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Decisions - Katz, Delicatessen, or 2nd Avenue Deli for lunch; Mas Farmhouse, Blue Hill, or Quality Meat

c
cookingmatterschef Mar 5, 2013 12:25 PM

Meeting our son and his girlfriend, who are both students at the Culinary Institute of America, mid-April in Manhattan and need opinions on a few places. Staying at The Strand (west 37th between Fifth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas).

For late deli lunch on Saturday (at the request of the mid-western hubby), which deli is best, Katz, Delicatessen, or 2nd Avenue Deli (other recommendations welcome)?

For a very nice Saturday night dinner, I think interested in a farm-to-table restaurant or someplace meat-y (son is hoping to extern at a farm-to-table place in Aspen and is interested in being a butcher). Research suggests F2Ts can be quite inconsistent, and I've ruled out ABC Kitchen because it looks more touristy than what I want. Even though Quality Meats is not farm-to-table, menu looks great for what it is and son would like it a lot.

On Sunday, we are having brunch before Once matinee at Jane (decent reviews and reservations accepted, our foremost criteria), but other ideas welcome.

Dinner reservations are for "Sunday supper" at Public (super excited about this).

Most important criteria is GREAT food, price isn't an issue, but NO stuffiness (no sport coats), which eliminates most of the Michelin places - correct??

Hubby and I having lunch Monday at Gramercy Tavern after the kids go back to Hyde Park.

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

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  1. b
    Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 5, 2013 12:39 PM

    I haven't even been to 2nd Avenue Deli, but I can tell you with great certainty that Katz will NOT be disappointing. Stop by Russ and Daughters next door if you have any room left, to sample smoked and cured fish -- another part of the classic Jewish-American culinary experience you won't be likely to find in the Midwest.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
      r
      RCC Mar 5, 2013 01:01 PM

      +1 on Katz's.

      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
        monkeyrotica Mar 5, 2013 01:59 PM

        Third Katz. Pastrami on rye with a Cel Ray soda.

      2. r
        RCC Mar 5, 2013 01:07 PM

        You ruled out ABC Kitchen because you feel that it's too touristy ... well, I truly believe that Quality Meats rakes in at least as much, if not more, tourists.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RCC
          c
          cookingmatterschef Mar 5, 2013 01:31 PM

          RCC, ABC Kitchen had been on my list, but both recommendations (it being touristy and a strong endorsement for Quality Meats) were from the hotel's concierge. Thanks for the clarification.

        2. k
          kathryn Mar 5, 2013 01:07 PM

          > For late deli lunch on Saturday (at the request of the mid-western hubby), which deli is best, Katz, Delicatessen, or 2nd Avenue Deli (other recommendations welcome)?

          What kind of food are you looking for? Katz's is known for their pastrami but the bread they serve it with isn't great & the other items can be hit or miss. It's got history & great atmosphere, though. 2nd Avenue Deli's pastrami isn't that great, but some other items, like the matzoh balls or the chicken soup, are really good. It is more expensive, though, and I recall the sandwiches being smaller. Whereas it's easy to split a sandwich at Katz's.

          > ABC Kitchen because it looks more touristy than what I want. Even though Quality Meats is not farm-to-table, menu looks great for what it is and son would like it a lot.

          ABC Kitchen is excellent and I like the food there a lot, I'm not sure I'd describe it as touristy. If you want some place "meat-y" and your son is interested in becoming a butcher, why not look into Resto/The Cannibal? Quality Meats is pretty good, too, but it's not my favorite steak in the city; it does have good sides and a more modern, hip atmosphere.

          With both a deli and a steakhouse, this is a pretty meat heavy day, though.

          > On Sunday, we are having brunch before Once matinee at Jane (decent reviews and reservations accepted, our foremost criteria), but other ideas welcome.

          Not sure why you are having brunch so far away from the Theatre District, as most people prefer to be close.

