Sunday, August 02, 2009

Favorite Restaurants

This post maybe limited usefulness, but I thought people visit New York all the time and often want restaurant recommendations from people who live here; also when people ask me to recommend restaurants I can never remember until after they leave, so I thought it might be good to keep it in one public place.

My food tastes tend to run on the cheap side. A good example of this is Dim Sum Go Go vs Momofuku. Momofuku has stunningly good steamed pork buns, but they cost 9 bucks a pair; Dim Sum Go Go has excellent steamed pork buns for like a dollar each. But I also understand that some times you want to spend a lot of money on kick-ass food. I also have a bad habit of giving restaurants too many points for being easy to get to from my house without being aware of it: I feel like Michael Angelos is one of my favorite places to get pizza, but I am not sure how much of that is that they are in delivery range. [EDIT -- Ba is right, and Momofuku and Dim Sum Go Go do not have enough in common to justify a comparison: both are excellent in their own way.]

Fette Sau (BBQ, Williamsburg Brooklyn) -- it is possible I have been out of Texas too long to remember if this is as good as Texas BBQ, but as far as I can discern, it is. Also -- hipsters in their natural environment. (Thank you Sara.)

Sripraphi (Thai, Woodside NY) -- I do not understand why the best Thai food I have ever had -- and not expensive at all -- is off the 7 train in Queens and not in Manhattan, but it is. As soon as you walk in you know this is another level of Thai food -- for starters the place is abnormally big inside considering its location. It looks to me like it was so good they expanded into the restaurant next door. They also have a nice backyard area. (Thank you Jason and Ximena and Alex)

Natural Tofu Resturant (Korean, Sunnyside Queens) -- similarly, my favorite Korean food is also in Queens, lava hot bowls of bibimbab. Don't let the name fool you -- they are not vegetarian, though they do make great tofu if you are into that kind of thing. (Thanks Nathaniel)

Zen Palate (Asian Vegetarian, 9th ave a 46th) -- this is a vegetarian resturant recommended by a meat-eater from Texas so you can trust me -- it is not at all like other vegetarian places that serve you piles of colored much like in Brazil (the movie). Sara and I lived at this place in college.

Dim Sum Go Go (Chinese, Chinatown) -- Steamed pork buns are one of my favorite things, and I can eat them like White Castle sliders at Dim Sum Go Go you can afford to eat them like that as they cost about the same. (Thanks Jason and Ximena)

Momofuku (Pork, Village) -- BBQ pork sandwich and pork buns are awesome, and if you do it at lunch with a glass of water it will only be 22 bucks, which is a good price for that kind of quality. (Thanks Brady)

Fatty Crab -- everything is VERY spicy and everything is delicious, even generic looking Chinese soup with noodles, and unripe mango to be dipped in a salt-sugar-chili powder.

Katz's Deli (Deli, east Houston) -- It was in the famous orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally, but the tourists have not ruined this place (except for creating crowds). Egg Cream and Pastrami is my favorite. The "Buy a Salami for Your Boy in the Army" sign is also one of my favorite rhymes.

Michael Angelo's (Pizza, Long Island City) -- the Special Pie is a regular at my house. (Thanks Sara)

Patsy Grimaldi's (Pizza, Brooklyn) -- this is were I land on the great New York pizza debate. Also quite famous and tourist-y, but still excellent.

Vatan (Indian, 3rd Ave and 28th street) -- vegetarian, price fixe, all you can eat, but classy. The system they have of just bringing you lots of little things is awesome, plus you do not have to make any decisions except Mild, Medium of Hot. (Thanks Sara)

Baoguette (Midtown) -- Vietnamese sandwiches, 5 bucks, which is only 5 bucks more than free.

The Sparrow (Astoria, Brunch) -- my local. The brunch burger is one of the Sparrow's already excellent burgers served between english muffin halfs and toped with a fried egg, which makes just about anything better (See also Bibimbop)

Perry Street (Perry Street and the West Side Highway) -- The burger and the fried chicken are excellent, and they have a cocktail with chili in it that I cannot remember the name of right now but it is awesome.

The Redhead (East Village) -- this is the best fried chicken I have had and they also have an excellent cocktails menu.

Black Hound (cakes) -- this bakery makes the most amazing little cakes that only cost a buck more than a pint of ice cream and are way more awesome. I recommend Bee Cake especially, and the tarts and the one that looks like a coffee cup.

Special Note (outside of New York City)

Austin, TX: Freebirds -- When Sara and I went back to Austin for three days we ate here every day. Nuff Said.


ba said...

I don't really think that you can compare the pork buns, as they are two totally different interpretations of the dish. It's like comparing chopped liver with foie gras torchon, y'know?

ba said...

Also, I think the reason you had better thai in queens than manhattan is...all the thai people who live there! I had the best soup dumplings in my life right in flushing, because that's where all the chinese people live and eat!

Geoff Klock said...

ba -- I feel like FOR THE BLOG i need to go test this theory and go to Momofuku right now.

Geoff Klock said...

