New York City - Foods - Restaurants

Oct 15th, 2011, 10:14 PM
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New York City - Foods - Restaurants

I am from Victoria, BC, heading to New York, Manhattan to do one thing: Find inspiration for my new restaurant business venture. Any recommendations by Fodorites would be appreciated. I want to eat anything and everything, as long as it is awesome, it will be inspirational. Best thing I ever ate type recommendations please.
jayc is offline  
Oct 15th, 2011, 11:22 PM
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What sort of food are you thinking of serving?

We had a great meal at Buddakan (in the meatpacking district) which served incredible food - what I would call Asian, fusion food. I would have eaten there every night if possible!
cathies is online now  
Oct 16th, 2011, 02:23 AM
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Gaston Acurio is opening La Mar in NYC awesome peruvian fusion

It’s about time Gastón! Peruvian celebuchef Gastón Acurio will open a branch of his La Mar Cebicheria in New York on September 20, 2011.

The restaurant will be in Danny Meyer’s former Tabla space on Madison Square Park (11 Madison Avenue, Tribeca) and is being designed by architect Stephanie Goto, whose portfolio includes Aldea, Corton, and Morimoto. The bi-level space is supposedly being designed with lots of color. La Mar San Francisco has one of the most expensive leases of any restaurant in the city, so expect this one to be going all out as Gaston has wanted to open in New York for a long, long time.

The General Manager of La Mar will be N.A. Nadir, formerly the General Manager of Japonais in New York and Las Vegas, Assistant General Manager of Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain, and General Manager and Managing Partner of Pico in New York. The chef, who was kind enough to grant New World Review an interview last week, will be Victoriano Lopez, who has been Gastón’s right hand man for nearly two decades.

The first La Mar opened on Avenida La Mar 770 in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru in 2005. It was modeled after more rustic cebicherias (FYI: in Lima ceviche is called cebiche) such as Sonia in the district of Chorrillos, but added modern cooking styles and a lengthy menu of pisco based cocktails. Few will say it is or ever was the best cebicheria in Lima, nor on Avenida La Mar for that matter, though it’s reliable, not overly expensive, and Gaston’s teams of chefs and wait staff are always well trained. There’s much more than cebiche on the menu. This will no doubt be the best Peruvian restaurant in New York City when it opens. No question about it.

This will be Gastón Acurio’s first restaurant on the east coast of the United States, though a branch of La Mar opened in San Francisco in late 2008, as well as in Mexico City, Santiago, Sao Paolo, Panama City, and of course, Lima. Acurio’s Astrid & Gastón has branches in Lima, Caracas, Madrid, Santiago, Quito, Bogota, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires.

While there is no word on what other U.S. cities Acurio’s empire might spread, rumors have swirled around bring La Mar and T’anta to destinations such as Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Dallas, and Miami, as well as a second San Francisco location. reserve other ideas... Good luck!
qwovadis is offline  
Oct 16th, 2011, 02:31 AM
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Gastón Acurio and 7x7 SF... by LaMarSF 726 views

Awesome guy delicious complex and very interesting food...
qwovadis is offline  
Oct 16th, 2011, 03:31 AM
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You might want to check out . I know one of the 2 owners. It is a new restaurant and the food is very good. I've mostly been there for lunch.
SueNYC is offline  
Oct 16th, 2011, 03:46 AM
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What you will find in NY is the largest selection of ethnic food in the world, some authentic, some derivative. There are also hundreds of ethnic food stores.

Can you be more specific as Chuck Close noted, "Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work."
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2011, 03:53 AM
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This will give you a running start:

These are most of my favorite food stores. This is as highly subjective and geographically limited list you will find. The majority of stores are below 14th Street.
Stars indicate that either I went there at night or they are better than the others on the list. There are scores of excellent places that are not on the list, so exclusion is not necessarily condemnation but it could be.
You can use this to put together their own food tour, buy stuff during the day for a feast in your hotel room at night or for gifts. One time we were flying back from Milan and we purchased a cake there and shared it with family when we landed.

Bagels and Bialys
Just because it is round, does not make it a bagel. There is a lot of crap being sold. A bagel must be boiled before it is baked. The ones with pimples on the bottom, like those you get at the sidewalk carts, are steamed. The ones you get at Dunkin Donuts are white bread in a circle, Rachel Ray.

