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Hidden gems that you don't wanna tell even the closest friend?

Any such place? Let's share! :)

Mine is Nick's Place.
From outside, the doors look like those of a garment storage.
You have to bravely open them and go into the building.
Go straight and you will find charmingly clean, tiny cafe called Nick's Place.
I like their 'Steak Taco'.
For $7, you get three tacos filled with steak (cooked when the order is placed and not pre-made) and guacamole. Not a destination place, but if you are in the Garment District, it's a good lunch option for less money.
You have to go early (like between 11:30am and 12pm) because sometimes they are sold out fast.

Nick's Place
201 West 39th Street
(between 7th Ave & 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10018
(212) 221-3294

 
 
 
 
 
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  1. I really wish there were more posts/threads like this one.

    Too often the Manhattan board is populated with of EMP, Per Se, Le Bernardin, Nobu, Minetta Tavern, etc.

    So thank you for this. I will try and think if I can come up with something worthwhile.

    1 Reply
    1. Thanks kosmose!

      I have a friend who recently got a new job near that area. I'll have him try it out for lunch.

      Although in a 2012 Midtown Lunch post http://midtownlunch.com/2012/07/02/ni... about the place, it said the steak tacos were $8 before tax.

      Re: ipsedixit
      I don't think the Manhattan board is too populated with threads about those places. I like to come to read about those places and if I'm looking for more local neigborhood-specific fare, I'll just sift through the dredge that is Yelp. I don't want CH to be more like Yelp.

      I also think that there just aren't that many true hidden gems in Manhattan (as opposed to OB) that stay hidden anymore. The food hipster hype machine just works too quickly now.

      4 Replies
      1. re: fooder

        Oh it became $1 cheaper! Great! Thanks for the link fooder! :)

        1. re: fooder

          While I wouldn't say this board is "too populated" with the kind of thread that ipsedixit describes, because plainly there is audience anxious for it, but it is underpopulated with this type of thread kosmose started. I don't think yelp is alternative resource, because the number of people feeding into it whose tastebuds you don't know nullifies the advice. And frankly, I'd rather read my fave professional restaurant critics on places like Betony than Chow posts. Too often, I think Chow ends up little more than an echo chamber of the standard media buzz.

          I'd like to see more threads about overlooked places, under the radar places, hidden gems, good food without a reservation, charming places, shopping break places (where the seating is spacious enough to put down your bags), museum cafes, also, places that have fallen out of fashion that are still serving delicious food, or that are hidden gems for lunch or off hours but hideous at the dinner hour.

          One of the things Manhattan lost over the years (because it disappeared from the general culture) was the second-run movie house, and it often used to be a better, more reflective way to see movies, rather in the nervous stampede when all the critics had just declared a film a "must see". Too much of the New York eating culture comes across as a competitive race of driven individuals in pursuit of the new opening or menu change or chef change. It is fun to have a relaxed explorer's street level view of the city, for workers, shoppers, people out on a lark and the sense of sharing, despite the funny title of this public post. Produces a happier food culture, I think.

          1. re: barberinibee

            Agree completely. And isn't CH supposed to be about deliciousness as reward for serendipity, surprise, and risk?

            1. re: barberinibee

              "Too often, I think Chow ends up little more than an echo chamber of the standard media buzz."

              I think this is increasingly the case, and dissent isn't exactly welcomed.

              My feeling is some good food must be getting lost in the shuffle, and those hidden gem reports are the most useful posts.... but there are less of those to dig up that haven't already been hit with the blogger/media buzz already. We have more good food choices than ever it seems, but chasing a tip for something interesting rarely pans out, because we sometimes tend to over hype our own discoveries.

            1. Andanada 141 is a good Spanish restaurant near Lincoln Center. Chef Manuel Berganza worked at two Michelin starred restaurants in Madrid.
              http://www.andanada141.com/

              1. Fantastic sharing, kosmose. I won't tell a soul except the people in the nightclub where I sing.

                1. Not really hidden but definitely not talked about at all:

                  Chicken place on 38th and 3rd for 1/4 chicken dark meat with fries and pita - only $5.50!

                  Naya express on 43rd and 3rd for gussied up street meat with delicious rice and hummus.

