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Jan 20, 2013 10:13 AM

Easter Weekend ideas!


Visiting from the UK over Easter (28 Mar till 1 Apr) and looking for some ideas of a few blanks I have!

Been to NY plenty of times, and enjoyed BLT Prime, Robataya for dinner and Bubbys for breakfast/lunch but looking for new ideas. One thing I am unsure about is Easter and how many places shut over this weekend or on the Sunday..! Happy with most food, but Italian would not be high up on our list given other cuisines. Both mid 20s and not big drinkers with a meal, nice cocktails always appreciated but not essential. Prefer smart casual places, so no DJ or similar, nothing to stuffy.

Staying Battery Park area but travelling not a problem.

Anyway I am probably after:

Friday night - something nice, probably look to eat early ish, but has a nice atmosphere. Maybe around $50-$75 pp for 2/3 courses on food.
Saturday night dinner - maybe tasting menu or similar. Max $150 pp for food. WD-50 seems popular.
Sunday dinner - Something steak/meat. Something like BLT Prime would be good. Like the look of Quality Meats but open to suggestions.

Best place for Eggs Benedict (good pancakes also help) for a breakfast.

If you need more info just shout :-)

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  1. > One thing I am unsure about is Easter and how many places shut over this weekend or on the Sunday..!

    Most places will be open that weekend; a few might close on Easter Sunday itself. A fair number of NYers go out of town to visit family weekend, but it's not as quiet as it is for, say, Christmas Day. If you are concerned, make reservations or call in advance (if they don't take them).

    > Friday night - something nice, probably look to eat early ish, but has a nice atmosphere. Maybe around $50-$75 pp for 2/3 courses on food.

    The restaurants with the best cocktail programs AND food are probably:
    Empellon Cocina
    Momofuku Ssam Bar / Booker & Dax
    The NoMad

    The NoMad probably has the best atmosphere (ask for the fireplace room or the parlor room). You may push your budget a bit if you order the $79 chicken for two and you both order the most expensive appetizer and two desserts, but not by much. It is on the upper end (roughly $75pp).

    > Saturday night dinner - maybe tasting menu or similar. Max $150 pp for food. WD-50 seems popular.

    WD-50 also has a good cocktail program. I find that enjoyment of WD-50 really varies on an individual basis, though. How into molecular cooking are you?

    > Sunday dinner - Something steak/meat. Something like BLT Prime would be good. Like the look of Quality Meats but open to suggestions.

    What cut of steak do you prefer? Porterhouse? Ribeye? etc.

    In Manhattan, I currently prefer Minetta Tavern (but it's quite expensive), Wolfgang's, and Keen's, over Quality Meats. Depends also what kind of atmosphere you want. QM is modern and sharp looking but the quality of the meat isn't at the very top.

    > Best place for Eggs Benedict (good pancakes also help) for a breakfast.

    Two of my favorites for eggs benedict:

    Ouvo Modenese at Locanda Verde - non traditional
    Two poached eggs with cotechino hash, spinach and tomato hollandaise

    Blue Ribbon Benedict at Blue Ribbon Bakery - more traditional
    Two poached eggs with Cotto Ham, Jarlsberg, Tomato on Toasted Challah

    No pancakes at Blue Ribbon Bakery, however.

    If you like poached eggs, also check out Public’s poached eggs on Greek yogurt with kirmizi biber butter, or Minetta Tavern's poached eggs on latkes. BTW, brunch is Sat and Sun here, so you could conceivably do two of these options.

    Locanda Verde and Minetta Tavern take reservations. Public and Blue Ribbon Bakery don't. To minimize your wait, I would arrive shortly before they open.

    Another option is North End Grill, pretty close to Battery Park. The Johnnycake Benedict is pretty good, the maple-bacon croissant is amazing, the scotch based Bloody Mary is also great.

    10 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks some great options there. Cocktails are not essential I guess, my main point is we don't drink wine so a good selection is not an option.

      Will check those out. Would be looking to make measurements.

      For Saturday I think it's more a nice mix of experience and good food we are after hence WD50 as a suggestion but open to ideas.

      1. re: DanSpring

        Yeah, I'm not a huge wine person either, more of a cocktail drinker. So I'm always on the look out for restaurants with excellent cocktail programs. It's always a pleasant surprise when you find one! We often end up grabbing a drink elsewhere, either before dinner or after dinner, and having water with the meal.

        That's one of the reasons why I love Momofuku Ssam for a dinner. Creative Asian-Southern-etc inspired cooking and excellent cocktails. Great, creative food. And they have a molecular-style cocktail bar next door called Booker & Dax. However, it's not the prettiest or quietest or nicest atmosphere. I like it but I recognize that it's not for everyone.

        And if you do have a special interest in cocktails with tequila/mezcal, Empellon Cocina is a standout. Don't miss the Por Que No with pineapple, cilantro, and green chile.

        1. re: kathryn

          Thanks. Momofuku Ssam looks a good option too actually. How would you rate it, something ideal for Friday? Or actually might be a nice lunch venue for some Ramen ?

          Agreed on the wine, I don't actually mind it, as long as I am not paying restaurant prices...!

          1. re: DanSpring

            Momofuku Ssam Bar does not serve ramen, that's Momofuku Noodle Bar, located a few blocks away. During the weekday, for lunch, Momofuku Ssam Bar is great. They do an all duck menu, only for weekday lunch. I like dinner there, too, a lot, but it's a completely different menu.

            1. re: kathryn

              Thanks for your help - still whittling this down.

              My partner was not overly keen on the menu at NoMad for some reason, and wants to look at the Modern instead. Any thoughts here?

              Also is Ssam good for a dinner, or might there be better choices? The idea and execution looks good, but on such a short trip, I am not sure if we are going there just on hype or what?

