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Staying at the Essex House across from Central Park Labor Day w/e

b
bornie Aug 19, 2013 03:24 PM

looking for terrific deli, bagel, Italian, Thai, Viet Pizzeria, wine bars, etc., small casual venues that capture the flavor of NYC within a 2 mile walk. Thx!

  1. k
    kathryn Aug 19, 2013 03:30 PM

    Why a two mile walk?

    From your hotel limiting yourself to a two mile walk is basically eliminating anything below 23rd St or so.

    If you really want a taste of NYC, you need to consider a lot more area: Chinatown, Lower East Side, Union Square, East Village, West Village, TriBeCa, etc. Places like Katz's Deli, Russ & Daughters, dell'anima, Zabb Elee, Sao Mai, Motorino, Terroir, etc. are all downtown.

    Are you opposed to cabs, buses, the subway? What if the weather is bad?

    1. k
      kathryn Aug 19, 2013 03:32 PM

      Here's a post I wrote for another out of towner, maybe it will help you.

      ---

      To make the best use of your time, you should try to find things to eat to/from the tourist destinations or near the tourist destinations. Our tourist destinations are spread out all around town.

      Where are you coming from?

      When are you coming? How long are you here? 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 popular places tend to book about a month in advance. Most upscale restaurants 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

      Best NY style pizza:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/890813

      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:

      Where to Eat Near Times Square:
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/07/where-to-eat-near-times-square-new-york-nyc.html
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833282

      Where to Eat Near MoMA (the museum cafe is actually pretty good, as is the Modern next door):
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/771459
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767638

      Where to Eat Near Museum Mile (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney, Guggenheim, etc) on the UES:
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/08/where-to-eat-near-the-metropolitan-museum-of-art-the-met-nyc.html
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/906331
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793684
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/795435
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793684

      Where to Eat Near the Museum of Natural History on the UES:
      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

      Where to Eat Near Macy's/Herald Square/Penn Station/Empire State Building:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/725320
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757797#6192796
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/07/where-to-eat-around-penn-station-updated.html

      Where to Eat Near Grand Central/Midtown East:
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/07/where-to-eat-near-grand-central-station-nyc.html?ref=title

      Where to Eat in Soho:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701593
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757797#6192796

      Where to Eat near 5th Avenue shopping / Bloomingdale's / Rockefeller Center:
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2010/11/where-to-eat-near-fifth-avenue-and-rockefeller-center-christmas-tree-ice-skating-nyc-manhattan.html
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/906441#8150635

      Pre-theatre Dining (many of the same Times Square recs also apply):
      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

      Where to Eat Near the 9/11 Memorial:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/846126#7301463

      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

      1. e
        eastofthemississippi Aug 19, 2013 03:42 PM

        Used to live next to the NYAC.
        You are lucky to have one of the best premium bakeries/cafes close by in Petrossian. Almond croissant is a must there (before 12pm on weekends, they always run out).
        You also have a 1 michelin starred Austrian weinbar across the street in Seasonal, more modern than cozy but still casual.
        For coal oven pizza, Angelo's on 57th and 6th Avenue and Don Antonio's a few blocks down for that fried starita.
        Viet/Thai go west to hell's kitchen, won't we as good as queens but still good and relatively inexpensive.
        Soup Dumplings at Joe Shanghai are a block and a half west on 56th St. Ippudo ramen is several blocks south.

        I almost never do casual italian as it is generally on of the most overpriced and disappointing things in NYC, but serafina is a couple blocks away. For fine italian, Quality Meats just opened up Quality italian on 57th and 6th and everyone I know who has gone there raves about it.

        I would not limit yourself by miles walking but rather what is easily accessible via subway (E/B/D and F are all within a block). That opens up flatiron, chelsea and soho. Great casual American can be found in the bar rooms of the NYC restaurant empires (notably Craftbar).

        3 Replies
        1. re: eastofthemississippi
          b
          Blumie Aug 22, 2013 07:17 AM

          "I almost never do casual italian as it is generally [one] of the most overpriced and disappointing things in NYC...."

          Sounds to me like you have not been to Le Zie, Frankies, Rubirosa. among others. Maybe it's a downtown versus uptown thing, as I often am disappointed by the uptown options (or maybe I just don't know where to go uptown).

          1. re: Blumie
            e
            eastofthemississippi Aug 22, 2013 10:24 AM

            Its specifically a UES in the mid-2000s thing, and I've never gotten over the old bias.

            1. re: eastofthemississippi
              b
              Blumie Aug 23, 2013 12:38 PM

              While there may be some good options, the overpriced mediocre UES Italians certainly still exist!

