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New to Hell's Kitchen and NYC, recs and help

jakecola | Aug 27, 2009 10:34 PM

Hello Manhattan hounds,

My wife and I just moved to Manhattan from Seattle - needless to say we're experiencing a bit of culture shock. We're both from Boston and lived there the majority of our lives, but even so, living in Seattle for the last three years and then moving here has been quite an interesting experience. We live at W42nd and 11th ave. I've looked through a number of the threads and found some good recommendations, but I'm also wondering about other places. So, below are some of the places I've read about on CH and also ones that we've been to or walked by wanting to try - please help out with any recommendations, comments on things I've listed, and especially fill in anything you'd like.

Since we're new to the city, I'm keeping this list to places west of 8th and between, say, 38th and 59th. We've got lots of time to venture out of our neighborhood to places that are really special, but for starters, we just want to learn about our neighborhood. We are, unfortunately, downsizing our budget living here (paying 2.5x the rent for about 1/4 the space), but we used to really enjoy going out in Seattle and would love to continue despite being a bit more money-crunched.

Haven't been to any of these places unless I say that I've been there.

Breakfast - we tried the brunch at 44th and X, it was good although a little pricey. Nook seemed to get a few good recs, how's their dinner fare? Eatery and Marseille also got good reviews. Pigalle seems to be on the cheaper side too (read: under $10 for eggs benny). How 'bout for a super cheap, but better than a typical deli egg sandwich, spot?

Thai - Wondee Siam on 9th sounds good, although I don't know if my wife will be up for the secret menu's spice-levels; Heng seems good for delivery/takeout. others?

Chinese - have only gotten delivery from Ollie's on 42nd so far, it was decent, good green beans and good country style tofu, although the dan-dan noodles had no flavor. Any good Chinese recs? (note: Seattle had HORRIBLE Chinese, so we're just looking for something solid, not necessarily out-of-the-park).

Italian - Wow, there is certainly no drought of Italian restaurants in our neighborhood! We've tried two, Cascina and Nizza. Cascina at 45th and 9th (http://www.cascina.com/) had great rectangular neapolitan-style pizza - slightly blackened crust, thin, crispy, great sauce. We also had a fantastic peach, arugula, proscuitto and parmesan salad. Nizza was also very good, although slightly more pricey and I preferred Cascina's pizza.

Burgers - is 5 Napkin Burger worth it? seems like a touristy place. other spots, either gourmet, pub, or fast-food style burgers would be great.

Sushi - it seems like there's a dearth of good sushi in HK?

Other assorted places we haven't been and want to try:
For bakeries: Amy's Bread, Sullivan St. Bakery, Poseidon Bakery for Greek
For dessert, Kyotofu sounds interesting, is their cupcake really that good?
Excited that there are 2 Ethopian eateries, Meskerem and Queen of Sheba. Any preference for one over the other, or recommended dishes at either?

Mexican/other Latin American - Empanada Mama seems to have gotten good reviews. Anything else? Cheap, good (real) tacos? Also, are there any taco trucks nearby?

Lastly, we're trying to find our places for stocking up, provisions, etc. We've discovered the Union Sq. Farmer's Market, and even though it's not right around here, it's so worth the trip, just for the cheap farm fresh eggs. But, what about in the fall/winter when the market is closed? Are there good places to get local produce/meat (Food Emporium, right down the st. on 42nd, doesn't seem like they'll fit that bill).

Butcher - We've been to Esposito's Pork Shop and I've fallen in love with their prices, selection, and of course quality (their bacon is to die for and their service is incredibly friendly).

Seafood - there's a fish store across 9th from Esposito's, around 40th and 9th. Lots of whole fish, and quite an assortment. It seems alright, has anyone ever been?

Lastly, we're especially looking for a place to buy bulk goods, like grains, pastas, herbs, spices, etc. We used to do this at our local version of Whole Foods in Seattle (PCC), but the Whole Foods here in Union Sq. doesn't have a bulk section. Are there co-op type stores where we can get bulk items like Israeli couscous, pearled barley, lentils, different flours, etc.?

If there's anything else, please feel free to post. Thanks in advance.


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