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Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

Trying to compile a nice list of places to eat in the UWS. There are various threads from various years stating best burger, best Italian, so I'm trying to gather a current (please try to list something you'd recommend from the past year or so) list.

Anywhere from 57th to the 100s
Any cuisine
Any price point - can be Michelin or hole in wall
Can include Seamless options
UWS outposts of restaurants - if possible to note, how does compare with original location?

* Epicerie Boulud, Boulud Sud
* Picholine
* Dovetail
* Is Kefi still good after the reopening?
* Haven't been but read lots: Jacob's Pickles
* Sugar & Plumm, Redfarm, Parm outposts?

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    1. re: c oliver

      Thanks for this. The thread you mentioned is from 2007, so I'll pluck the most recent mentions from it:

      * Jin Ramen
      * Yasaka

        1. re: DistendedBelly

          Yasaka's omakase is very (very!) good for the price. In fact, I think nearly all their sushi and sashimi are excellent values. Their sushi rice is unusually good.

          1. re: DistendedBelly

            I would go to Jin for ramen and Yasaka for both sushi/sashimi and tempura.

        2. Picholine
          Jean Georges
          Per Se

          1. Lincoln
            RedFarm (better than original)
            Salumeria Rosi
            Momofuku Milk Bar (same as original)
            Legend 72 (better than original IMO)
            Saravaanas (same as original)
            Luke's Lobster

            3 Replies
            1. re: H Manning

              +1 For Salumeria Rosi especially, but also Red Farm and Legend.

              1. re: H Manning

                I feel very strongly that the UWS Saravanaas does not hold a candle to the Curry Hill branch. They might have the best dosa on the UWS but there isn't much competition.

                1. re: H Manning

                  I have been to Legend 72 a few times.
                  I keep going back to Legend 7th Ave because it is much better than Legend 72.

                2. Had one meal at Kefi and enjoyed it very much, and excellent value...... Kinda noisy though. I'm gettin' old I guess :-(

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gavspen

                    The noisiness has been pretty constant ever since they moved from their previous smaller location, I think.

                    1. re: mahler5

                      Yes, definitely +1 for Betony. Three New York Times stars, and very well deserved in my opinion. Not only is their food amazing, but the staff are sweet as pie (especially the sommelier). Technically on the UWS, but they're on 57th and close enough.

                    2. Add to list (and not on others replies)

                      Xi'an Famous Foods (102nd and Broadway, I haven't eaten at other branches)
                      Szechuan Gourmet uptown - I haven't been but the other branches are excellent
                      Casa Pomona

                      From your list
                      Kefi is decent but nothing exceptional
                      Jacob's Pickles - pretty good but limited menu
                      Sugar & Plumm - very overpriced for what it is.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: plf515

                        There are now 2 Szechuan Gourmet uptown locations.
                        SZ 98 and SZ 105.
                        SZ 105 attracts ethnic Chinese from Columbia U.
                        SZ 98 gets typical UWS residents.
                        Go for 105.

                        1. re: RichardMW

                          I'm happy to hear that 105 is better. I've been sorely disappointed by the 98th St. location.

                      2. Barney Greengrass?
                        I haven't been lately though

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                          The same as always. That's a good thing.

                          1. re: Dave Feldman


                            Let's add Koko wings to the list for a new Korean Fried Chicken place that delivers :)

                            Sal and Carmines will always have a special spot in my heart and stomach

                            As already mentioned, Xi'an is great and (at least from my experience) just as good as the other branches.

                            1. re: r32nissan

                              Could you tell us a little more about Koko, which I've never heard of before. Are the mandu and rice bowls any good?

                              Totally agree about Sal & Carmines and X'ian, a great standby and a great addition to the neighborhood.

                              1. re: Dave Feldman

                                Hi Dave - no comment on anything besides the following:

                                Fries (yes I know...why fries for Korean...sorry) - which wre surprisingly good
                                Chicken wings (we got half and half - half spicy and half soy garlic) which were excellent. Not greasy at all and very nicely prepared.
                                Kimchi coleslaw - a great side. Perfect mix of sour/sweet.

                                In fact, I just read about it again today so it's gaining some momentum - which is nice. http://ny.eater.com/archives/2014/05/...

                                Our meals delivered well also. Happy eating

                              2. re: r32nissan

                                Oooh, Korean fried chicken up here?

                                Is Koko more or less like Bon Chon Chicken?

