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NYC: Midtown (and random)

NYC: Midtown (and random)
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  • NYC: Midtown (and random)

    Post #1 - June 1st, 2012, 4:07 pm
    Post #1 - June 1st, 2012, 4:07 pm Post #1 - June 1st, 2012, 4:07 pm
    I'll be in Manhattan next week presenting at a conference (noon-food, non-musical, ironically), and my co-conspirators want to gather on the night before the presentation somewhere "quiet and accessible" even though the conference hotel is in friggin' Times Sqaure. They're from all over the country and are hoping mostly to avoid public transportation except to and from the airport.

    Does anyone have an idea for a spot for dinner and drinks, conversation-friendly, for 5-6 folks at about 6 PM on a weeknight, walkable or otherwise closely accessible via cab or one subway stop from Times Square? Much obliged if so. I'll merge this into a more appropriate main thread next week, thanks for indulging. Pub food, contemporary American, Mediterranean small plates, etc. would likely be best, and I may be able to talk them into Japanese as well.
  • Post #2 - June 4th, 2012, 11:22 am
    Post #2 - June 4th, 2012, 11:22 am Post #2 - June 4th, 2012, 11:22 am
    The great thing about Times Square is that when you leave it (which you must, unless you are an imbecile, and I know you aren't), you don't have to go too far to be in a relatively quiet spot. Off the top of my head, Angelo's Pizza up by Carnegie Hall is pretty good and quiet; the Burger Joint in the Le Meridien is OK (it's like they put a Billy Goat in the lobby of a fancy hotel, but with better food); I'm a huge fan of the divey little ramen shop Menchanko-Tei on 55th (a bit longer of a walk); and db [Boloud] Bistrot Moderne is a solid, relatively reasonable spot nearby; and BXL is a Belgian mussels and beer place that I like OK. My vote is for Menchanko-Tei.
  • Post #3 - June 4th, 2012, 11:35 am
    Post #3 - June 4th, 2012, 11:35 am Post #3 - June 4th, 2012, 11:35 am
    Fantastic, Jeff - many thanks. We had triangulated to a reservation at DB Bistrot Moderne, and now I may have to hit Menchanko-Tei as well.
  • Post #4 - June 4th, 2012, 12:08 pm
    Post #4 - June 4th, 2012, 12:08 pm Post #4 - June 4th, 2012, 12:08 pm
    I'll second Menchanko-Tei, which I learned about from LTH and really enjoyed on two separate NYC visits in the last couple years. It's quiet, charming (if, as Jeff says, dive-y) and the food's terrific and reasonably priced. Maybe not quite as close to Times Square as is ideal, but perhaps worth a little extra hike.
  • Post #5 - June 10th, 2012, 7:46 pm
    Post #5 - June 10th, 2012, 7:46 pm Post #5 - June 10th, 2012, 7:46 pm
    I am currently in NYC for a conference, not so near Times Square, but sadly my hotel is right off Times Square -- wow, is this ever not my scene!

    I was feeling very happy that I knew a great place for dinner, and (because I had read this thread) I headed to Menchanko-Tei. The good news is, I needed some exercise and it's a pleasant evening. The bad news is, Menchanko-Tei on 55th is closed. A Latino guy coming out of the Japanese restaurant (I took him to be an employee) with a door right next to Menchanko told me that "all the best stuff from there is now on the menu upstairs" pointing to the place he had just come out of. Which of course was closed for the night. He said something about "kitchen renovations" but I couldn't be clear if that was the place he was working, that had just reopened, or if Menchanko was going to be reopening eventually, but not soon.

    I walked then blocks and blocks looking for somewhere half decent that was not a bar, and found nothing. Finally I settled for "SMillers Deli" which had steam tables full of pretty aged food (which I am eating now, back at my hotel, and it is not good, but it could be much worse). To add insult to injury, the very next block -- 46th between 5th and 6th -- had THREE Brazilan restaurants. If it had been an hour earlier, I would have ditched the food I had just bought. But I was exhausted and wanted to get back to the hotel.

    Does anyone know anything about these Brasilian restaurants, whose names I did not get, but they looked good? The block was labeled "Little Brazil". I'm here for two more dinners. (My meetings are at 33rd and 10th.)
  • Post #6 - June 10th, 2012, 9:55 pm
    Post #6 - June 10th, 2012, 9:55 pm Post #6 - June 10th, 2012, 9:55 pm
    Just returned, and we had success at the Menchanko-Tei on 45th and 3rd-ish, which was not at all divey. I hear very good things about Hide-Chan on 52nd and 3rd-ish as well.

    db Bistro Moderne was nice, some beautiful skate and excellent desserts. Bobby Van's Grill on 45th was a garlic-saturated, wilted lettuce abyss. Other than the 'wichcraft in lovely Bryant Park, the other nearby, reasonable touristic entry was Virgil's Real BBQ, very loud but real smoke on real meat; I had a burnt ends sandwich (which also had link slices in the mix!) that hit the spot, and the accompanying potato salad and slaw were well made and spiced. The staff was notably warm and helpful.