                  Grand central oyster bar takeout for New England or Manhattan clam chowder (actually I get a mix of both in one container).

                  Previti pizza on 41st bt lex and park for a great slice.

                  I don't really think these are hidden, but they aren't talked about that often.

                  1. My hidden gem is Biryani House Cart at 140 Broadway.

                    1. Yes I have them and if I wouldn't tell my friends, why would I tell a gazillion strangers? ;)

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Bkeats

                        Kind of reminds me of the "The most private thing I’m willing to admit" field in OKCupid profiles.

                        I also do have places that I recommend to friends but that I don't post online. I wonder what category that falls under.

                        1. re: fooder

                          That category is Selfish, especially if you scour these boards for just such information generously shared by others.

                          1. re: barberinibee

                            It's not a matter of generosity or selfishness. Because Manhattan is so competitive, being a regular matters. Many places often become hidden gems after being a regular. CH has fairly strict rules on comps and friends of house, even with full disclosure. I think one of the tensions about EMP on CH was that many posters became known to the house and were writing about certain experiences that were not always available to everyone.

                            I like CH for being the right mix that I feel is in between a Yelp and a Mouthfuls. I think you're wrong on the distribution of recommendations on the board and as I wrote above, I don't want CH to move towards Yelp.

                            1. re: fooder

                              What about some generosity to the owners and chefs of these places, the people who've been feeding you all those nice meals and giving you happiness if you are somebody who is made happy to eat well?

                              I don't become friends with chefs and restaurant owners, but I want to see them succeed when they deserve it. Any restaurant I enthuse about to my friends face to face I enthuse about on Chowhound. I am grateful to the people who gave me that food and that lift.

                              Some of the places I eat at are small solo operators -- not corporation backed celebrities -- who I am sure would love to have customers filling up their place every night instead of tossing out food. They would love to have their phone ring off the hook with reservations. They are working very hard to succeed in an honest way.

                              Fortunately, you can't really stop people posting about the full range of their eating and restaurant interests, so too bad for you if Chow is something more than rewriting the reviews that we've all aleady read in the NYTimes, NYmag, etc etc etc.

                              There are 20 times more reviews of Betony on yelp than on Chowhound, and 100 times as many of EMP. What makes Chowhound different is not the repetitive threads on high-end restaurants. It is that a small group of people (like kosmose) post regularly about BOTH Eleven Madison Park AND NIck's, and the ability to interact with, even challenge, other posters tastes and values.

                              1. re: barberinibee

                                Clearly you have your singular view and decided not to actually read what I wrote. I specifically mentioned that it was CH policy about friends of house posts, not that I don't want to repay the generosity of the chefs who know very well that I speak highly of them when possible.

                                First, chill out and stop ranting. It is not so much that there are too many posts about high end or newer restaurants as it is the structure of a thread-based forum without restaurant labeling and archiving (which I never understood why Chow removed). For example, my contribution to this list would probably be Lamazou. But it's not like there aren't threads on Lamazou in the archives. People have written about the place (and the failed Bistro Lamazou), but as Lamazou continues to make the same excellent sandwiches that haven't changed on their menu (and that lovely roquefort egg salad), there's nothing new to entice the threads to be revived.

                                1. re: fooder

                                  People can write what they like in the style they like! You need to realize that. If I misinterpreted your post you surely have the right to clarify, but you seem rather bent on unilaterally defining what should be posted and how.

                                  We disagree about what gets crowded out on the Manhattan board and why. Sixty zillion posts about ultra high end and special occasion restaurants or the "best" food fetish treasure hunt will make people reluctant to venture posting about enjoyable meals that aren't in that league or don't appeal to food fetishists. Except for queries from people looking to solve a knotty problem (like, where to seat 20 people for xx bucks on a Saturday night), most of the conversation is obsessing about spanking new and wowsy. That is only a extremely tiny tiny aspect of appreciating food in Manhattan.

                                  1. re: barberinibee

                                    I did not at all "define what should be posted and how". All I said was I don't think there are too many posts about the more famous or more expensive places. I don't know what you keep referring to as "best food fetish treasure hunt", but I do want to point out that at the top of the message board, it's written: "Discuss the best restaurants and food in Manhattan"

                                    I don't quite understand why you think an abundance of posts about high end or newer places will make people reluctant to post about other places. It actually seems like you're the one defining what should be posted and how.

