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Parade Day in Chinatown

I have an out of town friend who wants to get dim sum this Sunday -- the annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade is that day.

Does anyone know what affect that has on the wait times at restaurants? I assume it will be a madhouse outside, but is it business as normal inside?

Feb 14, 2013
von_levi in Manhattan

Daniel Boulud?

I'm going there this Saturday for pre-opera lunch; I'll report back if there are any issues.

You should send them an e-mail. I've always found that Boulud's restaurants have excellent customer service.

Oct 18, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Daniel Boulud?

I think you hit them on a bad day. I go about 6 times a year before the opera and have never had something like this happen.

Oct 17, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

good place to buy dried morel mushrooms?

Whole Foods or the Greenmarkets (there is typically at least one person at them selling dried mushrooms)

Oct 17, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Chinatown Dim Sum for rookies

I completely agree.

Part of dim sum is the experience.

If all you want are the best tasting dumplings, then you need to entertain non-dim sum choices.

I'd also reiterate the point that the waits in Chinatown on a Saturday can be quite long, but it's never that bad at JF.

Oct 06, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Best bagels in West Village/SoHo?

Agreed about going up to Murray's.

Oct 06, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Chinatown Dim Sum for rookies

I'd say Jing Fong.

Hardly the last word in dim sum, but as swannee noted, you get the zoo experience which I think is fun (or at least different), and they have so many tables that if there is rarely a wait on weekdays.

I'd also toss out Golden Unicorn as an option that has more of a sit-down feel.

Oct 05, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Solo bar dining near Lincoln Center

Bar Boulud, obviously -- it's my go to place for pre-opera meals.
Cafe Luxembourg -- that's my second choice.
Indie Food and Wine

Oct 03, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Subpar high-end sushi experience—trying to understand & some lessons [15 East]

"6. Parents are skeptical diners, not yet enthusiastic fine-sushi converts. Eating with new diners is not like dining alone."

My parents are pretty unadventurous eaters. I learned a while ago that it's just not worth taking them to something outside of their comfort zone. They go into the meal assuming that they're not going like it, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, and their clear discontent throughout the meal drags down the whole experience.

So not to blame your parents, but their dissatisfaction could have caused you to be much more critical and self-conscious than you normally are.

Oct 03, 2012
von_levi in Not About Food

near Lincoln Center/berfore Nutcracker

I probably go to Bar Boulud 75% of the time for pre-opera meals. Out of all the places surrounding LC, it's the best combination of value and quality. Sometimes I go to Cafe Luxembourg.

No offense to the other posters, but I think that Fiorello and Ed's Chowder are terribly overpriced and not all that great.

Atlantic Grill is fine, but nothing interesting.

Sep 30, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Best combo of craft beer & food in Manhattan?

Add Jimmy No. 43 to that.

Sep 29, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

NH chowhound Q's: best deli for out of towners, dosa (and chow-worthy) near Times Square?

re: Deli

I say avoid Carnegie.

As Kathryn noted, Katz's is known for its pastrami, and if you've never had it, it's worth the trip. I've heard some people claim that their corned beef is good, but I'm not aware if there is a general consensus on this.

For a more well rounded classic NYC deli, try Barney Greengrass.

Sep 24, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Casual Restaurants NYC Manhattan For December Trip

Skip Grimaldi's -- there's as good if not better pizza without the 1 to 2 hour waits. Try Motorino instead.

Katz's is a must. Also go next door to il laboratorio del gelato.

Five Napkin is not unique. Go to Shake Shack. Better burger and superb shakes.

Add to the list Mission Chinese. They'll be a wait, but it's will be 50% shorter than however long they tell you it will be.

Sep 23, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Cost Of Eating Out In Manhattan!

1) Putting aside the high-end restaurants where part of your bill is going towards paying for the large staff that helps ensure an optimal customer experience, you're paying for high quality food that the restaurant cooks with. To use fish as an example, these restaurants are not using farm raised fish sold in the freezer section of the supermarket, but freshly caught wild fish. At the really expensive places they're serving fish that was caught 24 hours ago halfway around the world -- you're paying for the shipping expense.

2) Every city, no matter it's size (well, maybe 50k is the threshold) has its share of expensive restaurants. New York has more of them because it's the largest city in the United States as well as the top tourist destination.

3) There are plenty of reasonably priced places in New York.

4) Restaurants with double digit burgers are likely using high quality meat, grinding it themselves, with their own custom blend beef cuts. While I'm sure there is some NYC markup in there, you still cannot compare it to the ground beef being sold in your supermarket.

Sep 23, 2012
von_levi in Not About Food

Mission Chinese - Put down the Kool Aid

Well, MCF is very clear about the fact that it is not Chinese, but American Chinese, or "Americanized Oriental Food" as they describe it on their website. Same could be said of P.F. Chang.