Various Locations
My personal favorite. There are Ess-a-bagel people and the H & H people. Ess-a bagels are yeasty while H & H are sweet because they add sugar. Ess-a Bagel is a bit of a play on words and means eat in Yiddish. The stores are crazy busy and there is a wide variety of spreads. Once mammoth, the bagels are smaller recently.

H & H Bagels
West Side Highway at 46th Street
The one on Second Avenue is not related and is plain awful
As discussed above with long lines. The one on Broadway is closed but the one by the West Side Highway still exists.

*Kossar’s Bialys (Established 1935)
367 Grand Street
What is a bialy? Originally from Bailystok, Poland and called Bialystoker Kuchen (cake). And yes, Mel Brooks stole the name for Max Bialystock. It is most and doughy, much like the perfect pizza crust but with an indentation in the middle for either bits of garlic or onion. Try their bulkas which are bialy dough in the shape of a hero or an onion wheel also called a pletzel. An onion wheel is round and thin covered with duh onions, or the other version poppy seeds. Toast it, butter it, and keel over dead.

Various Locations
Murray’s knows how to make bagels, chewy and large. The lines usually move quickly.

Amy’s Bread
Various Locations
The breads are well prepared and my favorite is the black sesame. I have never seen the same kid behind the counter twice, thus the staff is not knowledgeable and some seem confused by an order.

80 Spring Street
I guess they could have made the space smaller, but then only your hand would fit through the door. Unlike the restaurant, the bakery deserves the praise for their baguettes and croissants.

Various locations
Yes, it is a stupid name and the place has all the charm of a company store at a gulag but it is a sister to City Bakery. They make fabulous almost everything including a pretzel croissant. They only offer about 10% of what can be had at the City Bakery and there is no place to sit and eat. Stay away from a new creation a vegan banana sesame thing with agave. Besides having no taste, it dryly crumbs in your mouth. A rare mistake for Maury Rubin. The staff here and at City Bakery has not been told that space program was discontinued.

170 Second Ave
Very expensive but good as a dessert gift. The cookies are delicious and everything looks tempting some things are not as good as they look.

*Blue Ribbon Market
14 Bedford Street
There is not a bad bread in the house. They are made across the street at Blue Ribbon Bakery, where you can see the ovens on the basement. (They also have a interesting bathroom.)
Pick anything.

*Clinton Street Bakery
4 Clinton Street
Not only is this bakery but a great place for brunch which is impossible to enter on weekends. They may make the best biscuits in town followed closely by their scones.

*City Bakery
3 West 18th Street
Try the hot chocolate melted from chocolate bars or the pretzel croissants or the baker’s muffins or anything laid out on the counter. Extremely crowded at breakfast and lunch. Celebrities have been spotted but unless they are disguised as spoon I have not seen any.

DeRobertis (Established 1904)
176 First Avenue
It has the original tin ceiling and tiled walls and floors. Be selective in what you order, order nothing chocolate but the lobster tails, cannoli, and pignoli cookies are good and they are known for their lemon and orange things. (I am sure it has a real name) They hollow out the fruit, then fill it with a sorbet and freeze the whole thing including a peel lid.

*Donut Plant
379 Grand Street
I do not know what they do but the donuts taste so much better than just about any other place. He also makes excellent churros. The valrhona chocolate is a monument to gluttony. Small storefront with bakery in back.

Eileen’s Cheesecake
17 Cleveland Place
That’s all she makes so she better make them well. Not the best but very good.

*Falai Paneterria
79 Clinton Street
Former pastry chef turns out the most delectable and eclectic breads such as pumpkin or fennel. The croissants are excellent. I guess his mother told him not to waste his education so he also makes fabulous pastries. Never leave without a bombolini, an Italian donut/fritter filled with either jelly or crème.

Fat Witch Brownies
Chelsea Market
They make the fudgy type and they have a few variations. Staff is pleasant but sloooow. They have tourist buses that stop at Chelsea Market, so the lines may be long at times.

Various locations
In the food wasteland that is Wall Street, Financier knows how to make cakes and croissants. They are often crowded but the staff doesn’t know ganache or panache.

