We spent a great long weekend eating our way around Manhattan. Here are some thoughts and reviews. We tried to keep our meals from being too pricey, so most of our choices were at lower price points.
We started at Kati Roll, where I tried a beef Kati roll. It was very tasty - the bread is quite good and not too greasy, and the meat not overcooked, and nicely seasoned. I would have preferred that it come with some sort of vegetable to make it slightly healthier.....
Since one Kati Roll is not enough food to fill me up, we went to Taim, and decided that their falafel is truly exceptional. I've eaten falafel in Israel, Montreal, and Toronto, and this was excellent. We had the "green" falafel, with whole wheat pita. The only complaint is that their hot sauce is not harissa, but I still enjoyed it.
As an afternoon snack, we stopped by the Donut Plan in the LES. Since we'd previously had their Tres Leches, we thought we'd also try the new Creme Brulee donuts. They are very good - the burnt sugar, the lovely cream inside. But $3 for a small donut? That hurts. It was just expensive enough that we felt a bit taken. But they are tasty, and donuts are one item I don't ever feel like making at home.
The second afternoon snack consisted of grapefruit and lemon gelato from Il Laboratorio. They were both excellent, with not at all too much sugar.
Dinner - Keste Pizza on Bleecker. Very, very good pizza. We had no wait for a table probably since we got there on the early side. Very good service. We each had a Margherita. The sauce is very nice and tomatoey, not overcooked, not overspiced. The cheese is very good quality, and the ratio is perfect. The crust is chewy, slightly charred, and has great flavour. As others have mentioned, the crust is a bit soggy in the middle, but not in a bad way.
We ended up at Sarabeth's on Central Park for breakfast the next day. Their smoked salmon eggs benedict really is very good. But very pricey! I had the almond crusted french toast, which was good, but not to die for. Sitting outside in the sun looking at Central Park is certainly pleasant.
We went back to Caracas Arepas for lunch, but found we weren't blown away by their arepas this time. Perhaps because now we make a pretty good version at home. The "del Gato" which has fried plantains, white cheese, and avocado was still our favourite. Their sauce is very good, and I still don't know exactly what they put in it.
We also managed to try 40 Carrots frozen yogurt - wow, that is very tasty. I wish we had something similar here in Ottawa, or even Toronto. Very good texture, lovely tart taste. It is too bad you a small is so huge, and costs $5.
For dinner we tried Halfsteak at Craftsteak. We though it would be a good opportunity to try a high-end restaurant without paying a fortune. The space is very nice, and the service was exceptional. The food was good, but not oustanding. We had the fried oysters, which were definitely not greasy, and quite tasty (but you get just three, which is not very many if you are sharing). We also had the halfsteak, ordered medium (I would have preferred rare, but being pregnant, am being careful about such things). So as a medium steak goes, it was good but not great. I found that there was less flavour that I would expect at a steakhouse, even for a special. The fries were quite nice, and went well with the mayo and the jus from the steak. The pull-apart rolls were very nice, and very buttery.
For dessert, we trekked over to Momofuku Milk Bar. Were were really full from Halfsteak, but we did try their soft serve ice cream. Neither of us was into it - we tried the chocolate donut and the bavarian cream flavour. The chocolate donut just tasted bizarre - exactly like those cheap chocolate donuts from grocery stores, but as ice cream. The bavarian was unremarkable. We wished we could have tried other things, but we were full and exhausted.
For our final morning, we had an unconventional breakfast of Junior's cheesecake. It is consistently wonderful, and made a surprisingly satisfying breakfast. We ended up back at Taim for one last falafel, and Keste for a final pizza.
We didn't manage to get to Shake Shack, which was on our list, or have a good hot chocolate (it was too hot out for hot chocolate).
I'd like to thank the various chowhounders whose prior posts help us plan our food itinerary - we ended up eating quite well.