In April of 2007, a small army of scholars in the field of Asian American studies will descend on New York City for an annual academic conference. (It may sound dull to you, perhaps even alarming, but it's actually a lot of fun. No, really. I'm serious.) We're expecting something like 700 conferees, and I've been charged with compiling a list of restaurant recommendations for them. The goal is to show off the city's ethnic offerings in all their splendor and to support small, locally-owned businesses in the process. I'm humbly writing to ask advice from you, the experts on Manhattan dining, for suggestions to help the list along. I'm already collecting the results of some recent relevant threads, of course, but I'm sure there's a lot more out there. Pray, dear Chowhounds, what restaurants would you put on such a list? The constraints are as follows:
PRICE POINT: The conferees will range from starving students to starving junior professors to generously salaried, well-fed big wigs. So some places on the cheap side would be good, as would a few places at the upper end of the spectrum; but most helpful would be places in the mid (or mid-to-upper) range.
CUISINE: Asian cuisines are a must, of course, but the conferees would probably also be interested in other ethnic cuisines. Fusion joints would be a plus. (One theme of the conference, in fact, is "interracial crossings.")
LOCATION: The conference will be held at the Grand Hyatt, right above good old Grand Central Station, so it would be great to hear about restaurants accesible from there. If you know of a great place that's a bit out of the way, though, I'm sure some of the conferees will make the trek.
WATERING HOLES: This is actually an additional request. Can you recommend any good drinking spots? The constraints here are similar to the ones above, with the added proviso that we're looking for places conducive to conversation. (We're scholars; we like to talk.)
Thank you in advance for your help. I do herewith promise to share the results, presented in a handy, collated form, with the rest of the board--and, of course, to credit chowhound when I distribute my list at the conference.
Cheers to all.