Best Cuisine in Manhattan?
October 18, 2005 10:11 AM   Subscribe

A couple in a celebratory mood has 55 hours in Manhattan. Where do they go to experience the best of the best cuisine?

It's our first time to NYC, so we're definitely doing the typical must-see landmarks and spectacles. But as for food, where do we go? All styles and price points are welcome, but there is virtually no time (read: 3 days) to make reservations. Where do we go for gustatory goodness?
posted by plexiwatt to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Balthazar in Soho is awesome and not too terribly crowded. You could probably get a reservation or even walk in with puppy dog eyes and get a good table with little wait!
posted by Pollomacho at 10:18 AM on October 18, 2005


Unless you're coming from somewhere with a big Korean population (e.g. California) I'd recommend you get yousrelf some Korean BBQ.

I really like Woo Chon, at 10 W 36 St in Koreatown. I enjoyed one of the best meals I've ever had there. You can always fit a meal there into your schedule, as they're open pretty much around the clock (at least until 5AM or so).
posted by rxrfrx at 10:34 AM on October 18, 2005


Have you ever been to Cornet's Pizza 2 blocks north of Colombia University. 2.50 for a slice of pizza as big as your head. Very good too...
posted by cdcello at 10:38 AM on October 18, 2005


Everyone loves the sushi at Nobu.
posted by captainscared at 10:48 AM on October 18, 2005


What kind of food do you like?
posted by Caviar at 10:49 AM on October 18, 2005


If you like steak, I love the Les Halles downtown. There is a midtown location also, but I've never been. The steak au poivre though - fabulous.
posted by darsh at 10:53 AM on October 18, 2005


Are you a bot, cdcello?

It's Coronet Pizza, it's south of campus, and it's not very good.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:58 AM on October 18, 2005


and it's not very good

I believe it's greater than the sum of its parts. By parts I mean the tiny pieces of crappy pizza you would have if you cut the huge slice into parts. It's great because it's so huge. And it's not Greek pizza.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:10 AM on October 18, 2005


No, but the best pizza slice in NYC is near there, at Sal & Carmine's on 101 and Broadway.
posted by Caviar at 11:33 AM on October 18, 2005


I second Les Halles downtown, and add the following:
- Bond St (on, well, Bond Street, at #6 with no sign) for sushi and other fabulous Japanese cuisine, not to mention a beautiful dining experience
- Artisanal, on 32nd and Park, for a cheese plate (this is a good place to take a break after seeing the ESB...sit in the bar)
- Lure Fishbar, in SoHo, where not only will you consume incredibly fresh fish, but the restuarant is designed to look like the interior of a yacht
- Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, on Bayard Street, where they have almond cookie, lychee, and black sesame ice creams (plus "exotic" flavors such as chocolate and vanilla)
- Vegetarian Dim Sum House, on Pell Street. Strange, cheap, and delicious, plus no unexpected beaks poking out of your food.

If you feel more comfortable with reservations, try Open Table, where you can see what restaurants have reservations available at any given time. Sometimes it's surprising how many swanky places have available tables at the last minute.
posted by hsoltz at 11:44 AM on October 18, 2005


good suggestions so far, people. For the record, we are from California, and one of us is from Vancouver, so the Korean and Japanese we've already had will probably have been the best. We're particularly interested in a good french bistro, a good steak, and good breakfast. Thanks!
posted by plexiwatt at 11:45 AM on October 18, 2005


Do yourself a favor and call Daniel to see if they have any tables open while you're in town. It is high high high end French, but the food and service are spectacular. The three-course prix fixe is $96.

Daniel
posted by GregW at 11:55 AM on October 18, 2005


You go to your concierge.
posted by Nelson at 12:28 PM on October 18, 2005


You go to your concierge.

This, while missing the chance to name drop (what were you thinking Nelson?), is of course your most rational and probably best answer. The concierge is paid to do this for you and often will have a reservation at a really nice place for someone just like you.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:31 PM on October 18, 2005


You go to your concierge.

Too bad that the concierge will more likely direct you to a flashy/touristy place than to one with honestly good food.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:25 PM on October 18, 2005


Too bad that the concierge will more likely direct you to a flashy/touristy place than to one with honestly good food.

Yes and no. If you explain what you are looking for and what you aren't looking for, a good concierge will get it for you.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:52 PM on October 18, 2005


From personal experience: Montrachet in Tribeca (unbelievably good food and wine), Union Square Cafe (excellent on both counts and significantly less formal, which may be more to your taste, plus they have addictive garlic potato chips), Tabla on Madison Square (wonderful Indian-derived cuisine; if you can't get a reservation at the main restaurant, the Bread Bar downstairs is easy to get into and cheaper and the food is just as good even if the menu is more limited—if you go to either, don't miss the yummy Tablatini!).

