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San Diego hound looking for Midtown recommendations

San Diego hound spending two nites in Midtown on business and would truly appreciate recommendations for something unique, interesting, ethnic, etc. that's the moderate price range. No real limitations or preference other than it be good and moderate priced (we're a small company). Thanks!

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  1. Where in Midtown? Cross streets?

    When are you coming?

    Dining solo or with someone else or a group?

    What's your budget, per person, before tax, tip, wine or drinks? "Moderate" means many things to different people.

    What cuisines are difficult to find at home? Anything you are particularly interested in?

    4 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks, Kathryn! Staying at 53rd and Lex but willing to travel all around Midtown, perhaps further for a good spot. Dining with two colleagues. Would like to keep entree costs to ~$25. I hope that's moderate in Manhattan. Lived there 20 years ago and have only been back a few times.

      1. re: steveprez

        Are you willing to wait for a table or would you want to make reservations?

          1. re: steveprez

            I'm not sure how strong San Diego is in various Asian cuisines, but since you're OK with waiting for a table, you might want to look into Danji, Ippudo, Totto Ramen (2 locations), or Pure Thai. I also agree with the recommendation of Szechuan Gourmet, but only with the caveat that you will probably need to be with people who like spicy food in order to enjoy it the most. Avoid the Americanized-Chinese dishes and get only the authentic ones. My favorites there:

            1. Szechuan Pork Dumpling* with roasted chili soy
            2. Dan Dan Noodles * with chili minced pork
            16. Ox Tongue & Tripe** with roasted chili-peanut vinaigrette
            19. Sliced Pork Belly* with chilli-garlic soy
            28. Spicy Cucumber Salad*
            82. Crispy Lamb Filets * with chili cumin
            118. Chef's Ma Paul Tofu *** with chili minced pork
            122. Camphor Tea Smoked Duck (Half)

    2. without knowing too much, i'd say Breslin. it's a great place to dine alone, if that's a concern, and they don't take reservations. the menu is certainly interesting and I'm guessing there's not a lot like it in San Diego.

      1. Sheraton? We were just there. Have you found the 54 (?) Gourmet Deli next door? Great breakfasts for $3.99!

        We had dinner at Bottega del Vino, 7 E 59th. Wow! It
        deserves praise. I opted for sea bass with olives, capers and it was a beautiful piece of fish cooked precisely $40. Dh had veal in four mushrooms sauce and said it was best veal he's ever had. Our waiter was great, knowing just when to appear , never hovering. He recommended a great Italian dry white wine for $110. I highly recommend!

        1. Based on your location in the 50's - Ma Peche for dinner and Betony if you can spare a weekday lunch.

          If you're willing to travel a little south: Szechuan Gourmet (for better Chinese/Sichuan cuisine than you could find in SD), The NoMad (open almost all day), The Breslin.

          3 Replies
          1. re: zeeEats

            Entrees at Ma Peche run about $16-32 so it might feel too expensive for them.

            Entrees at the NoMad would also probably be a bit on the high side for them.

            1. re: kathryn

              Ah, good point Kathryn.

              Koreatown (32nd Street) may not be a terrible option, especially for late night dining. Sure it may not be as good as Ktown in LA, but SD really lacks good Korean food as well... I'd recommend Pocha 32, Mad for Chicken, and Arirang.

              1. re: kathryn

                the bar menu at ma peche is very reasonable

            2. Al Bustan for Middle Eastern is close by
              If you want to walk a bit down Lex to 40th and like Asian try:
              Mapo Tofu and Hunan Manor across the street.
              Oysters at the Grand Central Oyster bar are amazing. Sit at the actual oyster bar and order oysters and chowder as an appetizer. The rest of their menu is not memorable so go somewhere else for your main entrée.

              1. Totto (or Ippudo)
                Ma Peche
                The Bar at the Modern
                Soju House

                1. You are staying close to the 3rd ave ees-a-bagel location, a good breakfast option, they will also deliver to your hotel:

                  1. Thanks, everyone! This gives me a lot to work with. I'll report back.

                    1. Back in SD now and want to thank everyone for your recommendations. Very helpful and more information than I could put to use on a two day visit.

                      We did head down to the Breslin on a cold, icy evening. This is the type of restaurant that SD does very well with all of the local farms and great breweries but I was very much drawn to the menu. Alas, the restaurant was packed on a Tuesday evening and the wait was 1.5 hours. I was willing to wait but given our travel schedules (and the pitiful state of flying these days) we had not had lunch. My travel partners were not willing to wait. Thus, we headed to "Koreatown" a couple blocks north and found a BBQ spot that was able to seat us in 10 mins. Miss Korea is a very good Korean BBQ restaurant. As good as any that I've eaten in Southern California, but not over the top good. Would certainly recommend!

                      For our second dinner, after walking to 4 separate meetings all over Midtown on a very cold day, one of my travel partners wanted to visit a brasserie style restaurant. Googling "brasserie midtown" got us to Brasserie Midtown. Seemed to be very popular and highly rated but was a bit of a disappointment. Has a decent and eclectic wine list that I appreciated. The onion soup (their signature dish) was good especially on a cold nite. I'd been jonesing for some cassoulet recently as a result of an SD Chowhound thread but what Brasserie served was a complete disappointment. Has a nice compliment of meats (duck confit, garlic sausage, pork belly) but the duck was dry and the beans were still hard and under-cooked and obviously had not simmered the requisite time to blend the flavors and make the beans and sauce creamy. A major failure in cassoulet prep. I wonder what the CHers think of this restaurant versus the usual food rating groups.

                      Finally, thanks very much to Trockwood for the recommendation of ees-a-bagel. Awesome NY bagel like I remember them. Though it will just enhance my disappointment with bagels on the left coast. ;)

                      Thanks again for all of the help. I'll be in NY a few times a year and will still have the opportunity to make use of these recommendations. Happy holidays!!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: steveprez

                        Glad you made it to ees a bagel! It sounds like you will just have to come back to nyc to follow up on the rest of the recommendations :)