Hello ladies and gents,
I am Captcrunch and I am a longtime contributor to the Montreal board. I greatly enjoy reading feedback and trip reports from tourists so I thought I would endeavor to give the kind of report I like to read while I am visiting fair Manhattan.
First of all, a bit of context: I am in Manhattan for work and will stay the weekend for pleasure. The next few days will be packed with business lunches and dinners. I am also there with a team so decisions are taken collaboratively.
I will have Friday night and Saturday to do as I will.
I have a very very large list of restaurants in google maps that let me see what could be interesting around me (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Kv5...). It's not tight enough but I chose exhaustivity rather than precision. It also gives me a lot of choices which is nice to have when you are making decisions as a group (I usually use the list as a curated shortlist on my phone with GPS on, not as a detailed plan of things to do)
We are staying at the W (for work reasons, its close to the office) and I am not a fan. The room is not properly lit up, the grout work in the bathroom is sloppy (and honestly a bit dirty) and I don't get the vibe. I understand they are trying to go for design but they are failing. For 300$ a night I would have looked forward to better (at least something better than the vanilla holiday inn room, which I would prefer to this one). It is well situated though.
Manhattan still steals my heart. I love the sheer urbanity of it all. Time square always makes me think of the Ishtar gate at the Pergammon museum (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar_...) and the city has a unique grit and texture. Always alive, milling about, ant-hill in its dynamism and life. Its always way bigger than my native Montreal and I tend to overestimate the distances (let's walk from the harbor to central park! )
We came in just in time for supper yesterday. My colleague is Italian and is wary of Italian restaurants (who are not good enough in her opinion so I kept Italians out... no Carmine). Ideally, it would be within walking distance, a nice place for 4 people coming into New-York, a novel experience unique to the USA (so french restaurants are probably out since we do that well in Montreal... sorry The Modern and Gabriel Kreuter), not too posh (Blue Hill looked nice but way too formal, Acquavit a tad to foody to please everybody).
I had highlighted Lillie's Victorian Establishment as a good compromise but my colleague already went and wanted to try something else.
Choices I offered were the following:
Steakhouse won with a great fervor so I called to reserve. The earliest table was at 21h30. Too late. I tried looking for something similar in concept: not too far, meat-oriented, good ambiance... Minetta Tavern? Gramercy Tavern? The spotted pig?
I went with Blue smoke.
Blue smoke was about 30 minutes walk from our hotel (we went to the one on 27th street). The walk was great and nobody complained. The atmosphere was exactly what we were looking for (leather booth, a hint of a pub style). We ordered the brisket, racks of ribs, the salmon with fries, mac & cheese, baked beans and slaw.
My problem was that I eat a lot of BBQ. Everything we ate was good but I've had better elsewhere. I've had better brisket, more tender, juicier, more smoked elsewhere. Ribs were probably the best mains but they could have been a bit more tender/juicier. Salmon was very good. Loved the sauce. Loved the sides (they were probably stronger than the mains). Loved the fact that they were carrying old school southern sodas (I had Fitz root beer and Cheerwine), Finished with a Whistle Pig rye which I greatly enjoyed.
My colleague wanted dessert when we were back from the hotel so we went to Amorino Gelati. The gelato was good (not mind blowing but interesting) and the presentation was exceptional (they made a gelato flower cone with different flavors as petals and a macaron as the center, great flash).
She also showed me a place called "The food emporium" on 43rd where we can stock up on water, juice and munchies for our hotel room (7$ bottle of water in the mini fridge? No thanks!). The place is very clean, has a large choice of sweets, beers, candies, salads, hot and cold lunches, fruits, breads... its worth it if you are in a hotel midtown.
Today we will not be making any choices. I will try to hunt down a bagel stand for breakfast, will have starbucks/DD coffee, lunch is a team lunch with (harry's pizza?), supper with a local friend of our colleague.
I am thinking of a restaurant to go before I go drinking at Terroir friday (made a 8pm rez). Colleague want to go to "Chez Philippe by Philippe Chow" which might be a good option. I was looking for something in Tribeca (Marc Forgione, Tamarind or Locanda Verde...?)
I will try to find a moment to update later this week!