american food is awful outside of the US
NY's culinary scene is not the best at everything (obviously), but you can't knock it's diversity...very difficult to find a city that has the range of food that you have in NY
Even though you live in HK, will you be able to find places like Danji, Fatty Cue, Kin Shop, or Mission Chinese? These all seem like they're more creative/fusion.
What about Takashi for Japanese?
Going through the history of the Eater Heat Map is interesting, I find.
I don't see Acme, il Buco Alimentari, Empellon Cocina on your list... Lots of foods you probably won't find in HK?
Mile End now has a Manhattan outpost BTW.
A return to Momofuku Ssam might be good, as the rotating dishes will be totally different now (aside from the buns, hams, rice cakes). Or a visit to Ma Peche.
At the Dutch consider going during the day for the fried chicken.
For pizza, Best Pizza or Paulie Gee's in Brooklyn? In Manhattan, South Brooklyn Pizza in the EV.
HI kathryn, thank you so much for the links!!! They are just perfect! You know you are the first person I remember at Chowhound and when I came back the first person I added back (as they erased all the people I used to follow) was you! :D Just those 20 places on the list will be enough to fill my meals for my 10 days....Now i just have to do some elimination which is always tough.....In fact those places your mentioned (e.g. il Buco Alimentari, Empellon Cocina) I have no idea....I am so behind....@_@"
Where will you recommend for a REAL GOOD dry aged steak these days? Not sure if there is anything new in NYC for steaks, or should I just go with the oldies?
Thanks again kathryn!
Honestly, it's tough to beat the oldies for steak, especially if you want the funk and already are going to Minetta. Some here are fans of the one at Craft (has that kind of blue cheese funk). But you've probably been there already? Or maybe can go outside of NYC?
Oh, forgot to mention Perla, ex-Babbo and ex-Manzo chef, now working with the Little Wisco empire (Joseph Leonard, Fedora, Jeffrey's).
And one of the NY Times lists I pointed to has a bit about Recette. You might like their regular menu, or even the Mondays with Jesse menu (assuming you'll be here).
Yes kathryn I have tried Craft (and also Craftsteak when I was around). I like Tom Coliccio's food a lot but not sure if I will go to his restaurants this time unless he has something new and interesting happening. Definitely will look into Perla. Recette has been on my radar even since I was in NYC but never got to visit. Need to research again! OMG! It's so overwhelming!!! So many great options!!!!
Was Mile End around, and did you go before you left? Seems list add worthy. Especially now that there's a Manhattan outpost.
Bobwhite in Alphabet City is pretty good for fried chicken and pork chop sandwich.
Nam Pang has terrific sandwiches. They say it's Cambodian, but if anything, I'd say Cambodian inspired but very NY and modern interpretations.
I certainly remember your postings. I'm glad you're in Hong Kong, what a beautiful location and what great food!
How are the tapas in Hong Kong? I'm not sure whether Txikito was already open 3 years ago, but you might consider going there during your visit.
Some remarks about South Brooklyn Pizza: (1) Their margherita is very good, but don't get anything else there. Whatever their "special" is, it's never nearly as good as the margherita. (2) There's one two-top and otherwise, you'll be standing (they have some counter space). I'm pretty unsure that it's the best pizza in Manhattan, but it's very good, open till 5 AM, and I'm very glad it's in my neighborhood!
Thanks Pan!! And I remember you too! :D
Even though I was born in Hong Kong and I like the city, I must say in terms of culinary creations and scenes it was very backwards. Other than Chinese (Not even regional, just strictly Cantonese food, BBQ, dim sum or seafood) or local street food, I couldn't recommend anything to overseas visitors. The western food is at least 10 years behind compared to international cities like Manhattan, Tokyo, or countries like Franch, Italy or Spain. It's so sad it's not even funny.....
Thanks for the advice on Pizza. I want to hit up so many pizza places but I know i will have to restrict to a few in the end as there are just so many places that I want to go!
Another thought: Have you been to Tocqueville? It isn't new but it is great and it's new American style, so probably of a type of cuisine that's stronger here than in Hong Kong. Another place you might consider is Riverpark, a pleasant restaurant on the East River near the various hospitals (NYU Medical Center, Bellevue, etc.) that's part of the Tom Colicchio empire.