                                    Quote: "I'd rather read my fave professional restaurant critics on places like Betony than Chow posts... ...rewriting the reviews that we've all aleady read in the NYTimes, NYmag..." That seems rather insulting to CH posters. It's basically saying, well, the "professionals" have reviewed it, I don't need to hear about it from others. Above all else CH is a community of people, and if those people happen to want to write about experiences in "those places", it's good to have additional points of view, whether supportive or in opposition to whatever the critics may write.

                        2. re: Bkeats

                          Funny thing is, I think the food hoarders end up the architects of their own defeat. The more food conversation focuses on a just a few ultra-foodie destination places with mostly unaffordable prices, with everything else ignored except those thread monomanias for the food fetish du jour, then when these other places for nice meals do get revealed, as they inevitably will, they get overwhelmed with people who mistakenly think they must be cheaper versions of EMP or who just generally have no clue where else to go -- because no one is giving them clues.

                          The more the food conversation is expanded to talk about places that are an enjoyable part of the food culture of Manhattan, located on streets and corners spread out all over Manhattan, then you don't get that effect of everybody trying to squeeze into the same tunnel at the same time, and getting up at 3 in the morning to reserve tables, etc.

                        3. I like the cool and spacious Inakaya for lunch on a hot day, under the New York Times building. Even though it is a robatayaki, I don't go for the theatrics or the bbq (and never the sushi). I take a table seat and order up cool salads and grilled veg, which have always been bright and fresh, and the space is light and airy, just what you need when midtown is crowded and sticky.

                          I like Cafe Zaiya on the 2d floor of Kinokuniya bookstore on 6th overlooking Bryant Park. You can find some tasty cheap sandwiches and bento boxes, pretty fluffy pastries and tea served in beautiful glass teapots. A great way to enjoy the park when it is raining.

                          Another second-story choice not much known is Brasserie 1605 on the second floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel practically hangs over the heart of Times Square, with panoramic windows, and has a limited menu of typical American fare at less-than-gouge prices, including a kids menu. A really fun and affordable choice if you are in the city with smaller kids. The food is better than most of the nearby sit down choices for a casual meal in Times Square.

                          1. Sugiyama
                            Novita
                            Leopard
                            Sapphire
                            Dafni
                            Sabor de Mexico
                            Jin Ramen
                            Moti Mahal Delux

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Tommy D.

                              love novita. great place.

                              if i can expand this to brooklyn, i'll also add fregole on president and court. not as well known as frankie's 457 down the street, but the appetizers and pastas are consistently good to very good. and they do great take-out.

                              1. re: jon

                                You raised my hopes that there might be a restaurant called Fregola in Brooklyn serving fregole (the marvelous round Sardinian pasta) -- but I take it you mean Fragole ("strawberries" in Italian, and I like strawberries too!).

                                1. re: barberinibee

                                  sorry! although, during the summer/fall, otto usually serves a delicious vegetable side dish of fregole with sweet corn. it's my favorite dish that they serve, actually.

                                  1. re: jon

                                    Thanks. Looking at menus on the list that Tommy D posted, it looks like Leopard has a fregole dish as well.

                              2. re: Tommy D.

                                Great call on Novita. Also try El Parador for great margs and traditional mexican on 34th between 2 and 3

                                1. re: princeofpork3

                                  Its actually b/w 1st and 2nd ave- love that place for happy hour!

                                2. re: Tommy D.

                                  What do you suggest at Novita? That place has hung on a long time.

                                3. Mines Gaia Cafe on Houston and Suffolk. Great italian, very cheap. She is a little intense, but it adds to the experience.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: Hey19

                                    Agree on Gaia Cafe. However the last time I tried to go there we ended up just sitting at a table and waiting for someone to help us for over 25 minutes (no more ordering at the counter?) and sadly ended up leaving... Wish they were not so understaffed.

                                    1. re: zeeEats

                                      Yeah, the service is not a well oiled machine. I think she is just very particular, and ends up doing everything herself, and it slows down the operation. If you go on off times it can be very nice and relaxed.