Various locations
Stick to the cheesecake and the rolls.

*La Bergamonte
169 Ninth Avenue
For many years this was in the middle of food nowhere. Now with the Chelsea Market and the fattening of the Meatpacking district is getting its due. Extremely fine croissants and pastries and a place to sit

Le Pain Quotidien
Various locations
A chain from Belgian which makes it Belch. The baguettes are wonderful as are the brownies and raisin whole grain bread. This is probably the best food of any chain. The staff however, is laconic and unknowledgeable and very often there are out of many of the popular items. Nice brunches.

*Little Pie Company
424 West 43 Street
Their sour cream apple walnut pie is akin to crack cocaine but only a little cheaper. The other pies are good but not in the same category. People start lining up for Thanksgiving on 4th of July, so order in advance.

*S & S Cheesecake
222 W 238 St, Bronx
Could be the best cheesecake in the city, creamy but not dense, perfect,

Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies
204-207 Van Dyke Street, Red Hook
This is place is hard to find when you are standing in front it. Fortunately the silky pies can be found at Citarella and other self-defined fine stores.

*Sullivan Street Bakery
533 W 47th Street
You have probably eaten there breads many times and didn’t know it. It is offered in scores of restaurants and markets. You can identify many of the breads by sight. They are brown and crusty will the inside is light and airy. A paradigm for carbs.

342 East 11th Street
Established in 1894 some of those people are still waiting on line. I love this place, the best inexpensive tiramisu, addictive ricotta cheesecake, moist pignoli cookies, there are scores of offerings and no losers. The take out staff is never the same and the lines are long for the café. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, the café is turned to a waiting room for take out. They use an old fashioned machine to wrap the string around the box, while quaint, adds to the interminable line. You can also call in an order.

Candy and Chocolates

*Economy Candy (Established 1934)
108 Rivington Street
I am not sure they make anything on premises but they do have every candy still in production at very good prices. If you are a fan of candy stores, you will want to be buried here.

Evelyn’s Hand Dipped Chocolates
4 John Street
The best value for hand made chocolate in NY. It is clearly not the best, but most candy is made by hand and Evelyn can be seen slipping in and out from behind the counter. The cost is a fraction of the top notch candy stores. This is the type of place you find in a quaint town with quaint people. This 9/11 survivor should be supported.

*Jacques Torres Chocolates
Various Locations
For some reason people know the Brooklyn location better than the one on Hudson Street. Their truffles are exquisite as are all the chocolates and the hot chocolate. The lines are extraordinary on Valentine’s Day.

80 Thompson Street
Kee was a banker or a lawyer before she started making the best truffles in NYC. Some are Asian influenced each variety is better than the next. This is a must stop for chocolate cuckoos.

Various locations
Truffles are flown in from Switzerland. I once bought some for a chocolate loving friend who about to get married. While eating the truffles, this modest woman was made sounds that are usually reserved for her husband. Although she was completely embarrassed, I knew I bought the right gift.

There are many chocolate stores in midtown that make exceptional products but I have not enough experience to add them to the list. These include Richart, Maison du Cholat, and Pierre Marcolini. Just turn your pockets inside out for a taste.

Alleva Diary (Established 1892)
188 Grand Street
Not as good as its neighbor DiPalo but extremely offers a fine selection of Italian cheeses.

*DiPalo Dairy (Established 1925)
200 Grand Street
One of NY’s great stores. Not only are the cheeses spectacular but sell perfect prosciutto. Their selections are impeccable. If at all possible avoid the weekend crowds, even though they have adults behind the counter.

East Village Cheese
140 Third Avenue
His cheese must fall off the truck to charge the lowest prices in the city. There is always some $2.99 per pound special. For that price you will not get the best, but at least you will be filled. The staff has become nicer over the years but not much. Cash only.

*Formaggio Essex
Essex Market on Essex Steet.
That should be enough Essexes. This is a tiny outlet from a Boston company. The cheeses are excellent but they have to vats where you take a bottle and fill it with a vinegar sherry or olive oil and both are redolent and extremely flavorful. There is some rules about deposits but I am not good at rules. The Essex market is a poured concrete structure with many stalls selling veggies and Hispanic staples with a barber shop in the back. Do not be deterred that it looks like pig farm from the outside.

