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Aug 2, 2013 05:58 AM

Returnng to New York, looking for your valued input on my shortlist and questions

Excited to be heading back your way for a 5 day visit this summer. A frequent visitor to your yummy city, we're bringing along our young chowpups this time - this will be their 3rd trip to the city and they're every bit the food lovers that we are. Looking to have a shortlist of restaurants close to the different areas we're likely to be in or near (mostly below 20th - West Village, Highline, Pier 25, Union Square, Madison Square Park, LES - also Museum of Natural History). Kids eat a ton of stuff with particular loves for Italian, Japanese/sushi and Greek. If we go for dinner, it'll be somewhere in the 5-6:30 range and as others have sometimes said, I'm less concerned with kids' menus and more focused on not dining in a kid-unfriendly spot for our early dinners (assume brekkies and lunches aren't an issuue). Friendly, relaxed service is always a plus. So with all that said, how does this bunch of places read to you...(and please chime in with any other spots you think would work)?

Breakfast/Brunch (happy to go before 11 for brunch and/or need a place that takes reservations)

Clinton Street Baking Company
Locanda Verde
The Breslin
The Harrison
Russ & Daughters


City Bakery
Mary's Fish Camp or Pearl's
Shake Shack (Madison Square Park)
The Plaza Food Hall
Momofuku Ssam
Something near Natural History Museum (not Shake Shack)...???

Takahachi (this or Locanda Verde for an early dinner after Hudson River Park?)
Osteria Morini
Snack (Taverna)
Pylos (or other Greek?)
Il Buci
Red Farm

NYC Treats - thought we'd do a classic NYC treat each day - possibilities...Doughnut Plant, Economy Candy, Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, Jacques Torres, Il Laboratorio del Gelato, Melt Bakery or People's Pops...?

Thank you!!!!

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  1. When are you coming and what days of the week are you here?

    And how old are the kids?

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Hi Kathryn - we'll be there next Tuesday to Saturday. Kids are 6. Look forward, as always, to your thoughts. Thanks.

      1. re: peppermint pate

        OK, let's see...

        Do Clinton Street Baking Company, The Breslin, and R&D on a weekday. R&D is takeout only, BTW. All of these get pretty busy on weekends. Clinton St and the Breslin don't take reservations, so that's why I recommend a weekday.

        If you're going to be on the LES anyway, consider Shopsin's for brunch. Only open Weds through Sun. I've seen kids there, and it could be fun. Also better on a weekday since they don't take reservations. There's also no host to take down your name, they literally ask people to form a line.

        Never seen kids at Public for weekend brunch, only adults. Probably because the menu is pretty adventurous for kids.

        I've definitely seen kids at Locanda Verde for brunch, especially since it's in a hotel. Make a reservation, esp for weekend brunch. Hopefully you can sit outside.

        For lunch, solid list.

        Note that Pearl only does weekday lunch.

        If you're really into lobster rolls, Luke's is on the UWS now, as is the Mermaid Inn. If this is for Saturday, note that brunch/lunch near the AMNH gets nuts in that neighborhood.

        For dinners, I'd try to reserve at Maialino ASAP. Very family friendly.

        Takahachi is fine. Not really going out of your way for, IMO.

        I've never seen kids at Morini, Louro, Public, Pylos, Red Farm. Also I think Il Buco is going to be too romantic and pricey for your family.

        1. re: kathryn

          We had a late lunch at Pylos and there were a few kids there. Maybe the vibe at lunch is more appropriate for kids. Also, we really enjoyed our meals.

    2. One more question - I'm an avowed Abraco fan for their stellar americanos and will definitely be visiting a few times this trip. Closer to our hotel (west 12th and 6th ave), would you recommend Third Rail? I like Joe's lattes but wasn't as wowed with their americanos. Thanks.

      18 Replies
      1. re: peppermint pate

        Third rail is much better than joe's IMO, i usually order a simple espresso.
        9th st espresso is also in e village and worth a stop. If you are in tribeca for brunch at locanda verde, kaffe 1668 on greenwich is great and also has a good cold brew iced coffee.

        1. re: Ttrockwood

          There's also a 9th St Espresso in Chelsea Market, near the High Line. Great stuff.