        2. b
          barberinibee Aug 19, 2013 03:56 PM

          Antica Bottega del Vino is at 7 E. 59th Street. Easy to stroll over for an excellent selection wines by the glass in the evening, with nibbles. In the mornings, they serve one of my favorite cappucino in the city.

          2 Replies
          1. re: barberinibee
            b
            bornie Aug 20, 2013 05:41 AM

            sounds like my kinda place! Thank you, will ck it out!!

            1. re: bornie
              b
              barberinibee Aug 20, 2013 01:47 PM

              http://www.bottegadelvinonyc.com/

          2. b
            bornie Aug 19, 2013 03:57 PM

            OK Kathryn, the sneakers will be on and I'll be on the move! thx for the great suggestions and links! My printer will be getting a workout in a moment!
            Will be in NYC 4-5 days thur-tues Labor Day w/e. Just back from London where I left most of my $$$ dining but, I'll worry about that, next month!
            More inclined to enjoy the warmth, charm and character of a neighborhood hangout. And of course, good food and drink.

            1. ipsedixit Aug 19, 2013 07:31 PM

              What is a "Viet Pizzeria"?

              3 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit
                e
                Elisa515 Aug 19, 2013 09:45 PM

                Maybe just missing comma?

                Or perhaps you're hoping there's some sort of new wonderful flatbread banh mi?

                Hmmm...not a bad idea.

                1. re: Elisa515
                  ipsedixit Aug 19, 2013 09:55 PM

                  Or maybe Carbonara Phò?

                  1. re: Elisa515
                    b
                    bornie Aug 20, 2013 05:40 AM

                    Nice!! shredded chx pls!

                2. f
                  facultyandtraveler Aug 20, 2013 06:06 AM

                  IMHO the best $31 you can spend is for an MTA subway/bus pass for a week. If you take 13 trips on a subway it will pay for itself. Having visited many times and used this transportation, it eliminates many $$ in cab fares and lets you explore the area. The buses can be fun to ride back above ground and see what you miss on the subway. Maps are available at stations with a service area--it is safe, quick, comfortable, and convenient--- part of why NYC is such a fun destination. You will still walk and get exercise. Passes can be bought a the stations with a credit card (some but not all take cash also). There are also stores that sell them but they are not as convenient as the stations since you've got to go into a station to catch a subway. You can do a search for New York City Subway Map and see the system and get a good idea for your trip planning before you arrive. Have fun! Kathryn's point about "why walk" is good advice. Unlimited travel on subways and buses for 7 days is just a wonderful deal...it pays for itself if you save a couple of cab rides and gives you great flexibility.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: facultyandtraveler
                    b
                    bornie Aug 20, 2013 12:52 PM

                    gr8 idea, thank you!

                    1. re: bornie
                      b
                      barberinibee Aug 20, 2013 01:44 PM

                      I take the subway all the time in NYC, but walking is also great. In fact, it is my very favorite form of transportation worldwide, and I always prefer to walk home after dinner if at all possible. (I really don't want a bus ride after.) Generally, when I visit New York, I can always find wonderful restaurants for dinner within a 30 minute walk of where I am staying. Central Manhattan is quite safe at night for after dinner strolling.

                      There is nothing wrong or dangerous about taking the subway back to where you are staying from other places. I'm just saying it's not just the way I prefer to end a wonderful meal in Manhattan, and I am hardly an unusual person.

                      1. re: bornie
                        f
                        facultyandtraveler Aug 20, 2013 02:37 PM

                        You are about 1 block from Columbus Circle and the subway station. Please see my post on: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/913599 for an interesting area in the West Village(there are many great areas). You're a straight shot to the Christopher St. Station (on the downtown line 1 train) which is just about a block from Il Cantuccio a wonderful Tuscan Bakery. Enjoyed that area with my wife. A lot of great food and people watching---cheese, pork store, breads, and pizza. Kathryn has great information on this topic as well as others.

                    2. Ttrockwood Aug 21, 2013 02:31 PM

                      This link may be helpful, map of winebars in the city:
                      http://www.drvino.com/nycwinebars.php
                      Some of my favorites are terrior, corkbuzz, bar veloce and bin 71. Many will also have specials between 5-7pm

                      1. b
                        Blumie Aug 22, 2013 07:22 AM

                        If the weather is nice, few things capture the flavor of NYC like a picnic in Central Park. Walk over to the food hall at the Plaza Hotel, which is a little like a NYC food greatest hits, and pick up lunch (a lobster roll from Luke's, or a funky sub from No. 7, or a traditional French baguette sandwich from Pain D'Avignon, and maybe a cupcake (or three) from Billy's) to take over to the park with you.

                        http://www.theplazany.com/dining/food...

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