my list was long and lofty, and I didn't get to cover much. Here is what I was able to try
NYC Pizza - hit up 2 joints
Mario brick fire pizza & Sacco pizza. I was with locals at the time. One is a proclaimed pizza snob. The other is one of the loals favorite joins. General consensus among them was both places were good.
Personally, I found the crust lacking in flavor at both places. Meat pie at marios was too salty. Margharite(sp?) not memorable. 3 pepperoni slices at Saccos, good but also not memorable. I love the style of pizza, but I've had better in LA (vito's, tomato pie). Difaro was way too out there to make a trip just for that.
Was recommended H&H by a local. Also hit up Russ & Daughters. H&H everything bagel, too salty. Russ & Daughters made a proper bagel (ie with tomato, lox, red onionm capers). Not sure it was worth the $45 detour for me, but it was good and I'd go back.
Katz- was almost empty when we got there. Asked for a sample, delicious. But the sandwich? Definitely a purist sandwich. Pastrami was excellent, I couldn't compare it to langers. But in terms of sandwich? Langers. Easily. The #19 is a thing of synergistic. Beauty. I threw away the bread on my Katz sandwich. I would never do such a thing at langers.
Shake Shack - banging burger for me. Wifey felt it was actually too meat heavy (we split a double shack burger). Great sear on the meat, great taste, slightly pink on the inside. A small portion of my patty did not run clear when I squeezed. Great fries (I asked for them well done) and root bear on tap is awesome. But $25 for 2 burgers, 2 drinks, and 1 fry is too much. Not a fast food burger by any means. I would compare this to Taylors Automatic in SF. I'd go back, but this would not be my daily burger.
Momofuku- managed to snag a fried chicken res. 33oz asahi = awesome. Pork buns were awesome, not sure if $9/2 awesome. Onto the fried chicken.. There was 5 of us and we unanimously decided the buttermilk was better. I wasn't sure how the veggies and sauces would play out but I loved it. Of the sauces, the ginger scallion was on a different level of epic. The pancake was too thick. Towards the end, we all had the same style - lettuce, herbs, southern chicken meat, southern chicken skin, ginger scallion sauce. I would say after having Kyochon LA (my la friend who moved to NY says Kyochon la is vastly superior to Kyochon NY) I was not terribly impressed with the Korean chicken. There was a lot of food left: it was a great value, < $200 for all of us.
Anyway, that's all I care to share right now. Thanks for all the recs my fellow NYC hounds. I'll be back to work on the rest of my list.