                                    2. re: Hey19

                                      My favorite restaurant in NYC. l eat there fairly often, and have become friendly with Gaia. The problem with the service is that, as you said, she's very exacting, and she's had a consistent problem finding good help. She had to close early [at about 4pm] one day last week, because someone on her staff didn't show up; you can imagine how disappointed l was when she told me she couldn't fill my order! Ordering hasn't changed: you still order at the counter.

                                      And you're absolutely correct about going there on off-hours: l usually go at around 3pm.

                                      1. re: Hey19

                                        Gaia is very good and very underrated, the owner is fine but the people she hires basically had a frontal lobotomy

                                        here's my post on it: https://www.lauhound.com/2011/11/gaia...

                                        1. re: Lau

                                          Good write up, I just think Gaia must be hard to work with, and thus never finds an employee that sticks around and actually learns the routine. I have to think her profit margins are very tight, so its prob minimum wage too, so its not like you are finding anyone with much experience. I dont know much about restaurant economics though. Anyway, its a great place.

                                          1. re: Hey19

                                            She may or may not be hard to work with, but l think Lau is right: her employees are, all too often, dullards, who just don't know how to work.

                                            1. re: howdini

                                              yah idk how hard she is to work with, but literally these people can barely write down an order or use the cash register. that said the food at Gaia is excellent and very well priced

                                      2. Whenever I get a sweet tooth(more than once a day..usually), I go to this strange little store called Cosmetic plus(Cosmetic show?) where they have alot of imported goodies from Italy. (55th street between lex and 3rd) I just bought a large flourless baci chocolate cake from here for $9...made with just chocolate, butter,eggs, hazelnuts and sugar...so so good. Also bought some snacks and chocolate bars imported from Italy and other parts of Europe.
                                        I also like Treehaus has the desserts from lots of famous and popular places in NYC in one store. I love the creme brulee Doughssant and cupcakes from Chikalicious and i don't have to go downtown to get them.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: Monica

                                          Monica, you & I must work in the same neck of the woods. That Cosmetics thing has been around for ages. Used to be on 3rd where the Outback was & years ago, was only around at holiday time.

                                          Anyway, my hidden gem - if I have a craving for a good cheeseburger, I go to Jimbo's Burger palace on 1st Ave. between either 54th & 55th or 55th & 56th. It's a tiny hole in the wall, but they make great burgers.

                                          1. re: Jerzeegirl

                                            Interesting to know. This shop was selling cakes from Jerry's in Englewood NJ which is one of my favorite shops in NJ...I thought it was pretty intersting. I asked the cashier if she knew anything, she said no.

                                          2. re: Monica

                                            That's a good tip. All these years I've walked by I thought that store was a downrent Ricky's!

                                            1. re: JungMann

                                              stop by one day...even have cheeses and imported coffee beans. snacking on McVities biscuits and Italian chocolate bars from them right now.

                                              Try the Baci cake for $9...great hazelnut based chocolate cake at shockingly low price.

                                              1. re: Monica

                                                A friend told me to put cream cheese & sliced apple on McVities, and she was right: it's a delicious combination.

                                          3. Nick's was my secret spot!! I've worked in the area for years, definately one of the better lunch options.
                                            Punjab deli used to be more under the radar than it is now- still love it though.

                                            There used to be a hidden kitchen/door basically just off of 17th st b/w 5th and 6th ave, north side of the st that only served dominican food at lunch, everyday something different -great fish stew and rice. Not sure if its still there, i'm never in the area at lunch

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                                              Several years ago there was a secret spot in that neighborhood called Supreme Grocery. It looked like a grocery store in front and had a restaurant in the back.
                                              Of secret sort of spots now, Num Peng garage for coconut shrimp bahn mi.
                                              Khe Yo sandwich stand, in the afternoon. for pork belly sandwich.
                                              Sole de Capri, for home made italian cheese cake and for very good pasta, and baked eggplant parm ( not fried)
                                              Greenwich Grill for pasta with Thai crab sauce and for grilled fish.( italian/japanese)
                                              Cornerstone- ( only has like 4 seats) good burgers, good ribs
                                              Sunlight Bakery ( actually store on left of it) for $1,50 rice noodles fresh made with beef or pork, or shrimp etc

                                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                I love the sandwiches at Num Pang (I used to work a couple of blocks from the original when there was only one), but is it still considered hidden/secret when there are 4 branches of them now? My favorite sandwich there is the steak sandwich, which is not something I usually order at places.

