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What we ate in Manhattan, thanks to you

balini | May 22, 200809:20 AM

I discovered Chow Hound while doing research for a week long Manhattan play date my husband and I took last year. It’s been a wonderful resource for us …we just got back home from this years visit and again made most of our dining decisions based on what I’ve read here so I decided to join and give you a report on our experience….

We stay with a friend near 125th and Riverside Drive and do a lot of Broadway shows and Museums so most of our choices are based on location and price…we don’t go to the real high end pricey places because we are also performing arts junkies and it all tends to add up rather quickly. We are piscetarians (no meat or fowl) so that also factors in on our choices.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for next year for places that would fit our criteria that we haven’t tried yet…

We had six days and we made the most of them, since we live in the Caribbean on an island with few dining choices we gave ourselves permission to overindulge…like two bears preparing to hibernate….

We went straight from the airport to Pisticci which is a new discovery for us, close to where we stay…fun, easy neighborhood feel, very good simple Italian food at a reasonable price…the service was a little slow but nothing that would keep me from going back again and again.

The Morningside heights location of the Kitchenette was a great place for breakfast although when I asked for poached eggs with the breakfast that offered two eggs any style I was told they only fried or scrambled their eggs….. so I ended up having their wonderful granola with fruit and yogurt and felt much healthier for it!

We loved the tea, pastries and tranquility of the Café at the Rubin Museum….the rice bowls and the soups all looked wonderful but we were saving our appetites for the Indonesian food at
Bali Nusa Indah …..this was an excellent pre theater choice… the service was perfect…our waiter made sure we understood what we were ordering…the food is really unique….Roti Canai was a revelation, the stuffed squid was very good, we didn’t like the fish cakes as much as the Thai version but everything else was wonderful , especially the spicy shrimps and green beans and the prices were very reasonable. The décor and atmosphere here is nothing special…when you walk in it looks and feels like a take out place but they have lots of room in the back and you’re not crowded which is always nice.

Café Lalo which looks great after the recent renovations is still our favorite for breakfast or afternoon coffee and something sweet but we had one breakfast and one lunch at Café Sabarsky at the Neue Gallery….and fell in love with the whole experience… the location is great…close to the Met and the Guggenheim, ……the pastries and coffee are amazing, the room beautiful, the service impeccable ..the Mozzarttorte is a must (Pistachios and nougat and chocolate) the Viennese espresso is a perfect complement…. and if you like herring the pickled herring, apple and egg sandwich is very authentic.

We also had a great breakfast experience at Balthazar. We couldn’t get in there last year so were happy to find it relatively uncrowded on a weekday morning and now I understand what all the fuss is about…love that chocolate bread!.

Rio and You was a good choice for pre theatre Sushi, not expensive, very high quality fish, attentive, quick service.

After seeing August Osage County we needed some comfort food so headed to Casellula on 9th and 52nd……..big after theatre crowd but we were seated right away….when we told our waitress we wanted to try several cheeses she asked us a few questions as to our preferences and had the fromager put together a selection of 6 cheeses each complimented by a little taste of something wonderful and unusual …the rhubarb- rose jelly that accompanied a nice strong Spanish goat cheese was heavenly….and it happily showed up again in the trifle we had for dessert. We loved our time there…

We tried two Vegetarian places and both were very good…we had Mothers’ day brunch at Blossom Café…. I agree with an earlier post that the menu is fairly standard for upscale vegan food but everything at our table was well executed and delicious…the bilberry juice and champagne cocktail was lovely.

My husband is not a big fan of Korean food, the good stuff tends to involve meat and I have never really gotten to love kimchi…but we decided to go to HanGwai anyway because it is vegetarian and the environment sounded so peaceful…Good choice! It felt like entering a shrine or temple… …the wait staff felt a bit distant, giving the impression in serving style and dress of Buddhist monks and nuns…..but that just made the experience more interesting. The food and drinks were great, I loved their version of Kimchi and
I think anyone would enjoy a meal there, not just vegetarians.

We love Indian and Indian fusion so were excited to go to Devi…we did the pre-theatre Tasting Menu which was a very good deal $40.00 pp included a glass of wine…and we both loved everything we had the Mandarin style cauliflower was incredible …..Last year we ate at Tabla and Tamarind… I think Devi is equally good as Tabla and better than Tamarind.

Our last dinner was in the West Village at Da Andrea…It was a great way to end…easy on the budget and delicious, we had seen five Broadway shows so our pockets were light …we loved the warm octopus salad, the mussels, the squid ink tagliolini with clams and especially the warm zabaion with fresh berries.

We're still high on our experience of your wonderful city and looking forward to next year!

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