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10 days in NYC - itinerary feedback please

My husband and I will be visiting from San Francisco for 10 days in late April. Staying on the border of Chinatown/LES, but definitely willing to travel for a memorable meal. We've been to NY about 6 times in the past 5 years or so and have always eaten well as a result of the good advice found here. Have a few favorites we'll be returning to but are also interested in checking out some new spots.

We'd like dinners to average less than $100/person for food only before tax and tip, and enjoy doing a mix of high and low-end spots. As always, we're far more interested in great food than a hipster scene, and strongly prefer places where we can reserve.

Here's what's on our list so far:
Bouley - already reserved
Katz's (and a stop by Russ & Daughters - when is the cafe opening?)
Xian Famous Foods (Love this place; two visits on our last trip!)
An outer buroughs crawl (will post on that board - probably Flushing)
Mighty Quinn

Spicy Village (perhaps the night we arrive, since it's close to where we're staying)
Annisa - already reserved
Dell' Anima or l'Artusi
Fedora or Jeffrey's Grocery (we loved Perla the last 2 trips)
Louro - any feedback on the Monday night dinners?
Bobwhite Counter
Considering the bar area at EMP

Places we've been to in the past and liked:
The NoMad, Zaab Elee, Perilla, Szechuan Gourmet, Legend, Motorino, Ciano (lunch), Jean Georges (lunch), Aldea, Momofoku Ssam Bar, EMP, Osteria Morini, Il Buco Vineria, Cafe China, Calliope - any word on where the chef may be landing?

We'll be seeing jazz and ballet at Lincoln Center two nights and could use recommendations for good options that are an easy subway trip from there. Many thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.

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  1. I recommend drinks and fresh seafood at the newly opened Black Crescent on LES

    1 Reply
    1. re: AubWah

      Black Crescent looks great and it's certainly convenient to our location. Thanks for the tip!

      Have not yet made it to Great NY Noodletown but walked past last visit and might check it out if we are looking for late night eats.

    2. I am very curious about where you are staying near to Spicy Village (which I love).

      2 Replies
      1. re: swannee

        We'll be at the Wyndham Garden Chinatown - Bowery at Hester. Stayed there last year and were very happy with the room (view!) and location, especially for the price. Convenient for the downtown restaurants and cheap eats we tend to prefer, and away from the tourist hordes.

        1. re: dolcevita_sf

          Very cool location. Have you been to Great NY Noodletown? They are a NYC institution, open until 4 am. Very close to your hotel, highly recommended for a fun late night meal after a few drinks

      2. Really nice, comprehensive list. No Japanese? Perhaps you get enough in SF?

        1. If you are going to Lincoln center, you HAVE to check out Lincoln restaurant. Their lunch deal is amazing..I liked it so much better than Bouley and JG.. if you don't want to have a meal, you should stop by for their amazing cocktail at least.

          6 Replies
            1. re: Monica

              +1 on Lincoln. The had some hiccups early on, but they've been in a great groove for the last year or so. They also have a great lunch deal, if you want to hit them before the show.

              1. re: sgordon

                I'd say Lincoln is one of the most underrated restaurants in NYC right now.

                1. re: Monica

                  Agreed. It's a case of restaurants being reviewed too early, to some degree. They definitely had some kinks to work out early on (and the notorious $24 single scallop appetizer established many impressions of them as overpriced, which they were at the time) - but now they're really great. I'd go there over any of the other big Midtown Italian places in a heartbeat.

                  They're easily worth three stars now, if they ever get re-reviewed by the Times.

                  1. re: sgordon

                    I must say my RW experience was less than stellar, but it's RW. The best thing by far was the nut and honey cake with the Satsuma Sherbet.. man it was good. Planning to come back in a few weeks for the regular menu. Any musts?

                    1. re: Ziggy41

                      The menu changes pretty frequently, so it's hard to say there's a "must" on there. The regional tasting menus are usually a good deal for the price, if you're into tastings - $75 for five courses. Currently it's Emilia-Romagna - hearty braised meats and such - but it might be different in a few weeks. Personally, I don't usually do tasting menus unless I'm dining solo.

