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What says NYC to you?

My Danish husband and I (American from the south) will be in NYC later this month for work and I'm just now starting to make a list of things to see, do and of course…eat. It's interesting to hear what Europeans equate with NYC and what they think the must eats are (e.g. street hot dogs), but would love some suggestions from the locals. I think what I remember most from my 1 visit (30+ years ago) was an incredible pastrami sandwich.

We have an Upper West Side hotel and would prefer to stay fairly low key most of the trip, so not looking for fine dining as much as fun but yummy ideas.


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  1. Hope you will make it to Katz's Deli for an amazing pastrami sammich and NYC experience!! Enjoy!!
    So many fabulous pizza places too.
    Bagels and bialys you won't find anywhere else in the world.
    Easy subway ride to almost anywhere from the UWS.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Motosport

      That's what I'm talking about, thanks! Katz is on the list, and I'm collecting names of pizza places. I am apparently so far out of the loop it's embarrassing, as I never heard of a bialys before!

        1. re: plf515

          Good to know, thanks so much for that!

    2. Katz's and while you're down there, definitely Russ and Daughters.
      Since you're on the UWS though, hit up Barney Greengrass - we love it there.
      Sal and Carmines on 101/102 and B'way makes my favorite slice in the area.
      Bypass the dirty water dogs, and also on the UWS, hit up Grey's Papaya (or is it Papaya King) on 72nd and B'way. Get the recession special :)
      Head to the halal guys on 56th and 6th ave and grab a combo platter over rice with extra white sauce and a side of red sauce.
      Grab a burger at burger joint in le parker meridien hotel or alternatively hit up Shake Shack.

      Most importantly, have fun :)

      3 Replies
      1. re: r32nissan

        yum, thanks so much for all of the specific recommendations. I have noted them all and will start putting them on my travel map!

        1. re: r32nissan

          Love Barney Greengrass, just mind the hours. Closed Mondays. Tuesdays through Sunday 8am to 6pm. Restaurant opens at 8:30am. There's a takeout side and a dine-in side. Crowded on weekend mornings.

          Halal Guys is on 53rd and 6th, not 56th. Here's a list of all of their locations per their Facebook Page:
          53rd and 6th - SE corner, 10am to 4am, 5am on weekends
          53rd and 7th - 10am to 4am, 5am on weekends
          53rd and 6th - SW corner, 7pm to 4am, 5am on weekends (Main Cart)
          Laguardia Community College, Thomson Ave in front of the B Building - 10am to 8pm
          14th St and 2nd Ave (new) - NE corner, 11am to 4am, 5am on weekends

          Open 365 days a year including holidays.


          They will also post any special offers and hours on Facebook.

        2. How long will your stay be? Do you have any interest in the outerboroughs?

          12 Replies
          1. re: Pookipichu

            We will be there for 7 days, and yes--we are very interested in at least a quick visit to some of the outer boroughs. Suggestions?

            1. re: Transplant_DK

              For that post on the Outerboroughs board. Lots of good ideas.

              1. re: Transplant_DK

                Since you'll have a nice chunk of time, I definitely think you should check out the outerboroughs. The west side is very convenient because you can shoot down to Penn Station and take the LIRR to Flushing in 19 minutes, cheaper and faster than a taxi. Post on the outerborough board.

                1. re: Pookipichu

                  We are going to take a bus tour of the outerboroughts, and I'm checking out the board for suggestions for places to grab bites in different areas. Thanks!

                  1. re: Transplant_DK

                    A bus tour of the outer boroughs? I'm not sure this is a good use of your time. If you want to experience New York, take one of the many foodie walking tours of Brooklyn. The 2 and 3 subway trains run express and can get you form W 72nd St to Brooklyn in not much over 1/2 and hour. You would have a much more New York experience than a bus tour.

                    New York is a bad city for bus tours, there's lots of traffic, long distances, and it's a walking city - see it on foot.

                    1. re: AdinaA

                      We did a great tour of Astoria once, although I forget the name of the company.

                    2. re: Transplant_DK

                      Go ahead and take the bus tour. It's a great way to cover a lot of ground.

                      You'll undoubtedly see some areas that you find interesting. When you do, come back and explore them on foot. If you post on the Outer Boroughs board you'll get lots of suggestions for restaurants in specific neighborhoods.

                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                        +1 for an Outer Borough bus tour.
                        Yes, New York is a walking city, but no (largely) subterranean subway ride will give you as good a sense of Queens and Brooklyn as quickly as a bus ride will. And the traffic congestion Adina refers to applies far less there than in Manhattan.

                        (Actually, doing that circuit on a bicycle is the best of all worlds since it gets you off the main drags, but that can be a touch harrowing for novices. Running the marathon route is another possibility, if you're dressed for it.)

                    3. re: Pookipichu

                      Agreed -- Flushing and Woodside are both very convenient from the west side of Manhattan if you take the LIRR from Penn Station in Manhattan and it's not expensive, especially if you get a CityTicket fare.

                      A CityTicket fare is $4.00. CityTicket only applies on weekends, though.

                    4. re: Transplant_DK

                      Well, if you're willing to leave manhattan, by all means come to Staten Island and get some Sri Lankan food! All the Sri Lankan restaurants are just a short bus or train ride from the boat. And they all sell the best eggplant you will ever eat, and you will love it even if you normally hate eggplant.

                  2. For me NYC means creative fusion or reinterpretations of ethnic cuisine. Look into:

                    Red Farm
                    Mission Chinese Food
                    Barn Joo
                    Momofuku Ssam Bar
                    Ma Peche
                    Pig & Khao
                    Mission Cocina
                    Empellon Taqueria

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: fm1963

                      Great, thanks! Red Farm and Momofuku Ssam Bar were added to my list very early, as I'd heard of both before knowing about this trip. We would love to try Ma Peche, but they are unfortunately closed during the time we will be there (Jan 18-26). I will add the others to my wish list and then start plotting which ones we can make, thanks!

                      I adore a good Taqueria, so thanks for adding Empellon. It sounds great!

                      1. re: Transplant_DK

                        Visited NYC for only the second time, a few months ago.

                        Lots of incredible eats but 2 highlights were Barney Greengrass and Momofuku Ssam Bar. They were simply fantastic.

                        Katz's was great. But I actually think I liked Carnegie even better - though most might roll their eyes at that statement :)

                        Zabar's and Eataly a must.

                        1. re: Transplant_DK

                          According to the Momofuku website, Ma Peche is open during the period of Jan 18 - 26. It's one of my most favorite restaurants.

                          1. re: ellenost

                            Oh! I must have read it wrong, thanks so much!!!!

                      2. One of the first and last thing I do when in NYC is to go to Katz's. he first it get a sandwich and the last to get a couple pounds of pastrami and corn beef to bring home.

                        I used to always head over to Arthur Avenue for cheese, meats and pasta but I can now find just as good around here.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: foodieX2

                          Not sure I can get away with bring pastrami and corned beef back to Europe, but we will definitely fill up while there as both are virtually impossible to find here (at least not the kinds I remember from the US). We've dabbled in making both at home, so will be fun to try the real thing!

                        2. Many of the things that say NYC to me that are no longer available like really good NYC style bagels and half sour pickles that we ate right from the barrels on Delancey.

                          Places that still exist:
                          Hot pastrami on rye with hot mustard at Katz's
                          Buying lox at Zabars (UWS)
                          Lunch at Tavern on the Green
                          Patsy's Pizza in Harlem
                          Nathan's Hot dogs on the boardwalk in Brooklyn
                          The Bitter End or Blue Note in Greenwich Village
                          Balthazar's in Soho
                          Chinese in Chinatown

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: acssss

                            I may be mistaken but tavern on the green has been gone for a while...they're re-opening soon though.

                            1. re: r32nissan

                              Yes, I know. I live there. The reason I added it to the list is that they are re-opening this month (if they don't delay it...again!)

                              1. re: acssss

                                Will keep an eye on their progress, thanks!

                              2. re: acssss

                                Oh, sour pickles! They only sell sweet pickles here in Denmark and I've yet to convert my husband to the taste of my homemade sour pickles. Hopefully we can find some good ones while there so he can try the real thing!

                                I have Nathan's hot dogs on the list--I think my husband had heard about them in a movie or something!

                                Patsy's Pizza is now added to the list, as I've heard about it from a few people now. Also, I added Balthazar after reading reviews here.

                                I ate at Tavern on the Green when I was in NYC 30 years ago. I will have to check their opening dates to see if they coincide with our visit.

                                We'll definitely be making a trip to Chinatown as well.

                                I'm so excited!

                                1. re: Transplant_DK

                                  If you enjoy the traditional salt/lacto-fermented kosher pickles from The Pickle Guys (or if you make it out to the former Guss' Pickles, now Clinton Hill Pickles, in Brooklyn), take a look at my kosher pickle-making thread. You should almost no problem making these in Denmark. The only trick would be to find the right cucumber to work with the brine ratio detailed in my original post.


                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                    Yum, thanks for that! I've bookmarked to study when I have a bit more time. I have a lovely greenhouse and grow most of my own vegetables, so I should be able to manage the cucumbers!

                                  2. re: Transplant_DK

                                    Jacob's pickles is a good place, but their pickles, while tasty, are not traditional. You can get decent pickles on the UWS at Artie's (Broadway and 83rd) although other things there have gone downhill.

                                    1. re: plf515

                                      Artie's is on my list for a pickle!

                                2. By the way - street hot dogs are usually eaten by tourists. NYers (at least the ones I know) never eat those. They either eat at Nathans or Papaya. The street dogs will give you a vacation that you'll never forget, but not on the positive side :-)

                                  37 Replies
                                  1. re: acssss

                                    Nathan's is a good call. Take the subway trek out to Coney Island and get a Nathan's hot dog. They're great. I didn't think the dogs at Papaya King were nearly as good.

                                    While you're in Coney Island, walk to Totonno's for a coal oven fired pizza. Coal fired pizza ovens pollute and while it's illegal to build new ones, the 100+ year old pizzerias that had them were grandfathered in.

                                    And Coney Island is next to Brighton Beach, which has a huge Russian population.... I remember loving Ukranian Cafe Glechik for the pickled watermelon, pelmeni and vareniki. Is that still around? I don't get out to NYC nearly as much as I would like.

                                    As for the Lower East Side, my regular rounds when I visit my sister in NYC is Katz's for pastrami on rye, Russ & Daughters for the belly lox (good lord, the belly lox...) and whitefish salad, Kossar's for bagels (and the neglected cousin of the bagel, the bialy), used to be Guss' but they moved to Brooklyn (now called Clinton Hill Pickles) but while in the LES, The Pickle Guys make a very respectable full sour kosher dill pickle (you can also get half sours and new pickles, as well as pickled tomatoes and all other kinds of pickled things, soured in the traditional lacto-fermented way, not with vinegar which is the modern cheap and easy way to make pickles). I also love the crazy Rube Goldbergian matzo-making contraption at the Streit's matzo factory, and the sheer craziness of Economy Candy. Did I miss anything? Yonah Schimmel for knishes, but honestly I've never been crazy about them. The whole LES is very walkable.

                                    Oh, and while you're on the Upper West Side, DEFINITELY go to Zabars and buy an S&S cheesecake for what I believe is really the quintessential cheesecake of NYC. Some love Junior's in Brooklyn, but I find the lemon distracts. S&S is pure, wonderful, unadulterated dairy heaven. You can get them frozen and they thaw beautifully.

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      Nice list, although if we are pulling outer boroughs into this then we could go on forever.

                                      I had another thought also for OP - Falafel King makes great falafel sandwiches. Their original spot is in Queens but they operate a cart in midtown (53rd and Park I think) during the week.

                                        1. re: Transplant_DK

                                          Great falafel at Soom-soom UWS , 72nd and Broadway. Near your hotel.

                                        2. re: r32nissan

                                          King of Falafel & Swarma won a Vendy award in 2010 and is quite popular. Just be aware that during the week, there may be long lines of office workers on lunch break at the King of Falafel & Swarma's midtown cart. Keep track of their openings/closings, etc. via Twitter. They are open in Midtown only from 11-2:30pm.


                                          Taim is also known for their falafel. They have storefronts in the West Village and Nolita. The Nolita one is a bit bigger & has more seating than the West Village one. They have a truck, too, but it's closed for the season.