Suggesting run-of-the-mill pizza slices comes perilously close to disrespecting AskMe. Just sayin'.
posted by languagehat at 2:42 PM on October 18, 2005


An old college buddy and I went to Swizz when I was in New York last month and really enjoyed it -- good food (she had fondue, I had schnitzel), good wine, good service.
posted by scody at 4:10 PM on October 18, 2005


Katz's Deli on Houston & Ludlow is a required NYC experience as is Lombardi's Pizza on Spring near Mulberry. Zum Schneider on Avenue C makes exceptionally good German food. None of the above are fancy but they're definitely worth the trip.
posted by jonmc at 4:11 PM on October 18, 2005


I just checked the opentable page for New York ; you can make reservations via that service (at no charge) for 307 restaurants in Manhattan. Plugged in Friday the 21st, 8 p.m., party of two, restaurants costing $51 and over per person. 71 hits (including some offering a time as much as two hours earlier or later, but not exactly 8:00 p.m.).

Tabla (mentioned above) has a 7:00 and 8:45; Osteria al Doge (one of my favorites) is wide open; Lure Fishbar (mentioned above; less than $51, found via another search) also has a 7:45 and an 8:15, for example.

As for recommendations, if you don't want to subscribe to Zagat.com's online restaurant guide, definitely take a look at the Manhattan discussion board of chowhound.com .
posted by WestCoaster at 4:40 PM on October 18, 2005


if you like sushi Jeollado im the East Village is as good as it gets.
posted by jonmc at 5:23 PM on October 18, 2005


For the record, we are from California, and one of us is from Vancouver, so the Korean and Japanese we've already had will probably have been the best.
posted by languagehat at 5:25 PM on October 18, 2005


Peter Luger's - A landmark. The porterhouse. Bring cash. Brooklyn.

Tabla - The Prix fixe lunch. Delicious. Madison Ave in the mid-20s.

Chanterelle - The tasting menu with wines. TriBeCa.

Bouley - I just made reservations for myself, because I couldn't type the name without lusting for their tasting menu. TriBeCa.

River Cafe - Romantic. The sunday brunch. DUMBO.

Oceana - Seafood. Relaxed. 54th st.


None of my suggestions serve tacos.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:04 PM on October 18, 2005


Per Se - The food. The view. Wow. It's worth asking the concierge, but you're almost certainly too late. Pretend the prices are in pesos or lira. Columbus Circle (southwest corner of the park)

Pompano - New Mexican/Seafood. Tasty and relaxing. No tacos. 49th, between 2 and 3.

Craft - Build your own meal. Yes, it's worth it. 19th, e of broadway.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:23 PM on October 18, 2005


Gino's. Lexington and 60th. west side of street. red awning. one of the best in nyc for great time and italian food and atmosphere. no reservations. second Balthazar's in soho.
posted by madstop1 at 6:56 PM on October 18, 2005


For a great brunch, go to Prune on 1st St. They do good dinner as well.
Raga on 6th between 1st and A is described as a "poor man's Tabla" and is good.
We just went to One if By Land, Two if by Sea which was phenomenal, and very romantic, but you may be lucky to get a reservation.

Another website you may want to peruse is menupages.com.
posted by gaspode at 7:13 PM on October 18, 2005


Breakfast: Kitchenette on Warren & W Broadway. Whatever you order, also get a side of bacon, it's awesome. I think they have an uptown location, but I cannot vouch for that.
posted by mullacc at 8:23 PM on October 18, 2005


Well, there was this FPP: A few tips for the well-heeled gourmand. The link is dead, but the wayback machine has it.
posted by Chuckles at 8:30 PM on October 18, 2005


Kitchenette (might have) an uptown location, but I cannot vouch for that.

123rd (give or take a block) and Amsterdam. It's really good, and you can check out the Cathedral while you are in the neighborhood.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:04 PM on October 18, 2005


I second Katz's deli downtown. An absolute must.
posted by kdern at 9:41 PM on October 18, 2005


Personal top five:

Little Giant. (Homemade sausages and fun, just really delightful Lower East Sideyness.)
Lever House. (Slightly swanky, a little over the top in the "Oh hi, titan of industry!" way.)
Balthazar. (Eurotrash diners and, oddly frequently, the Yankees.)
Craft. (Socialites and foodies.)
Jack's Oyster Bar. (Definitely key, truly a blast. V. v. intimate.)

Nobu and Per Se are a little too-too. Cruise Eater for a while.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:02 PM on October 18, 2005


Bouley is VERY good.
posted by johnny7 at 11:40 PM on October 18, 2005


seconding one if by land, if you can get a reservation.
posted by shmegegge at 1:03 AM on October 19, 2005


Breakfast: Kitchenette on Warren & W Broadway.

That's in my building.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:48 AM on October 19, 2005


thanks everyone. We're going to kitchenette, Tavern on the Green, Osteria al Doge, Les Halles, and Pio Pio (It's sort of mandatory for a California Peruvian to try out some NYC Peruvian.)

Now...what bars to visit...
posted by plexiwatt at 8:33 AM on October 19, 2005


Just a warning: Tavern on the Green is notorious for lousy food. If you want the atmosphere/location, fine, but know what you're getting into.
posted by languagehat at 11:07 AM on October 19, 2005


I'd like to second languagehat's anti-recommendation of Tavern on the Green. It survives because of the brand, location and decor.

If you are expecting perfect waitstaff or exquisite food, you will be disappointed.

As to your other question, what do you look for in a bar?
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:16 AM on October 19, 2005


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