I'm a regular on the Florida forum, but my girlfriend and I are visiting New York City on August 2nd-4th, a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and I come seeking good recommendations from fellow Chowhounds. I was there with my family in 1991, but I was a kid then, and now we're both 29 and about to celebrate our first year together. We're staying in Times Square, and have tickets to see Rent that Thursday night and Les Miz on the Friday night. Let me offer more information about us, to help you good folks narrow things down for me:
1. We won't be doing any drinking, so there's no need to recommend bars (even if they're awesome).
2. We like almost all food, but she doesn't like Indian, and we come from Orlando where there are dozens of great Vietnamese restaurants, so no need to visit those out there. We're open to just about anything else.
3. We're both grad students, so even though it would be great to hit one or two "nice" restaurants out there, we simply can't afford to party like rock stars. Local institutions, mom and pop places, and ethnic restaurants are the best!
4. My girlfriend has a disability so we won't be doing a whole lot of walking. Stuff that is close would be ideal, and she will have her walker with her, but I fully expect that we'll need to take a few cabs.
Right now, these are the food destinations we have in mind:
Katz's for pastrami sandwiches and the ideal deli experience
Norma's for fancy breakfast or brunch (she's been there before and adores it)
Grey's Papaya or Papaya King for the perfect NYC street hot dog
H&H Bagels for what we hear are the best bagels in the world
Magnolia Bakery for the legendary cupcakes (if it isn't too far out of the way)
But what are two great dinner destinations that we can get in and out of to make it to our plays on time? I looked at the website for Babbo and it looks amazing (and worth doing, despite the price), but can we realistically enjoy a fine meal and not be late to the theater? And could we even get in, at this point? Is Les Halles (the one Anthony Bourdain made famous) worth it? I'm thinking about one "big ticket" night out (a well-known landmark, maybe) and one equally good but a little more moderately-priced -- as long as we can get seated and served early enough! (I hope I don't sound like your typical obnoxious NYC tourist, but she actually planned this trip around going to see Rent with two of the original cast members.)
Also, is Famous/Original Ray's Pizza worthwhile, just to say we've had real NY pizza, or is there a better option? I've heard a lot about Grimaldi's, but Brooklyn is way too far afield for our limited time in the city.
Thanks a lot, folks! We can't wait to hit the greatest city in the world a week from tomorrow, and I'll be checking this thread (and the forum) in the meantime!