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Jan 20, 2014 06:38 PM

Reasonable eats near Grand Central, Garment Dist and The Met

Hey fellow foodies. I have a short visit to NYC planned in about 2 weeks. I would love suggestions for great food reasonably priced near Grand Central, the garment district and The Met. I'm hoping for Japanese, Thai and I'm ready to murder for a great croissant. I'd also like to know if there are any bakeries where you don't have to stand in line for hours for the fabled cronut. Thanks!

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  1. What's your price range, before tax, tip, and alcohol, per person? Just you, dining solo? "Reasonable" can vary greatly dependent upon where you're from and what you're used to. $20pp? $30pp? More? Less?

    You can get very good Japanese (Sushi Yasuda, Sakagura, Aburiya Kinnosuke, Soba Totto, etc.) near Midtown East / Grand Central but that will depend upon your budget. Some places do have weekday lunch prix fixe specials that are a good value ($20 or so).

    Inexpensive authentic Japanese:

    For Thai, in Garment District, definitely look at Larb Ubol, specializing in Isaan food.

    Are you familiar with the site Lots of options, usually under $10.

    For croissants in Midtown... well, the best are downtown but Joe the Art of Coffee carries Ceci Cela croissants as does Culture Espresso by Bryant Park.

    And Maison Kayser just opened a Bryant Park location.

    Bouchon Bakery is at Rockefeller Center but I think their other options are better. Jacques Torres at Rock Center would have chocolate croissants. Blue Bottle is also at Rock Center, I don't recall what they carry in the pastry case.

    There is only one source of authentic Cronuts (trademarked by Dominique Ansel) and that is Dominique Ansel. They do take preorders online but are already sold out through Feb 9th (they open up one entire week at 11am Mondays). If you are coming Feb 3-9, you could have tried to preorder this morning but by now it is too late.

    "To this date, Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York is the only place that sells the Cronut®, a specific product that is not to be confused with just any other croissant-doughnut hybrid. The Cronut® brand and product is a registered trademark of Dominique Ansel Bakery both in the US and internationally. Please beware of imitation items claiming affiliation with the bakery."

    You can get knockoffs of varying quality, though, at a lot of places. One of the reportedly "best" knockoffs is by Chikalicious (makes sense since their other items are of high quality) and it is re-sold in Midtown at Treehaus.

    If you have time to go downtown try the plain croissants at Dominque Ansel and Mille-Feuille (esp the raspberry almond if they have it). Chocolate at Payard, a friend of mine swears by. They're all within a short walk of one another.

    Where to Eat Near Museum Mile (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney, Guggenheim, etc) on the UES:

    Where to Eat Near Macy's/Herald Square/Penn Station/Empire State Building:

    Where to Eat Near Grand Central/Midtown East:

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      dumb note but joe sells bien cuit croissants, not ceci cela croissants. i know because i got one this morning.

    2. When you say "The Met," do you mean the Metropolitan Opera or the Metropolitan Museum?

      1. Price range would be $50.00 pp. Could swing one 100.00 pp eve. The Met would be the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

        1 Reply
        1. re: thelady

          Near Grand Central is Restaurant Riki, a lovely Japanese home-style place. Just east of GCT on 45th Street.

        2. grand Central: For a great croissant take a short walk over to Eric Kayser near Bryant park. Ask for one that has just been baked. Unfortunately they do not have tables at this location.
          For Japanese I like Hane on 3rd Ave & E 38 th
          For Thai I really like Jaiya Thai on 3 Av and E 28 and ViV on E 34 St just off Lex

          1. you are in luck. There are tons of great Japanese restaurants near Grand Central. Soba totto is my current favorite. Sakagura is also good. Aburiya kinnosuke is good too. Mason Kayser on 40th street across from Bryant part is probably one of the best places to get croissant right now in NYC.
            If you want something better than cronut, get doughssant from Treehaus on 51th and 3rd ave. it may be a bit of walk from Grand central but you won't regret it. you should get there before 12pm to ensure you get some as they are always sold out if you are too late.