Where to eat next in NYC?
April 2, 2013 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Where to go for dinner next in NYC? I'm a lifelong New Yorker and love going out to eat. However, I feel like I'm in bit of a rut, mostly returning to neighborhood reliables and a handful of other favorite restaurants around the city. The wealth of information about NYC restaurants out there is pretty daunting, so I'm hoping for some direction from the hivemind. Some more details inside.

A few of my favorite places are Devi (Indian), Auroro Soho (Italian), and Cafe D'Aslace (French). If there's a common theme uniting these, it's that I'd say they all have very modern sensibilities, bringing each of their regional cuisines up-to-date and improving them with new ideas and very fresh ingredients without slavishly adhering to traditions. They also each have interesting interiors and, to me, "fun" vibes without being overly loud. (Devi's maybe a little more formal but still pretty relaxed.)

I'm open to almost any cuisine. I eat vegetarian or fish (though not shellfish/crustaceans), but I've rarely had an issue with that in all my years living in NYC. (Even steakhouses have alternative options these days.) I don't mind paying for moderately expensive meals (let's say, three dollars signs out of four on Yelp), but I'm not looking for 11 Madison Park-type blowout meals. Usually it's just me and my wife, or the two of us and friends, so kid-friendliness is not a concern for us.

I'd love to receive specific restaurant recommendations for anywhere in the city (if I've given you enough to go on), but I'd also welcome ideas for websites which help make sense of the restaurant jumble. (I'm thinking more along the lines of curated sites, blogs, etc., rather than "search every single restaurant" sites like Zagat.) Thank you so much!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I assume you've eaten at Dirt Candy, but if not, give it a try.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:34 PM on April 2, 2013

I always have to recommend Pok Pok for this type of question.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:37 PM on April 2, 2013

I won't visit NYC without making a pit stop at Daniel Boulud's DBGB for brunch. Haute cuisine and fine dining is great, but I especially love when top-notch chefs do comfort food, and that's what DBGB is.

Also, it's worth mentioning that I am a Sausage Person and DBGB has seven (7) kinds of sausage!! So I always leave there feeling full and happy.
posted by The Girl Who Ate Boston at 4:40 PM on April 2, 2013

Oh, and in terms of interesting interiors, the walls of DBGB host Daniel Boulud's amazing copper pot collection. He wrote to many chefs he admires and asked them to donate copper pots to this collection, so that there's a little part of these other chefs in his restaurant.
posted by The Girl Who Ate Boston at 4:48 PM on April 2, 2013

posted by tmharris65 at 4:50 PM on April 2, 2013

I love reading reviews from the guys at Immaculate Infatuation but if you're not into dude talk, it may be too much

I also enjoy Serious Eats NY, particularly for their honest "Best X in New York" features - it's not the usual schlocky rundowns
posted by paradeofblimps at 4:51 PM on April 2, 2013

Where to go for dinner next in NYC? I'm a lifelong New Yorker and love going out to eat. However, I feel like I'm in bit of a rut, mostly returning to neighborhood reliables and a handful of other favorite restaurants around the city.

If you want to know what the food media thinks is "hot" and worthy of visiting, periodically check out the Eater NY Heat Map and the Grub Street Power Rankings (trying to be a Billboard chart for restaurants in NYC). They tend to focus on newly opened restaurants, though.

The NYT Dining Twitter account is also good to follow. They tweet that week's restaurant review (sans paywall barrier) as soon as it is available.

Serious Eats: New York is also a must-read for me. I think in particular you would enjoy their regular column "The Vegetarian Option." They also (today) released a great chart for omnivorous eating out in NYC (places to keep both vegetarians and meat eaters happy). They also have an excellent Ask the Critic column where you could probably ask your same question (where to eat if you like X, Y, Z).

For specific recommendations on specific places, you should also ask on Chow/Chowhound's Manhattan board, in addition to Ask Metafilter. It's best if you give a specific dollar figure before tax, tip, wine/drinks when asking for recommendations as I find that Yelp's "dollar signs" is too high level to really help sometimes. Another preference that is important to know is your tolerance for eating early/eating late or waiting for a table. As well as location, it sounds like you're open to most neighborhoods, but want to stay in Manhattan?