                                                1. re: fooder

                                                  I only go to the one above the Parking Lot, so it still seems secret ,even though the lines can be quite long. It's a cool location on 12th St. I wonder how many CH'ers have tried Num Pang, if not most, then it is still 'secret".

                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                    A good friend of ours lives on 12th between U place & Broadway.

                                                    Num Pang is a must-stop before we head out of town for a great "in-the-car-lunch" (that is if we don't have several portions of roast pork/duck from Big Wong).

                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                      Sounds good. Try Num Pang's corn on cob, and their soup too. I haven't been to Big Wong in ages. I;ve always enjoyed their food.

                                                  2. re: fooder

                                                    Chalk me up as anti- num pang. Their sandwiches may be tasty but the establishment, to me at least, represents everything wrong with this new cheffy mantra of eat what I cook and I'm not changing anything for you, the customer. The fact that you can't get their sandwiches without them loading on their overly sweet mayo concoction bothers me to no end (they won't even go light on that sauce or put it on the side), as does the fact that one day their minuscule side of fruit salad was $4 and the next it was $6.50 or so, and the portion got smaller. They won't even change the sandwiches when there is literally no one else in the place.

                                                    No joke but if you want a better sandwich close to the num pang on 41st st, go to everyday gourmet instead, a non-descript Korean deli that makes really good sandwiches (I'm partial to the grilled chicken with cheddar cheese and hot sauce).

                                              2. Speaking of hidden, has anyone been to El Sabroso?
                                                From what I've read on ML, it's really really well hidden!
                                                But there seem to be conflicting reports about whether it's Ecuadorian or Peruvian. Is it any good?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. Here's my contribution.

                                                  (Apologies for the midtown bias)

                                                  Rex - cowboy cookies and cortada
                                                  LJ Pizza - best (homemade) pita
                                                  Empanada Mama - arepas (esp. the Cubano)

                                                  11 Replies
                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    Rex is a gem for the neighborhood but not something worth traveling for.

                                                    1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                      Was that a criteria?

                                                      In other words, are all the other hidden gems recommended on this thread worth traveling at least, say, 3 or 4 subway stops for?

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        I'm not sure. Rex is a nice cafe but nothing particularly special. There are 50 cafes or more with similar characteristics in the city. I guess "hidden gem" isn't a well defined characteristic :)

                                                        1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                          I'm familiar with some of the places already mentioned (and without mentioning names), many of them I wouldn't consider cross-town worthy.

                                                          1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                            I think anyone contributing to this topic should be appreciated. People have different tastes, and it's up to each reader to screen out places according to one's own taste.

                                                            1. re: kosmose7

                                                              This can and should apply to all gems -- hidden, conspicuous, or whatever.

                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                        Recently discovered Rex as well. Hardest working person in Hells Kitchen and only 3 years old! Like the Morning Glory muffin or whatever its called.
                                                        What do you get with the pita at LJ, or do you just get a pita

                                                        1. re: Ziggy41

                                                          Just the pita. The hummus is ok, but nothing like the pita.

                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                          Hi Ipsedixit - any other can't-misses in the midtown area? I'm in town for one night and I've never had a knock-your-socks-off meal in the area, but I suspect it's more that I don't know where to go. I'd prefer something informal, cuisine doesn't matter (I like it all). Empanada Mama looks fantastic. anything else you'd recommend?

                                                          1. re: smsiegel

                                                            I would start a new thread with where you'll be in midtown (east? west?) & your budget/price range & your favorite cuisines. Midtown is has quite a few good eats these days (hidden and not): Toloache, Danji, Szechuan Gourmet...

                                                        3. Two more places I would like to add:

                                                          MEW Izakaya:
                                                          It's a Japanese izakaya in the basement of a building on 35th St.
                                                          Assorted sashimi composed of yellow tail, tuna, salmon, white fish, and octopus is only $12.
                                                          Saba shio yaki (broiled mackerel) is $6.