                                        3. re: Mr Taster

                                          Great suggestions, thanks so much for the details. I'm plotting all of these on my travel map, with stars by the ones that sound especially good and different from anything we could get here!

                                          We will definitely avoid the street dogs and go for Nathans at Coney Island, as my husband has heard of both from tv ;-) He would also love the idea of a 100+ year old pizzeria.

                                          Belly lox, that sounds like a winner, as smoked salmon is very big here but prepared very differently if I remember correctly.

                                          I'm just starting to ferment a bit myself, so will definitely try some of the pickles you mention.

                                          NYC cheesecake I'd somehow forgotten, thanks for that!

                                          1. re: Transplant_DK


                                            There's more than one of those ~100 year old coal oven pizzerias in New York City. Others on this board would be more of an authority than me, though I can direct you to Lombardi's. Like the belly lox, it's an edible piece of NYC history and well worth checking out.

                                            Also, please don't misinterpret my enthusiasm for belly lox with a dislike of smoked salmon. I love both, and at Russ & Daughter's you'll find outrageously good versions of both. My emphatic love for the belly lox comes from the fact that it's so commonly misunderstood (and so difficult to find outside of the NYC area). For example, there's a kosher fishery around the corner from where I live in Los Angeles, and even the orthodox owner doesn't know what true belly lox is. (He makes his own quasi lox-- which is delicious-- but it's just not the same.)

                                            What I'd advise you to do is first stop at Kossar's (the 100+ year old bagel and bialy shop) and pick up half a dozen bagels (I like poppy seed, and it's traditional) and onion bialys (also traditional). Personally, I prefer the bagel to the bialy, but the bialy is such an endangered species these days-- the forgotten cousin of the bagel-- that it's worth at least trying one before the inevitable day that the shop disappears, and the center of the bialy universe dies along with it.

                                            With bagels and bialys firmly in tow, walk to Russ & Daughters on Houston St. and buy a selection of small quantities (maybe 1/8 lb.) of several kinds of fish (nova and belly lox-- see the selection here http://shop.russanddaughters.com/stor... ), including a small amount of their cream cheese which is also sold in the case with the fish, and a small container of the smoked whitefish salad.

                                            Hopefully it's warm enough to eat outside. Take your treasure trove to the little park across the street, buy a cup of coffee, slice your bagel or bialy in half, and start preparing your bagel-- spread cream cheese evenly (in New York it's common to slather on a thick layer, maybe 1cm+ thick, though that's not necessary) and add a small amount of lox. Take a bite and let us know what you think.

                                            (By the way, smoked whitefish salad doesn't need a layer of cream cheese-- you can even just tear off a piece of the bagel and dip it in the whitefish salad. Wonderful, heady stuff.)

                                            In the days of the Jewish lower east side, where the kosher laws forbade the mixing of meat and dairy, the delicatessan (like Katz's) sold the meat, while the appetizing shops (like Russ & Daughters) sold the dairy. (Under kosher laws fish is considered neither meat nor dairy). Jewish delis are already a dying breed-- http://www.savethedeli.com/ -- but appetizing shops are virtually extinct. I wouldn't be surprised if R&D is the last one in existence, though I'd be happy to learn otherwise.

                                            Enjoy your culinary adventures in NYC and please do report back.

                                            Mr Taster

                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                              I have written down your suggestion and will definitely try (altho not counting on being able to sit outside to enjoy!). I love doing taste comparisons, so I didn't read your comments as though you dislike smoked salmon.

                                              The whitefish salad sounds great, right up my husbands alley for sure!

                                              1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                BTW, the original Lombardi's pizza closed, but re-opened a block away at 32 Spring Street, so the current incarnation is not exactly 100 years+ old.

                                                I find their pizza to be too wet / not charred enough (quicker cooking time to get the tourist crowds in and out I think), and would steer you to Patsy's in East Harlem over Lombardi's.

                                                1. re: kathryn

                                                  I agree. My wife and I grew up eating pizza in NY and Lombardi's was a big disappointment. My first choice for pizza is Patsy's in Harlem on 1st Ave at 117 Street. Take the M15 bus up 1st Ave. DO NOT be fooled into eating at any other place called Patsy's Pizza. There is a chain that bought the licensing rights from the old Patsy's owner and they are all over town.

                                        4. re: acssss

                                          I often read this from "native" NYers yet thousands of people (aka "tourists") eat them every day and we never hear of all these people getting sick and having their vacations ruined

                                          And every time I am in NY I routinely see guys in construction gear, cabbies, office workers, etc eating them. At our office in NYC a lot of the young guys would grab them for quick/cheap bites. Of course recently they have been gravitating to more unique food carts but the hot dog is still the king for quick and cheap. None of these kids have ever complained about getting sick.

                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                            Exactly right. They're fine for a snack or a quick lunch. No reason to avoid them.

                                            BTW, the natural casing Nathan's hot dogs are available in some of their Manhattan outlets. The OP can ask them if they serve the skinless or natural casing variety. (The natural casing dogs have that pleasant and distinctive snap when you bite into them.)

                                            I love Coney Island and go 4 or 5 times a year but I do it in the summer. It will take the OP 90 minutes to get there from the UWS and when she does she'll be walking around Coney Island in January when all the boardwalk attractions are closed.

                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                              I wouldn't avoid dirty water dogs per se (isn't there a song about dirty water? Oh, that was Boston's Charles river - never mind).
                                              In fact, as a tourist, as the OP is, she SHOULD get one - so she can say she ate one. Need to do that at least once in a lifetime. But me, personally, if there is nothing else opened in the entire city of NY, then yes, I would probably get one... else, I'd go to Papaya or Nathans.

                                              ...and you have a great point about Coney Island. If OP is going at end of the month of January - yeah, bad idea.

                                              1. re: acssss

                                                >> ...and you have a great point about Coney Island. If OP is going at end of the month of January - yeah, bad idea.

                                                Oh yeah-- I've lived in Los Angeles for 18 years now, so little inconveniences like the weather I tend not to think about anymore :)

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                  lol - Most of my parents' extended families (they are both originally from New York) are now in L.A. and S.F. They all call almost every single time there is a snow storm to say the same thing :-) "So... how's the weather?!"
                                                  The thing is that I love the snow and I feel sorry for them - so boring to live in 72 year round weather with no snow, no foliage, no buds in the spring and you really can't appreciate the summer unless you've gone through a nor'easter.

                                                  1. re: acssss

                                                    >> you really can't appreciate the summer unless you've gone through a nor'easter.

                                                    How does surviving a blizzard help you to appreciate 97 degrees with 100% humidity?

                                                    We have seasons, by the way-- they're just different. Different flowers come out in the winter than in the summer, and the hills turn green from the winter rainy season :)

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                      lol Mr. Taster... I think I'll take a stroll through Central park - a true winter wonderland, then grab a Broadway show (or an opera/ballet at Lincoln Center) and a great meal at... hmmm so many places to choose from... and oh, I can always order take-out at 3am.

                                                      ...and guess what? I can take a subway anywhere during rush hour and don't have to sit for 5 hours for a two mile drive (that was a reference to L.A. if you didn't catch that)

                                                      ...but you enjoy your flowers :-)

                                                      1. re: acssss


                                                        I'll enjoy my flowers as you're slogging through that 4 day old grey sludge (aka the former winter wonderland...!)

                                                        Oh, and I'll be sipping wine from the Santa Ynez wineries. Enjoy your Broadway show!

                                                        By the way, this is all residual frustration directed at my Brooklynite sister that I haven't been able to vent directly at her for years, for fear of damaging our relationship beyond repair...

                                                        Mr Taster
                                                        (Who loves to visit NYC, in the springtime... and maybe autumn :)

                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                          It's all in good fun Mr Taster... and you can vent all you want :-)

                                                          NY makes me happy. I don't need to try and convince people that it is a great place to live. I lived in LA for 1 month and never went back. I have friends in the Silicon Valley who share my distaste for LA (to put it mildly), but - as they say - different strokes for different folks :-)

                                                          1. re: acssss

                                                            I meant (and took what you said) in good humor, by the way :) LA is admittedly the ugly cousin. It's not immediately breathtaking the way Manhattan or San Francisco is, and all too often people think of LA as tourist-driven Hollywood and the beach cities of Santa Monica and the Westside. That's sort of the white entertainment industry part of the city-- a significant but comparably small part of the overall makeup of the LA city and metro area. Too often people stop there and go home, complaining of the lack of depth, the superficiality, etc. Those people have not understood the real Los Angeles (and, quite frankly, there are many longtime residents who also don't get it, so the casual visitor can't really be entirely to blame.)

                                                            I can tell you that 1 month is not nearly long enough to grasp the enormity of the city and its staggering amount of hidden benefits. The reason I've stayed in LA for 18 years is not the reason I came here. I came here for the entertainment industry, but I stayed because of the food, the climate, the geographical splendor (deserts, mountains, sweeping coastlines, accessibility to ridiculously beautiful national parks, wine country) and the cultural diversity (Koreatown, for one, is an international phenomenon-- a full on Korean city that just happens to be located in the United States, and the suburban "Chinatown" of the Chinese San Gabriel Valley cities, which is a geographic area even larger and more sprawling than Koreatown). But Koreatown is UGLY, and dense, and inaccessible without a little help or guidance. But once you crack the thin shell and get over the culture gap, it's a treasure trove ripe for the picking.

                                                            As a public service to any New York Chowhounds coming to LA, here's a great starting point:

                                                            Little Saigon is another cultural phenomenon-- a massive Vietnamese suburb of rabidly anti-communist war refugees who have made the area their new home. Same accessibility issues as Koreatown, but once you muster the will to cross the funky threshold and get one of the fresh baked baguette meatball pate banh mi from Banh Mi Cho Cu, your life will never be the same. (They make the bread with a mixture of rice and wheat flour so the baguettes are extra light and extra crispy.)

                                                            And of course central American/Mexican) community has no equal in America-- this WAS Mexico for a long time, after all. Mexican swap meets and malls like El Mercadito and the Alamdeda Swap Meet are bits of Mexico transported to this border. Then there are the smaller communities-- we have several Thai towns, Little Phnom Penh, Little India, Little Ethiopia, Little Gaza, Little Tehran, Glendale (which is an Armenian city which happens to be located outside of Armenia), and what else am I missing? Of course NYC is no stranger to cultural diversity (we don't have the Caribbean, African and Eastern European diversity that you do) but given all the other things going for it, including the ease at which one can escape the city into utterly breathtaking natural beauty (and at this time of year, it means a 30-45 minute drive from Hollywood into the mountains up Hwy 2 (Angeles Crest Hwy) will allow you to build a snowman), even while still within its geographic confines (Mt Wilson, Griffith park hiking trails, blue whales breaching as you drive the Pacific Coast Hwy)-- make this really an extraordinary place to live. We don't have the pulsing non-stop urban energy of NYC, but on balance I do feel like we have an overall better quality of life here.

                                                            Now if only I could get my sister to agree...

                                                            Mr Taster

                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                              Thanks for that. You've convinced me.

                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                Is this the appropriate place to discuss LA vs NYC? The original poster is visiting NYC not LA.

                                                  2. re: acssss

                                                    haha, ok--so I see there are different opinions on whether one should try a dirty water dog or not! I have to say that we both have iron stomachs, and I grew up eating street dogs in New Orleans, so they don't scare me. On the other hand, we're only there 7 days and will have to pace ourselves. So many great food options, so limited the number of meals one can fit into a given day!

                                                  3. re: Bob Martinez

                                                    I agree with the poster that recommended Nathan's in Coney Island to the Chowhound NYC visitors. At night the Parachute looks amazing with all the neon.
                                                    I disagree with the poster that said only tourists eat the "street umbrella dirty hotdogs". I eat them and was born and raised here. Sabrett of course.
                                                    Nathan's and Papaya king, and at one time Katz's, all had their hot dogs made by Marathon. Katz's no longer does, I don't know about the other two.
                                                    Other musts for the OP:
                                                    Walker's for burger and sports bar feel.
                                                    Katz's of course.
                                                    Kosar's Bialy
                                                    Sullivan St. Bakery
                                                    Too bad Big Nick's closed
                                                    Carl's Philly Cheese Steak ( it's not the best, but it's something you don't see in Denmark or Europe )
                                                    Zabar's ( it's near where they will be staying)
                                                    Dominick's on Arthur Ave.( for old school Italian/American)
                                                    or Bamonte's in Brooklyn.
                                                    I'll second Patsy's for NY style pizza ( i won't recommend Motorino as they can get pizza like that in Italy)
                                                    Ed's Lobster would be good.
                                                    Shopsin's ( that's NYC)
                                                    Brooklyn Diner ( not the best, but a taste of NYC, pea soup with hot dogs is what I get there)
                                                    B&H Dairy
                                                    I didn't recommend any Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Danish, Russian, etc as these don't seem to be NYC to me. I could be wrong.

