wine me, dine me (in New York City)

So Terry and I are leaving at the end of next week for NYC. I’ve been there twice before and Terry’s spent a ton of time there, so he’s very familiar with the lay of the land, and we already have a few ideas of where we need to eat– Katz’s is #1, followed by Moshe’s falafel (Terry’s a fan) and I’m sure that Terry has some others. I’m going to drag him to Bouchon Bakery (since Per Se is closed for a good portion of our vacation) and I’m sure we’ll go to the Heartland Brewery for a Cornhusker for Terry and to this beer bar whose name I always forget in Hell’s Kitchen for a Kona Longboard for me. Maybe craftsteak?

So where do you think we should go? Less touristy stuff, please– we’re staying on Times Square because Priceline put us there, but we much prefer hanging out and eating in places that aren’t right around Times Square.

I do promise a tour of Little Italy (we have a little tour we do, it’s quite fun and incredibly delicious) and Chinatown (if the fish don’t try to get me…). What other neighborhoods would you like a mini-tour of?

32 thoughts on “wine me, dine me (in New York City)”

  • Not precisely sure what you mean by "touristy", but nonetheless – besides Katz's, the other two must-stops for me should I ever find myself in NYC are Peter Luger's (steak for two) and Di Fara (for pizza)

    Long list of other places I would try if I had more time, in no particular order:

    The Dosa Man (cart)
    Papaya King
    Grey's Papaya
    Hallo Berlin (cart)
    Shake Shack
    DB Bistro Moderne
    Beard Papa
    Sullivan Street Bakery
    Una Pizza Napoletana
    2nd Avenue Deli
    Carnegie Deli
    any of many 5/$1 dumpling joints
    Momofuku Ko
    Halal Chicken & Rice (cart – SE Corner of 53rd & 6th from Noon to Midnight; 2nd Cart on SW Corner of 53rd & 6th at Night)

  • I’ve heard that Peter Luger’s has gone way, way downhill and has become a bit of a tourist trap. I’ll have to troll the internet a bit for more information.

    The rest of your list– I’ll definitetly look into them (though I think trying for Momofuku Ko will be difficult).

    I’ll let Terry decide whether he wants BBQ in NY. 🙂

  • Momofuku Noodle Bar is way easier to get into than Ko.

    A.O.C. is a GREAT French bistro in the Village. Mike and I are addicted.

    If I’m free, you two should head to Queens and we’ll all go to Trattoria L’Incontro in Queens. best italian you’ll ever have. Promise!

  • Kariiii!

    I hope we can meet you for dinner. It would be a fivesome– I’d be trying to drag your neighbor James with us.

    I’ll look at Momofuku’s noodle bar, too.

    What do you think of TJ’s list?

  • I’ll go down the list (no offense TJ!)

    The Dosa Man (cart)- YUM
    Patsy’s – Meh
    Lombardi’s – Meh
    Tontonno’s – Good, but not amazing
    Nathan’s – Meh. Except to see Coney Island
    Papaya King – I prefer Grey’s Papaya
    Grey’s Papaya – see above
    Hallo Berlin (cart) don’t know
    Shake Shack heard good things
    DB Bistro Moderne absolutely.
    Beard Papa YES
    Sullivan Street Bakery come to queens and I’ll show you bakeries!
    Franny’s meh
    Una Pizza Napoletana ok
    2nd Avenue Deli Meh
    Carnegie Deli VERY touristym but good
    Momofuku Ko if you can get in
    Balthazar Oh yeah
    Lazzarra’s don’t know
    Halal Chicken & Rice (cart – SE Corner of 53rd & 6th from Noon to Midnight; 2nd Cart on SW Corner of 53rd & 6th at Night) don’t know this cart

    Other reccomendations…

    The Belgian Room – Corner of St. Mark’s and Avenue A. Great beer selection

    Otto – Mario Batali’s pizza joint, corner of 8th and University

    I am sure I will think of others.

  • Mario Batali’s Babbo in Greenwich Village. Went there back in March. Hands down one of the best culinary experiences I’ve ever had.

  • Cool.

    I too have heard the comments about Luger’s not being what it once was, but I still consider it an icon among steakhouses

    Not sure why your buddy doesn’t seem to like Pizza 🙂 Cant go to NYC and not have pizza!

    Sullivan Street Bakery is more than just a bakery, btw….go check it out.