          However, if you are OK with not being in Midtown, these Sunday brunches are good and these places all take reservations:
          Minetta Tavern
          Locanda Verde
          North End Grill
          Union Sq Cafe

          Some people also enjoy brunch at Maialino; I think it's good but not as good as the others I listed for brunch. They are also all on OpenTable. None are near the Theatre District, but IMO the best brunches in town are not in Midtown (and they don't take reservations).

          There are actually more a few Michelin starred places that I would not characterize as stuffy. Have you looked at the 1 star list? Casual dress would be perfectly fine at The Breslin, Casa Mono, Danji, Lan Sheng, Minetta Tavern, Peter Luger, Public, Spotted Pig, Torrisi Italian Specialities, to name a few.

          Your criteria of "great food, not stuffy" is pretty broad for NY and your list of restaurants doesn't seem very diverse in terms of cuisines. What about Momofuku Ssam Bar, Empellon Cocina, Mission Chinese, Txikito, Takashi (your son might dig the menu of different offal types), etc.?

          3 Replies
          1. re: kathryn
            c
            cookingmatterschef Mar 5, 2013 01:49 PM

            Kathryn,

            THANK YOU for the recommendations. As I said above, some of this was from the hotel's concierge.

            I am now thinking something now quite so heavy for Saturday lunch instead of a meat-y deli. You reconfirmed what I'd read about 2nd Ave. deli - some things great, others not so (I doubt anyone would order matzoh ball soup). I was learning towards Katz any way because we want to walk around Soho Saturday afternoon. Any fun lunch recommendations to throw out - regardless of cuisine?

            If I want to go farm-to-table, which do you prefer: ABC Kitchen, Blue Hill, or Mas Farmhouse?

            I will also research the others you've provided and will likely be back with questions (we are going to Public on Sunday).

            1. re: cookingmatterschef
              Motosport Mar 5, 2013 02:26 PM

              FYI: 2nd Ave Deli is not "bad" it's just not as good as Katz's. The ambience is also VERY different.
              Katz's is a unique experience. Definitely great fun for a visitor to NYC.
              Hint: when you order the pastrami sammich give the counter man a buck tip and ask for fatty not lean. You will not be disappointed.
              Also: the sammiches are big enough for two hearty eaters to share.

              1. re: cookingmatterschef
                k
                kathryn Mar 5, 2013 03:24 PM

                Nothing wrong per se with the hotel's recommendations, it just seemed like your itinerary was unbalanced.

                For Saturday lunch, you could share sandwiches at Katz's Deli and/or also share some bagels with smoked salmon, nearby at Russ & Daughters (take out) as Big Bad Voodoo Lou suggests.

                On Saturday, most sit down restaurants will be serving brunch, not lunch, if that matters to you.

                I think ABC Kitchen is good for a casual meal with shabby chic decor, grandma plates, recycled cardboard for menus. The food is good, the furniture could be more comfortable, and it does get loud. I've not done Blue Hill in the city, only at Stone Barns, and that was more of a special occasion meal for us. My only complaint was with the reusing of ingredients in multiple dishes, even in June, when you'd think they have a lot of options. I also really like Mas Farmhouse but I worry it would be too close in feel to Gramercy Tavern. I sometimes call Mas the downtown version of GT, and also it feels a little on the romantic side, IMO.

            2. Motosport Mar 5, 2013 01:53 PM

              We live 3 blocks from 2nd Ave Deli and more often than not we head down to Katz's because it is so much better and a blast to eat there. It is a NYC experience.
              That being said, 2nd Ave Deli is also good and our best bet in the neighborhood since Sarge's had their fire.

              1. f
                foodwhisperer Mar 5, 2013 02:58 PM

                I agree with all the other posters,that Katz's is better than 2nd Ave Deli, but if you went to 2nd Ave, you still get good Deli experience.
                I don't think ABC is too touristy, and the food is good.
                Quality Meats attracts the sport coat crowd. I'd sooner go to Brooklyn to Peter Luger or Wolfgang in Tribeca.
                SoHo lunch i'd recommend Balthazar but that might be too touristy, perhaps Osteria Morini or Ed's Lobster
                Jane has good baked eggs.
                For your CIA crew, perhaps they would really like WD-50 or Jungsik

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