Late January itinerary
I would love your take on my 3 day late January trip with my 2 colleagues:
1) L'artusi or locanda verde for Italian.
2) Hakkasan for hiend Asian (any other rec for hiend Asian ?)
3) Minetta tavern for non-steakhouse meat (or Craft?)
Also - any recs on breakfast/coffee place near the Trump Soho (west soho) ?
Thanks in advance to all repliers.
Just my 2¢.
1. What are you aiming for here with your Italian choices? Price point? A particular type of dish? Location? Famous owner? A little bit more info will help us help you.
2. Hakkasan is fine. Not high-end, but you if you did NOT intend Asian to be synonymous with Chinese, then for other high-end Asian choices look at JungSik, Ko, as well as a plethora of Japanese places (both sushi, and non-sushi)
3. If you want steak at a non-steakhouse, I would recommend Crostata, which I've been to several times and have enjoyed it quite a bit, as well as American Cut, which I am planning to go to in a couple of weeks, but has received positive feedback on this board, which you can read about here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9263...
Right by your hotel, about a couple blocks north, is RBBT which is good for breakfast. If you don't mind walking a bit and the weather holds up, you can always head south to Chinatown where you can find a plethora of cheap and generally very filling breakfast options (basically just wander in to any place that's open, most do so by 7 a.m.)
For Italian - I've actually been to L'artusi 2 months ago and liked it very much so I think of going again (liked Perla as well beside the very crowded seating there).So if you know of any Italian with the same profile as these 2 places, preferably not too far from Trump Soho hotel.
I will look at Crostata and RBBT,
thanks so far
1. Locanda Verde > L'Artusi (but they're both pretty solid)
2. Not a fan of Hakkasan, Also "Asian" covers quite a lot of ground - Jungsik for Korean, Soto or Kyo Ya or Brushstroke for Japanese, the new Fung Tu for modern Chinese (though more casual / hipper atmosphere than Hakkasan)
3. Minetta and Craft probably have the best steaks in a non-steakhouse in town. Babbo's steak for two is also fantastic, but a.) you've already got an Italian night and b.) good luck getting a reservation. Other good non-steakhouse steaks: Marc Forgione, Balthazar.
SoHo breakfast - are you here over the weekend, or is it weekdays? On weekends many restaurants do brunch that aren't normally open on weekdays during the day. On weekdays, Balthazar is certainly an option for something nicer, or Le Pain Quotidien for something less-fancy. If you want to walk over to the Lower East Side, Shopsin's.
If it's the weekend, Public is a fairly short walk from SoHo and has one of the best brunches in town.
For just coffee and simple stuff - La Colombe, Ground Support, The Cupping Room....
Thanks a lot Gordon
I'll probably try LV for Italian and go for Minetta as I've been to Craft before (and loved it).
As for hiend Asian - I'll look into your recs
And as for breakfast we are in town only for 3 weekdays and we need just a coffee and bagel place - no fancy breakfast guys we are.
You made some wonderful recommendations for Asian food but I'm curious what you had at Hakkasan and what you didn't like? I've only had good meals there and it's my favorite restaurant for Chinese food in NY right now. Some dishes were more successful than others, but that's par for the course at any restaurant.
The couple times I've been I left feeling a bit underwhelmed, especially for the price.
I basically came away thinking the food was generally fine - but at those prices it needs to be a damn sight better than just fine. The lobster dish was by far the most memorable for being the worst - there was, quite literally, one single overcooked lobster tail in it (if that much, even) for, like, $60. Sorry, but that's just f'n ridiculous, even if it were perfectly cooked. That would make it the most expensive lobster entree in the city, as far as I can tell - and the other expensive ones would have more than just a few tiny chunks of the critter in it, to boot.
There were other offenders - some "truffled" dish (I didn't order it) which was, of course, redolent with the all-too-common stink of "truffle" oil as one should assume anything with the word "truffle" in the name without a proper adjective will be, with some cheap flavorless Chinese truffles mixed in to make it look fancy. And the venison - the taste was fine, but that's really just a review of the sauce. It could have been any meat in there, for all you could tell. I couldn't even tell what part of the animal the pieces came from.
The second time I went it was a little better - we stayed away from the "luxury" dishes which were all disappointments. It was more reasonably priced, but I found more often than not the sauce application a bit heavy-handed, the dishes kind of unbalanced. We had some dim sum as well, which were a mixed bag - the steamed ones tended to fare better than the fried, overall. It wasn't a BAD experience like the first time but it wasn't anything I'd recommend anyone go out of their way for, not in NYC at least - it might be a good option if you're stuck in a Vegas casino or something.
Actually, by and large it was the vegetable dishes I liked best. I think one could have a very nice (and surprisingly reasonably priced) vegetarian meal there, although there are other places I'd recommend more for that it wouldn't be the worst place place to wind up.
But that said, nothing was terribly inspired. I mean, they're a big box chain restaurant, make no mistake about it.
I'm certainly (as most local 'hounders know) not the type of person who thinks that Asian restaurants should be inherently cheaper, mind you - in fact I'd welcome a high-end Chinese place that really put a creative spin on things, or just presented traditional dishes at an extraordinarily high level. I had high hopes for Shang, which disappointed. And Hakkasan just didn't cut it for me, either. They're pretty divisive - they certainly have their acolytes here on Chowhound, but I also know I'm not alone in my opinion. I mean, every major critic in town panned them, pretty much. Maybe they've gotten better since then, but I've no urge to return.
Also, aside from the food, I have a general issue with restaurants that don't put prices on their online menus. That's just shady.
I hear what you're saying and I agree with much of what you're saying. I've never ordered the lobster but it seemed very pricey and I didn't even know about the ridiculous portion size. I also don't like truffle oil, at all. That being said, I've had issues with the value aspect of many high end restaurants. Craft, Cafe Boulud, Marea, Union Square Cafe, Gotham Bar & Grill, 15 East, just to name a few. Hakkasan is not alone for having some bad value propositions. Hakkasan's salt & pepper squid was more delicious and is about the same price as calamari at USC. The most overpriced thing I had at USC was a shredded snap pea salad that probably cost them 50 cents in ingredients and I was charged $14 (they shredded perhaps 4 or 5 small snap peas and tossed them with a little oil and vinegar). Or more recently I was charged $19 for three pumpkin raviolis the size of postage stamps. Or my meal at 15 East which was so disappointingly mediocre and outrageously expensive, a tiny bowl of soba noodles with a shrimp and a few mushrooms was $28. The noodles were all broken it was like eating soba matchsticks and the whole portion was the size of a toddler's fist. I'm still reeling from paying $45 at M.Wells for two lamb chops with a sprinkling of couscous and carrots.
All in all, I do feel that Hakkasan is judged more harshly than many restaurants that are also, for all intents and purposes "chains". You can go to a Boloud restaurant in every major city and around the world, or Todd English, Tom Colicchio, or Charlie Palmer, David Burke (all of which have clunkers).
If you ever go back to Hakkasan (and if you like duck), I would recommend the pipa duck, it's really good. They have an excellent way with duck and it's less expensive than the Peking duck.