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Feb 9, 2013 05:11 AM

Yes, another "Need Restaurant Recs for NYC"

First of all, I apologize for another similar topic from someone looking for restaurant recs. that said, I have lurked around here enough to know I need to provide some background first;

- Who: My wife (34) and I (37), both from a small blue color Eastern Canadian town of around 100k.

- When: Arrive Tuesday Feb 12th to Saturday the 16th. First 2 nights we are staying at the Hampton Inn in SoHo, the last 2 nights at the Hilton Garden Inn on 35th between 5th and 6th Ave.

- Budget: We both love food and this is one of the prime reasons for coming to NYC. We are willing to pay $100+ fir a dinner (multiple nights) before tax, tip and drinks.

- Likes: We love all types of food though my wife is not a huge fan of sushi. Honestly, we love Chinese, Indian, Thai, Burgers, Street Food, Italian (American and Traditional regional Italian), etc, etc.

- Manhattan vs. Traveling to the Burroughs: we are willing to travel any where a subway can take us. That said, if we are going to Queens or Brooklyn, would prefer to hit a few spots and not just take a 30 minute ride for the best Pizza then come right back.

- Other interests: I am a huge classic film lover (60 to 90s especially including foreign and indies). Also big music geek and collect vinyl.

- Must dos or places to visit: we never made it to Chinatown on our last visit so we would like some good Chinese especially dumplings and/dim sum. We are going to hit up Momofuko Noodle Bar. Would like some good pizza. Going to Crif Dog, Big Gay Ice Cream and Porchetta again in the East Village. Also, I know it is a tourist trap but we loved Eataly more then Babbo (that is another thread). We really like the Ace Hotel /Stumptown. Oh yeah, Tapas would be good too. Some healthy breakfast and lumch options would be good. Also, our preference is to sit at a bar vs. at a table.

- Places we want to avoid: Times Square. Places so loud you cannot talk BUT we do like fun atmospheres with good music (think sitting at the bar at Noodle Bar). Also, we do not need seafood suggestions as coming from a port city, we are good there.

Hmm, I think I covered it all. Anyway, thanks to all in advance for any suggestions!

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    1. You are planning very last minute for the $100pp+ types of places. Those book 3-4 weeks in advance. Plus you are coming around Valentine's Day, which means a lot more people going to the fancy places on 2/14.

      Also, will you be bringing a jacket for dinner? Restaurants here no longer require ties but a handful still require that gentlemen wear jackets for dinner.

      I assume you meant $100 and up PER PERSON and not total. $100 total is more like mid-range in Manhattan.

      For the Outer Boroughs, you need to post on the OB board.

      Did you make it to Motorino or Txikito during your last trip? What about all of the other recommendations people gave you?

      3 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Hey there Kathryn,

        To answer your questions: I may bring a jacket but if anything, it may be for function & fashion (Tweed Sportcoat) vs. required dining attire. We want to keep it fun and casual and really do not want to HAVE to get dressed specifically for dinner.

        High Range\Mid Range: To answer your question, money is not the main constraint. Meaning, I am also thinking of adding the WD-40 12 course prix fix as an option which is not super cheap, but the fact that it seems like a fun, creative and unique place is what is drawing us, not the price point. In short, not looking for EMP, Babbo, Ko suggestions (lack of reservations and V Day happening next week will also place a constraint on this.

        - We did not make it to Motorino or Txikito last time but they are on the short list for this coming week. I am craving some Iberico ham and nice cheese (among some other things).

        Thanks again for your reply,

        1. re: Thebunk

          I think you mean WD-50, make that reservation ASAP. I looked on your dates for a table for 2 and they don't have many tables left. Only on 2/12 and 2/13, 6pm and 9:30pm.

          For jamon iberico go to Despana, a Spanish retail goods store with excellent ham and cheese. They carry the 5 Jotas brand, which is really great. Better than Fermin IMO.

          As for tapas at Txikito, their food is great but their menu isn't really heavy with jamon iberico. For jamon heavy tapas, go to Tertulia, but I think they serve Fermin brand.

          1. re: Thebunk

            A tweed sportcoat will be fine anywhere you might go.

        2. If you collect vinyl, then here is a suggestion:
          House of Oldies record shop on Carmine st (off Bleecker)--stop in and peruse--they only sell records.
          Then, you can walk on Bleecker
          Walk west for for places like Murray's Cheese Shop, Amy's Bread, Rocco's Bakery, John's pizza, Po (Cornelia st just above Bleecker. It's a Batali place)
          Walk east for:
          Caffe Dante (Macdougal just below Bleecker)
          Arturo's pizza (Houston at Thompson st, they also have good "red sauce" dishes like Chcken Parm and stuffed clams)
          Porto Rico Coffee--they have been roasting since 1907. If you like Stumptown or good coffee in general then it's worth a stop. Not a sit down place at all, but they have brewed coffee at the back counter.

