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Feb 16, 2013 04:46 PM

NYC Food Itinerary

I have enjoyed previous help from Chowhounders, and would appreciate it again for my upcoming 5th trip to New York in March. We are staying at Central Park South. Open to most foods.

Day 1:

Dinner at Café China or Szechuan Gourmet (Never been to a Chinese restaurant in New York, would prefer it to be midtown or CP South)

Day 2:

Lunch at Le Bernardin (3-Course(Always wanted to go, love fish))

Dinner at Shake Shack or Minetta Tavern (Never been to SS, is MT worth extra for burger)

Day 3:

Lunch at Per Se (Never Been, will do 5-course)

Small Dinner at Gramercy Tavern (Tavern Section)

Day 4:

Lunch at Rouge Tomate (Business Lunch Prix-Fix)

Dinner at ? (Open to anything, want entrees to be around $30 or under (Interested in Spotted Pig?))

Day 5:

Lunch at (Taking train to Cold Springs in Hudson River Valley)

Dinner at Katz Deli (Never Been)

Day 6:

Lunch at The Little Owl

Dinner at ? (Something Very cheap ~ $10-$15 pp,Thinking of Luke's Lobster?)

Day 7:

Lunch at Jean Georges

Dinner at Babbo

P.S. Wondering if I should do dinner Daniel instead of Lunch at per se. I Have been to Daniel before and loved it, and a dinner seems more special (Can't afford dinner at per se). But I have always wanted to go to per se.


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  1. Day 1: Well, do you enjoy spicy foods? What kind of atmosphere do you want? SG is OK for a Chinese restaurant in terms of decor, Cafe China is nicer.

    Also! I'd make sure to do research on what is best at those places ahead of time. Stay away from the Americanized dishes in general. They are best at authentic Sichuan.

    Day 2: I assume this is a weekday as Le Bernardin doesn't do Saturday lunch & is closed Sundays.

    Go to Shake Shack if you want a thin, well seasoned patty with special sauce and a potato bun.

    Go to Minetta Tavern for the steak, atmosphere, cocktails, and other specialty dishes. The burger is good but a gimmick and the kitchen is very talented--they can do a LOT more than just a burger.

    Day 3: this is a Fri, Sat, or Sun, yes? Those are he only days Per Se serves lunch.

    Day 4: your itinerary is very heavy on French and American. How about tapas at Txikito? Thai at Kin Shop? Momofuku Ssam Bar? Japanese? Etc.

    Day 6: have dinner at a pizza joint. Maybe at Motorino.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      I love spicy foods, and I don't care about the atmosphere as long as the food is good.

      The days aren't that set in stone, because I have yet to get airfare, but yes I am aware of the days those restaurants serve lunch.

      What are the best cheaper (<$20) burgers in city? SS interests me because of their frozen custard and affordable burger with good reviews.

      I've always wanted to try Ssam Bar, maybe for dinner day 4? As the prices aren't on the menu, would it fall under the category of around $30 for an entree?

      Also interested in Sushi Yasuda, but would probably put me over budget. How much are the sushi rolls about?

      1. re: lhenry

        Your Chinese choices are good, look at each menu to see which appeals more.

        I personally love Shake Shack but a lot of people don't, especially if they crave a bigger burger that is done rare. If you're looking for custard, you can't really find it elsewhere, either.

        Ssam's larger plates are usually in the mid-20s.

        Yasuda is known not for rolls but nigiri sushi.

        If you want maki try Blue Ribbon Sushi in Soho, or Blue Ribbon Sushi & Izakaya on the LES.

        BTW, the lobster rolls at Luke's are $15 and on the petite side. You may need two if you have a big appetite.

        1. re: kathryn

          I think SG looks better to me.

          I trust your opinion and will stick with Shake Shack.

          I will put Ssam Bar in for Dinner Day 4.

          Finally, Luke's lobster roll sounds better than sushi. We have enough fresh sushi on the West Coast, so Maine Lobster will be a nice change.

          Thank you so much for your advice!

    2. On Day 7, I would not do JG for lunch.

      If Day 7 is a Th, Fri, or Sat, then go to EMP.

      Every time I've had lunch at JG, I always feel like the kitchen is being artificially restrained, sort of like sitting in coach next to a 500 lbs lady with an overactive bladder.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit

        We went to EMP last summer when lunch was $74 pp for 4 courses, and I don't feel like paying 5 times what I will already be paying at Jean Georges (Never Been) for something I've already tried.

      2. some thoughts:

        -- i like Wu Liang Ye (48th St) better than either SG or Cafe China (my two visits to SG were underwhelming, and i used to love CC but it's gone downhill i believe)...

