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New York Vacation: Looking for restaurants recommendations

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I'll be in NY in September and am overwhelmed by the number of choices of restaurants to try. This is what I have so far:

Anniversary Dinner
Daniel
11 Madison
Jean-George (brunch here looks better though)

Pre-fixe lunches
Sho Shaun Hergat
Ai Fiori
Jean-George
Momofuku
Bouley
Breslin

Upscale Dinners

Luger
Lupa
Kajitsu
Marea

Cheaper NY Must Trys

Toto/ Ippudo
Halal Cart
Shake Shack
Motorino/Keste for pizza (really need help with pizza...no idea where to start)
Kin Shop


Can anyone give me suggestions or tips on these restaurants that will help me make a decision? I'm also open to recommendations on things not on the list. Just want to be efficient in trying what NY has to offer, since I'll only be in town for a little less than a week.
post #2 of 43
where are you staying?
post #3 of 43
I would go to JG for the anniversary dinner out of those choices. A year ago, it was EMP, but they've gotten ridiculous with the themes, gimmicks, $20 coffee, etc. It's such a shame too, because the room is the best of the three. It might be better at lunch in terms of the smoke domes and other nonsense, but I'm not sure. Daniel's food is good but I found it unbearably stuffy and I'm not a fan of the room either.

Price-fixe:

Aldea
Babbo (only Batali restaurant I will recommend)
Bouley's food is good but it is hands down the worst room out of any upscale restaurant in the city.
Tocqueville
Cafe Boulud (I like this much more than Daniel)
Gramercy Tavern

Upscale Dinners:

The Modern
Lupa is not upscale and the food is bad. Try Ciano.
Marea is fantastic if you stick to the pastas...the entrees are not great there.
Luger has a great steak...but so do a million other restaurants in NYC at this point. It might have prices in line with most upscale steakhouses, but the space, atmosphere, etc. are not. Try Minetta Tavern, perhaps BLT Prime.

Cheap:

Toto is great.
I'm not huge on halal carts.
For burgers, you might want to try Burger and Barrel or the Spotted Pig instead. Shake Shack is good for its style and I'm pretty sure it'll be a few bucks cheaper than those two places, though.
For pizza, Motorino and Keste are great. Keste is wetter in the middle and flimsier than Motorino, so it depends on your preference. Keste has a lot of variety but Motorino's pizza menu is more focused. Sides are better as well. I'm a huge fan of Co. and Franny's (Brooklyn). Franny's definitely has the best non-pizza dishes and their appetizer menu is great. Park Slope is a great walking neighborhood too.
Taim
Kin Shop - have not been.
Eataly's rosticceria
San Matteo

My lord do I have a lot of free time on my hands today.
post #4 of 43
I've never found Daniel to be stuffy at all.
post #5 of 43
NoMad is the more casual less gimmicky EMP and is one of the best new places I've been to.

I'm not much of a Shake Shack fan. For burgers consider JG Melon (their bloody bull is fantastic), Bill's burger and Minetta Tavern.

For cheap eats consider
Sake Bar Hagi for a cheap izakaya experience.
Joe's Ginger/Shanghai for the soup dumplings.
Big Wong's for the duck
Nyonya for the Sarang burung, Chow Kueh Teow and Seafood Scrambled Egg Chow Fun

If you are willing to travel to Westchester, consider going to Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The atmosphere is great, The Blue Hill in the Village is not worth it.
post #6 of 43
i would consider corton for your main dinner. it is a bit more casual than daniel and emp but much more unique and exciting.
post #7 of 43

Skip Kajitsu, the original chef who earned the place 2 Michelin stars, Nishihara san left back in April, and the place has not been the same since.  The new chef is not very creative or as skilled as the previous one, and has a lot of trouble working with local produce or non Japanese herbs\spices.  

post #8 of 43
We loved Le Bernadin and Bouley.
post #9 of 43
Second on the Ippudo and Shakeshack
Like poorsod said, JG Melon for burgers, and I would also add Five Napkins.
I would say Balthazar for lunch at somepoint.
If you're into steak, try Smith & Wollensky or Wolfgang's.
post #10 of 43
I dunno if you're into cheese but Murray's has a cheese bar that is just lovely. And blind tiger is near by with some of the best selection of beers in the city. And if I was ballin I'd spend a nice evening at the brandy library
post #11 of 43
Thread Starter 
I know I said motorino and keste, but it seems the GF wants something more NY pizza vs. neapolitan pie, if you get what I mean. Any ideas? It seems like every pizza place I look up is "the best in New York".
post #12 of 43
Artichoke difara Grimaldi Lombardi. Latter three are more typical ny style pizza. I haven't tried difara but I think between the other two I prefer the acidic sauce of Lombardi more. It tastes more fresh. Artichoke is a different beast. The namesake pizza is rich fatty and chewy.

Damn. Almost went to keste today but couldn't fit in schedule
post #13 of 43
Loved Grimaldi's over Lombardi's, the same group that ate Lombardi's that day after you ditched us indesertum, we ate Grimaldi's later too, and it was superb. The crust is baguette-esque, the toppings are about the same quality but perhaps more generous on the Grimaldi's, and the cheese is a bit better. Grimaldi's also came to us like fire-hot, and it was amazing. I can't wait to go back. I like it more than Neapolitan pizza.
post #14 of 43
Want to throw more support for Ippudo. I must have eaten there 20 times and the ramen is always great. If you haven't had ramen before get the Akamaru modern with pork (not chasu). I recommend it over Toto (even though Toto is pretty great).

More thoughts:

Halal carts are very hit or miss. I would probably get some halal but I have a huge appetite. I certainly wouldn't make a meal or lunch out of it.

My favorite pizza is John's on bleecker.

Jean Jorge Pre-Fixe is pretty solid.
Edited by Deluks917 - 8/22/12 at 3:36am
post #15 of 43
Ippudo is a terrible idea no personal offense. Dude is in NYC not Japan and its not like ippudo is an unique ny spin on things. Impolyt is going to tell me im a retard but I would rather recommend momofuku noodle bar over ippudo just to see what a new yorkers take on traditional ramen is like.
Quote:
Originally Posted by impolyt_one View Post

Loved Grimaldi's over Lombardi's, the same group that ate Lombardi's that day after you ditched us indesertum, we ate Grimaldi's later too, and it was superb. The crust is baguette-esque, the toppings are about the same quality but perhaps more generous on the Grimaldi's, and the cheese is a bit better. Grimaldi's also came to us like fire-hot, and it was amazing. I can't wait to go back. I like it more than Neapolitan pizza.

peepwall[1].gif I will admit I didn't try it right after like you guys did and the grimaldis I went to wasn't the Brooklyn one so you might be right smile.gif

I dunno how you guys could eat food after the tacos much less eat at two pizza joints
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