*Joe’s Dairy (Established 1925)
156 Sullivan Street.
If you do not like Joe’s you do not like New York. They have been making mozzarella for over 80 years and the smoked version is addictive. The store is tiny, tiny, tiny and the staff is family and know their stuff and the neighborhood. One time I bought my mother-in-law a smoked mozzarella here. The next time I saw her she said she cut off the outside because she thought the outside was burned.

*Murray’s Cheeese
254 Bleecker Street and another in Grand Central
Best in show. They carefully choose only the finest quality of every variety. The staff is cheesemongers, one is even a gossip monger. The ricotta cheese cake is worth going to jail. This is a must visit for anyone who has the slightest interest in cheese.

*Russo’s Mozzarella (Established 1908)
344 East 11th Street
Cleverly they make fresh and smoked mozzarella which are excellent but they also make pastas, sauces, and there own olive varieties. Cramped but the guys know what they are doing.

Ice Cream

272 Bleecker Street
In 1986 an Israeli newspaper sent a reporter to cover the NY Mets in the World Series because they heard there was a David Cone. He isn’t related to this place either. Sweet creamy, fresh ingredients with many varieties. Many tourists happen upon it when eating at John’s Pizzeria.

*Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard Street
Store made ice cream which for wimps offers vanilla and chocolate since they also serve flavors like green tea, lichee nut, and my favorite almond cookie. The kids behind the counter are always nice. There is no better way to end a meal in Chinatown. Inexpensive but cash only.

*Il Laboratorio de Gelato
Corner of Houston and Ludlow
Everybody claims their gelati is the same as in Italy, blah, blah, blah. Their gelati is like Italy. It is the type you eat four times a day as you walk around Rome or Florence before you realize you have ruined your appetite for dinner. Expensive and cash only.

Sundaes and Cones
95 East 10th Street
They have nothing to do with just Cones and is a shade below, But if you are in the neighborhood, the store made ice cream is creamy and offer interesting flavors.


Yonah Schimmel (Established 1890)
137 East Houston Street
Yonah has been dead for a long time and they have not redecorated or cleaned the windows since. If they made great knishes the owners could be considered knish savants but they are not. The knishes you buy at sidewalk carts, however, are shaped like third base, taste worse, are fried and often a green patina inside. Yonah Schimmel’s, you always have to say both names when referring to the store, still makes the baked variety and may or may not have the all types on hand.

Kitchen Supplies

* Broadway Panhandler
65 East 8th Street
They finally moved closer to Broadway. This is good for the semi-serious chef. There is an excellent selection of knives and pans but half the store is dedicated to stuff you use once or cutsey-poo crap.

New York Cake and Baking Distributor
56 W 22
Has what every serious amateur and professional baker needs, flour, pans, cookie cutters, etc. The quarters are Spartan and the staff acts like they just found a cure for cancer.

My favorite store Bridge Cookware has left NYC for the wilds of New Jersey.

Food Markets
Unless otherwise noted these places are expensive or very expensive.

Agatha and Valentina
A large department features hard-core Italian cold cuts like soppressata and hot or sweet cappicola, while the cheese department sports a huge number of offerings and loads of free samples. The prepared foods section also has a thick Italian accent and is among the more interesting in the city.

Various Locations
One of the best spots for fish from standard stuff with gills to razor clams. Knowledgeable fishmongers. Same is true for meats. Their prepared foods are universally good with outstanding soups. The collect bread and cakes from various but good places.

Dean and Deluca
Various Locations
The original food museum. The fruit is laid out to be admired, as are the cheeses, breads, and cakes. The main location on Broadway always a line at the espresso bar. Prices are highrt than buying a stale bagel at the airport.

*Eli’s Vinegar Factory
Various locations
Eli had a fight with his family at Zabar’s and opened up a much more expensive food market. When you look at the prices, you think you are in a foreign country and miscalculated the exchange rate. On the other hand, every thing here is outstanding.