Ba -- so you were right about Momofuku, but Battles still sucks (I listened to them on the way home, thinking you were on a winning streak in terms of recommendations).

hcduvall said...

Despite no longer being the ny food blog topic du juor, (banh mi right now I believe) korean fried chicken is also pretty good comfort food. And while I think all the best places are probably in Queens or NJ, I like Bonbon below canal street with its trapdoor behind the counter delivery.
Also, I've heard very good things about the hand-pulled noodle place in Chinatown next to the Excellent Pork Chop place, which sadly, I'm told doesn't have excellent pork chops.

sara d. reiss said...

what about the Belgian Beer Bar and its yummy mussels and fries with amazing dipping sauces??

ba said...

is the belgian beer bar still there?

i hear such good things about korean fried chicken...there's a kyo-chon right by where i teach, but i haven't been there yet.

geoff, cheers for momo. i'm taking my parents to the milk bar tmw after dinner. you can feel free to join me at the battles concert on sept 4.

sara d. reiss said...

he'll be busy then. ;-p

Telosandcontext said...

A couple things:

1) BA can S a D. Kidding. He's right. Pork buns unable to be compared.

2) Per rec of a friend of mine, Rainbow Cafe on Grand and Mulberry makes AMAZING sticky rice/fried chicken wings.

3) I've come to realize that though he can be a pretentious twat in his presentation of facts, BA is the shit when it comes to food in NY. If he says it's worth eating, it usually is.

Geoff Klock said...

Dear Everyone Who Reads My Blog: It is possible that this post is more of a facebook kind of thing. For starters, you might want to know that everyone who has so far commented I hang out with in real life, and they all know each other. G

ba said...

Well, since I have nothing better to do this fine morning, I figured I'd list some of my faves in the NYC area:

Shake Shack (madison square park): obligatory shout out, especially in the summer

Blue 9 (around 12th and 3rd): for when the line at shake shack is too long

Friendhouse (across from Blue 9): extremely serviceable japanese/chinese

Artisanal (midtown): amazing cheese, I must check out their new place

Bellavitae (Greenwich village): great italian small plates

San Loco (e. village): no better drunken 3 am food

Nan Xiang Dumpling House (flushing): best soup dumplings and rice pancakes I have ever had

Pete's tavern (irving pl): ok, not the best restaurant, but serviceable, and right by the movie theater

Tomoe sushi (soho): for the money, the best sushi in the city (FOR THE MONEY!). watch out for LONG lines.

Best places to blow a little cash and impress a date: Balthazar, Aquavit, Craft/Craftbar, Devi, Les Halles (ok, don't bring a date to that last one).

I also speak highly of A Voce and Mia Dona, though I've only been to them once.

That's off the top of my head, though if I put a bit of effort into it, I'm sure I can easily double the list. Like...brunch - la belle epoch near union square, or maureen's kitchen out in smithtown, LI.

Also, there is my secret chinatown spot, which telos learned not to share with other people (i bit off his pinky in retaliation).

Marc Caputo said...

Here's some for you - my favorite Italian restaurant, upscale division. - I've eaten the Bosna Burger at the Ridgewood location only, though. - only the full restaurant location is open. Favorite Italian restaurant - local, down home division.

neilshyminsky said...

My in-laws have turned me into a pretentious foodie, so my tastes run well beyond my means to sate them. Which is actually quite depressing. But if anyone ever wants a recommendation for good-and-not-cheap food in Toronto... (For those familiar with the city's ongoing high-end pizza wars, I fall firmly on the side of Terroni's.)

Telosandcontext said...

BA is right. I took a friend of mine to the ancient chinese location and now have nine fingers.

I still recommend Rainbow Cafe on 154 MOTT ST. Sticky-rice infused chicken wings. Let me REPEAT: STICKY RICE INFUSED FRIED CHICKEN WINGS.

SEVEN in one order. cheap and scrumptious.

ba said...

Also, just went to Mary's Fish Camp last night. Fantastic lobster roll.

James said...


Like Geoff, I'm a cheapo, so prepare for good eats in pokey venues...

Food For Thought Vegetarian cafe in Covent Garden, so great that even the most stalwart carnivore won't miss meat.
Mildreds Vegetarian restaurant in Soho, see above. Great burgers.
Tokyo Diner Homely cafeteria-style Japanese food on the edge of Chinatown. Unlimited free tea, and upgrade to a larger portion of rice for no extra charge! (Usually unnecessary.)
Bodean's Some MEAT to balance out the vege-stuff, home to an all-beef, 1/4lb hot dog that I cannot get enough of. Slightly more expensive restaurant-style dining downstairs, if tools have put their jackets on all the free seats in the sports bar.
Wahaca Authentic mexican food, and the exception to the "pokey venues" rule. I love the fresh salsa they put on their chips.
World Food Cafe Another Covent Garden vegetarian place I forgot, with dishes themed around various countries. A good alternative if the hobbit-sized Food For Thought is too busy, though they're not open Sundays C'MON GUYS.

Credit for all these goes to the lovely Gemma, by the by.