                      But yeah, never judge a restaurant by an RW menu. Only a few places actually do it well.

            2. I'm guessing you are fond of Jazz since you'll be seeing it at LC and since you said you liked The NoMad this is something fun you might like to give a try; "Upstairs at The NoMad". On Thursday evenings they are having jazz performances in the Johnson Room at The NoMad, cocktails and light bar food/snacks are available.

              FYI - I replied to your other post and I think EMP bar area is a great idea.

              I am not a fan of Louro at all because my experience there (which happened to be a MND) was horrible due to it being deafeningly loud and the service was horrible.

              If you like Little Wisco restaurants (Perla, JG, etc) I highly recommend Chez Sardine

              5 Replies
              1. re: Spiritchaser

                I also am not fond of Louro- I've been 3 times - 2 for Monday night dinners that were just mediocre. I'm not sure why it gets so much love here but after 3 times, I think I've tried it enough to form an educated opinion.

                I'd also recommend Narcissa, Pearl and Ash, Estela, Ippudo,

                1. re: Barcelonian

                  the monday night dinners at louro are unique, but the food isn't that great. i'd recommend going on a different night and trying a bunch of dishes from their regular menu

                  i'll throw out suggestions for le philosophe, public, hearth, kin shop

                2. re: Spiritchaser

                  Thanks for the suggestion! "Upstairs at the NoMad" definitely sounds intriguing - will check to see who will be there on our dates and look here for info from those who get there before our arrival.

                  It sounds as if Louro may not be worth an evening and I think we'll try a different option.

                  My choice of Jeffrey's Grocery or Fedora versus the other Little Wisco venues is primarily due to the fact that those two take reservations. Menus at all of them look appealing. Any opinions re which has the best atmosphere or most interesting food?

                  1. re: dolcevita_sf

                    Fedora has a slightly better atmosphere/room.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Based upon our dinner last week at Jeffrey's Grocery I will never go back to JG, service sucked and my skirt steak was awful.

                3. Jazz at Lincoln Center is in the Time Warner Center (Columbus Circle) - so you could have dinner at Landmarc, Benoit, Ma PĂȘche, or Betony.

                  1. For one of your Lincoln Center nights, try Andanada.

                    Other ideas:

                    Fatty Cue or Fatty Crab
                    Malai Marke

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rrems

                      Second Andanada for LC night. Most people don't think about it. We were just there on Sat. The food is great, although I must say the service was only so so. Agree with the Fatty Cue or Crab and Pearl and Ash.
                      Maybe Toloache downtown is better, but I think the one in the theater district is too crowded and not as good anymore.

                      The OP has quite a range. Could try Larb Ubol - 38th and 9th Ave.

                    2. Nice list :)

                      I'd add Joseph Leonard to your list...charming WV place w/ oysters, charcuterie, bistro-style dishes...

                      1. Alder - great cocktails and near perfect bar food.

                        EMP - at the bar - great cocktails and near perfect food, but not necessarily what I'd call bar food.

                        LC - We like Bar Boulud or Bar Sud.

                        Uncle Boon's.

                        Gato - my first meal here was quite good. Great, huge bar with the full menu available in a very nice room.

                        Louro Mondays I think are best appreciated when you're with a nice size group of friends, everyone has brought good wines and you're not fretting over whether every bite is technically perfect or whether it's the best this or that that you've ever eaten. It's a fun time with good service and an excellent chef who knows how to enjoy himself.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: mitchleeny

                          Alder is a place I'd been considering. Maybe we'll sub that in for Louro.

                          Gato's menu looks great; will look for more feedback.

                          Though several of the recommended places near LC look good, I think we'll probably head further downtown in search of something more interesting and/or less pricey.

                          A recent post re the City Harvest menu has me thinking about lunch in the lounge at Le Bernadin.

                          Kathryn - Thanks for your opinion re the atmosphere at Fedora. Any similar thoughts re dell'Anima versus l'Artusi?