                                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                      Thanks also for the great recs! My list is now delightfully long! Added Sabrett to the list, and also happy to have the Italian suggestion.

                                                      Shopsin's is also marked on my list, and I will begin looking up all of the others you mention! Thanks!

                                                      1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                        Mind the hours at Shopsin's and don't get there too late in the day, as they may cut off the line. They don't take down names, you must wait in line.

                                                    2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                      Thanks for the reminder about the distance and weather re Coney Island, maybe this isn't the best time to make that trip.

                                                  4. re: acssss

                                                    "The street dogs will give you a vacation that you'll never forget, but not on the positive side :-)"

                                                    Amazing. Bloomberg was mayor for 12 years and during all that time he didn't notice that street dogs were making thousands of people sick.

                                                    Lets not exaggerate. Street dogs are mediocre but can hit the spot in the right circumstances.

                                                    1. re: acssss

                                                      You're wrong on the hotdogs, access. Most NYers I know, myself included, love a dirty water dog. :)

                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        How can a precooked item cause food poisoning, or whatever is being insinutated? It's about as safe as they come!

                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                          I guess we don't know the same people then :-)

                                                          1. re: acssss

                                                            Guess not! Don't get me wrong, I love a Grey's Papaya dog, or the dogs back when there was a Hallo Berlin wagon, but a dirty water dog will always have a place in my heart. Kraut and extra mustard, please. And hold the onions.

                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              lol - When I was a kid, I loved them - also with Kraut and mustard (hot) but WITH onions. But now that I am older - I guess seeing that the "dirty water" is really dirty water, I would rather pass. But, I am under no circumstances judging others. I don't like eating hot dogs at baseball games either - so go figure.

                                                              1. re: acssss

                                                                I don't like hotdogs at baseball games either. They're too bland and the rolls are too cottony.

                                                              2. re: roxlet

                                                                Funny to me that no one here in DK has ever heard of kraut on a dog even though we are sitting on top of Germany, and they tend to go for a very sweet may topping called "French Dressing" (nothing like the bottle French Dressing that used to be sold in the US.

                                                                The hot dogs, while popular in DK, are horrible. Very poor quality and tasteless, so we're looking forward to trying them in NYC

                                                                1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                  Dirty water dogs may be an acquired taste. Good for a snack on the run though. And although the pretzels that the hot dog wagons sell are also iconic, these days they seem to be mostly stale and tasteless, so don't be tempted!

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    Pretzels are not what they used to be, but there is nothing like a good Sabrett or Nathans. Lots of garlic and paprika, very flavorful. Only in NY!

                                                        2. Zabar,s , Jacob,s Pickles, both UWS

                                                            1. re: peter j

                                                              Will definitely try to hit a food truck, as my son owns one in FLL and I've tried several in that area (also something they don't do here in Denmark)

                                                              1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                Mighty Balls, who were set up in the Madison Sq Eats food cart installation, made an astonishingly great meatball.

                                                                1. re: magic

                                                                  Speaking of balls...
                                                                  If you find yourself on the LES near Katz's, maybe stop in the Meatball Shop two blocks away at 84 Stanton
                                                                  Its a delicious place with a nice vibe (except after midnight when it turns into hipster central with too-loud, too young music).
                                                                  I thought they only had 2 locations with the Stanton being the original, but it seems theres 5 locations now.

                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                    It was on my list but slipped through the cracks.


                                                              2. Old School New York resonates with me, Grand Central Station Oyster Bar, Bull and Bear at the Waldorf, I find the Boathouse in Central Park very special and like Rock Center Cafe because Rockefeller Center is fabulous. Drinks at the Carlyle, the River Cafe should be opening soon as should Tavern on Green, which has been noted. I do hope the Oak Bar at the Plaza opens soon too as that was always my quintessential New York place.

                                                                18 Replies
                                                                  1. re: bronwen

                                                                    Bemelman's Bar at the Carlyle is the best Old New York.

                                                                    1. re: bronwen

                                                                      I expect T_DK has now had to engage a cadre of assistants to keep track of what she's (innocently) unleashed here; the same sort of surprising torrent that appeared on another thread, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/697307

                                                                      I did, though, want to comment on bronwen's commendations in light of T_DK's timeframe:

                                                                      GCOB: closed
                                                                      B&B @ Waldorf: drinking men in grey flannel suits, & an undistinguished room.
                                                                      Boathouse: in winter, only open for lunch -might be fun, though.
                                                                      Rock Center: also a boring room, like hanging out on an outbound 7 train at rush hour, but with liquor.

                                                                      Carlyle: wonderful, but overpriced and ill-lit; I prefer the King Cole Room for its more engaging character -and that renovated Maxfield Parrish!
                                                                      River Cafe, Tavern on the Green, Oak Bar: opening in the next two weeks? I don't think so.

                                                                      1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                                                        There was a story in early January that the River Cafe would open in early February.

                                                                        Sure enough, OpenTable is showing slots available. Of course the opening could slip -it already has - but the OP shouldn't automatically rule the RC out.

                                                                        Additional info for the OP - the RC requires men to wear sportcoats.

                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                            The River Cafe website says it will be open for dinner only starting Feb 1. At last.

                                                                          2. re: Phil Ogelos

                                                                            Carlyle (and Bull & Bear and scores of other hotel bars) have always been overpriced but for one or maybe two drinks I can take it for the relative quiet and also a better dressed clientele(although this last is fading fast). Years ago a Bull & Bear bartender told me his tourist schtick "we must be doing something right..we've been here for a quarter of a century!" I told him I remembered when the space sold clothes and newspapers. But it IS as close to an "old NY"experience as one can find nowadays given that almost everything from my youth/young manhood is gone. The Sir Winston Bar (what a horrible name!) on Park Av side would be OK if they'd take out the goddamn television.

                                                                            I half expect the Oak Bar to reopen as an EF Hutton again. Whatever opens in there will be a pale image of the place's glory days but, then, so is the Plaza in toto.

                                                                            I hope Buzzy gets the River Café back up soon. And God love him for keeping jackets.

                                                                            King Cole ain't cheap but it is soothing. I once did King Cole and Palace in San Fran in the same day, both being Maxfield Parrish places. That was fun.

                                                                            Wonder how long Bemmelman's can hang on as it is? do people even read his stuff anymore?

                                                                            1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                              I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the St. Regis Hotel's King Cole Bar with the fabulous Maxfield Parish murals! I love the place, and since the paintings have been cleaned, they are more gorgeous than ever.

                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                  Hah!! I was just there. Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                2. re: Motosport

                                                                                  I was there in person last Thursday, Moto, and the place is in a serious state of restoration that I can't imagine will last fewer than 6 weeks. Why would I fabricate some fact that is so easily disprovable, and why would you favour the website blurb over that observation?

                                                                                  1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                                                                    I read Moto's post differently.
                                                                                    I'm guessing that he was there before it closed for reno and thus "was just there" and so could not believe it was actually closed.
                                                                                    small h showed him it was indeed closed which surpirsed him ("Hah!!") and he conceded that he was incorrect; "Thanks for the heads up".

                                                                                    Thats my read anyway...

                                                                                    1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                                                                      Unfortunately there is so much misinformation on the internet. Mea culpa!!
                                                                                      The good news is that Sarge's is almost ready to reopen!!!

                                                                                3. re: bronwen

                                                                                  I'd also have drinks in the Campbell Apartment in Grand Central; although it is always busy, it is so lovely.

                                                                                  1. re: Londonlinda

                                                                                    The Campbell Apartment is certainly a must-see for any tourist to Grand Central (like the lesser-known tennis courts upstairs) but I can only last about 45 seconds in that space: it's so loud, I feel like I'm drinking on an airport runway.

                                                                                    Mea culpa on the River Cafe opening -I guess you could say I have a bad case of the common suspicions come from NYC thwarted expectations: call them the "T train blues".

                                                                                    And a (dolorous) tip of the hat to hazelh for the EFHutton allusion; I too remember when the main floor of GCT resembled one big bank & brokerage anteroom, with a blinding Kodak plug to illuminate the whole. (Love the smudge the renovators kept on the upper left hand corner, though, and the rocket cone scar.)

                                                                                    1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                                                                      Ah the smudge and the rocket..I remember that thing. Have a wonderful picture of GCT with the PanAm model and the rocket still there..all the men In suits and hats. My father is somewhere amongst them I am sure.

                                                                                      I also loved the ruffling leaves timetable on the South Side.And the Oyster Bar had crackers OPEN in the silver bowls with a spoon to dump in your chowder.

                                                                                      You are right about Campbell Apartment: too goddamn loud most of the time although I have hit it after the Bridge and Tunnel crowd decamps and it has, briefly, been OK. Swill and run though cause it won't last.

                                                                                      I'd have suggested the old Emerald Inn but it shuttered and, I believe, moved and can never be the same.

                                                                                      Its a shame no one has been able to open up the Cloud Club again.

                                                                                4. If you like oysters than Grand Central Oyste bar is a must and a good way to try some North American oysters you might not be familiar with. They have a good selection there.

                                                                                  A "corner" slice of pizza is very NYC. On the UWS Sal and Carmines is pretty representitive of this style. If you are in the Village try Joe's.

                                                                                  Halal Carts serving lamb or chicken over rice or in a pita have become a staple sight here. The famous one is on 56th and 6th but really you can try anyone you see.

                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                    I love oysters, and my husband has begun to enjoy them after a few trips to my home stomping grounds (Louisiana) and a trip to Boston and the Cape 2 years ago. Added to my every growing list!

                                                                                    1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                      I hate to be the one to break the news, but I believe Grand Central Oyster Bar is closed for renovations for the next few months?

                                                                                      But definitely check out Grand Central anyway, Michael Jordans Steakhouse upstairs is our favorite place to take a break and take in all the action.

                                                                                        1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                          Great to know, thanks! I only looked at their on line calendar.

                                                                                          1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                            "Just called."

                                                                                            That was cheating.


                                                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                              I heard months ago about the closing, it's at least a six month deal due to the tiles on the ceiling coming down. So I checked their website, and they say they are closed every day this month. I did see that the closing in some cases is most of the restaurant but not the whole venue, but not in all cases, and either way seating is compromised. Just thought an out of towner should be warned rather than disappointed.

                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                Oh nooooo! Guess I'll hafta wait till Feb for my next visit.

                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                  Here's their calendar so let me know if you go. It sounds sort of menza menza but it's good to be forewarned.

                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                    No link, but I can look it up '-)

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      Sorry just added it, and here's some info supposedly from the horse's mouth.
                                                                                                      It must be this darn snow that's making me obsess over this, sorry. Planning on getting out tomorrow.....

                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                        Thanks, much appreciated! I love that place.

                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                          Me too, the restaurant AND Grand Central, luckily no plans to go in until the spring.

                                                                                                2. re: coll

                                                                                                  No tables available for reservation in any case

                                                                                                  1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                    Well they should be done with the renovations by the next time you visit ;-)

                                                                                          2. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                            You can also get a good lobster roll and raw oysters at Pearl Oyster Bar on Cornelia St. Long waits at dinner time, but less so for lunch (weekdays only). Maybe not as good as Boston & the Cape, but we enjoy it.

                                                                                            1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                              I made a small detour at lunch today and the Oyster Bar is definitely in a state of serious, down-to-the-bone renovation, for who knows how long.
                                                                                              I'd sort of held out a hope that the space they call the Saloon might be open, in parallel, but that side door was locked, too.

                                                                                            2. re: MVNYC

                                                                                              YES YES YES.

