First time in NYC, 10 day trip, need help with a couple breakfasts and dinners.
Hello! My name is Oliver. Ill be visiting NYC from July 20th to the 29th with my fiance Teal. Ive been lurking on the Manhattan and Outer buroughs boards for awhile and I am quite overwhelmed at all the options NYC has to offer. I am planning on spending most of my time enjoying the sights and sounds, but I definitely enjoy a great meal.
So far I have 2 definites. One would be Aquavit, as I havent had that type of cuisine yet, and the other would be brunch at Public, because I love brunch. Also, I've read good things about both places on CH. What I was hoping for were a couple suggestions for 1 more good dinner and another good brunch, and maybe a few inbetween lunches that are in close proximity to the big museums like the MOMA, MET and guggenheim. I think these places aren't actually very far from each other, but I have a bad knee and don't want to have to walk to much.
A few details to help you narrow things down. I am from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and this will be my first time in NYC. I am 31. I am not picky at all and in fact I can try anything once. We will be staying in LIC but will most likely be in Manhattan most of the time and are spending our last 2 nights at the Casablanca in Times Square. My fiance does not eat red meat or pork, but is willing to try most things that those are not mixed into. Our budget is around $150 pp all inclusive for dinner, but I don't drink alcohol and fiance is a lightweight. Thats the max though and I understand a lot of the top places are beyond that. We went to the Ledbury last Christmas in London and spent about $250 pp and did not feel the value, but ate at Roganic which was about half that and we considered it our favorite meal yet. Also, we are considering doing the LES food tour that kathryn has linked to often because I really want to go to Russ & Daughters and try lots of NY food. Also, I love espresso, and we both love chocolate, and desserts and pastries and cookies.
Edit: We would really like to try excellent dim sum as well.
I realise I am rambling but hopefully this helps get things started and I promise I will respond to any question and do anything Im told to do (in regards to research).
We just went to Mas Farmhouse for an anniversary dinner...they have an $89 tasting menu. The food and service were great, and it's not super dressy. It's in the West Village, easy to get to via subway. http://www.masfarmhouse.com/
And if you're interested in Aquavit, think about coming up to Harlem and going to Red Rooster--Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant (he was the chef at Aquavit for many years before he opened Red Rooster a few years ago). The food and ambience are great, and different from anything you'll find in Fort Lauderdale. It's also very easy to get to via subway and you'll experience a really nice Harlem vibe. http://redroosterharlem.com/
> One would be Aquavit, as I havent had that type of cuisine yet, and the other would be brunch at Public, because I love brunch.
If you love brunch, I would plan to do many more brunches in NYC! Especially because there are many places that do weekday brunch. You do have 10 days here!
I would hit up Public on a Saturday, for example, and then make a reservation for Sunday at either Minetta Tavern, as both only do weekend brunch. Then on the weekdays, choose a place like The Breslin, Shopsin's, or Clinton St Baking Co that usually has long lines on the weekends. If you're here for 10 days, you can go to a different, excellent breakfast/brunch every day.
Some weekday options:
Locanda Verde - weekday breakfast from 7:00AM to 11:00AM
The Breslin - 7:00am to 11:45am
Clinton St. Baking Company - 8am - 4pm
Joseph Leonard - breakfast Tuesday – Friday, 8am -11:30am
Sarabeth's - try the UWS, UES, and Central Park South ones for weekday breakfast from 8am-3:30pm
Barney Greengrass - note: closed Mondays, restaurant opens at 8:30am
Balthazar - 7:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Maialino - 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Lafayette - 7:30 am - 11:30 am
> maybe a few inbetween lunches that are in close proximity to the big museums like the MOMA, MET and guggenheim.
Near the the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim, I would try to eat at Café Sabarsky at 5th Ave and 86th. Especially because they are known for their pastry program. Closed Tuesdays.
Avoid the cafe inside the Met, it's mediocre.
Near MoMA, the easiest thing to do may be to eat at the Cafe on the 2nd floor inside the museum, which is actually pretty good, especially for a museum restaurant! It's run by Danny Meyer's restaurant group (Union Sq Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, North End Grill, Blue Smoke, Shake Shack, etc).
If you want to do something a little nicer near MoMA, go down the block to The Modern. Make a reservation for the "Bar Room," (their casual room) on OpenTable, and share some Alsatian-inspired small plates / half-entrees in a gorgeous, sleek room. Do two savory plates and one sweet plate each, and do not miss their beignets. Since you like desserts, at a minimum, try to stop in just for those. They are open continuously throughout the day.