                          1. re: dolcevita_sf

                            The former strikes me as darker and cozy, the latter lighter and airier.

                            1. re: dolcevita_sf

                              <Though several of the recommended places near LC look good, I think we'll probably head further downtown in search of something more interesting and/or less pricey.>

                              If you reserve Andanada through Savored, you will get 20% off. Joining Savored is free.

                              1. re: rrems

                                I would maybe look into
                                Rosette-went this weekend and it was terrific
                                American Cut great new steak house in Tribeca
                                The Forge also very good
                                Lafayette for a great brunch!

                              2. re: dolcevita_sf

                                I was part of a party of 4 at l'Artusi about a year ago. We really anticipated our meal because of all the hype I read on this board, and it was really merely good, definitely not great, and not worth the money. I haven't been to dell'Anima.

                                1. re: Pan

                                  Me too. After reading so many positive reviews I was very excited to try the restaurant but both my husband an I thought they were just ok. Some pasta dishes were good but nothing I'd go back for.

                            2. Looks great, I prefer L' Artusi to Dell'Anima
                              EMP is 100% worth it
                              Louro was very good but I was there on a Saturday evening
                              Buloud Sud is my rec for Lincoln Center dining
                              Consider checking out Rosemary's for lunch or brunch if you can (W. Village)
                              Bianca is great inexpensive italian in Astor Place area (no rez)

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: litebitenyc

                                Suggestions for someplace interesting below Midtown that takes reservations and isn't incredibly noisy/scene-y for our Saturday night?

                                L'Artusi doesn't have a time that works for us, but Recette, Lavagne, Pearl & Ash and Telepan Local currently do. Open to other suggestions as well.

                                1. re: dolcevita_sf

                                  I haven't been to any of the others you are asking about, but Recette is a favorite. I don't think you would be disappointed.

                                  1. re: dolcevita_sf

                                    I've found Recette and Pearl & Ash to be pretty loud in the past... Maybe not what you want.

                                    Is this for April 26th? I see tables available at Tertulia right now -- use their web site.

                                    1. re: kathryn


                                      I've been to Recette several times recently, at prime dinner time, and it has been half empty and very quiet. It's no longer the hot spot that it used to be, though the food is excellent as always.

                                      Tertulia, on the other hand, was almost deafening when we went there, and very cramped.

                                      1. re: rrems

                                        Lately the crowds have eased at Tertulia, I guess it's also no longer the hot spot it used to be!

                                    2. re: dolcevita_sf

                                      Lavagna (Italian/EV). Small space, can get lively. On the dark side if that matters to you. Not new/scene. Been many times. SO went recently.

                                      Have not been to the others.

                                      Nearby Perbacco (Italian/EV) is also good, but more expensive. Lighter.



                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                      Our trip is coming up, and we're planning to try for dinner after the performances at Pearl Oyster Bar (Thu night) and Joseph Leonard (Tue night).

                                      The bar at EMP is on our list for Sun or Mon evening, and we're also considering the lounge at Le Bernadin for lunch on a Wed. Does anyone think we're likely to have difficulty with these?

                                    2. First of all, for some reason, this board is acting up and not always allowing me to reply to each post, but I do like Lavagna. It's excellent and a much better value than l'Artusi, based on a number of visits to Lavagna but only one visit to l'Artusi. I'll comment about other choices separately.

                                      1. OK:

                                        Katz's: I love Katz's. Get your pastrami juicy (fatty).

                                        Xian Famous Foods: Still excellent, and a good value.

                                        Anjappar: Delicious. The last time I went was a couple of weeks ago. I don't think I've ever had anything there that wasn't tasty. Also consider Malai Marke, which doesn't specialize in Chettinad food but is of comparable deliciousness.

                                        Mighty Quinn: Good place, glad to have it in my neighborhood.

                                        Spicy Village: Good restaurant. Get the Special Big Plate Chicken. I also like their mixed cold dish plate, but really, get anything else you like. It's very inexpensive.

                                        Since you liked Osteria Morini, consider going to Ai Fiori, same chef. I've had great meals there.