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Brunch and Dinner suggestions: no lines! Times Square

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Hi all,

My SO and I are coming to NYC from Montreal in 3 weeks, staying at the Hotel Intercontinental Times Square. It will be my first time! It's also our anniversary (and Valentine's day, not a big deal for us, but guessing places will be packed?). Arriving Thursday night Feb 14th, leaving Sunday the 17th. We plan to go to a Broadway show, hit the MOMA, try to see a comedy show, and shop a bit. And eat! We'll be on foot, or using the subway, willing to travel.

I've been scouring the board and found lots of good suggestions. But the mentions of long lines at places like Shopsin's are scaring me away.

Any suggestions for places that won't have a 40 minute wait, and aren't too expensive? Anything cool and hip? Especially for a good breakfast or brunch? To give you an idea of our tastes….Boyfriend loves French bistro, fondue, burgers, and Asian. I’m more adventurous, really looking forward to good sushi and Asian food (Chinese, Japanese, Thai). Recs for ramen or a good wonton soup in the area would be much appreciated. We want to try Shake Shake. Will Probably hit up a deli too? Into trying food carts, since Montreal doesn’t allow them. Love a good cocktail and beer. And of course, trying to avoid the Olive Garden and such.

Can’t wait to hear what the Chowhound gods have to offer…. ;)
Thanks in advance! Merci!

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  1. Hit The Breslin for breakfast on either Sat or Sun as long as you are fairly early, we always manage to be there around 9 and never had a problem with a wait, actually fairly empty, I LOVE their steak and eggs. You could also hit another April Bloomfield place by going to The Spotted Pig for lunch or dinner, again, the trick is be early, they don't take rez but go to the bar around 430, have a drink/beer and tell the woman at the desk you'd like to put your name in for dinner.

    When you go to MOMA hit The Modern-Bar Room after the lunch crowd.

    Pastis for a good brunch, they take rez.

    Sushi, too many good places to narrow down but 15 East is highly regarded.

    Cocktails? The NoMad bar during off hours, Lanterns Keep (they take rez), Death and Co but be there when they open.

    There is absolutely NO REASON to have to fall back on places like The Olive Garden, you can always find something good without a wait if you look for it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Spiritchaser

      Thanks Spiritchaser, great info. Just looked up The Breslin and it is right up my alley, will definitely go early. I thought The Spotted Pig would be hard to get into, thanks for the bar tip.
      And I was wondering about the MOMA options... very helpful!

      1. re: Spiritchaser

        To add on:
        Spotted Pig often has a line waiting when they open for weekend brunch, but weekday lunch is very quiet. No wait at all when I have gone.

        Bar Room at the Modern is excellent and they take reservations.

        Mayahuel (tequila and mezcal cocktail bar) also just started taking reservations.

      2. Weekend brunch that takes reservations:
        Minetta Tavern
        Locanda Verde
        North End Grill
        Union Sq Cafe
        Balthazar
        The Dutch
        Maialino

        There's also usually no wait at The Breslin on a weekday.

        The wait at Shopsin's can be quite short on a weekday. Most of the line discussion is about people going on a Saturday.

        For ramen, try Friday lunch at Ippudo? The wait at dinner is insane; the waits at weekday lunch are short.

        For wonton soup, Noodle Village in Chinatown. I've never had to wait there.

        1. stay away from Times Square which is touristy and over priced. Walk over a couple of blocks to 9th avenue and you will find a15 block restaurant row with every kind of ethic food imaginable.

          1. If you're sensitive to long lines, perhaps a trip to Guy Fieri's new Times Square location, Guy's American Kitchen & Bar. It was just panned by the NY Times so you (and perhaps several other out-of-towners) will be the only ones waiting to dine.

            Mr. Fieri promises that his restaurant is cool and hip.

            Hey, you will have avoided the Olive Garden.

            1. I like Totto Ramen a lot. Its in the area. Lines can get long though. If you get there by 11:30 and get your name on the list, you will probably get in on the first wave of diners when they open at 12.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bkeats

                I went by Totto Ramen today at around 1 PM there was a line. Maybe 20 minute wait. On the weekend the line was extremely long. Ippudo always seems to have a long wait, even on weekdays lunch , unless you're just one person.
                Misoya for ramen usually has no wait at all and the Hokkaido style ramen is real good.
                Near Times Sq, sorry to disagree with Shaogo's post but I'd avoid Guy Fieri's place. In times Sq area, the Blue Fin has good seafood. Bekko although touristy, has decent food at a reasonable price. Sushi of Gari is in Times Sq and would be different modern style sushi. But don't forget at Ollive Garden " you're family",,,, LOL