                                                                                              A martini, champagne or a bloody mary with oysters at the GCOB. Stick to the oysters, some appetizers or the pan roasts. Skip the entrees and the $30 salads. :)

                                                                                            3. I am but a visitor to NYC myself, here's my 2c +

                                                                                              We started out like many, staying near Times Square. We began gravitating more and more to the LES, liking the grittiness and diversity (although some places might better be described as hipster chic).
                                                                                              When visiting, we now stay near Chinatown, without much forays into the UWS.
                                                                                              Try to get down there and peruse Chinatown, and some of the nooks and crannys roughly bordered by Canal and E Houston, Chrystie and Essex.

                                                                                              Dirty water hot dogs say NY to me.
                                                                                              A trip wouldn't be complete without a couple of visits to a hot dog cart, especially late at night after a few bars. Is it a tourist thing? Probably, but I enjoy it (never had any problems either).

                                                                                              Theres plenty of advice on where to get the best pie or slice. Do a bit of reading and make a plan on where to try. (Patsy's in Harlem was good (as mentioned by acssss), we also like Bleeker St. Pizza, and John's. Hugely disappointed at Lombardi's)

                                                                                              I live near Montreal where Montreal smoked meat is king so it doesn't have a big personal appeal. Otherwise, worthy of a pilgrimage. Katz is the obvious choice (in the neighborhood above), but there are other famous places.

                                                                                              Street Delis
                                                                                              This is NY for us (nothing like it in Montreal). Non-descript kind of places with "DELI" in neon outside. Inside is 2 or 3 steam tables full of different kinds of food. You load up and eat.
                                                                                              Not fancy, some better than others, but fun and different for us.

                                                                                              Dive bars
                                                                                              May or may not be your thing, but theres something about NY dive bars that strike a chord with me. Also a dying breed...
                                                                                              169 Bar in LES, Rudy's in Hells Kitchen (free hot dogs), Jimmy's Corner a beacon in the Times Square district, and Welcome to the Johnson's in LES were some of my favorites.

                                                                                              OK, OK, they get all the press. I can understand how it is a pilgrimmage destination, just that we have plenty of cured/smoked fish places.
                                                                                              I dunno if you guys live in Denmark or not, but I think the Scandanavians wrote the book on curing fish, no?

                                                                                              Granted almost every major city has a chinatown of sorts. (I refer to Montreal's chinatown as "chinablock" - its roughly 2 blocks by 3 blocks) NYC Chinatown is great and spills way over Canal through Little Italy and beyond.
                                                                                              A few streetfood stands are beginning to pop up. Dim Sum is always a good idea and cheap plate lunch places can be found (2 items for $1.99, 3 items for $2.99, 4 items for $3.50 etc etc).

                                                                                              Celebrity Restaurants
                                                                                              OK, a big tourist draw, perhaps good or bad, but NYC has lots to choose from. A fan of Mario Batali? hit up Babbo (make reservations). You hate Guy Fieri? see why more and more people are disliking him at Guy's American Kitchen and Bar etc etc.

                                                                                              Grand Central Oyster Bar
                                                                                              I wholeheartedly agree with bronwen's suggestion. The station alone is worth the visit, quite grand. Then you walk into the vintage, art-deco Grand Central Oyster Bar and you're transported to another era. Sit at the bar and enjoy oysters, maybe a chowder (I follow everyone's advice and stick to these items while visiting).
                                                                                              After oysters, head to the food court downstairs and hit up Junior's for another NYC icon, Junior's cheesecake!

                                                                                              International Dining
                                                                                              Living near Montreal, we have access to quite a few different cuisines. However, some are done better than others.
                                                                                              NYC, it seems, can have very good examples of any cuisine you care to name.
                                                                                              We've had some of the best Japanese food in NY (granted we did not eat on the west coast nor Japan). We've also had some great charcuterie (Salumeria Rosi comes to mind). Also decent Maryland style crab and cajun cooking (not available where I live and saves a trip to Maryland and Louisiana).
                                                                                              Pick a favorite cuisine and chances are you can find a very good example in NYC

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                Great suggestions and explanations, thanks so much! We actually waffled between a hotel in Tribeca and this one, but UWS won out due to being close to the one appointment we have to make during the week. We will spend some time in Chinatown, though.

                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                  I generally agree that NYC has everything..... But I haven't found a good New Mexican place and we seem to be short on Ethiopian as well.

                                                                                                  1. re: plf515

                                                                                                    Have you been to Zoma in Harlem?

                                                                                                2. Zabars - there probably isn't a store like this in the south nor in Denmark

                                                                                                  Barney Greengrass - I know that Sweden does a lot of lox, perhaps Denmark does too. Comparison! Also, my favorite at BG isn't lox, it's sable. Be sure to go on a weekday, weekends are crazy. They are closed Monday.

                                                                                                  As others said, I'd avoid street hot dogs. They are certainly a NYC food, but .... so? I doubt they'd make you sick, but there are much better things to eat. If you want a better hot dog right on the UWS go to 72nd and Broadway.

                                                                                                  For pastrami, on the UWS there is only Artie's, which has gone downhill. Probably worth it to go to Katz's. It's an institution. The 2nd Ave. Deli used to be an institution, but I haven't been to the new place and can't comment.

                                                                                                  What about pizza? One great place (but not really near any touristy things) is Pizza Suprema on 8th and 32nd.

                                                                                                  NYC also has good Italian at all price ranges and one of the biggest Chinatowns in the western world with lots of great restaurants.

                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: plf515

                                                                                                    72nd and Broadway dog is Papaya - very good dog!

                                                                                                    1. re: plf515

                                                                                                      They do a lot of smoked salmon here in Denmark as well, but I have a sense that it is seasoned differently at least. My husband adores it, so we will of course want to compare. I will have to look up with Sable is! I have Zabars on my list and am really looking forward to visiting there!

                                                                                                      Have now added Artie's and Pizza Suprema, thanks!

                                                                                                      1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                        Sable is black cod that's been smoked. It's really good

                                                                                                          1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                                            Black Cod is Sable. Sable came first. Smoked is just a way to prepare it.

                                                                                                            1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                                              have only tried black cod once (Nobu, Dallas) and it was awesome, so we would love to try it while there

                                                                                                        1. This thread includes kathryn's famous nyc links which will be very helpful, not specific to uws:

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                            Thanks, I also added many of these to my list!

                                                                                                          2. Little Italy Pizza Amsterdam between 70 & 71
                                                                                                            Awesome neighborhood slices
                                                                                                            Levian Bakery 167 w 74- awsome cookies
                                                                                                            Jaqques Torres Chocolate -Amsterdam 73& 74
                                                                                                            Hot Chocolate & more
                                                                                                            Cafe Talluleh Columbus 71 & 72
                                                                                                            Great cocktails food, esp. oysters
                                                                                                            Beacon Bar- Broadway bet 73 & 74
                                                                                                            Great Cocktails

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. A few posts have referred to lox as one of those NYC foods one must have when visiting. Having just recently witnessed a greenhorn place an order at Zabar's ("2 lbs of belly lox" because "it's the one that goes with cream cheese"), I think it's worth mentioning that (belly) lox & smoked salmon are not the same thing. (See http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co... ) Fortunately (for that customer) he took my advice when I suggested he ask for tastes of the lox (the only one so-named by Zabar's is belly lox) & Nova salmon before committing to the former, which he did not know would be salty. He immediately changed his order to Nova, as he found the belly lox's salt to be overwhelming. So I suggest the OP do a tasting before buying, since Zabar's is more than accommodating in that regard.
                                                                                                              On another note, it's Gray's Papaya on Broadway @ 72nd.

                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: boredough

                                                                                                                Two things:

                                                                                                                1. Belly lox has a lot more going for it than the lack of smoke and the salt. When it's right, like the one from Russ & Daughter's (and I assume Zabar's, though I've never had theirs), it's such a silky, sensuous cut and that comes not just from the salmon itself, but from the wet brine cure... aka the thing that makes it salty.

                                                                                                                2. Why would you advise someone unfamiliar with belly lox to taste it straight? If they don't know what it is, of course they're going to be repulsed by the saltiness, and you've already kind of set them up for failure by saying "are you sure? it's reaaaallly salty...". Eating a small amount on a bagel with cream cheese is another experience entirely. Instead of playing to customers expectations (which for most visitors to NYC is going to be bad supermarket nova), why not explain to them why belly lox is so special, how it is an integral part of NYC and lower east side Jewish history (the pushcarts, etc.) and then explain how it shouldn't be eaten straight for maximum appreciation? I'd say that's not only your obligation as a Zabar's fishmonger, but as a Chowhound! Can I get an amen?

                                                                                                                We have only one source of belly lox that is even close to passable here in LA (Barney Greengrass in Beverly Hills) and I love the stuff.

                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                  I won't dispute your first point, because taste is (obviously) subjective. As for your second point, how else would you suggest a customer, unfamiliar with various forms of salmon, make a decision as to what to buy? He's not going to tear off a piece of bagel, add a schmear, & test out the lox in the middle of the store. My point was that, for some people, the salt is not appealing - and those who haven't tasted both might inadvertently order lox without knowing exactly what it is. In the case I described, the customer in fact did not know the difference between what he thought he was supposed to buy (after all, 2 lbs was probably for a group - not an amount to trifle with) and what he ended up buying - until he tasted the 2. If you can suggest a better way for one person to make a decision while standing at the Zabar's counter, please share it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: boredough

                                                                                                                    >> If you can suggest a better way for one person to make a decision while standing at the Zabar's counter, please share it.

                                                                                                                    I thought I did. Understanding the history and tradition of belly lox is as appetizing as the flavor and texture.

                                                                                                                    Remember, you're not selling a box of Rice Krispies-- you're selling a piece of NYC history in the form of cured fish.

                                                                                                                    Spin a (truthful) yarn that draws the customer closer to the belly lox instead of giving them some dire warning that pushes them away. Explain that a small amount of the salty fish, in concert with cream cheese and a good crusty, chewy, malty bagel, is about as close to heaven as one can get.

                                                                                                                    I've heard counter guys "warn" potential customers away from belly lox before, and it always struck me as a huge disservice. In fact on one occasion I was able to undo the damage as a customer was about to walk away. I converted him to belly lox after he thought he didn't like it, and I consider that a huge mitzvah.

                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                      If that is not a mitzvah, I don't know what is!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                        But for the record, I did not spin any yarn at all. Having heard the counterman's reaction to the order for 2 lbs of belly lox, & the customer's apparent unfamiliarity with what he was buying (since Nova goes with cream cheese too), after briefly explaining the difference I suggested the man taste the 2 options - full well knowing that some people love salt. It was not for me to "sell" him on either style of salmon, nor does calling belly lox "salty" reflect an opinion. It IS salty (having been cured in salt). My point (for those who care to read all the posts) was that the customer should understand that "bagels & lox" can have variations, and one should know the differences before making a purchase. OTOH although I can't remember any (other) customer on line ahead of me ever ordering belly lox, your insistence on its superiority as well as other CHers similar preference have caused me to consider giving belly lox another try. (I grew up on it, but "married" into Nova.) Of course, on a bagel with a schmear .

                                                                                                                        1. re: boredough

                                                                                                                          I bought belly lox, among others, at Russ and Daughters based on what I read here. Wish I had someone insisting on a taste test, not that it went to waste!

                                                                                                                    2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                      Thanks for more input on the lox--my husband doesn't understand the whole concept of a bagel and cream cheese to accompany lox, so he'd be likely to try it plain. On the other hand, I'm not sure the saltiness would deter him.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                        I am reminded of an old joke.

                                                                                                                        A Martian lands in NYC. He sees an appetizing store with bagels in the window. He goes in and asks

                                                                                                                        "What are those wheels in the window?"
                                                                                                                        "Wheels? What wheels?"
                                                                                                                        He goes and points to the bagels
                                                                                                                        "Those aren't wheels, those are bagels. Here! Try one!"
                                                                                                                        The martian tries a bagel

                                                                                                                        "Man! This would go great with cream cheese and lox!"

                                                                                                                      2. re: boredough

                                                                                                                        That's why you eat it with cream cheese on a bagel :-)

                                                                                                                        You are right, smoked salmon is nothing like lox. Lox is MUCH better.

                                                                                                                        1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                          Definitely eager to compare, as it's been so long since I had lox but smoked salmon is super common here (too much, maybe).