Various locations
Cheaper than the others
The fruits and veggies are outstanding as are the meats, fish, and store made breads. They also carry reasonably priced groceries. The Brooklyn store has food counters with an outdoor eating area with a view of the Statue of Liberty. But the food choices are not for the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Grace’s Marketplace
She is the daughter of old man Balducci, who was such a difficult character, she opened her own place. Physically it resembles the long gone Balducci’s on 6th Ave, but retained the good qualities such as the prepared meats and excellent meat, fish, and produce selections.

Manhattan Fruit Exchange
Chelsea Market
Best veggie value in town. Crowded, crowded, crowded. Cash only

*Russ and Daughters (Established 1914)
179 East Houston Street
A new generation has taken over with the same pride and dedication to smoked fish as their aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Sable, white fish, lox, gravlax, it does not matter they are all mouth watering. Try the chopped liver, it is full flavor.

*Zabar’s (Established 1931)
2245 Broadway
Another NY institution with a well deserved reputation. The prices are cheaper than almost those above but the quality is the same or better. Large cheese selection, fantastic prepared foods, the claim to sell more coffee than anyone in NYC, store made knishes, breads and cakes from the best purveyors, Zabar’s brand spices and olive oil (this is known as one of the best buys anywhere.). The lox slicers reportedly make $85,000 a year. And upstairs is a cookware section. The staff is wonderful but the clientele is often obnoxious and aggressive. Sharpen your elbows and fight for the tri-colored pate.

*East Village Meat Market
139 Second Avenue
It helps if you speak Polish but you can get by in English. Old fashioned butcher shop where every thing is cut upon request. They also make great, great kielbasa and in many shapes and types and smoked hams. Relatively inexpensive.

*Faicco’s (Established 1900)
260 Bleecker Street
They make their flavorful sausage, rice balls, sauces. You get the old schmooze from the guys behind the counter as well. If you like old fashioned Italian butchers who know what they are doing, this is the joint.


*Raffetto’s (Established 1906)
144 W. Houston Street
They cut fresh pasta from sheets to your specification in front of you on a machine that looked obsolete 50 years ago. Not a gimmick just the freshest, tastiest pasta yet. They have many types including saffron. Cash only.


*The Pickle Guys
49 Essex Street
Some employee defected from Gus’s, the pickles are perfect as is the spiel. They also offer a free pickle. There are barrels and barrels of sour, new, half sour, pickled peppers just calling your name. The have added pineapples which are steeped in some concoction of vinegar and cloves and is now there second best seller.

Spanish Provisions

408 Broome Street (Original at 86-17 Northern Blvd. Queens)
Excellent chorizos and morcilla. The are incredibly tasty and are found in many restaurant around town. Their cheeses are also top notch and offer a wide selection. They also offer Serrano ham which is many respects is sweeter and more delicate than porsciutto. They also have some tapas at a counter in the back of the store. Limited hours/
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2011, 07:24 AM
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Thanks! Fodorites never cease to amaze me and have never failed me. I am open to serving any type of food but present restaurant serves Westcoast Contemporary. I am Canadian-Cantonese so am partial to Asian food when I eat in or out. There is a possible Asian restaurant project that I may pursue. I have to be careful in my town any restaurant with a fusion concept has failed miserably. My city demands authenticity (or what they think is authentic) when it comes to ethnic food. However a contemporary style of authentic Ethnic, like Momofuku (not that I have been but have created many of his dishes out of the cookbook). I have always wanted to open an Asian Contemporary Restaurant but have always hesitated because of the lack of booze sales. Is there an Asian Wine bar of sorts in NY? Like a Tapas bar in Spain but with Asian food??

Two business models I am considering:

1: 70 - 100 seat restaurant that primarily focuses on selling wine. Food is fresh, bite size, promotes sharing. A social, fresh atmosphere, Ipad wine lists, enomatic wine dispeser, well informed servers, fresh from scratch cuisine. This project requires almost all of my start-up capital, all my eggs in one basket so to speak.

2: 30 - 40 seat restaurant that primarily focuses on selling a new, trendy food item. The next Sushi or Thai place. By new I mean something my town has not seen, not necessarily new to NYC. Like a breakfast pizza or specialty sub, whatever. Something that travels well so delivery will be huge, lots of take-out, eat-in as well. This will require a portion of my capital and if successful I will ensure to open 3-4 more within 2 years to ensure I prevent competition from coming in.