              Also looking at Keens for steak. Looks a good all rounder, we love ribeye so might settle for that.

              1. re: DanSpring

                Bar Room at the Modern or formal Dining Room? Two very different experiences, and price points!

                Ssam Bar is great for dinner. I'm a big fan, was just there last weekend. Killer ribeye, there, btw. But possibly too big for two.

                Keens is good but they are known more for their porterhouse and mutton chop.

                1. re: kathryn

                  Formal Dining Room for the Saturday. Whats it like in terms of atmosphere? Dress code seems ideal to.

                  Excellent, Ssam it is - and maybe Ribeye, and mutton chop at Keens.

                  Thanks for all the help Kathryn.

                  1. re: DanSpring

                    It's, well, much more formal and upscale, but not stuffy. The noise level is not really very hushed because the boisterous bar room shares a wall and there's an opening between the two. The formal Dining Room has a gorgeous view of the MoMA sculpture garden. You can request a table by the window if you desire. Dress code is not jacket required for men, but I do see guys with jackets on.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Thanks Kathryn, sounds great, and if my OH has some input in her itinerary it will keep her happy.

                      We are slowly getting there, thanks for all your suggestions.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        I love the Modern formal dining room. I agree that it is not too stuffy and way quieter than the bar room. It is a great place for a special meal.
                        On WD-50 I must say, although the chef made molecular gastronomy famous, he uses it in good taste ( no pun intended). Other places i've seen just use it for the sake of having it in the dish. WD-50s approach to it , is more subtle and the dishes are well balances with great taste.
                        Quality Meats has a nice atmosphere. I am still a big fan of Keen's but maybe lately I'm getting that "old" feeling from Keen's, and the last two times I was there the steak was not as good as it used to be. Quality meats filet mignon, was as good quality as I've had anywhere. I have only been there once. I was skeptical so I went with the filet and was amazed how good it was. I'd pick Quality Meats over Keen's, unless it's the bit of history that one wants to marvel over i.e. the pipes, Lincoln , the list of members etc.
                        For BBQ Hill Country is the most fun atmosphere, but avoid the ribs, stick with the brisket.

      2. Does anyone have any suggestions for some BBQ or similar? Been to BlueSmoke before and enjoyed the ribs and sides, but did not seem to do 'a lot' of other BBQ style food, and my partner isn't overly impressed by the menu.

        Any ideas for alternative? Bonus points if somewhere with good sharing idea, to get some ribs, wings, pulled pork etc.


        6 Replies
        1. re: DanSpring

          Just in Manhattan? Have you looked at the new Mighty Quinn? Hill Country?

          BBQ is a very specialized and regional cuisine, so I think it's a actually good sign if a restaurant doesn't try to over-reach and do too much.

          1. re: kathryn

            Thanks again Kathryn ! Looks great alternative, perfect casual vibe, nice selection of beer, and nice sized portions for variety. Just looking for some decent 'wholesome' food for our first night before jet lag hits ! Will keep an eye on this.

            1. re: DanSpring


              "Recently I started a fantasy barbecue league. Now I’m building my dream New York City barbecue restaurant with elements from all over town. I’ve got the soundtrack and the corn pudding from Hill Country; the pickles and chili mac from Fletcher’s; the pork belly and beers from Fette Sau; the beans, pulled pork, brisket and both kinds of ribs from Mighty Quinn’s; the enthusiasm, atmosphere and cheese from BrisketTown."

              1. re: kathryn

                Not sure if that helps or not Kathryn ! Thank you will chew through those and make a decision based on our movements I think

                1. re: DanSpring

                  It does highlight which restaurants are good at what dishes, just so you can manage your expectations.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Just want to say thanks for the recs. Had a great trip, managed to get to the following:

                    Balthazar (breakfast) - excellent eggs benedict I thought! Lovely donuts too, which just had to be sampled.

                    Shakeshack - standard on a NY trip. Battery Park City location is nice too.

                    Blue Smoke - we were quite washed out and didn't fancy the trip down downtown to Mighty Quinns, so went to Bluesmoke. I actually really enjoy their ribs, and it turned out to be a reasonable meal, although seemed to empty out around 10pm on a Friday night.

                    Bubbys - Reasonable breakfast and I enjoyed the Huevos rancheros. Still not sure exactly why I really like this place, but I do!

                    The Modern - It was possibly a little too upscale to where I am really comfortable, but had some great wine (just a glass) and cocktails, and the food was very good. Actually felt it was pretty reasonable for a $180 a head place. Might be better in NY, but I came away feeling like I enjoyed it. Food was spot on, cheese selection was immense, although would have maybe liked biscuits instead of bread.

                    Zuckers Bagels - turned out our hotel was very close here, and we walked past it daily. Succumbed to the temptation every day, to have a LOX and Scallion Cream cheese bagel. Extremely filling and probably worth the $9 or so. They did mess up the first order and missed the LOX (?!) but fixed it with a smile so more than happy.

                    Roebling Tea Room (Brooklyn) - ended up wandering past this on our trip to Brooklyn. Very good tea selection, and some nice oolong tea here. Very hipster and food looked good but did not partake.

                    Keens - first visit here, ordered the mutton chop which is a ridiculously large bit of meat. Managed the majority of it, and over ordered on sides. Almost enjoyed the grilled bacon, but did not think much of the shrimp cocktail. Possibly my misunderstanding of the menu.

                    Momofuku Ssam - Managed to get here for lunch on the way to the airport. Duck over rice was nice, very good duck. Felt there is a bit too much rice, or needs something else to go with it else becomes a bit boring. Pork belly buns sublime. Another visitor just ordered lots of them, and duck buns so kind of wish I had of done that.

                    Overall an excellent trip, no disappointments! Just wish I could get back more (although wallet and waistline may argue that.)