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Mar 8, 2013 11:36 AM

1st time to NYC and looking for helpful hints

Hello NYC,

We are heading to NYC next week (14th thru the 17th) and are looking to enjoy as many of the great restaurants as we can. We will have a few things planned, but make no mistake, our main focus is food! We are not interested in mega expensive meals, nor are we interested in Outbacks or any other chain restaurant. We want unique and if possible... quaint, and a few of the high tourist spots (Eataly, Katz, Momofuku).

After seeing an earlier posts I will lay out our trip and hope that we can get input on visiting as many great food places as we can. The only thing we are absolutely tied to is a play on Friday night, and maybe Book of Mormon Saturday afternoon. We would also like to make an attempt at getting SNL tickets early Saturday morning.

We are staying in the Tribeca area and will walk or take the subway to as many things as we can. Other places/things we would like to do... walk the Brooklyn Bridge (Thursday), go to the Chelsea Market(Friday), see the High Line(Friday), play (Friday night)SNL tickets, see Bryant Park (sunday). We love bakeries, coffee and great frozen deserts. We love unique restaurants and lately have come to love places that have tasting plates (our local wine bars have some of the best). For food we also enjoy Italian, French, bakeries, delis, waffles, brunch, ice cream sandwiches, ice pops, etc.). We also love food trucks and will be keeping our eyes open!

Any suggestions would be great. Thanks in advance.

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  1. 1. What do you mean by "mega expensive"? It is better to give an exact dollar figure when asking for recommendations, such as "$50pp before tax/tip/wine/drinks."

    2. Where is your play on Friday night?

    3. Book of Mormon -- afterwards I would walk over to Danji and have an early dinner there.

    Modern Korean tapas. Small, tasty, not super cheap but a good value for what you get.

    4. If you're at Rockefeller Center anyway for SNL tickets, stop into Bouchon Bakery or Dean & Deluca for a snack; they give out the SNL tickets around 7am but most of the places in Rock Center don't open until 8am or later.

    5. Brooklyn Bridge - you need to decide what direction you are going. From Manhattan to BK, or from BK to Manhattan.

    If you mean that your walk is ending at the Brooklyn side, have lunch at Juliana's. New pizza joint from legend Patsy Grimaldi, Patsy Grimaldi is the original owner of Grimaldi's Pizza. He sold it some time ago, and immediately regretted selling, and has been looking to get back into the pizza game ever since. Drama ensued. Now he's finally back, essentially next door to his old joint.

    If you mean ending at the Manhattan side, you're really close to all of Manhattan Chinatown. For something you can't find at home, I would recommend Xian Foods on 67 Bayard St. They serve Shaanxi style Chinese food. Excellent cumin lamb "burgers" and spicy cumin lamb hand-pulled noodles. (Note: the East Broadway location is closed, go to the Bayard St one instead). Casual, cheap, delicious.

    6. Chelsea Market, and what is good there:

    My High Line/Chelsea Market/West Village self-guided noshing tour:

    Definitely stop into Victory Garden and Grom if you like frozen desserts.

    7. Bryant Park is really small, and not something that will take up the whole day. Are you planning on seeing Times Square, the NYPL, Grand Central afterwards?

    Best bakeries: do you mean pastry or bread?



    Check out The Scoop app from the NY Times for coffee recommendations from Oliver Strand, it's great.

    > We love unique restaurants and lately have come to love places that have tasting plates (our local wine bars have some of the best).

    "Small plates" that sort of thing? This basically describes every new restaurant in NYC. There are dozens and dozens of restaurants in NYC who now have "snacks" "small plates" "nibbles" "bites" etc on their menus. Tons of restaurants are doing shareable stuff these days so saying you like small plates doesn't really narrow things down.

    This isn't really a great town for waffles. My theory is that most restaurants don't want a uni-tasker that takes up space and is only really used 2x a week.

    For the best brunch in town, purely based on food:

    The Breslin - lamb burger with thrice fried fries, deep fried PB&J, full English breakfast, grilled 3-cheese sandwich (with cheese on the outside), excellent bacon, great pastries

    Clinton St Baking Co - blueberry pancakes with warm maple butter, biscuit sandwich with cheddar, egg, tomato jam, and bacon

    Prune - dutch baby, deep fried monte cristo, "prune juice" (lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit


    Minetta Tavern - black label burger, ham baked in hay, shirred eggs with morels or truffles, latkes with poached eggs, brioche french toast, duck hash

    Locanda Verde - "tre-stelle" juice (pomegranate, blood oranges and valencia oranges), sheep's milk ricotta with truffle honey and burnt orange toast, pastries, poached eggs with cotechino hash, spinach and tomato hollandaise, shaved porchetta sandwich

    Of the list I provided, Minetta Tavern & Locanda Verde take reservations, the others don't and also have long lines, esp Clinton St. I also really enjoy Public, Joseph Leonard, and Spotted Pig for brunch, but no reservations at these.

    Best ice cream sandwiches:

    Best frozen treats:

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn


      Thanks for all the information!

      1.As for mega expensive, we like to keep it under $50 per plate (before tip) but would not mind one dinner being more of a splurge of no more than $100 per plate.