Ideally it by new business would be a hybrid of both. But again I am coming to NYC with no pre-conceived notions, am open to any suggestions.

Thanks again for everyones time.
jayc is offline  
Oct 16th, 2011, 07:34 AM
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Take the 7 train or the LIRR (Long Island Railroad) to Flushing, Queens. There you will find a Chinatown and now Koreatown at least 20 times the size the one in Vancouver.

The Chinatown in Manhattan has more than doubled in size in the past 15 years especially towards Allen Street.

Wouldn't a tapas bar in Spain with Chinese food be dim sum?

Besides Flushing, in Manhattan go Nom Wah for a limited but excellent selection of dim sum or Jing Fong where they make few concessions to occidental tastes.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2011, 09:24 AM
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I like your idea of an upscale, hip, iFriendly wine bar, with small plates.
PeaceOut is offline  
Oct 16th, 2011, 09:40 AM
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What if you had a wine bar featuring weekly or monthly specials, focusing on the wines of a particular region. Spain, Chile, New Zealand, California Central Coast, and other unique places, in addition to traditional Italian and French and Napa.

You could pair the wines with appropriate regional food.

Might be a lot of work, and expense, though. But it would be a place I personally would be interested in frequenting each month, to learn about wine and regional pairings.

Just a thought.
PeaceOut is offline  
Oct 16th, 2011, 12:45 PM
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Bar Jamon, attached to Casa Mono might give you some ideas, the Spanish version of a "30 - 40 seat restaurant that primarily focuses on selling a new, trendy food item."
ellenem is online now  
Oct 16th, 2011, 12:49 PM
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Dim Sum places traditionally do not have wine sales. When I say Tapas, there focus on the wine you drink as much as the food. It would definitely be called Dim Sum on the menu. I like that idea peace out. Thanks.
jayc is offline  
Oct 19th, 2011, 11:39 AM
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City Winery does that and is also a live entertainment venue.

NY Magazine

Blog focussed on food

Food halls have been growing in NYC. Batali's Eataly, Todd Oldham's Food Hall in the lower level of the PLAZA Hotel and Chelsea Market.

Restaurants in shops are getting better....ABC Kitchen in ABC Carpet, BG at Bergdorf Goodman and Fred's at Barney's. A wine bar inside a shop or existing food hall?
mclaurie is offline  
Oct 19th, 2011, 12:15 PM
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Thanks for the info also.
We are heading to NYC in Dec to see plays and eat at restaurants.
Adu, good list.
Judyrem is offline  
Oct 19th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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Aduchamp1 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2011, 10:11 PM
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Thanks McLaurie. Your list is fantastic Adu. Much appreciated.
jayc is offline  
Oct 20th, 2011, 02:09 AM
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You are welcome.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2011, 02:14 AM
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Is this the type of place you have in mind? It is the first place I think of when someone mentions Asian tapas! Now you will have to get to Barcelona, too!

Kidding aside, I would certainly check out Chang's Ma Peche and Ssam Bar, among the other ideas here. Difficult to give recommendations due to seasonal changes, but surprisingly, their vegetable dishes are always great. Crispy Pig Head at Ma Peche is excellent.

Not sure if anyone mentioned the April Bloomfield place at the Ace Hotel, The Breslin.

And you should definitely try Marea if the budget is large enough.. concentrate on the antipasti and the pasta. In my humble opinion, Michael White is one of the best chefs working in NYC right now.

Bar Room at the Modern should be on the list, too.

Also: Tertulia, Little Owl, Tia Pol, and perhaps Landmarc (Tribeca) for their wine program.

Baohaus on 14th Street would be a must for you, too.

And there are a host of Brooklyn places, most of which I have not been to. Certainly make an effort to get to a few places in that borough. Like Roberta's, which gets rave reports.

Or The Good Fork in Red Hook (I have not been but again, have heard good things from chefs)

Those are just a few that come to mind at the moment. If you have PBS on tv, you can try to find the Michael Colameco food programs; he covers some of the new and interesting spots in detail each week.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Oct 20th, 2011, 04:54 AM
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ekscronchy, thanks for info.
Judyrem is offline  

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