Visited New York for 3 days last week from LA. i love New York dining -My opinions on new spots, interested in yours
1. Craftsteak Chef Tom Colicchio of Craft and Craftbar so we popped into the bar for a drink, and bumped into Thomas Keller, owner of the French Laundry and Per Se, liked didnot love.
2. Mr Chows Tribeca We came in for dinner on its second day. Now, Ive been going to Mr.Chows for forty years It was a good way to start the experience. The food and service were amazingly together for two days in, but the place is such a rip off, with no menu, a trust me, let me put together your meal tonight attitude, pouring bottle after bottle of water without asking, and a champagne cart that comes around and tries to sell you a glass before dinner, which included Dom, Cristal, Billecart Salmon etc at $75 a glass, but, of course, dont tell you the prices. We actually got charged $72.00 for a shrimp appetizer that had six small shrimp wrapped in a wanton casing. That simply doesnt make any sense, so I complained and it was reduced to $12.50. Maybe a computer error, maybe a trick they try and pull which they hope their high roller clientele wont notice. Its New York, people like to spend money.
3. Shake Shack If you have never been to California, it would be good, but it simply is not an In-and-Out.
4. Ditch Plains We ate here for lunch on a rainy day, and it was empty. They serve half bottles and full bottles of wine at reasonable prices. Now, they claim to be a neighborhood restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner all day, but charging $23 for a lobster roll, which happens to be my favorite sandwich, that is at best mediocre, seems like a conflicting statement to what they aim to be. On a separate night, Daniel went by himself, ate chicken liver mouse at the bar, and loved it. Apparently, it is quite the scene at night.
5. Buddha Bar This new mega restaurant from Paris is quite the scene in the meatpacking district. They are doing sushi, Asian fusion, and American dishes. Alone, the room makes it a great place to have a drink. It is grand without being overwhelming and the tiki room-like sushi bar is very cool. If nothing else, you can sit and watch beautiful people drink a lot.
6. Pastis This has got to be one of the busiest places in the city, with a two hour wait already going at six o clock. Also located in the meatpacking district, the restaurant is fun but the food is just not up to the Balthazar experience.
7. Buddakan The attention to detail here is incredible and the room is something you have to see to believe. Make sure you stop in the Golden Library dining room. We had drinks and appetizers at the front bar and enjoyed the Asian fusion food.
8. Del Posto The newest restaurant from Mario Batali is a grand experience. Hes been getting mixed reviews here, but the food was stellar and the service was some of the best Ive ever seen. Everything was as professional as it could be. The best part of the meal was the trio of pasta dishes we had, each with its own specific flavor, and nothing too heavy. One dessert in particular, a chocolate pyramid atop fresh black cherries, was unbelievable.
9. La Esquina This had to be our favorite experience. For anyone who says you cant get good Mexican food outside California, they are dead wrong. We had to book the 10:45 reservation two weeks in advance. In NoLita, the restaurant at street level is a taco stand. If you are in the know, you go and knock on a door marked Employees Only and a man in a suit with a list steps out and asks if you have a reservation. You then descend the staircase, walk through the kitchen, and hit the rundown bar and dining room. Pipes hanging with buckets are built above you and candles dripping with wax look like they have been there for thirty years. It was fun, but gimmicky, so how good could the food be? I might say this is the best Mexican/Southwest food I have ever eaten. The ribs entrée and the corn dish will stay with me for awhile. Reasonably priced, this was a whole lot of fun.
10. Rare This was our last meal in the city. It is a burger bar that does high end burgers and salads. It was ok, and not what it had the possibility to be, especially at the prices they were charging.
11. Spotted Pig A gastropub that received one Michelin star is something I had to see. Although the food was good, and the experience was delightful, it seemed a bit too pubby to receive a star from the Michelin group. We shared some tapas and a nice bottle of rose for lunch. Nothing extraordinary.
12. Stanton Social We loved our desserts at this Lower East Side hipster mecca. The restaurant is three stories with the dining room on the first two levels and a fantastically designed lounge on the third floor. AvroKo, probably the hottest designers in New York really hit the nail on the head at this place. The service was very friendly and the place was jammed on a Sunday night at midnight. We especially loved the donuts.
13. Trader Joes The market finally opened in New York and of all the places we went, this is probably the hardest place in the city to get into. On most days, there is a line down the sidewalk to get in, and then there is a line around the store to pay. It was unbelievable.
14. Balduccis A very cool grocery store built into an old, high-ceilinged bank. It was beautiful, but the best part was arriving at the same time Giada de Laurentis started filming an episode of her show for the Food Network.
15. Murrays Cheese All I ever hear about this place is how fantastic it is. The cheeses are great and the market is supposed to be the best maybe in the nation. I dont know why. I was totally let down by the space, by the product, by the service. It amounted to nothing Ive heard about it.