Manhattan - Kosher shabbat and prepared food take-out
I need to order shabbat to go for eight people for next friday. Nothing fancy just good, soup, chicken (or stuffed cabbage, etc.), challah, the usual. I also want to order some other prepared stuff to take with me for a four day trip. Suggestions please? Looking for some place in either midtown, upper east side, or upper west side. I don't care which hescher. I just want the food to be good :)
As someone who has patronized at least one Manhattan shabbat prepared-food/takeout store each week for close to 15 years, the following would be my recommendations if qualityof food is your main criteria.
1st choice - Prime Butcher Baker - in my opinion, the highest quality in Manhattan
2nd choice - Fischer Brothers (72 btwn Broadway and West End)
3rd Choice - Park East Butcher
Although I no longer patronize the Kosher Marketplace (I have had numerous bad experiences with my takeout purchases there), some could argue that certain of their takeout items are of acceptable quality. In any event KMP food is definitely not in same league as the first three establishments listed above.
I would strongly discourage you from patronizing Supersol (or as I refer to it "Superslop")
My vote is for Prime Butcher Baker. Full disclosure: I'm a frequent shopper there. That being said, i love the wide variety of prepared foods that they have. The menu is inspired by Syrian, Persian, and Ashkenazic influences - there is kibbeh and rices side by side with kugel and gefilte fish. Love the Kobe beef rice, the lemon-caper chicken, and the quinoa salad. The challahs they sell are always a crowd pleaser and i absolute adore the desserts.
The go-to places would include Kosher Marketplace, Seasons, park East and Prime Butcher Baker. These are the places that set the Shabbat tables for upscale Manhattan families that don't keep a full-time chef ;-) The prices may shock you.
They will also pack you up to go, although Noah's (LES and NJ) can probably provide food for your trip at a better price, and can probably deliver a reliable Shabbat to Manhattan for a better price, too. (I'll vouch for their stuffed cabbage, wonderful even after having been shipped and reheated)
Keep in mind that many Manhattan restaurants can also do this. The Indian places (meat or vegetarian) can usually send you a wonderful Shabbat meal at a lower price.
If the sticker shock is too great, it's pretty easy to put a Shabbat together off-the-shelf, with aluminum pans, ingenuity, and a visit to the kosher stores I mentioned above or Fairway.
There are also restaurants that open for Shabbat, they can be very nice for a family group.