                                1. re: plf515

                                  Sort of. I find the wings and drums to be smaller than Bon Chon, but the concept is similar.

                          2. Kefi is still excellent, probably the best value on the entire UWS. Also ...

                            Burke & Wills (little-noticed Australian/New American spot)
                            Grandaisy (for the veggie pizza slices)
                            Sushi Yasaka (consistently great value)
                            B. Cafe (mussels + good beer)
                            George Keeley (solid pub food + world-class beer)
                            Bar Boulud (for the charcuterie)
                            Tolani (ecletic small plates, very nice wines + barrel-aged cocktails)
                            Cafe Tallulah (strictly for cocktails + setting)
                            Jacob's Pickles (damn unhealthy but tasty)
                            Caffe Storico (superb Italian spot w/grand setting inside NY Historical Society)
                            A Voce (Columbus Circle, spendy but impressive Italian)
                            Atlantic Grill (brunch is killer, includes free cocktail)
                            Cocina Economica (nice modern Mexican)

                            Finally ...

                            Tessa (new, haven't been, but hearing good things so far)
                            Bustan (ditto)

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: JeffOverley

                              George Keeley surely has great beer and knowledgeable bartenders (always nice in a place like this). I haven't much experience with the food there.

                              I like Cocina Economica, but IIRC it's gotten some negative comments here on Chowhound.

                              Jacob's Pickles - I got bored after a few visits.

                              B. Cafe - yes, exactly. And the non-mussel dishes are pretty good too. I like the sausage sandwich.

                              1. re: JeffOverley

                                Had lunch at Kefi the other day and we were all very happy! The $15 lunch tray of an app, entree, and dessert changes daily with one option and is a great deal. They brought a second serving of pita for our dips without us asking (its amazing pita!) and great service.

                              2. I'm fond of Nice Matin. Good food and a very, very nice wine list.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Mike C. Miller

                                  I think the food at Nice Matin is fine -- though not more than that -- but I am blown away by how bad the service is. I mean, gangs of waiters hanging around at the back, clearly telling jokes, while people are waiting to order, wanting more water, needing a check, whatever. Essentially it was so terrible that my friend and I were laughing about it with the people at the next table. Good thing we were in a good mood.

                                  1. re: bookseller

                                    That hasn't been my experience there; I haven't been for about a year, but was there several times before that. Was your experience repeated? Was it recent?

                                    1. re: plf515

                                      I've been there twice in the past six weeks or so, both times at other people's request. The first time the service was not great, but not particularly bad. The second time -- at night, whereas the first visit was during the day -- was just kind of mind-blowingly bad.

                                    2. re: bookseller

                                      I was there on a trip back in March. Service was friendly, not particularly polished, but competent. Neither special, nor lacking, really.

                                  2. Who has the best coffee on the uws? Closer to lincoln center area...?
                                    Maison kayser was fine not great and epicurie boulud was disappointing for the price... There has to be a better option!

                                    15 Replies
                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                      The UWS is in serious need of good coffee :/ Just waiting for Blue Bottle to open! Haven't ventured too far from our hood yet. There is a Birch nearby - is it any good?

                                      1. re: DistendedBelly

                                        Haven't been to birch, its a good 20 blocks north of where i usually have to go on uws.
                                        I would settle for a random just brewing sumptown beans..... But as far as i can tell the uws needs a blue bottle or intelligentsia desperately! What about the poor decaffinated theater goers??
                                        And add gourmet garage's coffee from their counter to the crappy list...

                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                          There's a Joes on columbus near Good enough to eat. Joes is excellent. No direct experience on Good enough to eat, but the line seems to always be long. Not very close to lincoln center area however.

                                          1. re: r32nissan

                                            I've tried other Joe locations, and wasn't bowled over by them. Perhaps the UWS location is better. I'll give them a shot soon!

                                            1. re: DistendedBelly

                                              My thoughts exactly.... Joes>starbucks but not destination worthy.
                                              Irving farm on w79th is very good.
                                              Aroma on 72nd is on par with what i've had at epicurie boulud (but aroma is cheaper), and eric kayser / FPB- i end up at those two most often just because that's where i park my citibike ;) i'll save my rant about why they don't have stations further north yet.....

                                          2. re: Ttrockwood

                                            The lack of good coffee in the UWS has me chemexing my own at home (Sightglass, BB, etc) instead. I love love looove BB's New Orleans iced, so am really waiting for the day they decide to open a branch in the UWS (soon, we hope??)

