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Berkeley Chowhounds NYC Trip - Recap & Review

hungree | Mar 15, 2012 05:03 PM

We're back from our NYC trip, and had a blast. Chowhound did not steer us wrong! Thought I'd post a follow up review here.

We hit almost every place on the agenda:

Eleven Madison Park
Gramercy Tavern
Artichoke Pizza
Russ & Daughters
Shake Shack
Barney Greengrass
Shanghai Cafe
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Katz's Deli


Eleven Madison Park:

This was the best meal we have ever had. Beyond the food, the hospitality was off the charts. They say they want to "reinvent" what hospitality means, and they certainly accomplished it. We left thinking we were the only ones at the restaurant, even though it was a packed night. The lobster with black garlic and burnt leek stood out --- never thought I'd enjoy burnt leeks so much. Foie gras was beyond belief. We did the duck roast, and I'm never eating duck again. We called ahead for the kitchen tour, and they fit us in---the kitchen cocktail was awesome. Went with the wine pairing instead of picking a bottle, because the price didn't seem that much different and we enjoyed learning about the wines from the excellent sommelier. This was the best part of our trip outside of Book of Mormon.

Russ & Daughters:

Well, snap. Now I understand the hype about NY bagels. These were unlike anything you can get in the bay. The smoked fish was a billion times better than anything else. We had the whitefish, super heebster, nova, some chopped liver, and gefilta fish. I really liked the wasabi roe. They were also super nice and it wasn't that packed.


Other than a scare when we thought it was cash only, this was an awesome experience. Stuck with the pastrami. The thick cut + juicyness is what makes it so amazing. Will be dreaming about it.

Gramercy Tavern:

Tavern room -- this is a meal I would love having any Friday night. Great cocktail execution, awesome flavors that were simple but well executed and imaginative dishes. Got the sea bass with squash spaghetti, chicken soup with potato dumplings, and roasted chicken. The oysters were really damn good. Somehow, they get them to taste as fresh as what you can get in New Orleans.


As good as Santa Ramen. We loved the atmosphere and the appetizers were awesome too. Got the flash fried shitake with fishcake and pork buns.

Shanghai Cafe:

Not my first time here, but loved going back. Great XLB. Love the crispy shanghai noodles too. Their chicken, pork, and shrimp are all really tender and fresh, and the vegetables are fresh and high quality. Great meal. Super cheap too.

Shake Shack:

OK, this place is kindof overhyped. It's just not as good as in n out. I understand there might be more options on the menu, and the Shack Stack was great, but the double cheeseburger just wasn't that great. I thought their fries are nothing to write home about either. Not going back.

Artichoke Pizza:

I wish we had gone to a different pizza place. The artichoke slice tastes like artichoke dip on a piece of bread. The margharita was good, but too salty and I didn't like how the crust wouldn't bend. I thought the whole point of NYC pizza was to eat it folded in half? We were hoping to be blown away, but weren't. The best pizza I've had is still Cheeseboard.

Barney Greengrass:

OK, I'm confused. After eating here we just wished we had gone back to Russ & Daughters. The bagels weren't better at all. In fact, they weren't better than many other bagels I've had. The smoked fish was very high quality, but again nothing special. The "world famous" sturgeon and OJ were pretty plain in my opinion. Borscht was super flavorful, but I'd prefer it with some actual beets and maybe potatoes or (gasp) some beef/chicken. Really don't understand the hype with this place. Saul's is much better in my opinion, and I bet there have to be better places in NYC.

Momofuku Noodle Bar:

I had a bad attitude going in based on some of the reviews I'd read, and it got worse when they wouldn't seat us without our 3rd person who was on the way, even though the restaurant was empty. Eventually the manager seated us. The pork buns were good, but not as good as ippudo. The ramen was just not very adventurous. I felt like they were doing a good job making ramen accessible, but didn't really like it that much. For example, compare the Noodle Bar's hot sauce with Ippudo's hot paste spread. That pretty much sums up the difference to me. I bet there are hole in the wall ramen places in NYC that are better.

We did stop at the Milk Bar near Time Square and that was outstanding. I absolutely love cereal milk. Brought home some blueberry cookie mix too.

All in all, a fantastic NYC trip. Thank you Chowhound for the help planning! Next time: Jungsik, Kyo Ya Kaiseki, WD-50, and more Russ & Daughters!

This is the original thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/828542

Barney Greengrass
541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Russ & Daughters
179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Katz's Delicatessen
205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

Gramercy Tavern
42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

Momofuku Milk Bar
251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

Shake Shack
691 8th Ave, New York, NY 10036

111 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

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