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Good eats near Westin Grand Central Hotel

c
callitasicit Jul 5, 2013 10:36 AM

Hi New Yorkers. I was hoping to get some help on some good eats near my hotel. I am looking for great cheesecake, pizza, deli, wings and even a nice steakhouse. If nothing special is nearby, can you recommend the best NY has to offer food wise? Thanks in advance.

  1. k
    kathryn Jul 5, 2013 11:42 AM

    That's not an amazing neighborhood for eats, though it is stronger in Chinese & Japanese so it is good you are willing to travel.

    Related:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/822318

    What's your budget, before tax and tip, for a meal?

    Are you traveling solo? When is your trip?

    Are you only interested in those genres of food? We have a lot more than just pizza, cheesecake, deli, wings, and steakhouse. Though I do love Motorino, Katz's, 2nd Ave Deli, Keens, Wolfgangs...

    Here's what I wrote for another visitor. Hopefully it helps you.

    Where are you coming from? How long are you here? Fri-Sun? How many meals do you have available?

    We don't want to recommend food that you might do better at home, but we also may have some cuisines you can't find at home...

    I'd say we are pretty strong in a lot of different cuisines but not equally. Budget will makes big difference in where you can go.

    Are you willing to wait for a table at a no reservations restaurant? If so, for how long?

    What is your budget, per person, per meal, BEFORE tax, tip, wine/drinks/etc for your meals? It is much easier for us to help you if you give a pre-tax-and-tip figure.

    Feel free to break out your budget in terms of upscale/fancy meals (and number of them) and cheaper/everyday meals.

    Note that upscale/high end places tend to book about a month in advance. Most serve weekday lunch (but not weekend lunch), and serve dinner Monday through Saturday, and are usually closed Sundays, though there are a few exceptions to the "closed Sundays" rule (ex: Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Jean George).

    What else are you doing while you are here? Planning around sightseeing, shopping, Broadway shows, etc?

    Check out some "Only in NY" type foods while you're here: 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 "NY" sorts of places that are worth a look.

    If you're interested in some of the places I listed above, you could do a LES food crawl.

    I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles and note that Economy Candy's address is incorrect:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333

    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). scoopG's Chinatown list (dependent upon where you are coming from these may be exotic or not... most places don't have Henan or Xian style food though):
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/834312#7156862

    You might also want to do a restaurant doing creative takes on Asian, like at Momofuku Ssam Bar, Wong, Fatty Cue, Takashi, RedFarm, Mission Chinese, Jungsik, Kin Shop, or Danji.

    My favorite unique places in NY serve Xian (Chinese) food, Issan (Thai) food, organic/local/sustainable Japanese BBQ, authentic Basque (Spanish) tapas, creative diner food, pretzels, hot dogs, halal food, steak, upscale rustic Italian, Italian subs, creative Italian-American, high end non-sushi Japanese (like kaiseki), creative desserts, molecular gastronomy, mixology/creative cocktails, and creative brunches (sometimes every day of the week).

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/838348#7206684

    Some common tourist inquiries:

    Near MoMA:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/771459
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767638

    Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art (and Whitney and Guggenheim, ish):
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/07/where-to-eat-near-the-met-nyc-metropolitan-museum-of-art-upper-east-side-new-york.html
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793684
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/795435
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793684

    Near the American Museum of Natural History:
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/05/where-to-eat-near-the-natural-history-museum-upper-west-side-new-york.html
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793258
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/748686

    Near Macy's/Herald Square:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/725320
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757797#6192796
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/06/where-to-eat-near-penn-station.html

    Soho:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701593
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757797#6192796

    5th Avenue shopping:
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2010/11/where-to-eat-near-fifth-avenue-and-rockefeller-center-christmas-tree-ice-skating-nyc-manhattan.html

    Pre-theatre:
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/06/where-to-eat-near-times-square-nyc-theater-district-midtown-new-york-manhattan.html
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/05/where-to-eat-a-pre-or-post-theater-dinner-nyc-theater-district.html
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/671275
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755684
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/715535
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/788254

    Notable food trucks/carts:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701278

    Prix fixe lunch deals:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/874731#7664889

    Best breakfast/brunch in NYC:
    It is (IMO) at the Breslin, Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/809368#684625

    Best bagels in NYC:
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/10/serious-eats-finds-new-yorks-best-bagel-1.html
    Summary: the freshest bagels are the best; bagels don't age well at all. Focus on the smoked salmon instead. Preferably at Russ & Daughters! Featured in shows such as No Reservations and Louie!