        -- i wouldn't do Per Se and Gram Tavern (even the Tavern Room) in the same day: if you do Per Se lunch, i'd say that a very light casual dinner would work better...

        -- consider Bar Pitti -- casual, cash-only Tuscan w/ a chalk board of delicious specials, pleasant people watching, and charming staff...

        -- consider a night of wine and hopping btw El Quinto Pino and (as Kathryn mentioned) it's sister restaurant Txikito restaurant for tapas...

        -- based on the places you've mentioned, i'd consider The NoMad, especially eating at the bar...

        Cheers, and please report back

        5 Replies
        1. re: Simon

          I thought the NoMad stopped serving food at the bar? Did this policy change?

          1. re: kathryn

            i've had full meals at the bar at The NoMad about 3 or 4 times btw Halloween and now -- last time was 1+ months ago though...when did you hear that they stopped?...

            1. re: Simon

              Someone, Spiritchaser maybe, posted on here that they stopped around the time of their NY Times review.

          2. re: Simon

            How about switch Luke's and Gramercy Tavern since kathryn said portions were on the smaller side?

            BTW: Is there a difference in quality between the locations of Luke's?

            1. re: Simon

              Seconding Bar Pitti! It's a wonderful neighborhood spot that's been around since I was a kid.

            2. We got our airfare, arriving on March 27 and Leaving on April 3. However, we have decided to include Washington D.C. in our trip from Sunday morning to Tuesday Afternoon (31-2), but will move Jean Georges to the day we leave as we have a late departure. That means I won't be going to Katz, The Little Owl (sadly), or Gramercy Tavern, and will transition those days to the D.C. boards.

              P.S. I wanted to thank you guys again for your help, and look forward to your help again. Will post a review of my trip when I get back.

              1. I just got reservations to per se for my preferred date!

                7 Replies
                1. re: lhenry

                  Glad you're getting to go to Per Se, it is a great restaurant.
                  I also love Jean Georges. Two of the best restaurants in the city maybe the country.
                  Sorry you don't get to try Katz's, I'd pick it over Luke's ( not sure if you're still going to Luke's). I'd do Ed's over Luke's especially since it is a dinner thing. Luke's is not a "proper" place for dinner, it has only about 8 seats. The lobster rolls are way better at Ed's.
                  Gramercy Tavern is no great loss, it's an average place.
                  Little Owl is good,but not exceptional.
                  Enjoy Wash DC, there are some nice places to eat there.

                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                    If you're going to DC you could skip Szechuan in Manhattan and go to Hong Kong Palace in Falls Church. I've been to Chengdu and it's pretty close to what I had there. Not perfect but much more like what I had than other places I've been in the States. That frees you up for another meal and I think Minetta Tavern is a really good place to try. It is pricey though...

                    You could go to Luke's in DC. It's good but not something that I've craved when I visit NYC. Katz's on the other hand is definitely worth it. Ask for a fatty cut of the pastrami and you're good to go. Lobster rolls are a New England thing whereas a good pastrami sandwich is a New York thing. Save the lobster rolls for a trip further north in my opinion.

                    I've had Per Se's lunch menu and the full tasting and the full tasting in my mind is much better. You don't get oysters and pearls with the 5 course and the ingredients frankly aren't the same level as the tasting. I guess you still get to feel pampered and have all the mignardises but I really felt that the full tasting was much more memorable from a food perspective.

                    I live in DC so let me know if you want more suggestions and we can discuss over on that board. I travel to NYC several times a year so I try to keep up with the Manhattan board and can help compare the NYC vs DC dining scenes.

                    1. re: miltronix

                      @miltronix I don't plan traveling outside central D.C. and the National Mall Area, as we won't be renting a car. Also, Minetta Tavern would push me over my already pushed budget, even though I do want to try it.

                      I think I will put both Luke's and Katz for dinner, and decide when I get there and see what my mood is like.

                      Per Se: Again, I would love to get the full tasting, but it would be out of my budget. Do you know if you can substitute the normal first course on the lunch menu for the oysters and pearls on the full?

                      1. re: lhenry

                        This is a bit late but you can add the oysters and pearls to the lunch menu for $30. I didn't ask to substitute but I imagine there would be an upcharge.

                        1. re: miltronix

                          We went there two weeks ago, and substituted for the oysters and pearls and there was no up charge.

                          1. re: lhenry

                            That's good to know! So how was the meal?

                            1. re: miltronix

                              I reviewed my trip about two weeks ago