          If you're near the High Line, there's also a Blue Bottle stand on the High Line itself, and a Intelligentsia at the High Line Hotel.

          If you want some great coffee recommendations while on the go, download the New York Times' "The Scoop" app, which has Olive Strand's coffee map.

          1. re: Ttrockwood

            Espresso macchiato from kaffe 1668.

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Can't thank you enough for the Kaffe 1668 rec - what a gorgeous, serene space. After a couple of hours of wandering around Pier 25 in the sun, we tucked in there for an iced americano, cappuccino, and a couple of salted caramel chocolates for the kids. Totally hit the spot on all levels. This will be on my regular list for future trips (and likely again this week).

              1. re: peppermint pate

                It's a gem, huh? Funny how it mostly flies under the radar too.

                1. re: loratliff

                  I LOVED it. It's my kind of place - thought about it many times yesterday. Trying to figure out when I can dash back down there.

                2. re: peppermint pate

                  Glad you enjoyed it! I've been several times now and have been very impressed. I prefer the location next to locanda verde vs the original smaller one down by whole foods since i usually want to sit for a while.

                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                    I didn't realize there were 2 locations - I went to the newer one, I guess. We were sticky and tired from the sun, then noticed the sign by chance. Wandered into the barely lit cool space, with gorgeous light coloured wood and breathtakingly high ceiling - instantly restored the senses. The fact that the coffee was so good was gilding the lily. Love. Thanks again. How's their food?

                    1. re: peppermint pate

                      I had their salad last weekend, the one with kale, quinoa, cashew cream, sweet potatoes- really delicious (and kinda healthy!) and had a bite of my friend's pound cake-like slice i didnt note the flavor of. Another trip the gazpacho was nice, not awesome but since spain my gazpacho standards are pretty high ;)

                  2. re: peppermint pate

                    Hey peppermint pate!

                    Do you know which address of Kaffe 1668 you visited??

                    1. re: magic

                      Hi magic - fancy meeting you here! I went - both times - to the newer location at 401 Greenwich Street. Go!!

                      1. re: peppermint pate

                        I'm hitting New York up in a couple of months and that place sounds right in my wheelhouse. It's on the list!

                        Thanks as always, peppermint pate!

                          1. re: peppermint pate

                            What were some of your highlights from this trip?

                            Also, where should I go:

                            Barney Greengrass?
                            Russ & Daughters?
                            Murray's Bagels?

                            1. re: magic

                              Peppermint pate's trip report is here:

                              You might want to start a new thread with your questions so it doesn't get lost in this one.

                              1. re: kathryn

                                Thanks for posting this link, wasn't aware of it.

                                This is perfect :)

                              2. re: magic

                                Hey magic - I know that Kathryn linked my report. Just wanted to point out that my overriding concern with this trip was hitting up spots that would work for our kids. So I would recommend the various spots we enjoyed on this trip for anyone (Locanda Verde, dell'anima, Shake Shack, Kaffe 1668 and Abraco) but if kids weren't a factor, my list of recs would be much longer. We can email each other off the board but most importantly, ask the good Manhattan CH community for their feedback as nobody knows the great chow in the city as well as they do. As for your specific question, I haven't ben to Barney Greengrass in years - I'm generally not in that neighbourhood. If you've never been to any of the 3, I think that Russ & Daughters is the most special NYC experience, rich in history and delicious smoked salmon. There's no place to sit inside but sample some of their fish choices, get a sandwich to go and find a nearby stoop, bench or park to enjoy it. Or if it were me who loves a wonderful coffee with my bagel, I'd get my sandwich to go from R&D, walk up 7 blocks to Abraco, get an americano and THEN find a great spot to sit and enjoy it all. YUM!

                                1. re: peppermint pate

                                  Thanks for the input!

                                  I thought I’d ask you these questions as we seem to share similar tastes and live in the same area, so I thought that would give me an interesting perspective on what I might appreciate. But you’re right, kids will not be a factor in my trip.

                                  I am most certainly monitoring NYC boards as well, yeah.

