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Mar 16, 2014 07:09 AM

overwhelmed and confused -- let's start with SOHO

We are arriving NYC on 3/22 and staying near 3rd Ave & 48th St. Teen daughter wants to go shopping in SOHO. 20-something son is a good sport but he's going to want food to take his mind off the shopping ;) We all LOVE food, the more interesting the better. Willing to pay more if it's worth it, but love neighborhood dives as well.
If we want to eat & shop our way through soho, starting with lunch and then ending up somewhere fun/casual in the evening that might include a cocktail (or several), what do you suggest? We could finish shopping, return to apt and then go to Chinatown (Hunan Manor was recommended).
Then we'll need a place for breakfast/brunch on Sunday. I don't want to wait in line for hours but also don't need super extravagant either. Or, we could skip brunch, go get a cronut(?) and have lunch somewhere fun -- plans are open on Sunday so we can go anywhere.
I've been researching but am paralyed by too much info! (and overwhelmed at the office, so I'm "over" all this restaurant research). Please help!

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  1. What time do you get in?

    Are you thinking lunch/brunch in Soho? The canonical tourist spot is usually Balthazar, which is very good but pricey brunch. Call to make a reservation ASAP.

    You could also go to The Dutch for lunch/brunch.

    While she's off at All Saints, Topshop, C. Wonder, etc. you guys can check out Despana. Maybe Dominique Ansel.

    Your son might be interested in more male-oriented shops like Kid Robot or Y-3. There's lots of men's shopping in Soho. Or just weird/fun places to visit like the Earth Room, Evolution Store, or Kiosk.

    Then end with cocktails at Pegu Club. They open at 5pm.

    BTW, Hunan Manor isn't in Chinatown... it's nearer where you are staying.

    The Midtown location of the Smith is near where you're staying and they take reservations for brunch.

    4 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Or if you need a coffee, and your son does want to shop, stroll down Crosby Street for a coffee at Saturdays Surf and pop into Miansai and Crosby Street Clothiers.

      1. re: kathryn

        Thank you Kathryn -- this looks like a great guide to wandering around Soho -- especially the info on the shops. Hopefully my daughter will find "something" she likes but not "too much" :)

        1. re: kathryn

          Is Balthazar good, or just touristy and expensive?

          1. re: alermar

            A little of all three--great food and atmosphere, some tourists, loud and bustling, and pricey. But I like it a lot. And it's an NY classic.

        2. it's slightly north of Soho, on 6th Ave btw Houston/Bleecker, but Bar Pitti might be a lovely choice for one of your post-Soho-shopping casual meals...Tuscan food, cash only, open all day, no reservations...i recommend ordering off the chalkboard of specials...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Simon

            Thank you Simon -- Bar Pitti sounds great -- especially the no reservations part since I don't know when we'll be done shopping.

          2. +1 for balthazar

            Or if you want a casual not especially authentic indian lunch hampton chutney co has interesting dosa and sandwich combos:

            Know that you will be in line sunday morning for a cronut for several hours.... Probably two assuming you get there by 7am (they open at 9am)....

            3 Replies
            1. re: Ttrockwood

              We don't get much good Indian in SFla, (authentic or not), so that might be a good choice. As far as the cronut goes, I want one, but I'm not going to wait in line for hours, especially in NY weather (I'm a cold weather wimp)

              1. re: alermar


                Unfortunately you're probably too late (they book up to 2 weeks ahead).

                1. re: kathryn

                  yes -- too late, but thankyou for the link. I have to return to NYC in May, so I'll preorder this time!

            2. Balthazar is good even though it's touristy, but not terribly interesting. If "more interesting" is one of the goals, brunch at Public would be a good way to start either day, especially Saturday - it's right by SoHo and one of the most creative brunch menus in town. Think black pudding waffles with foie gras butter, tea-smoked salmon with yuzu hollandaise, that kind of thing, and all very reasonably priced - most mains are around $15. There can be a wait, but if you're starting early there usually isn't and even later in the day the wait isn't that long.

              The Dutch was mentioned as an option and while I like them, my only reservation would be that they have a location in Miami, so I'd probably stick to things you couldn't find closer to home.

              Despana is a good call too. Their morcilla (blood sausage) is among the best in town if you're adventurous enough for it, and I'm a big fan of their Lomo Embuchado (cured pork loin) as well. Good place to grab some small bites or a little Spanish charcuterie & cheese platter to snack on. It's a combination shop / mini-restaurant, so a good place to pick up interesting canned and packaged stuff to take home.

              Dominique Ansel is good for sweets, just skip the cronut / cookie-cup (or whatever the new thing is called) line and go for his classics with little-to-no wait.

              Pegu's a good call for cocktails (though they'll likely be mobbed) - also good in SoHo is 1534, a little basement den "hidden" under a middling restaurant called Jacques, the entrance door is just to their left.

              Since Chinatown is right next to SoHo I'm not sure you'd want to go -back- uptown just to come back down to the same area for dinner.

              Of course, finding a table for four this close to a Saturday night is no easy task, so you'll probably want to have a reservation in hand. A few good places I'm seeing openings on Opentable:

              Tulsi or Junoon (creative Indian, the latter a little more of a "scene" so probably more fun for the kids)

              Khe-Yo - upscaled Southeast Asian in Tribeca.

              Uncle Boon's - upscaled Thai in NoHo

              ACME - very much a scene, but the food is fantastic lately. Blends rustic and modern in very creative ways. Wall-to-wall with eye candy on the weekends, but the food is good enough to even distract from that.

              Skal - hip Lower East Side place, really creative fare with some Scandinavian touches. Portions are not huge, but they're not terribly expensive by NYC standards either.

              Pearl & Ash - fun place, very sceney right now, really creative food and great wine list.

              Lincoln - one of the best Italian places in town, beautiful room.

              The Modern Dining Room - last chance to have Chef Kreuther's cuisine there before he leaves at the end of the month

              Cafe Boulud - very expensive, but less so than Daniel Boulud's flagship and, frankly, a better more interesting restaurant

              Aquavit - very expensive, but world-class, and I doubt you have any Nordic restaurants in your part of Florida. The upscale, ultra-refined Michelin-starred alternative to Acme or Skal.

              5 Replies
              1. re: sgordon

                Love Public but I've also been quoted an hour long wait for four, the daughter who wants to shop might get antsy.

                Pegu Club is still usually quiet around 5pm-6pm, even on weekends.

                I thought they were going back to drop off shopping bags and then having dinner at Hunan Manor, which is near where they're staying in Midtown East. Not Chinatown.

                Thought Abram Bissell already took over at The Modern?

                1. re: kathryn

                  I think there's overlap with Kreuther until the end of this month... could be wrong on that, though.

                  I've never had that long a wait at Public... maybe just luck. And every time I've been before noon there's been no wait at all.

                  1. re: sgordon

                    Same, plus even if you have a wait, it's on the same block as Tory Burch and other good shopping.

                  2. re: kathryn

                    Thank you both -- I'm going to show some of the menus to my son and let him choose (he's military and wants some decent food!). I suppose I should have made reservations earlier. I'll know for the next trip (in May).

                    1. re: alermar

                      Despana has a great selection of spanish wines as well in case you want a txakoli or albarino for a nightcap at your hotel...

                2. Have a Supreme pizza and some meatballs at Rubirosa in Soho.