                                            1. re: DistendedBelly

                                              98% of the time, I drink iced coffee black, and just don't get BB at all, including the New Orleans roast, which to me tastes like spiced milk.

                                              I much prefer Epicerie Boulud's iced coffee. I think they use the same blend as for their hot coffee, but I have a feeling they concentrate it more

                                              Different strokes...

                                              1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                Whatever you do avoid the iced coffee at maison kayser! I was hot and in a hurry and ordered a large iced coffee- the counter guy corrected me saying they served cold brew (and got my hopes up) and after paying $4something gave me a very weak watery not flavorful iced coffee.... Starbucks is better!
                                                Their hot coffee is fine, not fabulous, but skip the iced version.....

                                              2. re: DistendedBelly

                                                I found Sumptown's cold brew in individual sized bottles at the gourmet garage off of 67th st!
                                                I also saw that momofuku's Milkbar in the 80s serves sumptown, but i had literally just gotten a coffee at joe's- i didn't realize they did pour overs, and i really liked the dark roast he suggested and i forgot the name of....

                                                1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                  Nice! I have seen Stumptown's cold brew at the WF on Columbus too! Good to know that there are several places to grab it from the 60s - 90s :)

                                                  I was just at the UWS Milk Bar last weekend - I was too busy scarfing down a pastrami thing to notice the pour over! Thanks for the heads up - will definitely give it a shot.

                                                  Walking back up Columbus last night, I noticed that Macaron Parlour displayed Blue Bottle beans. I don't know how the macarons are there, and don't know if they do a decent drip, but something to keep in mind if in the area..

                                                  Cheers for all your coffee intel ;) Super helpful!

                                                  1. re: DistendedBelly

                                                    Macaron parlour downtown is amazing, so i would think the uws one is also good, they have some really unique flavors. I didn't know they served blue bottle! That's great news :)

                                                    And note that the pourover was at Joe. Milkbar had a sign saying they brew sumptown, but i think its just drip coffee and basic espresso drinks.

                                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                      I found awesome coffee! The catch is it's on Fredrick douglas b/w 118 and 119th- which i think is technically harlem?(near the A and B train at 116th) called Double Dutch Espresso.
                                                      They serve Counter Culture beans, and I've been there 3xs so far. The straight espresso was very smooth, no acidic bite at the end and a nice crema on top. I also had a well made cortado. Super cute place to sit a bit with a back garden too. (And just a block from Levain....)
                                                      Yelp has their info since they apparently don't have a website (??!)

                                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                        Yay!! Come on up here, everyone! It's great! They've only been open about six months maybe...? They look like they're doing well, though.

                                                        (P.S. It's the B/C, not A train at W 116th)

                                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                          Niiiiiice! Thanks for trying it 3x to be sure :) Will definitely try DDE on a weekend jaunt - so glad to hear of your report! Oooh it's close to Levain too - dangerous combination.

                                                          Funny you mention Counter Culture beans. Recently tried Kuro Kuma (on La Salle & Broadway). They serve CC beans as well, but I wouldn't say this is a destination worthy stop either. If you are in the area, it fits the bill. It was a pleasant spot.

                                                          1. re: DistendedBelly

                                                            I was actually there again today and had their iced coffee, she said it isn't cold brew but they use the japanese style of ice coffee...(whatever that is!) i got some and it was very similar to a cold brew, strong and smooth and not diluted like most iced coffee. I haven't eaten there yet (see previous re: near levain!!) but saw a great looking summery grain salad the guy in front of me ordered...

                                            1. Why no love for Gazala's - The hardest working woman in showbiz. Best Hummus this side of Ussafia.

                                              Rosi's Charcuterie may be my favorite in town

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Ziggy41

                                                Even though Gazala is usually at the UWS branch, I usually prefer the food at the Hell's Kitchen location. The UWS branch is on Groupon a lot.

                                              2. For Indian, try Sapphire. Good food, attractive decor, and the buffet lunch is a bargain.

                                                1. If you're going to go up into the 100s, then I'll say Zoma at 113th and Frederick Douglass Blvd. There's also a fascinating looking little cocktail bar next door to it called 67 Orange St that I wish I knew more about (I can't drink so I'm no use there).

                                                  1. I have eaten at Celeste twice, and thought the food was excellent, both pasta and pizza. It is a little crowded, but can be wonderful.
                                                    Bustan has delicious appetizers and hummus. The main courses were uneven, but at their best, very good.