              2. Breakfast/Brunch (happy to go before 11 for brunch and/or need a place that takes reservations)

                Clinton Street Baking Company - good pancakes but i wouldnt be caught dead on that line for breakfast food.
                Public - nice space...not a destination spot so id avoid if on vacation
                Locanda Verde - id go for brunch due to their baked good program...otherwise, nice space but dont love the food.
                The Breslin - enjoyable and in a good location. id stick to brunch or lunch though.
                Lafayette - not a fan of the food. good for group dining but find it very meh. if you want good french inspired food, id steer you to le philosophe and calliope.
                The Harrison - nice space but food is ultimately regrettable.
                Hearth - a bit heavy. i like hearth but don't find it destination worthy. i do love terroir...their wine bars.
                Russ & Daughters - i find russ and daughters to be fine but overrated in the end. you can get good smoked fish at many places. cute place to visit though.
                Tartine - im a big fan of byob but tartine's food just isnt very good.


                City Bakery - im a fan. can get crowded but i like their coffee and baked goods.
                Mary's Fish Camp or Pearl's - marys is much better. pearls feels like a factory for tourists. i like marys for dinner.
                Motorino - i like motorino actually. solid also recommend keste wholeheartedly.
                Shake Shack (Madison Square Park) - big burger of its kind for me.
                Bubby's - sort of a cash in these days. food is very meh. i like their pies though.
                The Plaza Food Hall - never been
                Momofuku Ssam - their duck lunch is heavy but delicious.
                Something near Natural History Museum (not Shake Shack)...??? - dont really spend time there.

                Maialino - heavy...i like maialino but dont love it. id steer you to commerce or dell'anima for pastas.
                Takahachi (this or Locanda Verde for an early dinner after Hudson River Park?) - not a fan. overpriced and very overrated to me.
                Crispo - fine but i prefer da andrea on 13th street nearby.
                Osteria Morini - haven't been.
                Louro - i like louro. some tasty stuff...good for groups.
                Public - fine but no big deal.
                Snack (Taverna) - do not like at all. im not a greek fan but their restaurant always smells fishy when i walk by.
                Pylos (or other Greek?) - never been.
                Ililli - never been
                Il Buci - il buco...not a fan. would recommend il buco alimentari but you have to order selectively there. stick to entrees.
                Red Farm - never been

                1 Reply
                1. re: sam1

                  Oy. Because of your post and the fact that I've been to Crispo twice before -- liked it very much but wanted to try something new, I went to da Andrea Tuesday night with 3 other folks.

                  We had the vegetables with goat cheese, warm octopus salad (probably the best dish of the night so we ordered another portion) and a beet salad that was a special that day (meh). Two of us split the lamb ravioli with green pepper sauce -- another special that was kind of meh, 6 ravioli total? Dude. -- and the two others had the artichoke ravioli and the stuffed chicken breast, respectively.

                  Service was swift and friendly, and the meal was certainly on the cheap side. I do wish we had gone to Crispo instead, as I found the food to be much better.

                2. Just a few side notes to the other comments:

                  I would not go to Jacques Torres for chocolates, Kee's chocolates are superior in texture and flavor, I believe they've started to serve ice cream as well.

                  Doughnut Plant is wonderful, yeast better than cake, although their brooklyn blackout is pretty good.

                  I prefer Pearl over Mary's, because of the following reasons: the portion of lobster is more generous at Pearl and the waitstaff at Mary's can be very surly and unfriendly, Mary's also feels more cramped. But most of all it's the service.

                  At RedFarm, the dim sum and appetizers are much better than the entrees.

                  Illili is fantastic. The manti, duck schwarma, brussel sprouts are standout, but the entire menu is solid other than a rather ordinary hummus.

                  1. Thanks all for your great feedback. Having read it all, I'm now feeling like my original list had a few decent options and a few misses. So specifically, where I still have some holes, would you have any recommendations for great Greek (kids particularly love fried calamari, anything with feta, dips, grilled meats, etc.) and Japanese/sushi (kids love karaage, tempura, dynamite and california rolls - hubby and I love all kinds of sushi so long as the fish is quality - don't mind paying more for the quality so long as it's not an austere environment - Blue Ribbon Sushi or Izakaya maybe? Ushiwakamaru? Sushi Dojo? Gari?). Apart from Maialino and Motorino (or maybe John's) for pizza, for an early Italian dinner...both Da Andrea and Dell'anima look wonderful. Would we be comfortable with kids there at a 5:30 or 6:00 seating?

                    kathryn - great info, thanks. I thought about taking the kids to Shopsins. We had amazing slutty cakes last time we were there - my only hesitation was that I think they had a rule (one of MANY rules) that each person had to order a dish and the portions are so huge as is, I wasn't sure if it would make sense with the kids. Kids love smoked salmon so R&D is still on the list (hubby and I love it) - I don't mind a few grab 'n go options as 15 meals in a row in restaurants will be too much for the kids.