I've recently had excellent fish dishes at Louro, Montmartre, and Blue Ribbon Izakaya (though the latter is on the louder side). You could also probably do fairly well at Eataly at La Verdure or Il Pesce.

I think DBGB would be lost on a pescatarian (without shellfish/crustaceans) who couldn't eat any of the sausages, burgers, or charcuterie. And it's a little overpriced as well.
posted by kathryn at 4:59 PM on April 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

The Critics' Picks at nymag.com are pretty reliable.

I like recommending Xi'an Famous Foods, because it's a pretty uncommon style of cuisine (western Chinese, so it has a strong Middle Eastern influence).

NYC does especially good Italian. I like Torrisi Italian Specialities (and Parm next door), Barbuto, and Frankie's Spuntino in Brooklyn.
posted by painquale at 5:06 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Chowhound's Manhattan and Outer Boroughs boards - I read that and Serious Eats NY almost daily to get ideas about where I should eat next.
posted by pravit at 5:17 PM on April 2, 2013

Maybe try Hospoda? Kind of a fresh take on eastern/central European food. Yummy -- and it's pretty in there.

Or, Traif in Williamsburg. I had one of the best meals of my LIFE there. Inventive cocktails, creative and fresh ingredients, "globally inspired soul food."
posted by houseofdanie at 10:26 PM on April 2, 2013

Many years ago, I worked in NY for a short while. I was a poor student at the time and on my way to work would walk past the Madison Bistro and think longingly of being able to afford lunch there. It was winter at the time, so it seemed like an oasis of comfort and warmth and it was not for me.

In 2011 I went to visit my brother who lives near NYC. We went into the city for some shopping and a show, and when debating where to have lunch I told him about this place I always used to walk past etc etc. So we ate there. It was magnificent. I recommend their prix fixe.

Hungry now.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:38 AM on April 3, 2013

Another vegetarian option (I was going to suggest Dirt Candy as well!) is Candle 79.
posted by Grither at 4:31 AM on April 3, 2013

As a vegetarian/fish eater, you'd probably enjoy some of Astoria's Greek restaurants. Lots of delicious seafood and salads, and CHEESE. A lot of them have different vibes, but check out Yelp and see what appeals to you. My personal favorite is Agnanti, and I think it meets your requirements for both food and atmosphere.
posted by wondermouse at 8:29 AM on April 3, 2013

I can recommend two restaurants that fit your criteria.

Probably my favorite new restaurant I've been to in the last couple of years is Empellon Cocina in the East Village. It's a high-end Mexican restaurant by a former pastry chef.

The other one I'd recommend is Kin Shop on 6th Ave. It's contemporary Thai cuisine by an Italian-American chef.

I'm also pescatarian and have no problem eating at each.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 1:25 PM on April 3, 2013

Empellon Cocina is run by Alex Stupak and his wife. He's not just a pastry chef, he's the former pastry chef at Alinea and WD-50. It's fantastic but loud and very hip.

It's also not pescatarian-sans-shellfish-and-crustaceans friendly. Even the guacamole has pork or sea urchin in it. They recently updated the menu and removed all the entrees.
posted by kathryn at 4:16 PM on April 3, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone.

houseofdanie: "Or, Traif in Williamsburg."

LOL. "Celebrating pork and shellfish"—both things I said I don't eat in my question. That's pretty funny.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 1:15 PM on April 4, 2013

Oh, boy. I apologize! I have a shellfish allergy, so when I dined there with a friend and his vegetarian girlfriend, there was an absence of both items at our dinner, which was sort of a "bring stuff out and we'll eat it" tasting. It was phenomenal.
posted by houseofdanie at 1:45 PM on April 4, 2013

Response by poster: No worries. And that's pretty cool that a place like that would do a vegetarian omakase-style meal for you like that. Good to know!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 2:28 PM on April 7, 2013

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