                                                                                                                        2. re: boredough

                                                                                                                          Good to know, thanks! I wasn't aware of the difference!

                                                                                                                        3. of the newer new york places- shake shack or even the burger joint ,at the parker meridian best kept (well, hidden)secret in the city- (hint) there may still be a long line after getting past the curtain. not too familiar with brooklyn, but if you want to truly explore the new new york (traditions) that might warrant an expedition, and of the old time out there, their is always peter lugar for steak

                                                                                                                          26 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: 51rich

                                                                                                                            I agree. Peter Lugar is one of the most unique places on earth - especially if you're going there with a large group, but you have to book months in advance and it is very expensive - the OP asked for low key :-)

                                                                                                                            1. re: 51rich

                                                                                                                              Thanks, I have shake shack and the burger joint on my list as options.

                                                                                                                              We may do one steak dinner, but obviously can't book months in advance. I saw American Cut Steakhouse recommended elsewhere...

                                                                                                                              1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                Seriously, skip the Shake Shack and the steakhouse. It is a waste of your time and money to visit NYC with a food agenda and bother with these generic American foods. Eat something peculiar to the global city of empire that NYC is today and its riot of food choices. Go to a good cheese store instead and try something new. Or the Korean food hall. Or a high end Indian.

                                                                                                                                1. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                  I disagree. The Shake Shack is simple: burgers, fries, dogs - the food is not the best, yet it is one of the most talked about places and the next big thing in NYC. As I said below, there is one adjacent to Goldman Sachs in Tribeca - which is an area that I would want to visit anyway - as that too is a new popular area of NYC.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                    Agree and disagree...
                                                                                                                                    Shake Shack is certainly iconic and I would love to try it one day.
                                                                                                                                    However, I will not wait in line for hour(s), using up my visiting time (2 hours is almost 3% of our usual visit...)standing around Madison Square Park for a hamburger (and crinkle cut fries).
                                                                                                                                    Perhaps a modest 10 minute wait at their 8th ave location during off-peak....maybe.

                                                                                                                                    BTW barberinibee, wouldn't it be better to go to a good cheese store and try something old?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                      I never went to the one at Madison Square Park. The one I go to is in Tribeca and usually has a short line. If there is a line, there are about 10 cashiers to get things done.
                                                                                                                                      I wouldn't wait for hour(s) either - for ANY food.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                        I also haven't gotten around to trying a Shake Shack burger on any of my visits, as of yet.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                          I had one when we were in Philly. Sure doesn't say NY to ME, lol!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                            LOL. Maybe I'll have one next time I'm in Philly. After I've had my fill of Cheesesteaks.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                              I wonder if we went to the same branch. My man and I stopped in at the Shake Shack across from Village Whiskey, as VW was packed, and we were starving after a hockey game.

                                                                                                                                              Decent burger, but DEF not worth waiting for on line. Seriously. But NYers *do* like their hype/standing on line for the most inane things, so..... perhaps it *does say* NYC?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                The one we went to wasn't far from Drexel. Kind of in the middle of a nice "Village-y" kind of area. I believe it was on a corner.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: porker

                                                                                                                                            I went to Madison Square Park Shake Shack on a stunning fall day. Waited only 5 minutes. Line was longish, but moved very quick. Perhaps I was lucky?

                                                                                                                                            I do rememeber waiting 5 minutes to fill up on ketchup, which was insane.

                                                                                                                                            At Shake Shack avoid hot dogs and pickled cherry peppers - which seemed composed entirely of salt. Burgers and cheese fries were great.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                          I agree that shake shack is a waste of time. I'm amazed it is always packed. It is no better than Five Guys etc. and I'd sooner go to In and Out if they were here in NYC. A burger at Corner Bistro is similar to what Luncheonettes used to serve. Shake Shack is inferior food IMO.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                                            For 20 years, when I lived a block or two from the Corner Bistro, it was my go-to burger joint. That's before burgers got branded and all fancified. I haven't been there in years, but I can't imagine it's changed much. I used to love a burger at The Cookie Bar, which has been gone for years. Did Chumley's ever reopen? I would say that Chumley's and The White Horse are two of NY's iconic joints.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                              Hi roxlet,
                                                                                                                                              Speaking of burgers, mrs porker and I were strolling in the vicinity of West Village/Chelsea between 7th and 9th.
                                                                                                                                              We stopped into a place to have a couple of drinks before continuing our walk.
                                                                                                                                              It was a pub-like place serving both drinks and/or food. The kitchen was semi-open and we noticed them cooking hamburgers in a peculiar device. It looked like a gas-driven broiler which flame-broiled the pattie, but this contraption did the patties vertically, not horizontally.
                                                                                                                                              We weren't hungry, so did not try the amazing looking burgers, but I never remembered the name (it was maybe 6 years ago and haunts me today).

                                                                                                                                              I googled Corner Bistro and the location seems right (the streets were not regular, perpendicular, block-like. More like the hodgepodge of 5 corners, diagonals, etc).
                                                                                                                                              Does Corner Bistro cook their burgers this way?
                                                                                                                                              Or do you know of another place in the area that cooks burgers as I described?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                Sounds like a Louis Lunch (New Haven CT) knockoff contraption.


                                                                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                  The Corner Bistro definitely doesn't cook its burgers that way. That's the way Louis Lunch in New Haven, where the burger was supposedly invented in the US, cooks theirs. When you say between 7th and 9th, do you mean Avenue or Street? If it's Avenue, it would have to be Chelsea, since there is no 9th Avenue in the West Village. It turns into Hudson Street south of 14th Street. But Chelsea is pretty much on a grid, and doesn't have the hodgepodge layout of the West Village. In any event, the place you describe isn't ringing any bells.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                    When I saw the contraption, it reminded me very much of Louis Lunch (from what I saw on TV).
                                                                                                                                                    We were walking from south of West Village towards Chelsea. I meant "Avenue" but only as a general guideline of the area covered.
                                                                                                                                                    I'm thinking it was in the West Village, but alas, my quest continues.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                      I'll ask around, and let you know if I come up with anything.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                  White Horse used to have great burgers. It has gone way down hill over the years. Chumley's I haven't been to in ages, I don't think they reopened. But they had good burgers. They even had ghosts.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, it seems as if Chumley's is still closed, though there was some noise about it reopening just about a year ago. Chumley's, The White Horse, and The Lion's Head were all my haunts years ago. Of the three, only The White Horse remains.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                                I get your point, but good burgers and good steaks--while not necessarily NYC, are very American and we only get to the US once per year so I'm not opposed to eating some more generic but excellent foods.

                                                                                                                                                We also have incredible cheeses here, so others have asked why I'd bother with cheese in NYC. I'm sure they are very different, and I love being able to compare!

                                                                                                                                                Of course I'm also very interested in very local foods, and am compiling a great list!

                                                                                                                                                Opinions on the Shake Shake do seem to very divided, though, and I don't see us waiting in a long line for a burger when there are so many good options on my list

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                  There is an UWS Shake Shack on West 77th near the Natural History Museum. Probably close enough to take a short detour just to see how long the line is. And you could always get takeout and go back to where you are staying. They also have the freshly made fries (not the frozen crinkle cut ones that other locations use). I really love their burgers and find their meat, toppings, and buns to be of higher quality than other places.

                                                                                                                                                  In terms of a steakhouse, you might enjoy stopping into Keens, even if just to see the pipes on the ceiling and the atmosphere.

                                                                                                                                              3. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                If you want to have a burger and are on the upper west side, far better to go to 5 Napkin Burger on 84th and Broadway.

                                                                                                                                                On a weekday lunch there will be no line, at dinner on Friday or Saturday there probably will be. Weekend lunch will be jammed.

                                                                                                                                              4. re: 51rich

                                                                                                                                                since when is the burger joint behind the velvet curtain a well hidden secret? time to blow the cobwebs off your decades old travel guide. I found it mediocre food wise but cute many many years ago.

                                                                                                                                              5. My single experience with the oyster bar at grand central was having a plate of over priced pre shucked oysters in poor condition tossed in front of me. How do I know they were pre shucked? There were plates of them at the ready. Perhaps they've upped their treatment in the past couple of years, but the oysters I was served were an abomination.

                                                                                                                                                In Boston, if you don't sit at the shucking bar - the same thing happens at Union Oyster Bar. Horrible.

                                                                                                                                                1. Katz' Deli, any Comidas Chinas restaurant, the scene in Jackson Heights (surely the most ethnically varied in the world).

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: swannee

                                                                                                                                                    Never been to Jackson Heights that I know of, but thanks, now I have the "Car 54 Where Are You" theme in my head for the rest of the day. Can't get much more (old timey) NYC than that!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: swannee

                                                                                                                                                        My Dad grew up in Jackson Heights. They moved out of Manhattan, as everyone was doing back then (at least those who could afford to do so). They even had an episode on MadMen about moving to Jackson Heights to raise a family.
                                                                                                                                                        Very funny how things change.
                                                                                                                                                        To say Jackson heights is "surely the most ethnically varied in the world" is spot on.

                                                                                                                                                      2. By the way Transplant,
                                                                                                                                                        Zabars is the shop that was in "You've got mail".
                                                                                                                                                        Katz's is the restaurant from "When Harry met Sally"
                                                                                                                                                        There are many others.
                                                                                                                                                        ...I find it fun to visit the places I've seen in movies - and there are a lot of them in NY.
                                                                                                                                                        NY is not only a city, but an adventure. Just walking around gets my heart beating faster... the night lights of Madison/Park/5th Ave., standing in Grand Central Station and looking around, strolling around Central Park in the snow... you get my drift.
                                                                                                                                                        Most importantly - have fun and be safe!

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                          "...you get my drift..."
                                                                                                                                                          Literally as of late.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, I'm kind of corny so I like to visit places we've seen in the movies too. Also, it kind of helps bridge the culture gap a bit, since my husband and I have seen the movies together!

                                                                                                                                                            And I am definitely jazzed about the adventure!

                                                                                                                                                          2. Not a foodie destination, but the Staten Island Ferry is a great free ride to see the Statue of Liberty! (they do have dirty water dogs on the ferry)

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                                                              Yes... and not only the Statue herself, but the entire lower tip of Manhattan. Oh, and there is a Shake Shack adjacent to Goldman Sachs in Tribeca - also a beautiful area. You can walk along the Hudson - eat at the Shake Shack and get a feel of one of the newbie hot spots in NYC (in the summer all the yachts dock there - was also featured in a movie - I forget which)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                                                                Maybe not. See the thread here: Yonah Schimmel is a disgrace http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2245...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: plf515

                                                                                                                                                                  In the span of a few hours I felt knish envy, deprived and relief. Now I only feel deprived of a really delicious knish

                                                                                                                                                              2. "I didn't recommend any Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Danish, Russian, etc as these don't seem to be NYC to me. I could be wrong."

                                                                                                                                                                I was born in NYC and now live in Italy and when I visit NYC now I almost always eat Szechuan takeout with flimsy chopsticks. It very much says New York to me. Rugelach and blinis say NYC to me too. And while Danish may not be Danish, it is NYC.

                                                                                                                                                                What says NYC to me most of all, however, is little purple foil packages of chalky violet candies you buy from magazine sellers in on the subway platforms. I have never seen them anywhere else on the planet.

                                                                                                                                                                The one thing that absolutely does NOT say NYC to me is a burger from a celebrity chef who is on the record as saying he opened it to bring more of the midwest to NYC. (On the negative side, something that really screams NYC to me is too-loud restaurants, uncomfortable seating, inane waiter chatter, food that's been left to go cold on giant oversized plates, ridicously complex and jarring ingredient combinations that can't disguise that the underlying food is flavorless even though it was "sourced" and "curated" and costs a fortune).

                                                                                                                                                                Falafel from street vendors is very NYC to me and I eat a lot when I visit. Square Sicilian pizza is NYC to me but not other pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                Belly lox is great but so are all deli treats. Egg salad on rye with iceburg lettuce rules. Hard to find liverwurst with mustard on white bread anymore, but that is also NYC to me. Korean salad bars are NYC to me.

                                                                                                                                                                The "everything" bagel is fairly confined to NYC but even more so the salt bagel. (I agree bialys are an endangered species).

                                                                                                                                                                I disagree that only tourists eat hot dogs from street vendors or that they make you sick.