                                                          Kiteya SoHo:
                                                          It's a Japanese shop selling accessories on Broome St., but it has recently begun selling Japanese sweets imported from Kyoto too.
                                                          You can buy delicious Japanese chocolates and wasanbon (Japanese sugar) polvoron, among others.

                                                           
                                                           
                                                           
                                                           
                                                           
                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: kosmose7

                                                            Did you notice any Japanese Kit Kats at Kiteya? Not that their appearance would be congruent with the rest of the store, but it's worth a shot...

                                                              1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                If there's an H-Mart near you, check there.

                                                                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                  kosmose7 - how was the quality of the food at MEW?

                                                                  buildingmybento - Shi Eurasia in LES sells them http://www.yelp.com/biz/shi-eurasia-n...

                                                                2. re: kosmose7

                                                                  Back when 41st St. had Book Off, Beard Papa and Yagura, I'd go much more often.

                                                                  Speaking of which, I haven't been to (the relocated) Book Off in years- do they have a café?

                                                                  1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                    Beard papa is back at Zaiya but not sure for full time.

                                                                3. My gems (mostly Hells Kitchen)

                                                                  Guelaguetza - Best chicken Burrito, tacos (chorizo and potato yum) in the hood

                                                                  Chicken Over Rice Guy – 11th and 51st (Northwest corner). Try the Chicken over rice

                                                                  Lali Restaurant - Tiny Dominican diner. Great home cooking

                                                                  Bis co latte - for the biscotti

                                                                  Hidden gems that I wish would be more popular before they close...

                                                                  Inti - Peruvian
                                                                  Gazala's Place - For the hummus and Bourekas

                                                                  Honorable Brooklyn mention:
                                                                  Kashkar Cafe - Great Uyghur.. http://wp.me/p2zSmJ-uz

                                                                  Honorable Staten Island mention:
                                                                  Sanrasa - Sri Lankan

                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Ziggy41

                                                                    Interesting point about places that you hope would be more popular. Gems that I've frequented often over the years have either expanded (GoGo Curry, Num Pang, Dos Toros) or folded (Djerdan, the by-the-lb buffet at Yagura Market).

                                                                    1. re: Ziggy41

                                                                      Nice review of Kashkar, but l don't think you included the address in your blog post? l've gotta check that place out...

                                                                      Totally agree on Gazala's: terrific.

                                                                      1. re: howdini

                                                                        I normally dont include addresses but perhaps I should start you right. Ive been back to Kashkar since and enjoyed the Manti and Pilaf as well. You can combine your visit with some Georgian Bread on Neptune.. http://wp.me/p2zSmJ-SB

                                                                        There's a similar Korean/Uzbek place on Brighton 4th called something like "At mother in law" that I would like to try as well. Perhaps I'll bring my MIL as well so she could learn a few tricks

                                                                        1. re: Ziggy41

                                                                          l've been to MIL, it's really interesting and tasty. Last time l had Georgian bread was at Lagidze, the newish Georgian restaurant on CIA; have you been there yet?

                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9143...

                                                                          As to the addresses, it's easy enough to google them, but why not do your readers the services of including them? l'd appreciate it, and l can only assume others would, as well.

                                                                          1. re: howdini

                                                                            Just butting in to say that Lagidze is really good, especially the xinkali and kababi, but I liked the Georgian bread better at Georgian Bread (265 Neptune Ave.).

                                                                            1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                              l've still only eaten at Lagidze once; l have to get back there.

                                                                              1. re: howdini

                                                                                I'd like to try it on an evening when they have a live performance. From what I see on their Facebook page, the vibe appears to be outrageously fun.

                                                                                1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                  The Gypsy Kings can finally say they made it.

                                                                                  1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                    Oh, l haven't checked out their fb page...!

                                                                                    1. re: howdini

                                                                                      I came across it when looking for the main website. It adds an intriguing dimension to the place.

                                                                                      1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                        And who doesn't loves 'em some intriguing dimension?

                                                                      2. There's a Mexican spot called Five Tacos on Saint Marks which is serving amazing burritos and tacos.

                                                                        New Malaysia in Chinatown is also worth mentioning

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: silencespeak

                                                                          ls that the one on 2nd Av? l've yet to try it, because l'm such a diehard Morelos tacos fan.

