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Times Square - Need Help Filling in the Gaps

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Here for a the next few days and plan to hit quite a few of the recommended spots on the forum: The Doughnut Plant, Crif Dogs, Shopshins, Momofuku, Russ and Daughters and more if we can get to it. We were wondering though if their were any recommendations for the following: Cuban, Spanish, and Puerto Rican restaurants that would be worth the visit. We are staying in the Theater District but willing to venture out. Thanks for any and all suggestions.

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  1. For Spanish try Txikito, Casa Mono or Tertulia.

    1. At the Doughnut Plant, I recommend the smaller cake doughnuts over the larger yeast raised ones, unless you like a chewy doughnut.

      At Crif Dogs, try the Spicy Redneck or the John John Deragon dog.

      Where to order at Shopsin's:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/825444

      I also recommend Momofuku Ssam Bar over Momofuku Noodle Bar:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/872929

      Russ & Daughters is excellent, be aware it is takeout only, it get slammed on the weekends, and their specialty is the smoked salmon. Try a few before you commit.

      For Spanish, I think Txikito and Tertulia are best. Tertulia you'll need to go early to avoid a wait. Txikito is Basque style. Tertulia's best dishes use their wood-fired oven.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kathryn

        We just stopped at Russ and Daughters Thursday, on our way home from the city. After a pastrami on rye at Katz of course! I got the Scottish smoked salmon for breakfast at home the next morning, plus some French trout roe and a tube of D'Artagnon duck foie gras for Christmas. The roe may be gone by then though! And they were very nice about sampling, even the caviar.

        A couple sitting next to us at Katz said they had walked all the way from the Theatre District, but we drove, it's a ways away.

      2. For Puerto Rican food, consider Casa Abela on Av. C. Guantanamera on 8th Av. between 55th and 56th has good Cuban food - good, but not great. Still worthwhile, but possibly not if you're staying for just a few days.

        1. Toloache if you're willing to stay in the same language group and eat Mexican and also either put up with a LOT of noise or eat at an off-hour.

          1. Just got back from our trip. Thanks for all of the suggestions. Didn't get to do all that I had hoped but got to several great places.

            Shopsins - We shared the H9- chorizo, hatch, and mac & cheese pancake, pound cake french toast and pork tamale. Also shared an order of sausage and cheese grits. All of it was very good. Outside signage was lacking so we walked by it a couple of times before realizing it was inside the Essex Market. We were there right at opening and got one of the few remaining tables. We had to wait to order because they only take four orders at a time. This just gave us an opportunity to enjoy the unique atmosphere and colorful language. We would definitely return. When we finished there was at least an hour an a half wait.

            Afterwards we made a stop at The Pickle Guys and bought a quart for the trip home. I enjoyed one back home for breakfast this morning.

            Doughnut Plant - Tried the tres leches and peanut butter and blackberry jam doughnut. The PB&J was good but the tres leches was the 'bombdiggity.'

            Blue Smoke - This was my least favorite of the trip not that it was bad but certainly not overwhelmingly good. Coming from North Carolina, it probably wasn't the best choice but wanted to see how well it was done there as I had read that some of the research for the restaurant was done at one of our favorite BBQ places in NC, Allen & Sons. We were going to get an order of baby back and an order of beef ribs. They were out of the beef ribs due to Santa Con but they could be ordered on the combo platter? Anyway we went with the combo rib platter. They were good but not great and service was the same.

            John's of Bleeker Street - Shared a small but still good sized pizza. Sauce and crust both very good. Service was quick and efficient.

            We made a quick stop at Otto Pizzeria for a glass of wine, cheese plate, and the other worldly olive oil gelato. We will be back for this again.

            We did try out Toloache for a early snack one night. We had the spicy guacamole and a few margaritas, all were good.Service seemed somewhat indifferent but it was an odd time of day.

            We had Shake Shack twice because of the proximity to our hotel. I had the SmokeShack and fries both times and treated myself to a concrete once. All good and just what we needed, upon arrival after being bumped from our original 6:00 a.m. flight - we had to fly into LGA instead of JFK but our luggage apparently wasn't made aware of the switch (not mentioning the airline here - AA cough, cough) and then again we stopped in just prior to departure.

            We tried to make it to Guantanamera for dinner one evening but the wait was a tad long, next time.

            Finally not certain if I found this here or not but we went to Cafe Habana for lunch one day. There was a 40 minute wait. We killed time walking around the neighborhood. My wife had the chilaqiles verdes. I had the Cuban sandwich and we shared an order of the Mexican street corn. Tables were cramped but the food and service were both very good to excellent.

            Thanks again for all of your great suggestions. I felt we had a good trip but suppose we will have to schedule another to hit all of the places we missed. What a shame.