                                                                                                                                                                Black and white cookies. A Greek salad at a diner. Bluefish. Little pre-wrapped trays of sushi to go. Watery coffee with milk and even worse tea to-go. Weird yogurt smoothies.

                                                                                                                                                                Not that this is the best food in NYC. But most working New Yorkers and students and artists live on this stuff, and to me these people are the life of NYC.

                                                                                                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                                                  Great post, thanks! I'm learning so much about NYC in this post!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                                                    Carts selling egg on a roll, donuts and/or coffee are also very NYC to me.

                                                                                                                                                                    Agree that plenty of locals eat the street vendors' hot dogs. Cheap bite on the run. I know one local who basically lived on them while in grad school.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                                                      Not to mention the weird NYC deli thing of giving you a paper cup coffee with a plastic lid but putting in a paper bag. Hopefully it's in a We Are Happy to Serve You cup.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kathryn

                                                                                                                                                                        Hopefully it's a Greek motif cup, those are my favorite!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kathryn

                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you, I hope they never stop making them! I did know they sell them in ceramic, I really should get myself one.

                                                                                                                                                                            And kathryn, you know everything about NYC, what say you on the Oyster Bar? Open or closed?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                              Their website which you can google will show they have planned to close for a few months.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes I know, but others above didn't seem to believe me. If you look, you will see I linked several references to their being closed.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                  Eh. As long as they're done with their reservations by February, I can groove to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                  But I do need my oyster fix!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kathryn

                                                                                                                                                                                  OK then I will stand my ground ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: kathryn

                                                                                                                                                                            I could be wrong, but I think I remember having had a paper We Are Happy to Serve You cup of coffee at the Viand on Madison near 61st.

                                                                                                                                                                            Another NYC thing to me- old school coffee shops like Viand with cash only breakfasts.

                                                                                                                                                                            Transplant_DK, you might want to check out a coffee shop breakfast while on the UWS. (I'm more familiar with the Midtown coffee shops, so I can't help with a recommendation on the UWS). Usually around half the price of hotel breakfasts for bacon & eggs, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                              And you get the WWA (waitress with attitude) as a bonus! They are lots of fun.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                Yup, a diner breakfast is usually a good, everyday, non-CH, every person experience. Tom's on B'way and 112th is iconic since it's "Tom's Diner" from the Suzanne Vega song and used as the exterior to Monk's diner on Seinfeld. There's other diners up and down Broadway if you're not up that far.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                                                              The everything bagel is found all over the northeast. Can't speak to the rest of the country. What IS hard to find outside NY is an egg bagel. Or any decent bagel.

                                                                                                                                                                            3. Chocolate egg cream.
                                                                                                                                                                              Nova and a shmear on a bagel at Barney Greengrass
                                                                                                                                                                              The Spotted Pig's burger. http://thespottedpig.com/?page_id=7
                                                                                                                                                                              Since you'll be on the UWS, worth trying a Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookie at least once if you like cookies. http://www.levainbakery.com/
                                                                                                                                                                              Balthazar's sticky bun (also available at Dean & Deluca if you don't visit Balthazar)http://www.ediblemanhattan.com/magazi...
                                                                                                                                                                              Dean & Deluca
                                                                                                                                                                              Kalustyan's http://www.kalustyans.com/

                                                                                                                                                                              These threads started in Aug 2013 have some other suggestions you might find useful, although they repeat much of what has already been mentioned in the current thread:

                                                                                                                                                                              Question to Locals http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/911971

                                                                                                                                                                              Visitors, travellers, tourists and other Chowhounds who do not live in NYC, which places do you revisit when you visit Manhattan? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/912049

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                I have lots of notes from the other posts, but lots of new ideas from this one too!

                                                                                                                                                                                Spotted pig is on the list, as are Levain Baker, Blthazar's (but thanks for the sticky bun rec)!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. having lived in Boston (Cambridge), SF (well Palo Alto to be honest) and Chicago, the restaurants that are really worth seeking out for me are:

                                                                                                                                                                                1. smoked fish - Barney Greengrass and Russ and Daughter and in a pinch, Zabar's.
                                                                                                                                                                                2. sushi: multiple great options starting with Masa.
                                                                                                                                                                                3. top tier restaurants such as Bernadin, Jean-Georges, 11 Madison
                                                                                                                                                                                4. interesting ethnic restaurants including chinese mentioned above.
                                                                                                                                                                                5. Jewish Deli's such as Katz's; way better than anything I have tried elsewhere.
                                                                                                                                                                                6. steak houses: Peter Luger's; I do not generally go out to eat steak, but this is old New York.

                                                                                                                                                                                NYC is a great place for eating; I love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                                                                                                                                  I do think my husband would love to try Peter Luger's, but it sounds like we're far too late to even try to get in. I might give them a call just in case.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                    it's pretty easy to get in for lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                      Luger takes reservations approx 2 months in advance. Also note their no credit card policy. Debit card, Peter Luger Credit card, check with ID, or cash only.

                                                                                                                                                                                      You could also try going for lunch, might be easier to get in.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Its about 2:45am in Denmark.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Transplant_DK sure has a lot or reading tomorrow!
                                                                                                                                                                                    (both good&bad)

                                                                                                                                                                                    Wonder if shes gonna hit up the Grand Central Oyster Bar or not, hehe

                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                      Very enjoyable reading and lots of note taking!

                                                                                                                                                                                      Looks like GCOB is closed for January, unfortunately

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ahhh, not to worry, I'm getting reports that the oysters are all pre-shucked and not worth it anyway! Sooo, you're not missing anything, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                        Leftover change from my 2c;
                                                                                                                                                                                        We've been visiting NYC about 3 times per year going on maybe 8 years. It seems that we've only scratched the surface...
                                                                                                                                                                                        Sometimes it'll be a pizza pilgrimage, sometimes a Broadway spree, once a streetfood/hot dog odyssey, another time a dive bar reconnaissance, and recently a strict LES discovery crusade.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Each time was prepped with plenty of research, plotting a map, and developing a loose itinerary. There were must-do spots, some "if we get there" spots, and plenty of time for "hey, look at this place" spots.
                                                                                                                                                                                        At the end of our trip, we generally don't get to all our must-do places, hit up a few of the if-we-get-there, and reminisce about the enexpected.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Luckily we're only 6 hours away and can look forward to our next visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                        7 days is quite a bit of time, but I bet you'll be leaving wondering how it all passed so quickly.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I guess what I'm trying to say is not to sweat a minute by minute intinerary, develop a general plan (including possible logistics like transportation, rest, etc), then go with the flow, enjoy yourselves!
                                                                                                                                                                                        ....and REPORT BACK!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                          I know we won't be able to hit every stop on my list, not even those with the triple stars by them ;-) but I love the planning as it extends the whole adventure. Then, I expect to use the list as part scavenger hunt and part back up, but I am also sure we will end up drifting in other places or choosing not to try some due to timing, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Already 7 days doesn't seem like near enough time and I doubt we'll be able to make this kind of trip again anytime in the foreseeable future (usually our US trips are dictated by work and/or family events).

                                                                                                                                                                                          I will definitely report back after everyone has taken time to give so many recommendations.

                                                                                                                                                                                          (ps almost wish I could go to GCOB just to settle the pre-shucked oyster argument!)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Get a big soda.

                                                                                                                                                                                        You never know when it might no longer be possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I think you should try Smorgaschef:


                                                                                                                                                                                          I recommend the meatballs and herring!

                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: vikingkaj

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yours was a sort of "coals to Newcastle" recommendation, kj -hence the Dane's response (I'm guessing).

                                                                                                                                                                                              My only advice is to hope aloud that the OP is staying at a hostelry with a gym or that she presses her hosts for a temporary membership to one nearby, because if she follows all the recommendations given her here and then spends the rest of her trip sedentary in clubs and theaters, she & her man will return home looking like leverpølse.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Been a NYer for almost two decades and been away for about 3 years now. I’m planning a visit one of these days and here are some things that say New York to me:

                                                                                                                                                                                              Halal carts. Especially the Trini-Pak cart on 43rd/6th Ave and the Kwik Meal Carts around midtown. Second tier for me are the 53rd/6th cart as well as the Xpress Power Lunch carts around town.
                                                                                                                                                                                              “Spanish” food from around the Caribbean, (i.e., Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, and I might include Colombian in there). Places like Taza de Oro, La Caridad, Casa Adela, for their beef, chicken or oxtail stews, ropa vieja, pernil, tostones, platanos, rice and beans, etc. I’ll likely make a beeline to Rincón Criollo in Corona Queens for this stuff and especially their arroz con pollo (one of the best rice dishes I’ve had in NYC). I’ll probably finish the night with an arepa from the Arepa Lady. Or tacos from any of my favorite Mexican places around Roosevelt Ave.
                                                                                                                                                                                              A variety of south Asian foods from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, mostly in the Jackson Heights area of Queens, or Curry Hill in Manhattan. I especially miss having a chaat dish or takeout tandoori dishes from Kababish. And I’ll probably make it a point to get some Indian-Chinese food from Tangra Masala to chow down on some flavors I haven’t had in a few years and to visit the family that runs the restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                                                              A variety of middle eastern foods. I’m sure I’ll grab a falafel from Taim if I have some free time in the West Village, or maybe a pide or kabab dish at one of the Turkish places in midtown or Sunnyside Queens. And will make my pilgrimage to Kabab Cafe in Astoria bearing gifts to chef Ali.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Jamaican food. Man, I miss those spices. I’m not sure if there’s a place for proper jerk chicken in Manhattan, but I’ll probably make my way to Flatbush Brooklyn, or to Boston Road in the Bronx for some supplies and food, like jerk chicken/pork, patties, escovetch, curried goat, brown stew, etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I’m sure a big meat dish will factor in my plans somewhere as well. If not at a place like Keens or Peter Luger, it’ll most likely be at one of the Argentine steakhouses in Queens. Burger will probably do for lunch somewhere. But that will be determined by convenience, rather than planning.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Katz Deli. Nuff said. And bagels somewhere. Probably Ess-a-Bagel or Murray’s or Leo’s downtown. I’m sure I’ll do a big shop at Zabars too.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Pizza. Too many choices, really. But I’ll probably concentrate on the standard NY style slice or coal oven places.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Then there are the standard NY “scene” restaurants I enjoy. Too many to mention here as well.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I already know I’ll run out of time before I get to complete more than half of this itinerary in a week’s time, plus several I’m sure I’m forgetting (like the central Asian places in Rego Park, or Polish in Greenpoint, or Thai in Woodside/Elmhurst, or Greek in Astoria, and I haven't even mentioned anything Chinese).
                                                                                                                                                                                              But I’m sure I won’t leave disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                Before ingesting the above, take your Prilosec
                                                                                                                                                                                                We miss your voice hear on the nyc boards. Best in the year!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great list, though I would say that saying "Thai says NYC" to you sounds a bit like saying "Russian says LA" to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Funny you should mention that. For a while, Russian very much said LA to me... if you remember those nights at Gorky's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: E Eto