    My best meals this trip were far outside Times Square - an Okinawan restaurant in the Village and and odd little bistro in Tribeca named Edward's, more details soon.
  • Post #7 - June 11th, 2012, 9:26 am
    Post #7 - June 11th, 2012, 9:26 am Post #7 - June 11th, 2012, 9:26 am
    For future visitors, a Times Square/Midtown list:

    Szechuan Gourmet - Sichuan
    Cafe China - Sichuan
    Ai Fioi - upscale Italian with French influences
    Esca - seafood/Italian (Batali)
    Shake Shack - gourmet fast food, thin In'n'Out style burgers
    Don Antonio by Starita - Naples style pizza
    PizzArte - Naples style pizza
    Toloache - Mexican
    Shimizu - sushi
    Yakitori Totto - yakitori (grilled meat skewers)
    Soba Totto - soba, yakitori
    Pure Thai Shophouse - Thai noodles
    Pam Real Thai - Thai
    Wondee Siam - Thai, ask for the "Thai" menu
    Danji - modern Korean small plates
    Bar Room at the Modern - Alsatian inspired small plates
    Ma Peche - creative/fusion, American & Asian, David Chang's Midtown spot
    La Silhouette - French restaurant
    Jamaican Dutchy cart - 51st St and 7th Ave, not sure about dinner hours
    Biryani Cart - 46th St and 6th Ave, not sure about dinner hours
    Kwik Meal Cart - 46th and 6th Ave, not sure about dinner hours
    Halal Guys - 53rd and 6th Ave, south side of the street, SW corner at night, SE corner during the day
    Carnegie John's - 56th & 7th
    Momofuku Milk Bar - very sweet, creative desserts
    Magnolia Bakery - Rockefeller Center, cupcakes, icebox cake, banana pudding
    Jacques Torres - chocolates, Rockefeller Center
    Bouchon Bakery - Thomas Keller's Bakery, Rockefeller Center
    La Maison du Chocolat - chocolates, Rockefeller Center
    'wichcraft - Tom Colicchio's sandwich chain, Rockefeller Center
  • Post #8 - June 21st, 2012, 10:27 am
    Post #8 - June 21st, 2012, 10:27 am Post #8 - June 21st, 2012, 10:27 am
    Santander wrote:I hear very good things about Hide-Chan on 52nd and 3rd-ish as well.

    Their black garlic ramen was one of the most unique and delicious bowls I've ever had.
  • Post #9 - June 12th, 2014, 1:29 am
    Post #9 - June 12th, 2014, 1:29 am Post #9 - June 12th, 2014, 1:29 am
    This weekend I'll be at the beautiful Morgan Library and environs, doing some research and sangin' with some lurkers.

    Getting back to Menchanko-Tei and/or exploring Hide-Chan are possibilities, and I love Kathryn's list above (and contributions to the index). If there are any updated GNR-type recommendations in the Grand Central / Morgan / ESB vicinity that might work for a small group, those would be much appreciated. I then have a free day where, if not spending it in the company of manuscripts, I'll be trying for barbecue, pizza, or xiao long bao. If there's anything homestyle in those categories worth trying closer than Brooklyn or Flushing (I may just take the leap / 7 train in any case), thanks for the intel.
  • Post #10 - June 13th, 2014, 9:37 pm
    Post #10 - June 13th, 2014, 9:37 pm Post #10 - June 13th, 2014, 9:37 pm
    You wouldn't expect an authentic Hunan restaurant in Midtown, but there is one: Hunan Manor. Definitely worth your time.

    Oh, and go to Flushing for xiao long bao and many, many other good things.
  • Post #11 - June 16th, 2014, 10:29 am
    Post #11 - June 16th, 2014, 10:29 am Post #11 - June 16th, 2014, 10:29 am
    It's not quite Midtown, but Chinese MirchChinese Mirch at 120 Lexington Ave is both unique (Chinese food with Indian spices and flavors) and delicious.

    The chicken paitan ramen at Totto is easily the best I've ever had in my life. I know what you're thinking: "Chicken? Where's the pork?". I thought the same thing when I arrived. But I can honestly say that chicken broth managed to be richer and smoother than any pork broth I've ever tasted, anywhere.
    "I've always thought pastrami was the most sensuous of the salted cured meats."
  • Post #12 - June 22nd, 2014, 10:39 am
    Post #12 - June 22nd, 2014, 10:39 am Post #12 - June 22nd, 2014, 10:39 am
    Thanks to all for the recs! I hope to find time to come back and edit this post with some pictures, but for the moment, I did hit Totto (decadent schmaltz-essential paitan ramen and pork steamed bun), Hunan Manor (wonderful fragrant eggplant with salted egg yolk), adorable Briciola for oysters and octopus, Shake Shack, Uminoie again for homestyle Okinawan, Rare (Lexington) which was a delightful surprise, deftly handling a big group with some great cocktails, chops, and fries, and Salvation Taco for frescas and tacos (Big Star-ish).

    The hit outside of Midtown was Noodles Plus in White Plans, which has been covered by the Times, and is something really special emerging from something totally nondescript. This was a wonderful weekend and I hope to find another there soon.
  • Post #13 - June 24th, 2014, 8:24 pm
    Post #13 - June 24th, 2014, 8:24 pm Post #13 - June 24th, 2014, 8:24 pm
    The following have opened since I typed that list a while ago...

    Num Pang Sandwich Shop
    148 W 48th St, New York, NY

    Xi'an Famous Foods
    24 W 45th St, New York, NY
  • Post #14 - July 28th, 2014, 3:24 pm
    Post #14 - July 28th, 2014, 3:24 pm Post #14 - July 28th, 2014, 3:24 pm
    I stopped at Don Antonio's for lunch a couple of weeks ago, as it seemed to get the most number of hits for best pizza in mid town. The Neopolitan style pizza was indeed very good (not as good as the Motorino brussel sprouts one I had a couple of days later), as was the burrata-prosciutto appetizer.
  • Post #15 - January 2nd, 2018, 12:57 pm
    Post #15 - January 2nd, 2018, 12:57 pm Post #15 - January 2nd, 2018, 12:57 pm
    any recent midtown delights? heading to hotel conference there soon and will need to be able to eat nearby several meals. thanks!

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