                                                    1. If Broadway and 97th counts as UWS, then Awadh.

                                                      9 Replies
                                                        1. re: Pan

                                                          Brand new, made the New Openings rounds this past week. Also avail on OpenTable..

                                                          1. re: DistendedBelly

                                                            I was just discussing it with a friend the other day. Anyone been?

                                                            1. re: Ziggy41

                                                              My colleague was there last week, tells me that the food was very good, bested only by the tea service (she's not a wine drinker but the place is supposed to have a very approachable and interesting wine list).

                                                              She was recounting a lamb dish marinated with khade masala that sounded perfect for a winter's eve.

                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                Thanks for the update from your colleague!

                                                                Strolled by Awadh last night around 8:30pm, and the place was super busy. Good for them! I'll give them a try once they've settled in..

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  An Indian friend and I had the chance to have a quick dinner at Awadh, and we both agreed it is very promising. We shared two apps and two entrees:

                                                                  Murgh Parda Kebab -- grilled chicken in a "wet" marinade with yogurt and spices. Superb.

                                                                  Karari Bhindi -- the fried okra was well-executed but the star was the spicy dipping sauce, which was a little creamy, I'm guessing from peanuts added to chilies.

                                                                  Aloo Chutney Pulao -- the only vegetarian biriani offered, I think we ordered wrong. Although there was hotness from chilies, the profusion of potatoes blanded out the dish, even though the rice was excellent. Next time, I'll try the lamb or chicken biriani.

                                                                  Dahiwala -- baby goat in onion-tomato sauce was our least favorite dish. The sauce got a little tiresome.

                                                                  Service was friendly and the owners are active and enthusiastic. I'm optimistic -- Awadh is probably now better than any other Indian on the UWS -- but many more visits will tell the tale.

                                                                  With Szechuan Gourmet only a couple of doors up Broadway, this neighborhood is definitely looking up.

                                                                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                    Well, let's face it, it would be difficult for it to look down. The restaurant scene up here has been DIRE.

                                                              2. re: DistendedBelly

                                                                What business used to be in the space it occupies?

                                                          2. In the area yesterday afternoon I went to Grandaisy for the first time in quite a while- happy to say my slice of their classic potato pizza was as good as its ever been! Thin slightly chewy crust and a smattering of onions with perfectly cooked thin slices of potato and light olive oil flavor. I'll be back sooner than later!

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                              I live doors away but never had their pizza. Anything else noteworthy?

                                                              1. re: coasts

                                                                Really??? I always get the potato but their cauliflower version is great too. Olive buns (also a loaf but i prefer the more crusty buns), and they make an almond poundcake i haven't had in a while but remember as a not too sweet good with coffee kind of thing. I *think* they still have a sticky bun in the mornings, its also been a while but those were damned good and a not too big size, a lot like balthazar's version.

                                                              2. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                This is good to hear! I love Sullivan, and they (Sullivan and Grandaisy) offer near identical items, so will give them a try for their pizza soon.

                                                                I was less impressed with Grandaiy's bread - the last loaf I picked up from them a few weeks ago tasted really stale.. like it was several days old. Granted it was past 3pm when I bought it, but nonetheless, this one tasted like it was 2 days old :( After that, I just continued schlepping a little farther down to Sullivan St Bakery for the always delicious Pugliese loaf.. Perhaps it was an off day at Grandaisy, I'll still give their loaves another try when I pop in for a slice!

                                                              3. Meatball Shop
                                                                W81st & Amsterdam

                                                                1. Mille-Feuille Bakery has a location on Broadway between W. 76th and W. 77th St. I love their croissants.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Rachel9061

                                                                    i had their St. Honore the other night and thought it beat out both Maison Kayser and Laduree.

                                                                    1. re: Rachel9061

                                                                      This is very good to know. Especially with company coming. I had never tried anything there. Thanks.

                                                                    2. My short list:
                                                                      Pasta Pesce
                                                                      Lukes Lobster
                                                                      Land Thai
                                                                      Season Thai
                                                                      Alas, Popover Café is gone!!

                                                                      1. How has nobody mentioned Dhaba Deli on Columbus and 107th? No atmosphere at all (icky bathroom, loud Indian TV, a couple of shared tables), but the best veggie Indian food I've ever had. And it is cheap.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: SimonF

                                                                          I assume you are referring to Doaba? Not trying to be the spelling police, just correcting so that folks who are searching for Doaba can find it. I've only been there once, several years ago, and wasn't knocked out, but it could have been an off-day.