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.