    I’ve heard a lot of good re: Babbo, but I just tend to avoid anything directly connected with a celebrity, even one who is a (Iron) chef. So it would not make my list on that quirky basis. Dumb, I know.

    Get this at Lazzara’s


  • One other thing – cupcakes are apparently all the rage in NYC right now. Probably should check that out – wouldnt even count as a meal, just a stop 🙂

  • McSorley’s Old Ale House
    15 East 7th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Ave.

    “At over 140 years, the oldest licensed establishment in New York City, McSorley’s is a magical ale house rich in character and in American memorabilia. McSorley’s has been the subject of John Sloane paintings and has even lent its name to a book, i.e., Joseph Mitchell’s “McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon.” The pub is a “must visit” for anyone who likes to visit historic places and imbibe a glass of ale in a famous lower east side tavern.”

  • Thanks to anon for reminding me of McSorley's.

    Meanwhile, I would suggest some places I used to haunt on the Upper West Side. Zabar's, and H&H bagels across the street from each other at 80th & Broadway, and Barney Greengrass on Amsterdam, if you want a sit-down brunch.

    Back in the day, on an editorial assistant's salary, the highlight of my Saturday nights was getting the Sunday New York Times early edition, plus a chocolate croissant and some Nova lox from Zabar's, then bagels and scallion cream cheese from H&H. Come Sunday morning, I had a delicious spread and could read in the Times about all the fabulous events going on in NYC that I couldn't afford to attend . . .

  • We just visited New York about a month ago. One of our favorite places (we went there twice) was a Belgium bar called Vol de Nuit Bar aka Belgian Beer Lounge‎. It is kind of hidden from tourists and has a great little atmosphere, complete with a private outdoor patio and the best fries you have ever eaten. I would highly recommend stopping by:

    Vol de Nuit Bar
    148 W 4th St, New York, NY‎
    (212) 979-2616

  • TJ– I’d do Batali or Collichio before most anyone else. Cupcakes are huge, but I know Magnolia Bakery is way, way overdone (particularly because of SNL), but I’ll try to find another one.

    Eggplant– I LOVE Zabar’s. Terry and I spent a good hour and a half in there the last time we were in NYC, and we went to Big Nick’s for lunch afterward. Thank you for the suggestions!

    Anony– thank you, too!

    Shannan– Belgian? beer? Sold!

  • Hi Julie!

    It was great to see you last night! I think the most aesthetically pleasing and appropriate result would be “We are both wrong.”

    Most of my experience with NYC is Upper West Side-a-centric, but… seriously…

    Balthazaar. Saturday is Braised Short Rib Day.

    (every day should be BSR day but whatever)


  • Here are my picks…

    Since you’re planning on visiting China Town, you MUST check out the Excellent Dumpling House:

    Being a South-Indian vegan, I have to say that Thiru and his Dosa Cart in Washington Park, hands-down…serves the best dosas in North America:

    And since you’re up for exploring more vegan options, you would be remiss not to try Candle 79/Candle Cafe:

    Let me know if you still need me to cat sit…you know I would love to!

  • my personal favorites after 3 years of living in NY:

    best mojitos and really good food (brazilian/cuban): boca chica (1st and 1st)
    best thai: sripraphai in woodside
    best dim sum: hop shing in chinatown and pretty much anywhere in flushing
    best vietnamese: nha trang in chinatown on baxter
    best malaysian: jaya (in chinatown on baxter across the street from nha trang)
    best bagels: H&H bagels, upper west side at like amsterdam and 70 something
    best indian: jackson diner in jackson heights
    best brunches: agave on 6th ave and like 8th st maybe?, dos caminos at houston and i think lafayette
    best pizza: ben's pizza at w. 3rd and macdougal (most people would NOT agree w/ me on that one)
    best greens: sylvia's in harlem
    best soup dumplings and overall good chinese: joe's shanghai or joe's ginger in chinatown
    best ice cream: il laboratorio del gelato on the lower east side
    best jamaican patties: golden krust (they're all over but i know there's one at 14th and like 6th ave)
    best ginger carrot dressing (it's like crack): dojo at w. 3rd and lafayette

    i agree that shake shack (madison sq park) is awesome too although it does not really have the best of anything. there is one on the upper west side now too. also yes yes yes re: halal chicken and rice.

    places people listed which are overrated and not worth the stomach space in my opinion:
    gray's papaya
    dinosaur bbq (actually any bbq… it's just better here in cincinnati)

    ok, i could go on all day so i will stop now…

  • Take the C train to Brooklyn and hit Habana Outpost (757 Fulton, near the Lafayete Stop) for an INCREDIBLE Cuban sandwich. Your stomach will be full and your mind will be blown, so have a few drinks, sit on their patio until you get hungry again, then ride the train for one more stop to Locanda Vini e Olii (129 Gates near the Clinton/Washington stop). This place is just beyond good.