                                                                        2. Thanks so much for this! l'm up at almost that exact location once or twice a month; l usually opt for Curry Go-Go.

                                                                          1. Villard Michel Richard in the space formerly occupied by Gilt.

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: MarieLuncheonette

                                                                                  Really ?
                                                                                  Went there a few weeks back and decided not to post as had the worst dish of 2013 there.
                                                                                  Place was lovely and comfortable, though the wine cellar dead center of the room did not seem to fit with the surroundings. Found a Loire chenin blanc almost for free on the wine list.
                                                                                  Could find almost nothing to eat for either course, settled for a charcuterie plate for the two of us, nothing very interesting.
                                                                                  The steak priced at $ 70 for a 'Cotes de Boeuf' could not be ordered double thick and cooked for two as was a wet aged cryopac precut hunk of poor meat. It was sous vide perhaps for an hour or two then served, no char, no crust, no interest. Ordered very rare, cam medium, they said that was as rare as you could get. We each ate one bite, got our check and left. They brought us back comped us desserts as my chef friend knew one of the staff and they were inedible as well.
                                                                                  This was not Michel Richard at his best or even mediocre best, this was dreadful.

                                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                    That is REALLY too bad. We ate at his Central in DC a couple of years ago and it was so good.

                                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                      I can only assume you saw the NYT review which echos your experience.

                                                                                2. I like La Dinastia China on 72nd and Amsterdam for their fried chicken. Perhaps it's super well known already, but the Latin Chinese run joint is just so good and friendly. Have not tried their proper Chinese food though.

                                                                                  1. Kurumazushi lunch.

                                                                                    Funny that I forgot about this and only remembered this after Wells (hate him) downgraded Kurumazushi to 1 star.

                                                                                    The lunch at Kurumazushi has sashimi special (his unique thicker cut) for $30 and sushi special for $25. While you're not getting his best stuff and the pieces are precut (for lunch rush), the prices are not that much above your random neighborhood sushi joint and his stuff is better. I haven't been back in a while, but last time the sushi special had 9 pieces plus a roll.

                                                                                     
                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Lau

                                                                                        If you sit at the counter, the female sushi chef will make and serve the sushi piece by piece for the lunch special.

                                                                                        1. re: Shirang

                                                                                          there's a female sushi chef? never seen her although i havent been there in years

                                                                                          1. re: Lau

                                                                                            I always liked the female sushi chefs are 15 East ( now at Dojo), Jewel Bako ( now at Bugs), Taka ( was located at Hakata-tonton). Although I had thought Kurumazushi was not worth the price. Lunch does sound like a good deal.

                                                                                    1. Fun post! Many ppl are mentioning midtown lunch spots, so I'll name my recent favorite: the $4 falafel sandwich at (Astoria-based) King of Falafel & Shawarma on 53rd & Park. So good and so cheap! The falafel are freshly fried and the guys often offer people on line a free hot falafel while they wait. The sandwich is better than the $7 platter, btw.

                                                                                      I also second Everyday Gourmet on Lexington--used to work by there and thought the Korean counter did the best made-to-order bibimbap in the area (with a freshly fried egg, no less).

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: loumarie

                                                                                        i just discovered the korean counter at everyday gourmet the other day. it is pretty good. i really like their korean dumpling soup.

                                                                                        1. re: loumarie

                                                                                          Thanks for the falafel heads up - wish I'd seen this yesterday when I was RIGHT THERE looking for a tasty bite in the Park Ave food wasteland.

                                                                                        2. Senor Pollo at 1st Ave. and 14th Street—great Peruvian rotisserie chicken with rice, beans, plantains, the most amazing spinach mashed potatoes, etc. I also love their Peruvian-style fried rice.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: loratliff

                                                                                            their quinoa/chicken soup is good too

                                                                                            1. re: loratliff

                                                                                              l've passed by about 30million times, and still have never tried it: thanks for the kick in the pants!

                                                                                            2. Takesushi in Sunnyside
                                                                                              I wrote it up on the outer boroughs board, but I've also seen some brief mention of it on the Manhattan board. It may be the best value for cheap, high quality seafood in NYC. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/960708

                                                                                              Dollarmania at 100 Montaditos
                                                                                              Full review with photos on the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...
                                                                                              Bar/restaurant chain based out of Spain specializing in mini-sandwiches that are slightly larger than the size of a metrocard. On Wednesdays all the sandwiches and appetizers are $1 each. The brava potatoes and anything with Serrano ham are awesome.