                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gorky's closed 5 years before I arrived in Los Angeles, so I have no personal connection. But it hardly sounds like a Cafe Glechik... and LA's skid row is hardly Brighton Beach. Gorky's reads more like a kitschy homage bar, like those Lenin bars decorated with old war uniforms and regalia that are so popular in several former Soviet bloc countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Having said that, it's not like LA doesn't have Eastern Europe represented in our city... we have the homey Polka, like dining in your Polish grandma's living room. Then we have Warszawa, dining in a fancy Polish restaurant. We have a Czech-owned dive bar inexplicably selling decent Czech food. And we have non-gay West Hollywood (east West Hollywood), which is heavily Russian. Kvas, black bread, heavy Russian butter and caviar? No problem. But this community is tiny-- and it would take a far distant place behind the nationalities that are better represented here, like Thai, Korean, Mexican, Central American (specifically Salvadorean and Guatemalan), Vietnamese, and Chinese (though I'm giving you Chinese, since Manhattan's Chinatown is such a quintessential part of the NYC history and culture- definitely a part of NYC that speaks to me- though I think it's a fair observation that LA's Chinese San Gabriel Valley dwarfs NYC in terms of size, scope and depth of regional cooking styles-- though you do have Fujian on us, but we have 2 Xinjiang restaurants so I think that trumps :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, my point in all this was NYC-- Greek, yes. Italian, yes. Indian, Pakistani, yes yes. Chinese, yes. Caribbean, most definitely yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      But Thai? Eh.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Knishes w/ mustard, salty pretzels w/ mustard, baconeggncheezonnaroll, bialys w/ cream cheese and jelly, bowties and cawfee regla from a cart, and beef patties split open and topped w/ marinara sauce and mozzarella says NYC to me. The last actually says Manhattan to me since I don't remember hearing about that combo in Bklyn ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Waddaya mean, beef patties? You mean burgers? I never heard of that! Native NYer here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                      GoodGravy probably means Jamaican beef patties, sold in most NYC pizza joints. I've done the cheese but haven't tried the sauce and cheese together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "In most NYC pizza joints."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not the ones I go to since I have seen Jamaican beef patties, but not in a pizzeria.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You must go to the 1% of all NYC pizzerias that don't carry Tower Isles beef patties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I guess so. Is this the Jamaican stuff? I don't think I'd notice it anyway, even if they had it, since I don't go to a pizzeria for a Jamaican beef patty!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's a generic, mushy meat, hardly spicy beef patty that's been served in pizzerias as long as I can remember. Adding sauce and cheese wasn't an improvement, but it's one of those bizarre concoctions that screams NYC to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's the same Tower Isles beef patties sold in a lot of supermarkets. It's a very NYC concoction -- I've seen some people add pepperoni to it as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I.M.H.O., as much as I enjoy them you DO NOT see Jamaican Beef patties in the finer pizza joints.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I guess I must go to the finer joints. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've never noticed them, either, although I don't think I'm too likely to order one now that I know they exist. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All of the many "Original" Ray's pizza joints carry them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Funny... one of the Original Ray's locations in Midtown East is where I bought the majority of my slices (spinach and mushroom slice with a heavy shake of chilies) in Manhattan, but I never noticed the beef patties on the menu. Selective menu reading on my part, perhaps? :) I ordered a spinach and mushroom slice from an UWS Original Ray's on a visit a couple years ago, for a trip down memory lane, and it didn't taste anything like I remembered. (By the way, Transplant DK, I wouldn't bother with a slice from Original Ray's during your week in NYC)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Who reads menus in a NYC pizzeria? I always looked at what's available and went from there. Patties will be piled up in a corner of the display case, maybe near the calzones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ok, selective sight, then? I dunno. I remember seeing lots of calzones, maybe I didn't notice the patties because they didn't interest me. I remember reading a menu on the wall listing prices for slices and pop at Original Ray's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, as I said above, since I go to a pizzeria for pizza, I've never noticed the meat patties. They also don't sound like something that would interest me anyway!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's my experience too. (I'm a liftetime NYer.) Those patties don't show up in most pizzerias. (It might be different in a Latino or Jamaican neighborhood.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Beef patties in pizzerias go back as far as I can remember to Bklyn in the 70's. They're still available in pizzerias on the UES so they're not confined to specific neighborhoods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I see it in delis more, along with the pre-cut gyro meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: GoodGravy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jelly on a bialy? Seriously? I have never heard of that or seen it. In my family, that would get you disinherited. Who would do such an awful thing to a bialy?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe some time of savory jelly, but a sweet jelly on a bialy with its usual onion bits sounds really weird.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Believe me, if I was part of your family, I'd disinherit myself just so I could enjoy my bialy w/ cc & jelly in peace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Oh yeah I forgot...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The smell of roasting chestnuts from a hot dog cart reminds me of NYC.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know if they'll be roasting when you're there, but the odor is quite unique.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Plenty of people love them, but I never tried them. I found the roasting smell similar to burning garbage in the backyard as a kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love roasted chestnuts. They're sold on the street in Europe, too. Used to also find street vendors roasting them in Toronto, but I haven't seen them lately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hmmm? I can hear a song in the background.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ♩♪ ♫ Chestnuts roasting over a garbage fire
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pick pockets nipping at your clothes ♫ ♪
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yuletide curses sung by a cabbie driver
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ♫ ♪ While dirty hot dogs decompose
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Everybody knows a cart guy named Joe ♩♪
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Helps to make your trip highlight
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ♪♩ Central Park is now full of snow
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Green weiner means no sleep tonight ♫ ♩♪

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Merry Christmas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was just going to suggest the chestnuts (and also the pretzels). Yum!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Get a decadent hot chocolate (serendipity, grom), definitely do the whole bagel thing, I'm from New Jersey and don't bother with NY pizza because I can get it here, but you should probably include that, deli sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also love Little Pie Company, PB&Co (crazy peanut butter sandwiches), Jacques Torres, popcorn and peanuts at Madison Square Garden (not sure this counts!), Tao.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Totally touristy, but maybe one of the "themed" restaurants? Sometimes you just need to be a tourist and experience the city that way too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Most decadent hot chocolate is at Eataly café.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              City Bakery with their home made marshmallows!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. went with my danish wife last year and yes the dogs don't compare to those in copenhagen...but...try carnegie deli for pastrami (some folks like Katz's better but they are just wrong) and barney greengrass for incredible smoked fish and bagels (on upper westside too)....oyster bar at grand central is classic...be sure to have some pizza slices too - lots of good options.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not sure if you meant that the NY dogs are better or worse than those in CPH? I don't get Copenhagen dogs, but maybe that's because I grew up on New Orleans street dogs. Looking forward to comparing tho!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i like the danish dogs best -- nice snap, and you can get crispy fried onions on top, or inside a bun where they poke a hole in the top and stick in in

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                love nola but those lucky dogs...not so much...i guess when im in that mood it's crystal burger...im not above it tho that's for sure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                best one i had in nyc was at katz's deli -- overrated pastrami sandwich, underrated dog...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just feel a kindred spirit to Lucky Dogs after reading Managing Ignatius: The Lunacy of Lucky Dogs and Life in New Orleans.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We'll grab one or two while in town after hitting the bars for nostalgia's sake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow, only goes to show that people have really different taste. I do like the crispy onions on Danish dogs, but the hot dogs themselves…no. And the ones you stick in the bread with the white sauce that oozes out in a very pornographic way. Not for me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do remember enjoying nola lucky dogs,but that was a good 30 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. not food, but how about a visit to strand bookstore (used books).or uptown rizzoli- right near the parker meridian (burger joint).strand definitely is nyc. 828 broadway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I forgot to mention: Going to Wo Hop (downstairs) or Hop Kee after a night of drinking. Both in Chinatown a couple doors down from each other on Mott St. The drunkenness makes the food taste better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "The drunkenness makes the food taste better."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The only way I'd go to Wo Hop is if I *was* drunk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Years ago when I worked in lower Manhattan I went to Wo Hop for lunch. A co-worker was touting it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "You gotta have the chow fun! It's great!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What my co-worker didn't say was that he had no palate. We finally went to Wo Hop and ordered the fabled chow fun. When the waiter brought it out I remember thinking "That looks just like a plate of greasy noodles." When I tasted it, I thought "Greasy and bland too." Meanwhile my co-worker was smacking his lips and wolfing it down. He got to eat 3/4 of mine too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The won ton soup, OTOH, was delicate, fresh, and full of flavor. (That's old info about the soup - it might have declined. OTOH people tell me the chow fun is still crap.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My Dad adores the chow fun at Wo Hop (downstairs)... that's where he likes to go when he comes into the city. It's once a year, so why not?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wo Hop @ 3 AM is heavenly!! Great NY Noodletown @ 3 AM is priceless!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        King Yum in Fresh Meadows.... off the beaten tourist track, but oh so good... it's the Chinese food from my suburban New Jersey youth, only much better-- I didn't realize how bad the Chinese food of my youth actually was until my palate developed.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And look at that tiki... not "ironically" kitsch-- it's the real deal. One of those time warp restaurants, a holdover from another era. Who knows for how long they'll be able to hang on, so I advise everyone to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sure, if you break in and unlock the door. Let me know if you do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Many people mention salt pretzels???? I've had them off and on since I was a kid and they are always baked hard, or stale. The best street pretzel I ever had was from a street cart in Philadelphia. It looked just like our NY pretzel but it was soft and fresh and the mustard made it taste like heaven. The closest I have come to it is a salt bagel, the big soft variety, with mustard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Hello, Transplant,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here are a few ideas that no one has mentioned yet:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Gramercy Tavern - pricey but worth every penny - just in case you change your mind about fine dining

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. If it isn't too cold - this is a totally tourist thing to do but SO WHAT? It is fantastic - go to Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) in the late afternoon and stay until the sun goes down and the lights come up on the city. I grew up in NY and still love this. You can stay inside if it is cold but something is lost by staying inside, IMHO. Just be sure to check the time the sun sets that day, and give yourself enough time to read the story about why and how Rockefeller Center was built (on the walls in the lobby after you pay your fee).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Again, if it isn't too cold - walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. There is a quintessential diner on the Brooklyn side, about one long block past the bridge. It is called Park Plaza. I suspect there will be lots of sneering from Brooklynites, because that part of Brooklyn is full of hip, cute places but if you want a real diner, this is the place. Huge menu, large quantities, good (not great) and hearty food. Fantastic cheesecake. We have been known to eat pastrami at Katz's, take the LONG walk down to and across the Brooklyn Bridge, and then reward ourselves with a piece of this cheesecake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a great idea. Highly recommended.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OTOH I'd advise the OP to avoid the Park Plaza diner and head for Teresa's on Montegue St.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Teresa's is more Polish than diner. Go to Clark St. diner. Closer to the bridge and right by the subway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To be sure I was understood, I was not recommending a meal at Park Plaza unless they wanted a real diner meal. Only the cheesecake. Thanks for the rec on Clark St. Will try it next time. How's their cheesecake?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Just Visiting