      2. Our play is at Broadhurst Theatre (235 W. 44th Street)

      5. We are looking at going from Manhattan to BK on our walk across. I thought we would grab a good coffee and pastry on the Manhattan side and walk over and have lunch/wine...hit up another bakery and take a cab/subway back.

      7. Bakeries...mainly pastries. We are huge snackers..even though my wife is only pushing 90 lbs. :). She can eat!

      Sorry...I am not sure small plates best describes what we are thinking. Here is a menu of one of our local bests (apologies if the formatting is hard to read).....

      You basically get a menu in sections in which you can pick and choose from that list.

      Farmer’s Platter..Mix and match any of the following cheeses, cured meats, & bites.

      One 6 Three 13 Five 19 Seven 24

      Cheeses & cured meats served with jam, caramelized nuts, & crostini. Extra crostini - 1 Dollar

      Delice de bourgogne (Burgundy, France)
      Mild and creamy, like delicious Butter.
      Sottocenere with Truffles (Veneto, Italy)
      Semi-soft with black truffles.
      Piave Vecchio (Veneto, Italy)
      Extra aged and hard, Parmesan-like.
      Two-Year Gouda (Holland)
      Hard, crystalline texture, mocha,
      coffee notes
      Jasper Cellars Cabot Cloth-Bound
      Cheddar (Vermont)
      Made by Cabot, aged in the jasper hills
      cellars; judged North America’s #1
      cheese, nutty & sharp.
      Beehive “Barely Buzzed” (Utah)
      Rubbed with a complex blend of South
      American, Central American & Indonesian
      coffee grind, as well as lavender buds.
      Blue Blue Brie (Germany)
      Two of my favorite types of cheese
      rolled into one. Creamy.
      Saint Agur (France)
      A Double-Cream blue, complex but
      mild, delicious.
      Rogue Smokey Blue (Oregon)
      The first smoked blue; cold- smoked
      for 16 hours over hazelnut shells;
      caramel and nut notes offer a nice
      contrast to the blue.

      Charcuterie/Cured Meats
      Notes of spice and pepper - Beautiful.
      Kiev Russian Style Salami
      A touch of garlic & spice, very balanced.
      Italian Speck
      Dry-Cured and smoked Prosciutto
      House-Cured Salmon
      Fresh crushed coriander, dill,
      and lemon zest.
      Imported Olives
      Tomato & Olive Bruschetta
      Roasted Mushroom Bruschetta
      Deviled Eggs
      Side Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

      Cypress Grove “Purple Haze” (California)
      Spreadable, with fresh lavender.
      Carr Valley Goat Cheddar (Wisconson)
      A firm goat cheese, fresh and balanced.
      Ossau Iraty (Aquitiane, France)
      Semi-soft, buttery on palate, earthy.
      Idiazabal (Spanish Pyrenees)
      Traditionally aged in chimneys, this raw
      cheese is firm, smoky,and buttery.
      Campo De Montalbon (La Mancha, Spain)
      Great Balance, salty, nutty, sweet, with a
      goaty finish! Similar to Manchego.
      Cow, Goat, and Sheep Blend.

      We love this type of dining, as we can pick and choose our favorites...and they are actually very small portions.

      Thanks again!

      1. re: TidelWave


        The Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge isn't really a pastry and coffee hot spot. It may be better to do a detour to Dominique Ansel, Payard, Mille-Feuille, etc. on your way.

        However once you do cross, like at Juliana's plus a visit to Almondine Bakery would be nice.

        Since you only have four days in NYC, I'd would not focus on seeking out mix and match meat/cheese/appetizer plates.

        Try some Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Spanish, Greek, etc food instead.

        Don't forget to check out a bunch of "Only in NY" type foods: bagels and smoked salmon, pastrami on rye, pizza, hot dogs & papaya juice, black and white cookies, cheesecake, egg creams, pickles, halal carts.

        Russ & Daughters (takeout, busy on weekends), Katz's Deli (from When Harry Met Sally), Papaya King etc. (not gourmet but iconic), William Greenberg's black and whites, Junior's cheesecake, egg creams from Gem Spa or Ray's, Pickle Guys, the Halal Guys (53rd and 6th after sunset), are all iconic sorts of places.

    2. Check out times first but one good early day experience I suggest is grab a bagel with some fish at Russ and Daughter, head to the Tenement Museum then hit Katz's for lunch. (Try a hot dog, too.)

      1. It's not a chain restaurant, but it is themed. I reccomend trying out Jekyll&Hyde. If you want something unique, this is pretty unique to NYC from what I've seen (unlike big "chain" restuarants like Hard Rock and Bubba Gump that choose specific cities).

        5 Replies
        1. re: dobekins

          That might be the first time I have seen Jeckle and Hyde reccomended on this board. Interesting suggestion.

          Head down to Union Square as there are about7 food trucks lined up and you can do aa crawl one afternoon.

          1. re: dobekins

            J&H is a cheezy tourist trap, haunted house-themed subpar place that has nothing in common with the words "good food" .

            avoid avoid avoid

            1. re: thegforceny

              Makes for an interesting experience. A couple of my friends have gone and haven't complained, but if you don't want a tourist trap yeah....then no J&K

              1. re: dobekins

                OP seeks "to enjoy as many of the great restaurants as we can. ...make no mistake, our main focus is food!"

            2. re: dobekins

              Why would anyone go to J and H ? Certainly not to eat.