One of the things I dislike is when someone asks a lot of questions but then doesn't follow-up on their experiences (good or bad). So here is my trip report; hope it isn't regarded as clutter. I'm from Dallas but have been to NYC several times and this was more of a cheap eats type visit. I really enjoyed the cheap eats threads that many have contributed to.
Shake Shack (Madison Square Park Madison/5th Ave and 23rd) - A major reason I enjoy NYC is Shake Shack which makes my favorite burger. I tried the Shack Stack which was a ridiculous explosion of gooey cheesy awesomeness. I know they say mushrooms are in there but I mostly noticed the amazing amount of cheese. Visited three times during my stay and enjoyed a consistent Shackburger burger each time.
Aroma Espresso Bar (3rd Ave and 42nd) - I became addicted to the Iced Aroma Coffee drink from here. The light version was tasty as well.
Daniel's Bagel (3rd Ave and 38th/37th) and H&H Bagel (2nd Ave and 80th/81th) - I've heard raves from friends/locals about NYC Bagels and can only conclude it's either an acquired taste or hit or miss. I've read the best bagels are fresh from the oven and that could be the case. The mid morning ones I ate were not bad but not particularly compelling. Tried plain, onion, works, blueberry.
Famous Halal Guys (6th Ave and 53rd) - I went to the SE corner during the day. From what I can tell/have read it's the same operation that operates in the SW corner at night. They were having a hard time trying to convince a few tourists. Grabbed chicken and rice and discovered a simple dish that I could eat endlessly. Went back twice more during my trip for the same thing.
White Castle (8th Ave and 36th/37th) - Checked to see if childhood memories were accurate and unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it much. File this one away with my KFC and Pizza Hut memories.
Ippudo NYC (4th Ave and 9th/10th) - The atmosphere sucks (upscale but too dark and noisy), and it's pricey, but the ramen is great. We certainly have nothing like it in Dallas and it compares favorably to what I've had in Japan.
Crif Dogs (St Marks Pl and 1st Ave/Ave A) - I had to trry the Spicy Redneck after seeing it described. Worth $5? Not sure but tasted much better than your normal NYC hot dog. Also has one ingenious invisible restroom.
Momofuku Milk Bar (13th and 2nd Ave) - Walked right past it but it's right next to Ssam Bar. Had the ice cream sampler which was peach tea, raspberry lemon, cantaloupe, and cereal milk. It wasn't bad but probably not worth a return for me, not for the price. It was worth checking out but not sure about the raves.
Baoguette (St Marks Place and 2nd Ave) - Had grilled pork bahn mi. Didn't compare to the Vietnamese I've had in Dallas (we have a sizable population). The pork wasn't charred enough (which I think is the key to this) and the overall sandwich was a bit lacking. Not bad, but not what I've been used to having.
Nicky's Vietnamese (2nd Ave and Avenue A) - Tiny place. Had grilled pork bahn mi. Same experience as Baoguette.
City Bakery (18th St and 6th/5th Ave) - Wanted to checkout the Pretzel Croissant. It was good except for the salt crystals which made it way too salty. Was nice after I scraped off all the salt. Maybe I'm more sensitive to salt than others but most pretzels suffer from the over salt issue... but since you can just brush it off, no big deal.
Lamazou (3rd Ave and 27th st) - A nice little deli shop with great sandwiches. We tried Smart Duck (duck/brie) and Parisian (ham/swiss) and were happily impressed with the quality of a well made sandwich.
Porchetta (7th St and 1st Ave/Avenue A) - Had to see for myself and I'm on the not-so-great side. The sandwich was dried out, fairly porky, in need of some sort of sauce, and definitely not worth $10.
Taim (7th Ave and Waverly Pl) - This was a fantastic falafel sandwich. My brother (who was skeptical) agreed. Plenty of flavor and pleasing textures instead of being overly starchy or bland. They have indoor seating and plated dishes but since it seats about 4 you're better off to-go.
Joe's Pizza (6th Ave and Carmine) - Great cheese slice. I got mine fresh from the oven, first slice off the pie. Maybe not the best ever but pretty darn good to remind me of what a NYC slice tastes like.
Great NY Noodle Town (Bowery and Bayard) - Great little noodleshop. Had wonton soup, pork noodle soup, and another vegetable pork dish. Isn't quite amazing but for the price and what it is, it was good.
Prosperity Dumpling (Eldridge and Hester/Canal) - Great fried dumplings cheap. Really liked these unlike most Chinese dumplings which I find bland or gummy.
Yonah Schimmel (Houston St and Forsyth) - Grabbed a potato and blueberry knish. My first knishes. Enjoyed them both although they were much larger than I pictured.
Doughnut Plant (Grand St and Norfolk) - Based on some advice from here I tried the Tres Leches, Blackout, and Carrot cake donuts. The blackout was certainly choclatey but not for me. The Carrot cake was good... but the Tres Leches was terrific. Worth $2+ terrific? I'm going with yes. Went back for a second trip. They definitely sell out of what is popular.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (Bayard and Mott) - Maybe it's just me but they are always out of the flavors I want to try (fruit sorbets). Well known ice cream joints in NYC seems to be much pricier than I'd be willing to pay as a local.
Il Laboratorio Del Gelato (Orchard St and Broome/Delancey) - Similar experience to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. I had green apple and pear. Good product but not a lot for what you pay. It's a walk up storefront.
Cafe Katja (Orchard and Broome/Grand) - This was the most I spent on a meal on this trip. It's an Austrian style place and I thought it was terrific overall. Started with a fresh pretzel which was warm, chewy, soft, tasty. It was a bit salty but, as I wrote earlier, just scraped off the salt. The Emmentaler sausage entree was a large cheese filled sausage link in a creamy sauce with dumplings/cabbage. I'm usually disappointed by sausages but this one was excellent, especially in combination with the rest of the plate. Concluded with a linzer torte slice which was the only downside. It was not bad but I didn't care for it. Service was very friendly and I had a nice relaxed meal.
Shake Shack, Joe's Pizza, Doughnut Plant, Famous Halal Guys are places I'll definitely be visiting on my next trip.
370 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013
3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011
379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002
79 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
46 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
569 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
639 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003
110 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009
525 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018
Momofuku Milk Bar
251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003