                    Any thoughts for an early dinner, somewhere between (and including) Pier 25 and ther West Village location?
                    And an easy (but tasty), fast-ish lunch spot in the West Village/Tribeca lunch for right after our flight?
                    Pookipichu, I've been to Mary's a few times and love it - I just always think that maybe I should try Pearl's to compare. We tried Luke's last time, and it was good (not as good as Mary's but still good) so we might go there for our lobster roll fix. For chocolates, I'm a La Maison du Chocolat girl - never been to Jacques but thought someone said it's a fun place to take the kids. We're trying to build in one fun and yummy NYC treat a day - great ice cream, doughnut, great cookie, ice cream sandwich, chocolate, etc. Any suggestions here? Also still need to research lunch or dinner near ANHM...

                    Red Farm and illili are still on the list. Can't wait to try Doughnut Plant.

                    sam 1 - thanks for the super detailed notes - Clinton Street has some sentimental value for us so we want to take the kids there (early on a weekday morning, no desire to line up). You didn't seem too keen on the other choices - where would you recommend for weekday breakfasts (ideally within a 10 minute walk of west 13th and 6th, supremely bonus points if they have good espresso based coffee)?

                    Ttrockwood - thanks for the gorgeous pic from Kaffe 1668 - I'm sold (though looks like a biggish cup for a macchiato but still, beautiful)! And Third Rail is close to our hotel so I'll definitely go there, on those mornings when I don't walk the extra mile or so to Abraco.

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: peppermint pate

                      For Japanese, BR Izakaya for sure. It's in a hotel and just saw some kids there last night. Ushiwakamaru, Dojo, Gari are all more in the vein of serene sushi palaces where you go for an omakase at the counter.

                      At Shopsin's, don't forget you can get half orders of things like pancakes.

                      Kee's is literally just a small storefront, with nowhere to sit inside. Jacques Torres would definitely be more kid friendly.

                      For breakfast, Grey Dog and City Bakery aren't far. There's also a Murray's bagels (tell them to go easy on the cream cheese though). Tertulia has breakfast IIRC. Joseph Leonard for sit down? Buvette? Coppelia? Murray's Cheese on Bleecker for takeout breakfast sandwiches. Or whatever looks good at Amy's Bread. Bein Cuit may also be of interest.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Thanks - made a reservation at BR Izakaya - looks perfect. Grey Dog's menu looks great. We've been to City Bakery for lunch before - do they have the same self-serve set-up for brekkie? If I avoid the cronut morning, is Dominique Ansel nice for breakfast or lunch? And one last (for this post anyway) question - any favourite ice cream sandwiches or cookies at the moment? Thanks again!

                        1. re: peppermint pate

                          CB does--the buffet bar by the pound, etc. Bacon by the piece. Amazing French toast.

                          DA is. All the cronut craziness will be done by around 10am anyway.

                          Payard macaron ice sandwiches:

                          Since you're staying in the WV, see also my West Village walking/noshing tour:

                          1. re: kathryn

                            Thanks for the walking tour link. And now I know what the famous Kathryn looks like...:)!

                            My kids LOVE macarons so that ice cream sandwich may be just perfect. Oh yeah, now I remember hearing about City Bakery's french toast - we're heading to Union Square one morning so I'll probably make that our breakfast stop that day. Thanks.

                        2. re: kathryn

                          Happy to walk to any of the Grey Dog locations for breakfast this morning - any favourites or does each spot have its fans?

                          1. re: peppermint pate

                            each location has the same food. i used to love the original location on carmine but have been going to their 16th street location since carmine closed.

                            coffee is solid...i go for a muffin or a breakfast sandwich.

                            can get very crowded in chelsea.

