NYC June 29 - July 3
Heading to NYC for a few days before heading up to Rochester for a wedding. Haven't been in a few years so we're open to suggestions on places to eat, food things to check out, etc.
We'll probably splurge at Eleven Madison Park if our res comes through (on a short wait list apparently). Tried going to Eataly last time but had too large of a group to really do or try anything.
We're staying on 13th between 5th and 6th. I've been told we need to go to Flex Mussels. Yay or nay?
Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We'll be dining out ALOT so open to anything from $ to $$$ (closer to $ or $$ is ideal). We'll save Eleven Madison for our $$$$ dinner.
Is Chelsea Market worth checking out? We've never been.
All kinds. Anything from a street cart to fine dining.
Home is Los Angeles so we cover a lot of foods here. Just looking for really good meals at all types of places. Ideally, places only found in NYC.
We (my fiancée and I) will be eating out a lot and seeing lots of friends. Party of 2 - 4 for the most part.
Willing to wait for places that are worth it.
Neither of us have tried much in the past 5 years. We went to Zero Otto Nove and Bemelman's Bar last time but didn't have time for much else.
No dislikes, pet peeves, aversions or allergies. We're open to trying most things.
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 (i.e. BBQ to a Southerner, Mexican to an LA resident), 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 (retail store and a sit down place now, 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.
Past "Uniquely NY" discussions:
Question to Locals http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/911971
Visitors, travellers, tourists and other Chowhounds who do not live in NYC, which places do you revisit when you visit Manhattan? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/912049
What says NYC to you?
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:
Notable food trucks/carts:
Prix fixe lunch deals:
Old school cocktail bars
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.
Eating near tourist attractions:
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 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:
Hudson Eats, an indoor food hall, is also nearby:
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
Oddly enough, though I live around the corner, I have never been to Flex Mussels. Other great places in the neighborhood are Kin Shop, Louro, Onegin, Yerba Buena Perry. If you like Indian, head to Malai Marke in the East Village. Annisa is at the top of the budget of $60, but well worth it.
You may also be interested in the prix fixe lunch specials at Gotham Bar & Grill, Aldea, 15 East, Tocqueville.