Just got back from 5 days in Manhattan... Thought I'd post some reviews (since I read so many here).
Here's a helpful hint for searching here... go to google, enter the search terms you want and also enter site:chowhound.com (so, for babbo, you'd search "babbo site:chowhound.com" [no quotes though]). This will search in all the threads and will get you better results than a ctrl-F.
I'll go in chronological order (all prices are for two, including drinks and tips [and might be approximate due to fuzzy memory]:
Carl's Steaks 3rd @ 34th st
wife got no onions, cheeze whiz, I got provelone, onions, jalapenos (hey I'm from Texas), we split fries ~$17
Food was good, hot, slightly greasy, and the perfect way to grab a bite after a plane ride.
We were there late (around 11pm). The food was very good (we both got the three pasta deal) - my wife even ate the rabbit sauce!, the service was *outstanding* (they remembered that it was my wife's birthday, sang her a song and put a candle on her cannoli), ~$100 for us both including tip + cheap wine. Other than the service, I hate spending this much on pasta (no matter how fancy).
Daniel's Bagels on 3rd ave (bet. 38/37th)
Good bagels and muffins (really reasonable prices too), bagels not "hot" though. ~$5
Ellis Island cafeteria
They've got the market cornered and they suck. We were famished, so just to get off the island, we grabbed a couple hot dogs (bad). $6
Caracas Arepa Bar
The arepas and empanadas *are* authentic! (I went to high school in Venezuela). Very small location. Service was pretty good, food excellent (for what I wanted) and very hot/fresh (I got a juice and it was very good too). ~$25?
Patsy's Pizza (on 3rd ave/37th st)
Guy next to us was a "herbal delivery person" if you know what I mean. Good guy though :)
Pizza was good (not shredded cheese, but sliced mozarella), calamari was good (maybe a little overcooked). I'd go back, but I realize now that it's a chain? ~$35
I don't recommend: the fries, the onion sauce (ketchup and onions) or the strawberry juice. The hot dogs were good, but could have been "crunchier"? ~$10
I'll not go back. This place is overpriced for the food. The service was pretty good though, however my 8 pumpkin raviolis, no matter how good they are, for $12.95 are not a good value (nor are they satisfying even after a $5 lettuce and vinegar salad). The lasagna was good (although not great), but $15 is too much. The pasta was very fresh though. ~$40
Lombardi's (on 3rd ave I think)
We just got a couple slices to take back to the room with us. This is "Sbarro" like pizza. I prefer Patsy's or Grimaldi's, but even for take out the service was good (someone had unscrewed the cap on the crushed peppers and I spilled the entire bottle on my wife's slice! They just got her a new one, no problem.). ~$5
Daniel's bagels again
even less "hot," but still fresh and good ~$5
Grimadi's in Brooklyn
Worth the walk [over the bridge] and the wait [~30 minutes, in which you could smell the pizza in the oven... mmmm]. Pizza was really good, service was very fast. Horrible bathroom support (one for the entire place, the line was 8 deep the entire time we were there). ~$25
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (or whatever it's called)
Ice cream was perfect after Grimaldi's and the walk over the bridge. We're spoiled here with great ice cream, but I'd say that this was up there, but a little $$ ~$9
Grand Sichuan (51st @ 9th ave).
Everyone said "it's hot." Lemme tell you, it's not hot if you're from Texas :D. It was good though (vegetable hot and sour soup was very good). We did get to share a table with two other people (because they didn't have many two person tables), but that was ok. There were quite a few asians there (which is my criteria for a good Chinese place). I'd say that the little place down the street from me is just about the same quality at 25% less. I'd probably skip this next time and find a shack in Chinatown :D ~$30
Donuts (blah) at dunkin donuts (we were bageled out and this was on the way to the subway).
Angels (61st and 1ave)
Although I tend to hate places that advertise as heavily as this joint, it was worth the walk. Much better value (vs. both Becco and Via Emilia) and I think that the food was better. The bread was great (4 types in the basket), the lasagna and gnocci were very good (and more than we could finish). The price was right too. ~$27 (our water glasses were never empty! -- it wasn't full though)
Just to help qualify my reviews, my wife and I are both practical people and tend to stay toward the more "value" oriented side of the foodie scale. We prefer more authentic and less pretentious. We know good food, but feel like we are cheated for the most part when we go to fancy places. If something is much better than another place and costs more, we'll go there. But if it's just a marginal difference, we won't bother to go back.
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