Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jan 21, 2014 06:07 AM

One week in NY this Summer. What not to miss?

Hello -

My wife asked that this year's holiday be in NYC. Have not been in....30 years (class trip).

I know I would like to try Gotham (have all 3 of Portale's books). My wife is Taiwanese, so some Chinaown recs would be welcome. Le Veau d'Or also sounds great.

It is our big vacation for the year, so some splurges are welcome.

PS Wine cellars not an issue - we don't drink.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I had a very disappointing experience at Gotham not too long ago, I've been going since they opened and I feel like they are phoning it in. High pressure sell on alcohol (even when I tell the waiter I don't drink alcohol) wine menu snatched from hand as I try to pass it to him, sloppy plating with congealed sauces, unintentional smears, boring and poorly executed food, waiter disappears and water refills are scarce, it's a shadow of what it once was. I don't mean to be a downer, there are still some people who are having good experiences there. I haven't given it another chance, to redeem itself, since my last experience was so awful. If you're not seated in the main dining area, be wary, service may fall off a cliff.

    I'm not a fan of Manhattan Chinatown restaurants, I'd recommend you take the LIRR or train out to Flushing.

    Hakkasan is an option as a splurge, they have dishes that are riffs of Taiwanese dishes like the sanbei chicken, seafood toban.

    If you have interest in Flushing, post on the Outerborough board. There are some pretty good, albeit somewhat inconsistent Taiwanese restaurants. You'll also have a wide range of choices for other regional Chinese cuisines as well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pookipichu

      It is unfortunate that Hakkasan serves Three Cup Chicken. It is a paltry serving and there are far better versions of this very simple dish available in Flushing. I also would not dismiss Manhattan's Chinatown.

      1. re: scoopG

        Sorry you didn't have a good experience with the sanbei chicken at Hakkasan, I've enjoyed it every time. The chicken is tender, flavorful, but not greasy or overly salty and well prepared with high quality ingredients.

        Which restaurant in Flushing do you feel offers a better version?

        With regard to Manhattan Chinatown, I haven't been impressed, ever, since I was a child. The food I eat in Flushing is always better. Not to say there aren't good restaurants in Chinatown, but the ones I've tried have always disappointed me.

    2. Your question is very broad without knowing what kind of dining you want to do besides Gotham and Chinese, what other activities you'll be doing, where you're staying, and what neighborhoods you'll be in. And the most important of all: your budget, as a dollar figure, before tax and tip. $50pp? $100pp? $20pp?

      Manhattan Taiwanese options are a bit weak. My Taiwanese family in NJ goes to Flushing for that.

      Also we do have good Chinese outside Chinatown. Are you dead set on Chinatown or open to other possibilities?

      However, do you not have good Chinese where you live? Is that why she's asking? It helps to know where you're coming from and where you often travel to.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kathryn

        We live in Raleigh, NC. Good Chinese/Asian here is...scarce.
        Figure a couple of 100 pp eveni9ngs, the rest in high twenties.

        Not so much interested in Taiwanese cuisine, as just great Chinese (any provine) would be welcome.

        Not sure on where we are staying. I do know we will try to hit as m,any museums as we can.

      2. Here's what I've written for other visitors & it may 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:

        Best NY style pizza:

        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):

        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).

        Some common tourist inquiries:

        Where to Eat Near Times Square:

        Where to Eat Near MoMA (the museum cafe is actually pretty good, as is the Modern next door):

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

        Where to Eat Near the Museum of Natural History on the UWS:

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

        Where to Eat Near Grand Central/Midtown East:

        Where to Eat in Soho:

        Where to Eat near 5th Avenue shopping / Bloomingdale's / Rockefeller Center:

        Where to have dinner before a Broadway show/pre-theatre dining (many of the same Times Square recs also apply):

        Where to Eat Near the 9/11 Memorial:

        Notable food trucks/carts:

        Prix fixe lunch deals:

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

        Best bagels in NYC:
        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:

        A West Village food crawl

        East Village:

        1. Since Jobee on Howard Street closed down several years ago, I don't know of any Taiwanese place in Manhattan. Your wife will be at home in Flushing or Elmhurst.

          Main Street Imperial – Taiwanese

          Taiwanese 101:

          Taiwanese Specialities in Elmhurst:

          Red Chopsticks

          Gu Xiang:


          1. Dirty water dogs on the Staten Island ferry..the ferry is free,the dogs are, well, dogs...
            The ferry is a nice sight seeing venue.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Raffles

              There's also some really good food on Staten Island that is walking distance from the ferry. Best to discuss on the Outer Boroughs board.

              (went to a wonderful place for my son's 30th birthday--definitely worth a trip)