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New York Restaurant Recommendations Please

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hey folks,
We are coming to NYC for 5 days in February and would love some restaurant ideas
we are looking to experience NYC's best for the following cuisines

Mexican
Asian/Sushi
BBQ

we are also keen to take in some cocktails and would love to know where the best speakeasys are in town.
thanks
G&C

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  1. For BBQ we like Blue Smoke
    I am not quite sure what you mean by "Speakeasys" but try:
    Lantern's Keep
    Middle Branch
    Gin Palace (They have G&T on tap)

    1. What's your budget, before tax, tip, wine/drinks, per person (aka for food ONLY)?

      The categories you have given are rather broad... especially Asian/sushi and BBQ. Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, etc?

      Even within Chinese, there's Cantonese, Sichuan, Shanghaiese, Fujian, etc. And within Japanese, you could do traditional sushi, non traditional sushi, izakaya, kaiseki, ramen, soba, yakitori...

      As for BBQ do you want brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, beef ribs, chicken, etc? Different places specialize in different items. Some you order at a counter and seat yourself, others have table service.

      Also there are great places to get cocktails that are NOT speakeas-style. Are you interesting in all cocktail lounges or only speakeasy-style atmosphere? A lot of the faux speakeasy bars are VERY popular so you'll be waiting for hours on weekend nights, especially if you have more than 2 people.

      You don't mention where you are from but I'm guessing the UK?

      Here's a guide I've written for other tourists. Maybe it will help you.

      ---

      Where are you coming from?

      When are you coming? How long are you here? How many meals do you have available?

      We don't want to recommend food that you might do better at home, but we also may have some cuisines you can't find at home...

      I'd say we are pretty strong in a lot of different cuisines but not equally. Budget will makes big difference in where you can go.

      Are you willing to wait for a table at a no reservations restaurant? If so, for how long?

      How hard are you willing to work for a reservation at a restaurant that's hard to book?

      What is your budget, per person, per meal, BEFORE tax, tip, wine/drinks/etc for your meals? It is much easier for us to help you if you give a pre-tax-and-tip figure.

      Feel free to break out your budget in terms of upscale/fancy meals (and number of them) and cheaper/everyday meals.

      What else are you doing while you are here? Planning around sightseeing, shopping, Broadway shows, etc? Also if you are sightseeing, to make the best use of your time, you should try to find things to eat to/from the tourist destinations or near the tourist destinations. Our tourist destinations are spread out all around town.

      Note that popular places tend to book about a MONTH in advance. Most upscale restaurants serve weekday lunch (but not weekend lunch), and serve dinner Monday through Saturday, and are usually closed Sundays, though there are a few exceptions to the "closed Sundays" rule (ex: Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Jean Georges).

      Check out some "Only in NY" type foods while you're here: bagels and smoked salmon, pastrami on rye, pizza, hot dogs & papaya juice, black and white cookies, cheesecake, egg creams, pickles, halal carts.

      Russ & Daughters (takeout, busy on weekends), Katz's Deli (from When Harry Met Sally), Papaya King etc. (not gourmet but iconic), William Greenberg's black and whites, Junior's cheesecake, egg creams from Gem Spa or Ray's, Pickle Guys, the Halal Guys (53rd and 6th after sunset), are all iconic "NY" sorts of places that are worth a look.

      If you're interested in some of the places I listed above, you could do a LES food crawl. I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles and note that Economy Candy's address is incorrect:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333

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

      We also have some of the harder to find Chinese cuisines: Henan, Shaanxi (Xian Famous Foods) and Fuzhou in Manhattan, and many more in Queens and Brooklyn (Shangdong/Qingdao and Dongbei to name a few). scoopG's Chinatown list (dependent upon where you are coming from these may be exotic or not... most places don't have Henan or Xian style food though):
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8343...

      You might also want to do a restaurant doing creative takes on Asian, like at Momofuku Ssam Bar, Wong, Fatty Cue, Takashi, RedFarm, Mission Chinese, Jungsik, Kin Shop, or Danji.

      My favorite unique places in NY serve Xian (Chinese) food, Issan (Thai) food, organic/local/sustainable Japanese BBQ, authentic Basque (Spanish) tapas, creative diner food, pretzels, hot dogs, halal food, steak, upscale rustic Italian, Italian subs, creative Italian-American, high end non-sushi Japanese (like kaiseki), creative desserts, molecular gastronomy, mixology/creative cocktails, and creative brunches (sometimes every day of the week).

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8383...

      Some common tourist inquiries:

      Where to Eat Near Times Square:
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833282

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

      Where to Eat Near Museum Mile (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney, Guggenheim, etc) on the UES:
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/906331
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793684
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/795435
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793684

      Where to Eat Near the Museum of Natural History on the UWS:
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0...
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793258
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/748686

      Where to Eat Near Macy's/Herald Square/Penn Station/Empire State Building:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/725320
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7577...
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...

      Where to Eat Near Grand Central/Midtown East:
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...

      Where to Eat in Soho:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701593
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7577...

      Where to Eat near 5th Avenue shopping / Bloomingdale's / Rockefeller Center:
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2010/1...
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9064...

      Where to have dinner before a Broadway show/pre-theatre dining (many of the same Times Square recs also apply):
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0...
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0...
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/671275
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755684
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/715535
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/788254

      Where to Eat Near the 9/11 Memorial:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8461...

      Notable food trucks/carts:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701278

      Prix fixe lunch deals:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/924788
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8747...

      Best breakfast/brunch in NYC:
      It is (IMO) at the Breslin, Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern.
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8093...

      Best bagels in NYC:
      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/1...
      Summary: the freshest bagels are the best; bagels don't age well at all. Focus on the smoked salmon instead. Preferably at Russ & Daughters! Featured in shows such as No Reservations and Louie!

      I'm fond of red onion, capers, regular cream cheese, and tomato on mine. Try a few smoked salmons before you settle on one, they're surprisingly different (and lox is not the same as smoked salmon, because lox is salmon cured in salt brine, and most people actually prefer the more modern, Nova-style smoked salmon). You can get a mini-sized bagel sandwich at Russ & Daughters, too, if you wish. Takeout only.

      If you like the idea of RGR's self-guided LES tour above, check these out, too.

      Maybe scoopG's self guided Chinatown tour:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7116...

      A West Village food crawl
      https://foursquare.com/kathrynyu/list...

      East Village:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/882582

      Best mixology:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9259...

      1. Don't quote me on this but I'm pretty sure that Prohibition is over.

        1. Mexican - Mission Cantina
          Asian/Sushi - 15 East
          BBQ - Mighty Quinn's