                            1. re: sam1

                              They're reopening on Carmine, in the former Marinella space at Bedford St. The sign on the door says by Christmas 2013. Fingers crossed.

                              1. re: sam1

                                We went to the one in Chelsea - fun spot. Very busy but good.

                          2. re: peppermint pate

                            You will be very close to murray's bagels (6th ave b/w 12th and 13th) which could be a good breakfast option, and city bakery (18th st b/w 5th and 6th, closer to 5th ave) is another choice.
                            Jacques has a great choco chip cookie that they will warm for you on the spot, and some fun choco covered snacky things. Grom in the w village is another gelato option.
                            Francois payard bakery on w houston has a macaron ice cream sandwich that has been getting buzz, as well as some lunch options (croque monsieur, a few other sandwiches etc)
                            Taim in the w village would be a good quick lunch- it is seriously a hole in the wall, so plan to take and go.

                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                              Grom is good, but Victory Garden around the corner might be more interesting (salted caramel goat milk soft serve).

                              1. re: Ttrockwood

                                Love Murray's - great suggestion. That warmed chocolate chip cookie sounds great, especially with the forecast calling for a lot of rain this week. I literally ate one of the best chocolate chip cookies of my life this week so I have them on the brain now. Thanks.

                                1. re: Ttrockwood

                                  It was at least a year ago, but either last summer or the one before, we walked past Jacques which had a sign on the door that said "Our ice cream sandwiches are in." You need to try something like that, and it definitely lived up to the billing. Highly recommend the homemade *chipwiches* there. Yum!

                                2. re: peppermint pate

                                  For your Greek fix, Illili (although not Greek) has your dips, pita, feta, grilled meats and is just soooo delicious. Their brussel sprouts will make kids convert to the temple of veggie loving.

                                  I think the lobster rolls at Mary's are very good, I just think that Pearl's are just as good, bigger and the staff is friendlier.

                                  If you love chocolate, you should give Kee's a try, it's impeccably fresh and delicious. :)

                                  1. re: peppermint pate

                                    Hi peppermint pate,
                                    Just in case you don't find time for either Doughnut Plant location, you can also find their donuts at Joe the Art of Coffee and Dean & Deluca.

                                    Levain Bakery (one of their heavyweight chocolate chip cookies could be enough for you and your kids to share) and Barney Greengrass are relatively close to the AMNH. Good Enough to Eat is another UWS lunch option, but I prefer Barney Greengrass. You could also get the Barney Greengrass to go, and eat in Central Park.

                                    Have a great time in NYC!

                                    1. re: prima

                                      NB: Barney Greengrass is closed Mondays. their hours:

                                      Tuesdays through Sunday 8am to 6pm.
                                      Restaurant opens at 8:30am.

                                      1. re: prima

                                        Nice to hear from you Prima! I was actually going to send you a separate note to see if you had any favourite Greek in NYC - any ideas? Thanks for the other recs - forecast is for crazy rain later this week so recs near AMNH are much appreiated. Was also thinking of Mermaid Inn.

                                        1. re: peppermint pate

                                          Loi on the UWS might be worth checking out. Looks good, and also not far from AMNH. I'd think Pylos in the EV is still a solid option. I haven't tried enough of the Greek restos on my recent visits to have a current favourite,and I can't give firsthand recs for any dishes, since I haven't had a chance to visit Pylos or Loi yet.
                                          I really enjoyed Louro.
                                          If you go for an early dinner before the crowds, might consider the Spotted Pig. I like their burger and frites (large enough to share for me) and gnudi.
                                          I found Hearth to be good, but I'd probably choose to try Pylos, rather than returning to Hearth if I was having dinner in the East Village, if I had to choose one over the other.

                                          1. re: prima

                                            Thanks Prima - interestingly, had the chance to eat the same kind of doughnut from Joe's and Doughnut Plant yesterday morning and, not surprisingly, the one from Doughnut Plant was fresher/better. But still, good to know.

                                      2. re: peppermint pate

                                        My kids have always split an order of something (pancakes or french toast) and a drink at Shopsin's.

                                        I'm not sure where you are from, but my kids always enjoy going to Chinatown and getting those cakes off the street and a bubble tea (we are quickly fans).

                                        They also love La Newyorkina for popscicles. They also love the baked goods at abraco.