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Help me choose 4 Manhattan restaurants after hours on chowhound

glang | Feb 13, 201101:13 PM

I will be staying in Secaucus 2/27-3/4 for a training. It's my first access to Manhattan in over a decade and I can only go in for dinner, after 7:30 pm. Will be taking the train into Penn Station after a 12-hour day of work.

I am adventurous and v knowledgeable about food and will eat anything but mangoes (allergic) but am out of touch w NYC food scene. Don't have a lot of money but will spend whatever I have on food! Could go cheap for 3 nights and do one big splurge, or medium all nights, but can't do high end every night. (For me, cheap = under $20 for meal/drinks/tip, medium = under $50 for ditto, big splurge = under $150 ditto). Probably will be eating alone but may be with one or two other people at most (can't try lots of dishes at one place except w tasting menu).

My tastes run the gamut from street food to v sophisticated, but when I go out I look for what I can't easily make at home (we are good cooks/know a lot about ingredients).

I am determined to make the most of my 4 nights (Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed), but after spending most of today reading posts I need some very specific info.

1) Chinese - can't get anything decent here (Boulder CO) so it might even get 2 of my 4 nights, won't be able to go anywhere but Manhattan, like all different regional, don't speak/read Chinese (so the menu translations here are great but not sure if current?). Reading threads, I got pretty interested in Shanghai Deluxe, Szechuan Gourmet, Old Sichuan etc but then got confused and overwhelmed about which are open, where they are now, how to choose just one and then how to choose specific dishes. Lau, erica, buttertart, bigjeff, scoopg et al, any consensus if I only have one or two nights for Chinese? Any chance you all are having one of those gang foodfests and I could horn in? ;-)

2) French - lived in France, love it all, scared to even start reading threads - I'll be here all night! Maybe French for my big splurge? If so, one night, where?

3) Italian - husband lived there, we have travelled there a lot, love all regions, pretty picky. If just one restaurant, where?

4) Seafood - I live in CO so am always craving fresh seafood. Maybe I can effectively combine this with the three listed above?

5) Japanese - can actually get some decent here, but not transcendent. This could also be my big splurge or my seafood wallow...

Finally, am flying in and out of JFK so on Thursday my only meal opp will be at the airport! Is there anything worth trying? Maybe an oyster bar or something?

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for the help!

Szechuan Gourmet
21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

Old Sichuan
65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

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