          For street food, Tribeca Taco Truck is usually on Broadway near Prince (in Soho) on most days. I love their carnitas.

          These areas are more "touristy" than they used to be, but they don't approach the level of Times Square.

          Additionally, search this board for posts by kathryn--she has a lot of info and suggestions. Her opinions are well-regarded here in CH.

          Also keep in mind that on Valentine's day (which falls in the middle of your trip), many places have set menus and are not at their best. Also, getting reservations at higher end or popular places may not be possible at this late date. But there is so much in this city to see and to eat. I promise you will not be bored!

          1. I'd strongly recommend Keste for Italian pizza in the west village.
            Murray cheese bar, if you're into cheese, for something different from the ordinary restaurants.
            Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho, probably the best French bakery in New York.
            Annisa in the west village, delicious food, a 78$ tasting menu in a classy and beautiful place.
            Mas (farmhouse) an other classy fine-dining experience in the west village with a more relaxed vibe than the traditional Michelin stars restaurant.
            WD-50 in the les for something out of the ordinary and adventurous (Michelin starred and under 100$).
            Marea for top-fine-dining Italian focused on seafood.
            Last Sunday I had a delicious burger/brunch at colicchio&sons in the meatpacking.

            1. Unless you're going to Flushing for dim sum (for which, see the Outer Boroughs board), go to Nom Wah for dumplings, and if you want to go for another dim sum lunch, go to Dim Sum Go Go. Both places have good items, though I'm not sure I can vouch for the buns (as opposed to almost any other dim sum item) at DSGG.

              There's some very good Sichuan food in Manhattan (Szechuan Gourmet remains my favorite so far), but there's a great variety of delicious and interesting Chinese food in Flushing - and it's cheaper, leaving you more money for the more expensive meals, if you want to stretch your budget for them - so my suggestion is for you to check out the Outer Boroughs board for cuisines that interest you and combine your trip with a bit of shopping for takeout, especially presuming you'll have a hotel refrigerator.

              For Thai, Queens is really your best bet, and a trip to Elmhurst or Woodside can be combined with a walk around the Indian and Latino neighborhood of Jackson Heights. Post to Outer Boroughs for more info. If you are staying in Manhattan, the best Thai restaurants are the original Wondee Siam and Zabb Elee, but I really stress that you'll do better if you go to one of the better Thai eateries in Queens.

              For Indian food, I recommend Anjappar, but it's not high-end at all (rather, sort of mid-rangeish). Do a search for high-end Indian.

              See if you can get reservations for either lunch (much cheaper) or dinner at Tocqueville, which serves refined New American cuisine in a very civilized setting.

              There are some very good Italian restaurants to choose from, though some of them will stretch your budget if you get wine. I've had 3 really good dinners at Ai Fiori, and I recently had a very pleasant though not perfect lunch at Lincoln (I would give them another chance without much hesitation, I think). Scarpetta is a small chain now, but very reliable. And there are others (Marea was mentioned; my lunch there had some very good dishes but didn't blow me away, and the environment there is super-corporate, which you might or might not like - wear a suit if you're bringing one).

              I don't agree that Eataly is a tourist trap, and I had a tasty dinner at Le Verdure last year. I surely didn't like it better than Babbo, but that's the wrong eatery in Eataly to compare to Babbo.

              I just noticed you want tapas. As Kathryn will tell you, you need to go to Txikito.

              What do you mean by "healthy" breakfast and lunch options? Low-carb?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Pan

                These are great suggestions and exactly what I am looking for. I really appreciate the Italian recs as we are not looking for a Babbo type experiece (great but pricey food with a noisey, older crowd & hit\miss service).

                Also I think we will need to consider Txikito due to all of the rave reviews on the board.

                Regarding healthy options, I guess something not too bad for breakfast or lunch. Thinking less carbs\grease but specific to diet (i.e. carb, veg only, gluten free, etc). It is just we are going to try to cram as much different types of food as we can (not neccessarily a ton of it per sitting) and breakfast especially would be good to have some light options.

                Thanks again for your reply!

                1. re: Thebunk

                  Sure thing.

                  Hmmmm....light breakfast/lunch...Well, it is not low-carb, but have you tried the mujadara at Kalustyan's? You could get some and share it, possibly along with other appetizers on the 2nd floor if you like. That'll be cheap, tasty, informal, and if you can restrain yourself not to eat too much, perhaps light. Did you want gluten-free, though? Mujadara has bulghur wheat in it, so that wouldn't be good and you should skip the whole idea if you do need gluten-free.

                  Another thought I had was a vegetarian Indian restaurant like Chennai Garden, but the problem with that in terms of being light is that Indian food tends to use ghee. Still, you could get some green vegetables with mustard seeds and so forth there. Again, not expensive, informal, and your service is probably not going to be better than adequate. But by having a cheap yet good lunch, you save money to spend more on dinner.