                                                                                               
                                                                                              1. Papa Kebab

                                                                                                361 W 17th St
                                                                                                (between 9th Ave & 8th Ave)
                                                                                                New York, NY 10011
                                                                                                Neighborhood: Chelsea
                                                                                                (646) 998-4597
                                                                                                papakebab.com

                                                                                                Loved the lamb kebab---very tasty and surprisingly juicy, The same could be said about the Joojeh chicken kebab--it's marinated in yogurt and the result is amazing.

                                                                                                It's all rather cheap to boot: $10 for a kebab platter. Attentive service. Very impressive.

                                                                                                Keep in mind that it's a small, cosy restaurant. There were no more than 10 tables.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: nycguy20011

                                                                                                    Yes, thank you! Do you know how badly I want good Iranian food?

                                                                                                  2. i dont know why it took me so long, but these two are seriously underrated

                                                                                                    boubouki:
                                                                                                    https://www.lauhound.com/2012/03/boub...

                                                                                                    gaia:
                                                                                                    https://www.lauhound.com/2011/11/gaia...

                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                                                                      Gaia. My favorite. She's on vacation in ltaly for the next couple of days, getting a well-needed rest. She gave me a bad scare last month when she tried to close up shop! The people would not have it, tho, and forced her to re-open.

                                                                                                      Lau, if you ever see gnocchi Romana on her daily specials, GET IT. lt's frickin' sublime: light-as-air semolina gnocchi in her fabulous tomato sauce.

                                                                                                      1. re: howdini

                                                                                                        you know ive never tried their pastas for some reason, but ill make sure to

                                                                                                        i wish her service was better, but really i dont know why gaia isnt like a very heralded place on chowhound, it really is very good and far better than alot of heralded italian type places on chowhound

                                                                                                        1. re: Lau

                                                                                                          Well, it's heralded to me haha! When the young ltalian guy is working there, the one with dark curly hair and glasses, the service is ok, but she really has trouble finding good help.

                                                                                                          1. re: howdini

                                                                                                            i mean she literally hires people who are some of the least capable people ive ever seen. i had to do the math on a sandwich and coffee last time bc the girl couldn't figure out how to use the calculator

                                                                                                            1. re: Lau

                                                                                                              Ugh. That is kinda tragicomic, tho, you must admit. As long as Gaia's cooking l'll come back. l have a nice relationship with her, too: we kibbitz, she gives me a free cookie or two, and l leave an exorbitantly high tip.

                                                                                                              1. re: howdini

                                                                                                                oh yah i agree....she's clearly a very good cook, just not a great manager

                                                                                                    2. Pssssss, New Totto location on 51st and 10th now open for lunch. Lets keep it between us friends ok?
                                                                                                      I dont want to tell my closest friends mainly because they wouldnt know what the heck I'm talking about

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Ziggy41

                                                                                                        LOL, this is why I love Chowhound. A lot of times, i'd be talking passionately about new restaurants that opened up near our office to my coworkers, they'd be like...whatever...and gives me that there she goes again look.

                                                                                                        1. re: Monica

                                                                                                          ;) I take my co-workers out once a week somewhere "exotic" (Peruvian, Ethiopian, Ramen, etc) in Hell's Kitchen where we discover the flavors of the world. Like a school trip

                                                                                                          But my closest friends from Brooklyn and Staten Island are totally clueless

                                                                                                          1. re: Ziggy41

                                                                                                            >my closest friends from Brooklyn and Staten Island are totally clueless

                                                                                                            So they're not always dragging you to the newest Uzbek and Sri Lankan spots?

                                                                                                            1. re: squid kun

                                                                                                              Oh quite the opposite. I dragged them to Lakruwana (sri lankan) and Kashkar Cafe (Uzbek). About a 50% success rate

                                                                                                      2. If I don't wanna tell my closest friends, why would I tell all of you? Lol Gonna keep it that way

                                                                                                        1. Rosanna's family is in the biz ... She's had a couple of nice finds in her episodes that have aired so far. Look --> http://www.myfoxny.com/story/24727663...