    I'm fond of red onion, capers, regular cream cheese, and tomato on mine. Try a few smoked salmons before you settle on one, they're surprisingly different (and lox is not the same as smoked salmon, because lox is salmon cured in salt brine, and most people actually prefer the more modern, Nova-style smoked salmon). You can get a mini-sized bagel sandwich at Russ & Daughters, too, if you wish. Takeout only.

    If you like the idea of RGR's self-guided LES tour above, check these out, too.

    Maybe scoopG's self guided Chinatown tour:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/711661#5661425

    A West Village food crawl
    https://foursquare.com/kathrynyu/list/greenwich-and-west-villageish-walking-tour

    East Village:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/882582

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn
      c
      callitasicit Jul 5, 2013 02:42 PM

      Hi Kathryn. Thank you so much for your response, it was very helpful. To answer your question, we are likely to take in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, go to a few museums, visit Time Square, stroll through Central Park. I am not sure if there are any must do's while I am here, do you have any recommendations? For dining destinations, we were planning to visit Keen's, Peter Luger's, Gray Papaya's and Lucali's. I would like to try some seafood places as in Toronto, Ontario we are seriously lacking in the quality of seafood. I really enjoy fried clams so I am hoping that there will be a few places I can find that offer that. Oh yes, I also want to go to Shake Shack as I have heard good things. I likely will avoid chinese food as we have some strong restaurants back home and quite frankly sometimes feels like the only type of cuisine I frequent lately lol. I want to try some good cheesecake and I know that Junior's is located in Grand Central Terminal so that is great! We are going to be in NYC from Monday July 8th to the following Monday July 15th. Is Katz deli worth going if I am not much of a deli guy or should I go more for the experience? I love pudding so I will try Puddin, I have had it before as my sister brought some back on her last trip. I love paella, in fact it is my favourite dish of all time but can anyone in NY duplicate what I had in Spain, likely not lol. If you want to chime in on my choices, feel free and thanks again for your analysis.

      1. re: callitasicit
        Ttrockwood Jul 5, 2013 03:19 PM

        Actually..... Socarrar Paella bar in chelsea has a wide variety, paellas are for two or more people tho and the place is small-ish, so either make a res or know there may be a wait. Tia Pol is an awesome spanish tapas bar, however no paella. Also a small place in chelsea, its highly recommended.

        1. re: Ttrockwood
          k
          kathryn Jul 5, 2013 05:08 PM

          There are 3 Socarrat Paella bars now -- Midtown East, Nolita, and Chelsea.
          http://socarratrestaurants.com/

          I wasn't that impressed with Socarrat Nolita's food but I really enjoyed their churro spot next door, La Churreria, which makes churros Spanish style (served with dark hot chocolate, no dusting of cinnamon sugar, like Chocolateria San Gines in Madrid).
          http://socarratrestaurants.com/la-chu...

        2. re: callitasicit
          Ttrockwood Jul 5, 2013 03:19 PM

          Augh. It's Socarrat.

          1. re: callitasicit
            k
            kathryn Jul 5, 2013 05:00 PM

            > To answer your question, we are likely to take in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, go to a few museums, visit Time Square, stroll through Central Park.

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

            Keep in mind that the American Museum of Natural History is on the UWS, the MoMA is in Midtown, and the Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum are all located on the UES. So our museums are a little spread out.

            And Central Park is huge--it runs from 59th to 110th, from 5th ave to 8th ave. You can't possibly see it all in one go. So if you are looking for something to eat "near" the park, make sure you know what part of the park you're going to be in.