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            take a subway to Brooklyn, walk *back* across the bridge with the Manhattan skyline as your view, and reward yourself to dim sum in Chinatown.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (either way STAY outta the bike lane)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "(either way STAY outta the bike lane)"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              that's some of the best advice you'll have been given here, T_DK, assuming you want to arrive back home in one (well-fed) piece.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              EDIT: The River Cafe is right there at the Bklyn end of the bridge, so if it's reopened, you might combine visiting the two landmarks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We walked over the bridge to get to River Café, definitely gives you a good appetite. Took a little longer than expected, but they still held our reservation which is part of the reason I love them so!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. After all of the incredible responses, I had to come back and report on our week in NYC. Obviously I knew we couldn't make it to every place suggested, but due to the frigid weather/snow storm, some less than perfect back up planning, and an unexpected trip to DC by train that took the better part of 2 days, we made it to far fewer than I'd hoped. Still, we had a fantastic time and ate some great food!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We arrived late and ended up eating at an Italian restaurant near the hotel because our first choice (RedFarm) was booked up for hours and we were too tired to wait or go back. I think it's a chain even (Serafina), but it suited the purpose of getting something in our tummies before crashing. Not anything amazing, but good enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sunday morning we walked to Route 66 for breakfast. It has received some pretty poor reviews, but my husband fell for the name and theme (I think lots of Europeans romanticise about making the Route 66 trip, or at least my husband does!). The food was surprisingly good and quite different than what we are used to, and the service was also good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We did a ton of walking during the day, grabbed some snacks at a deli/grocer to have in our room, took in a show (Janis Joplin, which was really great) and then ended up going to Grand Central to look around and find a place to eat. Sadly, there were only fast food joints open and so we took the train up to Jacob's Pickles. It wasn't on my must try list, but there as a back up for a late night sit down dinner. We were pretty disappointed, although the food wasn't bad. For one, it was impossible to even see the menu without each of us holding the little votive candle over the other's menu. The dishes we ordered sounded really great, but fell kind of flat. I had the fried chicken biscuit, and it just seemed like it was missing something to pull it all together even though the individual parts were good. It is served with cheese grits that were sticky and only filled about ½ " of the overly large metal bowl they were served in. My husband had a burger and fries--the burger and the pickles tasted good, but it could really have used something spicy or creamy to pull it together. The aged Vermont cheese was undetectable and the fries were limp. I did enjoy a Barq's root beer, which brought back childhood memories of Louisiana. Lots of really young people there and we were the only ones eating, so we were glad to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Monday morning we ate at Tick Tock diner on the way to the train to DC. We expected to love it because of the look and feel, but the food was marginal at best. Overly greasy and mushy eggs, potatoes, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We arrived back in NYC Tues afternoon in time for our reservation at Má Pêche. My husband had a cocktail that he is still raving about, but silly me forgot to write down the name and ingredients thinking I could look it up online. Unfortunately, their drink menu isn't listed. It was whisky/rye, sherry and apple something or another (brandy) with a huge square ice cube. Sounded dreadful to me, but he was in heaven. The food was as good as expected--we had the broccoli salad, lobster fried rice (by far the best dish), and the fried chicken. I would probably have to agree it was the best FC I've had. The waiter suggested we stop there, but we regretted not having ordered a bit more for the variety (and then taking the leftover chicken home). We did get 2 different desserts--1 was exceptional (with popcorn), the other was more just ok. The service was also really good. The walk back to the subway in the blizzard was less than fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We were supposed to go to Lindenhurst (work) on Wed after breakfast, but everything was closed on LI due to the weather so we went to Balthazar for breakfast instead. We shared french toast and Eggs Benedict, both were wonderful and we loved the old fashioned style and sour faced wait staff (except when the customers weren't looking, and then they seemed quite lively). We picked up a sticky bun on the way out to share later. It was truly memorable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Because the weather was so horrible, we ended up shopping for a few hours and then took the train down to Katz for a late lunch. We shared a pastrami sandwich and loved every bite. It was a real treat for my husband, as he'd never had a piled high sandwich before. We both loved looking at all of the pictures on the wall, so it was a great experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Late Wed night we finally made it into RedFarm, and had a fantastic dinner of stuffed jalapeños (an appetiser my husband seeks out almost everywhere we go), the BBQ pork belly (devine),prime rib steak, and the sea bass with cellophane noodles. All really, really delicious and fun. We also had a few cocktails that were really nice, and 3 different desserts, all good. This was actually our most expensive meal of the trip, but worth every bit. I only wished I'd been hungrier or there had been more of us so I could have tried more dishes--I oohed and awed every time a plate went by. I would really have liked to try the dim sum, but my husband says it's not his favourite (don't think he's ever tried it!) and we did have to draw the line somewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thursday was the trip to Lindenhurst after breakfast at a little cafe near the hotel. Nothing special, but it was convenient, fast, and inexpensive. We returned late afternoon and went directly out to Empellón Taqueria for an early dinner. I adored everything about this place. We tried the 7 different salsas (some weren't extraordinary, but at least half were very tasty and unique), guacamole, short rib sopas, sushuto (?) pepper queso fundido with lime, and 3 orders of tacos (2 each). All were good, but the absolute best were the lobster with field corn. Incredible. The fish were also really, really good. The beer braised pork tongue were also excellent, but not as unusual as the others. The margaritas were crazy good, so I had to have 3 (a lot for me!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Friday we'd planned to do the whole bus tour thing, but it turned into a disaster. No heating in the bus, and the roads were bad so that we did far more sitting still than seeing anything. We gave up after 2 hours (after having paid for a 48 hour hop on/off pass). We ended up buying $60 of smoked fish, bagels, etc at Zabar's and gorging ourselves in our room for breakfast (btw, my husband was so happy for the info on the fish--he especially loved the belly lox, the sable, and one other white fish that I can't remember the name of. Their "famous" lox was very similar to what we eat regularly here in DK). We then went for a pizza later on (nothing special, just convenient) and then to Eatily for pasta Friday night. A friend of my husband's had raved about it, so he wanted to try it. It was much better than I expected actually, and fun to see the market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Saturday morning we had our last NYC meal at Clinton Street Bakery. We got there right at 9 and stood in line for about 20 minutes, but managed to get one of the last tables for their first service. It was so good I still drool thinking about it. We bought some bakery goodies for the trip home when we became too full to eat more of the breakfasts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Somewhere in there we also managed to try 3 different slices of cheesecake (1 from Junior's, another from Zabars, and the last one from a little gourmet grocer near the hotel).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We would have loved to try a food truck, but it was just too cold to stand outside and eat, and there wasn't time for hot dogs or good pizza. Our biggest regret was not making the Brooklyn Bridge walk, and not making it around Chinatown or Little Italy. We're used to cold weather in DK, but not as a tourists out walking around in temps below -14. On the other hand, we are well prepared for when we make a repeat visit, which I hope will be soon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks again for all of the input, it really made this a fantastic trip for both of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            31 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What a great trip report, Transplant! Glad you had a fab time despite the horrid weather.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Transplant_DK


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you so much for reporting back!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With regard to our spirited debate on the virtues of belly lox vs. Nova/smoked salmon, I'm absolutely delighted that your husband tried both and enjoyed real belly lox so much (and Zabar's absolutely is the real deal, though I prefer Russ & Daughters).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good belly lox is quintessential Jewish New York, and a real delicacy for those who can appreciate it. I'm just delighted that you filtered through the muddled language confusing belly lox and smoked salmon, ignored the naysayers, and tried it for yourselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Belly lox forever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We'd actually planned on comparing Zabar's and Russ & Daughters, or trying both in any case, but the weather really influenced our decisions---Zabar's was very close to the hotel, R&D would have meant a 15 min walk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think it was sturgeon he raved most about, with the belly lox a close second. I liked the sable best, followed by the belly lox. He did mention that he would never order the "regular lox" on a return visit, although of course it was delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    By "regular lox", I assume he means smoked salmon?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Smoked salmon is just so common... every half-baked bagel shop from LA to NY sells the stuff (though admittedly the grade of fish is not going to be nearly as high as at Zabar's).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Belly lox is special, in part, because it's just so damned hard to get.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It is also special watching Zabar's slice it right in front of you. I don't know of many places that do that (if any), and for those that don't know, it is an extremely difficult to do. They cut it paper thin and it is just a beautiful thing to watch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, and just for the record, I prefer Zabar's to Russ & Daughters by a long shot (although both are outstanding)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's a great illustration of why R&D feels so special to me. This trailer really nails the feeling and soul of the place.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh wow, thanks so much for the link Mr Taster! That was fantastic, and I will definitely make it to R&D on my next trip!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  well done! thanks so much for the report!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for reporting back and great to hear you had such a good time - it's a shame that the weather was so cold, but NYC is so beautiful in the winter, especially Central Park - I just love NYC in the winter!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So far as I am concerned - you made it to Katz's and Zabar's so you've had "the NYC experience" (or at least some of it). Those are two of my favorites. I am glad you enjoyed both :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for your report, T_DK. New Yorkers love nothing more than showing off their city's gastronomic wonders to the appreciative -even as we don't always get the 'warm welcome' part of it right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The most immediate conclusion I drew from your encomium is that it's time for you to pull up your Danish stakes and spend a foodie sabbatical in this town. I'm guessing a year should suffice, as a start anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry Mr Ogelos, don't know which part of the city you are from, but I have traveled all over the country and all over the world (everywhere!) and there is no place on this earth where the people are nicer than in NYC. It is such a myth about NY'ers being rude, loud, etc. Americans, in general, are the nicest, most hospitable, most generous people with the best manners than any other people on the planet, and NY'ers in particular are the best of the bunch. I'm fed up with people talking about rude Americans and rude NY'ers. Take a trip to Japan, China, Africa, the Middle East, ANYWHERE in Europe and people there are much worse than Americans from ANY city, let alone NYC.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do, however, agree about NY'ers loving to show off their gastronomic wonders, and why not? We are the best of the best!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don't get your knickers in a such a twist, s; I was only responding to T_DK's comments on the snow and the cold, and how the winter weather affected her movements.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (Hence the apostrophes I placed around 'warm welcome'.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phil Ogelos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't wear knickers and it was all in good fun - forgot to add the :-)'s - and now that I know the "warm welcome" was regarding the weather - never mind :-) ...(even though it was all true)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have to agree with you, acssss, on how nice people were in NYC. With only two minor exceptions*, the new yorkers we encountered were very well mannered, helpful, pleasant, kind, etc etc. We received excellent service everywhere we went, and we only had to look slightly confused before someone would offer to help us with directions, suggest which trains to take, etc. I was actually quite overwhelmed, as Danes tend to not offer much help to strangers unless asked specifically (they often tell me it's because they don't want to invade the foreigner's personal space, to which I call BS).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                * We accidentally cut in line in a grocery store, because we didn't realise there were people standing farther down the aisle. We were very loudly put in our place, and there were some unnecessary expletives that shocked my mild mannered husband. I apologised for the transgression and went on my way with it quickly forgotten, but then later thought that it's maybe much better to go ahead and vent in that kind of situation than to keep it inside and be passive aggressive to everyone else for the remainder of the day (which is common practice here, I'm afraid).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The 2nd was an unfortunate exchange with the tour bus company when I asked if there was heat in the bus as everyone (mostly foreigners with limited English skills) were virtually freezing. I have reported him, as rudeness in that situation is unacceptable, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Love your psychological analysis of venting, next time my husband has a fit in public I will remember it's a GOOD thing ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Phil Ogelos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            How funny you mention the idea of returning, Phil! I didn't want to return to DK after this fantastic trip, and I'm already plotting how to get back to NYC specifically (maybe an opportunity in April) and maybe back to the US on at least a part-time basis. I really miss an appreciation for food. Most people just assume Danes are super into gastronomy given the popularity of Noma and a few other highly acclaimed restaurants. The truth is, though, that the vast majority of Danes aren't willing to take the time or spend the money on good food and aren't especially interested in diversity of any kind, and that the top restaurants are more often visited by tourists than locals. Obviously there are exceptions, but generally the locals prioritise cheap food (and my statements about Danes and their preferences are based not only on my own observations, but have also been published often by journalists, bloggers, and other expats).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              April in NY is the best, we often go in for our anniversary and the temperature has ranged from 60s/70s to 90s! NYC is usually 10 degrees warmer than its outlaying areas, so the spring and fall are perfect weatherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                +1 for April in NYC -it'd be a completely different experience for you then.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And, like a good transplanted Dane, you could bike to your heart's content (foregoing the tourist bus.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you have the freedom to choose what time of year to visit NYC, I would wait for Autumn - there are no words to describe the city in the Fall!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (although if you do come in April, you can take a train down to Washington D.C., and see the cherry blossoms)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or go to the Brooklyn Botanic garden and see the cherry blossom orchard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: acssss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have family right outside of DC, so have had many wonderful opportunities to enjoy the cherry blossoms. And last year I was able to enjoy them in Japan as well. Incredible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ...and what about the tulips in Holland? One of my bucket list items! That must be close to you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At this time Manhattan is resplendent with piles of yellow/gray/black snow!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll just wait until The Oyster Bar opens again I think ;-) Probably about the same time the tulips will be blooming on Fifth Ave I bet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I haven't seen the tulips in Holland, but they are on my list as well. Not too far away, but just haven't made the trip yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow, ya done good considering what Mother Nature threw at you. Interesting to read about your husband's perspective on things. And I had to laugh about the Barq's - my LA native-husband cannot live without it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the fun read and good luck with your plotting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Great report, thanks!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We like Rt 66 too!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Katz's can't be beat and the sammiches are enough for two.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tick Tock is always a disappointment but looks cool.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Which cheesecake did you like best? I am a big Junior's fan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Brooklyn Bridge for your next trip when the sun is shining and it's 70 degrees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nice trip report. Happy to hear it was a fantastic trip. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Fat, soft pretzels sold on the street (do they still do that?). I don't suppose that's considered dining, however.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tons of pretzels hanging in carts around town. We can get really good ones in Germany though, so I didn't feel tempted and thus don't know if they are soft or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Those pretzels are sort of junky now, they used to be great back in the day but now aren't anywhere near as soft as they should be. I stopped trying long ago, so can't speak for all vendors, but most are just frozen from a factory now. I'd rather get a second dog!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            All the ones I've had off the street seem hard/tough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kathryn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Exactly! Maybe even freezer burned. They do not tempt me anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I haven't had a street hot dog in ages. If I get street food, it's a gyro or a falafel or a waffle if I can find one. (Or some cheddar caramel popcorn if I can find a street fair, because cheddar caramel popcorn is crack, seriously, you can't stop eating it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ulyyf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Will have to include this on the next trip, hopefully in the spring or summer ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Which hotel did you stay in? I'm going in NOv 2014