> We went to the Ledbury last Christmas in London and spent about $250 pp and did not feel the value, but ate at Roganic which was about half that and we considered it our favorite meal yet.
For those of us unfamiliar with the Roganic, what kind of food do they serve? What exactly did you like about it? More details can help...
$150pp is about $116 for food/drink (before tax, tip, etc). That is is more than enough if you're not going to be going to the most expensive restaurants in the city & getting tasting menus each night. Especially because you don't drink/drink much.
That leaves the possibilities pretty open, even taking into account your fiancee's dietary restrictions.
Any other things you want to try while you are here? Cuisines that you can't find that well at home? Favorite foods? It's hard to make a recommendation without knowing more about what you're looking for.
If you love espresso and coffee/pastries, take a look at these recent threads.
Best French pastry
If you have an iPhone, download the free New York Times app "The Scoop" which has a big map of coffee places, with descriptions. Not sure how up to date it is, though.
Intelligentsia just opened up it's first NYC location at the High Line Hotel at 10th and 20th. Stumptown also just opened up a new location on West 8th Street with a "Brew Bar" in back. And there's a Blue Bottle in Rockefeller Center, as well as on the High Line itself, near the High Line at Milk Studios, and a kiosk at the All Good Things Marketplace in Tribeca.
And there's also Abraco, Cafe Grumpy, 9th St Espresso, La Colombe Torrefaction, Joe the Art of Coffee, etc. If you're into that whole "third wave" coffee thing, there's tons of places for you to visit while you are here.
For dim sum, given that your fiancee does not eat pork, I think you might want a menu-based restaurant as opposed to a cart-based restaurant. I assume she also eats shrimp. If you do not eat shrimp or pork, you will have a hard time eating dim sum.
You'll also need to decide if you want a Chinatown experience or not, for a place like Nom Wah or Dim Sum Go Go. For a more upscale, you might like RedFarm but they are weekends only. Other people here enjoy Hakkasan and that restaurant's location may work out better for you in terms of sightseeing.
THE BRESLIN!!! Im so glad you suggested that because I hadn't looked into it yet. We have already decided to add that to the list as well as the bar room at the modern, where we will definitely have the beignets .
I am going to need some time to go through the rest of your post, but please know how much I appreciate it kathryn. To answer your question about Roganic, it is a 2 year pop-up in Marylebone, London, that served a 6-course tasting menu consisting of contemporary british cuisine. Very fresh organic ingredients, with a lot of neat techniques and beautiful presentation (ive included a couple photos). I think a big part of our wonderful experience though was the atmosphere and the service. It is a small 25-30 seat restaurant and every member of the staff was involved in our meal in some way or another.
I would love to try something similar, tasting menu isn't super important but I think american (as opposed to british) contemporary would be good, and aside from dim sum a very neat asian place. Florida is the worst when it comes to chinese food especially. But either way I think we can focus on brunch/lunch places and get just as much bang for our buck. I think for coffee Im more into espresso, and espresso based drinks, than actually coffee, which I shouldve clarified. My fiance is big into tea.
In terms of neat techniques/beautiful presentation, I'd look at WD-50, Atera, or Empellon Cocina, off the top of my head.
This discussion might also be helpful:
"Fun" High End Dining - see sgordon's post
When you say Chinese, what kind of Chinese food are you into? Americanized or traditional/authentic? If it's the former (cashew chicken, beef broccoli, sweet and sour pork), not sure we can really help as much.
If it's the latter, look up some posts by ScoopG and Lau.
We also have some of the harder to find Chinese cuisines: Henan, Shaanxi (Xian Famous Foods) and Fuzhou in Manhattan, and many more in Queens and Brooklyn (Shangdong/Qingdao and Dongbei to name a few). Plus Cantonese food, lots of Sichuan, a bit of Taiwanese, and also some Hunan and Fujian.
scoopG's Chinatown list:
Some of Asian influenced restaurants: Momofuku Ssam Bar, Wong, Fatty Cue, Takashi, RedFarm, Mission Chinese, Jungsik, Kin Shop, Danji, Hanjan, Montmartre.
Of the ones I listed Jungsik is the most upscale, and Takashi is very beef focused, so maybe not appropriate but as long as your fiancee eats fish/shellfish/etc., you shouldn't have an issue.