            > I am not sure if there are any must do's while I am here, do you have any recommendations?

            In terms of dining activities to do, a self-guided walking tour would be fun (see the links I posted above) or a visit to Smorgasburg, Chelsea Market, or Eataly (right next door to the Madison Square Park Shake Shack).
            http://www.smorgasburg.com/
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844638
            http://www.eataly.com/

            Non-dining and non-eating destinations are outside the scope of this site. But try a site like TripAdvisor for that.

            > For dining destinations, we were planning to visit Keen's, Peter Luger's, Gray Papaya's and Lucali's.

            Keen's AND Lugar's is redundant. Pick just one. Do you already have a reservation for Lugar's? They only take them over the phone and they book up several weeks in advance. Also note that they are cash, check, debit card, and the Peter Lugar credit card only.

            For more information about Peter Lugar, search the Outer Boroughs board.

            Lucali is also outside the scope of this board -- try the OB board.

            > I would like to try some seafood places as in Toronto, Ontario we are seriously lacking in the quality of seafood. I really enjoy fried clams so I am hoping that there will be a few places I can find that offer that.

            Here is some recent feedback on GCOB:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/905747
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/885645

            It is a lovely place to go and take in the atmosphere but I would be wary of having too high of expectations. Lots of negative CH on the GCOB over the last few years.

            I would steer you towards Pearl Oyster Bar, Aquagrill, Luke's Lobster or places with great raw bars like Blue Ribbon, Balthazar, Lafayette, etc.

            Pearl sometimes has fried clams once in a while but not always -- they are a special. They do always have fried oysters and theirs are amazing.

            > Oh yes, I also want to go to Shake Shack as I have heard good things.

            I love Shake Shack and always get the Shack burger, sometimes a shake or custard, usually not their fries as crinkle cut isn't my preference. There are many SS around the city now so you could conceivably fit it in before a museum on the UWS or UES side, too.

            > I want to try some good cheesecake and I know that Junior's is located in Grand Central Terminal so that is great!

            Best cheesecake:
            http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/10/where-to-find-new-york-best-cheesecake-bronx-manhattan-queens-brooklyn-upper-west-side-east-side-little-italy-soho-nolita-s-and-s-juniors-eileens-two-little-red-hens-factory-sara-lee.html

            > We are going to be in NYC from Monday July 8th to the following Monday July 15th.

            It is very unlikely you are getting into Lugar's without a reservation unless you go for lunch.

            > Is Katz deli worth going if I am not much of a deli guy or should I go more for the experience?

            They excel at fatty pastrami on rye. If that isn't your thing, then it may not make sense to go there.

            > I love pudding so I will try Puddin, I have had it before as my sister brought some back on her last trip.

            Do you mean this place?
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/827926

            > I love paella, in fact it is my favourite dish of all time but can anyone in NY duplicate what I had in Spain, likely not lol. If you want to chime in on my choices, feel free and thanks again for your analysis.

            I really like the paella at Tertulia. It is an excellent tapas restaurant with an amazing custom grill. try their jamon iberico, cojonudo, anchovy toast, crushed egg and jamon toast, beet salad, brussels sprouts, grilled artichokes, and daily specials. We also tried their 40 day aged prime rib recently. Top notch. I think Tertulia is much better than Tia Pol (which has gone downhill). My favorite Spanish places are Tertulia and Txikito (over Cata, Boqueria, etc), and the Spanish grocery store Despana is also worth a look.

        3. b
          bifpocaroba Jul 5, 2013 11:44 AM

          The "Famous" Juniors Cheesecakes is located on the lower level of Grand Central food court. The Oyster Bar in GCS is worth hitting up. Michael Jordans Steakhouse in GCS has a $10 lunch burger that's good at the bar and also good place for a steak. Num Pang is Korean sandwich shop a few blocks and it's awesome. The Palm, Smith and Wollensky are well known and formidable steak houses. Deli's in the area are average at best although the sandwiches at Zuckers Bagel close by are probably the better ones in the area.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bifpocaroba
            c
            callitasicit Jul 5, 2013 02:45 PM

            Thanks. I will definitely try the cheesecake from Junior's. I think I will give The Oyster Bar a try to especially since I saw they sell fried oysters, something I can't get back home. Pretty limited on quality food choices considering where I am staying but thanks for pointing out a few that I may like.