    Also, whoever suggested Vol de Nuit is right. That place is awesome.

  • Tao- Get the giant fortune cookie for dessert- I never, ever skip Tao when in NYC
    Magnolia Bakery- Red Velvet Cake cupcakes
    Butter- It’s just a cool experience, food is good also
    Blue Water Grill

  • Since Luger’s does not interest you, I will then recommend that if you want a great steak, that you spend some time reading the following blog:

    Of late, he has posted about a lot of burgers (I think he has a paid gig with the “serious eats” website to do just that) but if you go back through his less recent stuff you’ll find review after review of the very best steakhouses in new york.

    There are a few fine dining reviews thrown in as well, including his most recent post on Per Se

  • oh steak! my favorite steak (disclaimer: i am too poor to have ever tried peter luger’s, etc.) is at bistro le steak on the upper east side. i know it’s a nerdy name but it is delicious. also they have this mustard sauce they serve w/ it which is awesome.

  • If it’s still there, I believe the pub’s name was Tina’s in Greenwich Village. It was rated one the Top 10 Dives in NYC by egg magazine about 20 years ago (when I stayed in Manhattan for 2 1/2 weeks).

    There was also this restaurant about 1-2 blocks off Times Square on 42nd Street that had the best sweet potato fries. Highlights of that night included some guy walking in with a boombox and did a lounge act and an authentic street fight with people I was with from Charlex (the people who did the SNL opens, FragleRock and the “You Might Think” Cars video).

    The sad highlight…going to Windows On The World and feeling the WTC sway….and ears popping 3-4 times on the 80+ floor elevator ride.

  • Holy carp, guys. Terry and I will need to be there for a month to cover everything you’ve suggested!
    We shall report back. And Terry shall comment before I do because he’s the one that’s probably eaten at a lot of these places!

  • soho & greenwich were my favorite neighborhoods – but if you want to spend $100 on an amazing meal – go to Daniel or The London (walking distance from times square)

  • Heather– we both like SoHo and the Village, but we haven’t figured out where our blockbuster dinner(s) is/are going to be. Luckily, this time of year everyone with sense is in the Hamptons, so it should be easy for us to get reservations.

  • Wow. We would need to be there for an entire summer…on an unlimited expense account…in order to take all of your suggestions. We’d die from overeating (but what a way to go, no?).

    As Julie mentioned, I’ve spent a lot of time in New York during my adult life. I’ve had too many dining experiences to recount (and I don’t remember them all anyway).

    But regarding a few of your suggestions…

    Peter Luger. I ate there one time and was almost underwhelmed by the experience. Perhaps the problem was that I had heard and read so much about the place that it would have been hard for it to live up to the hype. Another problem: I had a large steak (T-Bone/Porterhouse, I think?) that was prepared for two people. My dining partner and I couldn’t agree on the degree of doneness. (It’s difficult to have a steak cooked half rare, half medium well.) Neither of us was happy.

    Zabar’s. If there is a heaven, I hope it’s a whole lot like Zabar’s. I usually have breakfast there at least once on each trip (bagel, lox, cream cheese, coffee). I can spend an hour just strolling, taking in the sights and smells. It’s the one place in the city that I can honestly say hasn’t changed one iota over the past twenty-five years.

    We have places that we must visit on every trip (Katz’s, Heartland Brewery, Moshe’s, just to name a few). But we’ve made notes from your suggestions, and we will visit as many places as possible. Habana Outpost sounds fantastic (I love a good Cuban sandwich) and Blue Ribbon Brasserie sounds and looks amazing (I love a good late-night meal…what Julie calls “the drunk munchies”).

    Thank you again for your suggestions. I can’t wait to get started.

    Stay tuned…photos and reviews are forthcoming!

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