            1. re: callitasicit
              c
              callitasicit Jul 20, 2013 01:33 AM

              Thanks for all your suggestions on your great city. I guess a lot of the places I tried were more in Brooklyn than in Manhattan so I hope I don't get in trouble for posting on this board. I didn't care much for the Pearl Oyster Bar but it was a convenient lunch for us and it was on our first day there. Loved Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, the pizza in NY just blew my mind to be honest. I tried a pizza chain a few times called Bravo and even that was incredible. Toronto, Ontario Canada where I am from has god awful pizza, I don't quite get why we can't at least try to replicate the type of pizza offered in NYC or Chicago. We went to three steakhouses on our visit, Keens, Capital Grille and Peter Luger's. What I love about all three were that there was no dress code even though they were all pretty upscale steak houses. Highlights of Keens were the scotch, service and the hot fudge sundae. For Peter Luger's, loved the thick sliced bacon and the hot fudge sundae, definitely the best I have ever had and slightly better than Keen's offering. Capital Grille was near our hotel but it was very good too. Loved the setting and atmosphere, the caesar salad was the best I have ever eaten and they had a great clam chowder too. Very expensive though but we knew that going in. I will say I was disappointed with Junior's cheesecake, I thought it was too dense and creamy. I like my cheesecakes light and with a graham crust. That being said it was still good but imho nothing special. Overall, a very nice culinary experience. I really enjoyed my time there visiting the Empire State Building, 911 memorial such beautiful pools in honour of the victims, really took my breath away. The view of the pier in Brooklyn along with a river tour to see the sites including the Statue of Liberty. Times Square was also awesome especially at night, how it lit up the city. What a site to see! One thing I wasn't ready for was how much walking I would do lol. Just proved to me how poor shape I am in;) Thanks for all the suggestions on possible food options!

              1. re: callitasicit
                Phil Ogelos Jul 20, 2013 06:14 AM

                We're counting the days 'til you come back, callitasicit; the door is always open, and the oven always on.

          2. s
            Steve Drucker Jul 20, 2013 05:37 AM

            Sarges Deli 37th & 3rd. Exc pastrami and full deli menu. Pretty much a do not miss for your location at 42nd and 3rd.

            Hunan Manor. 39th and Lex. Widely reviewed here at CH.

            Daniel's Bagels 37th and 3rd. Takeout only. Classic dense NYC bagels (not puffy and large).

            Eggstravaganza truck NE corner 51st and Park. Widely rated best breakfast truck in area. Call ahead, get the chorizo and egg torta. Good coffee too. With what you save you can go to Esca.

            River Park. Vg food especially fish, not too pricey, nice views of the East river.

            Esca. Expensive. Superb fish and seafood.

            Lexington Ave train downtown gets you to Canal St in 14 minutes. Chinatown, Katz's, Russ Daughters etc. Uptown local gets you to Pastrami Queen 77th and Lex in 9 minutes. Get the pastrami. Leave all else behind. Either proceed west to museums or walk east to Andre's Hungarian Bakery and get the rugaluch. Walk back to the hotel down 3rd ave and work up an appetite.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Steve Drucker
              Phil Ogelos Jul 20, 2013 05:50 AM

              Sarge's burned down more than six months ago, and is still not rebuilt.

              Osteria Laguna is directly across 42nd from your hotel; it's dependable and I like it a lot.

              The Palm steakhouses are also nearby, up Second Ave at 45th; you won't find much love for them on these boards, but I think that disrespect is misplaced.

              There's also a great Korean fried chicken bar on Second around 52nd, on the west side of the street.

              All that said, this particular neighbourhood is not a great foodie destination.

              EDIT: I didn't see the date of the OP, so I know only now that this is anachronistic. Everything I said remains true, though, and Sarge's is still closed.

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