Sep 19, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Mission Chinese - Put down the Kool Aid

As I see it, there are two issues here:

1) Is it good or bad food -- on a basic level, is everything properly cooked, does it taste good, etc.; and

2) Is it unique -- are they doing something that's actually notable -- plenty of places can manage to cook food well.

1) The general consensus seems to be yes. While there have been some complaints about it being too salty (first time I went the pastrami was a bit salty), but Renguin is the first person I've heard to have had such a downright negative view of the food. I think his experience was an outlier (and he/she could have ordered better) .

2) I think some people have overblown how unique it is. They took the classic Americanized chinese food menu that hasn't been changed since the 1950s, and updated it -- dishes are supposed to be recognizable. For example, they've turned Beef with Broccoli into Broccoli Beef Brisket with Smoked Oyster Sauce. Kung Pao Pastrami is pretty much your standard meet with stir fried vegetables, except that they use pastrami. And instead of having vegetable/chicken/shrimp/beef fried rice, they do it with mackerel. I do think the changes are enough to qualify it as unique (relative to Americanized Chinese Food) -- and they do have what seem to be original creations, like the poached tofu in soy milk -- but they're certainly not trying to reinvent Chinese food.

Sep 18, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Mission Chinese - Put down the Kool Aid

As is the tofu poached in soy milk (I've never seen it on a menu before).

Sep 17, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Classic Restaurants in Manhattan

In that case, Katz's is the place to go.

Sep 16, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Chinese on Christmas Day, during 5-hour JFK Layover

Agree with others about staying in Queens.

Without any traffic it will take you 30 minutes to get in/out of Manhattan -- at minimum you're going to lose at least an hour to the commute.

Sep 16, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Tomatoes for saucing and canning - price?

You can do a lot better. I was at the Greenmarket on Broadway up at Columbia today; someone was selling "damaged" tomatoes for $1/lb. And a lot of people had vine ripe tomatoes for $2/lb.

Checkout the one closest to you: http://www.grownyc.org/ourmarkets

Sep 16, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Current thoughts on Boulud restaurants?

The baked Alaska deserves a shout out. It's also a huge portion -- enough for 4 or 5 people to split.

Aug 14, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Current thoughts on Boulud restaurants?

Bar Boulud: I go here for brunch before maintenee operas at the Met. In the price range I think it's best restaurant in the immediate Lincoln Center area (note: I said *in the price range*), fairly priced, excellent service.

Epicerie Boulud: Some things here are extremely pricy, others are quite reasonable, like their salads (easily among the best salads to go); good coffee; best yogurt parfait. When I worked at Lincoln Center I spent way too much money there.

DBGB: I hear tons of negative comments here, but last time I went (November 2011) I just didn't see it. First, service was really great. I changed my party size from three to four 30 minutes before the reservation and then four to five when I got to the restaurant. It was a packed night but they never hesitated to make it work without any kind of comment -- that's more than I can say about a lot of other restaurants. Food was by no means outstanding or unique, but there was nothing wrong with it and I liked the eclectic menu. They also have a pretty decent bar. I think it's a good place for a medium sized group with unadventurous eaters.

Aug 13, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Red Farm or Mission Chinese?

How was it?

Aug 10, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Does anyone know any cool restaurants for teenagers in NYC?

When you say "cool," do you have some specific criteria in mind?

When I was that age I thought that pizza was the greatest thing ever. I imagine that's still true.

You could do Motorino for dinner, then walk over to Big Gay Ice Cream or a slightly longer walk to il laboratorio del gelato for dessert.

The East Village and Lower East Side are pretty colorful, so I'm sure the kids will have fun just walking around.

Aug 09, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Happy hour in the West Village.... with mom?

About a month ago I took my parents to Cafe Cluny -- it's kinda the perfect parent place (mine refuse to go to any place where you have to wait).

It has a bar with pretty good cocktails and several large windows. My parents faced them during dinner and had a good time people watching.

The 14th St 1/2/3 stop is also very close.

Aug 08, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Red Farm or Mission Chinese?

While they both may be Chinese fusion, they're quite different.

IMO, Mission Chinese is better for groups because you can take advantage of the low pricing and order a lot of dishes -- it's a cost effective way to sample a huge swath of the menu.

Red Farm can be done family style, but it's probably better suited for couples.

Red Farm also has a much better bar and dessert (I'm actually not 100% sure that MP doesn't have dessert, but I don't see it on their website and I've never been asked if I wanted dessert when I was there).

Aug 07, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Extra virgin olive oil

Did they actually test the oil to see if it was pure olive oil?

A lot as been written about how many extra virgin olive oils don't meet the legal definition of extra virgin olive oil:

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/12/1431541...

Aug 07, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

How crowded is Mission Chinese at lunch?

Haven't been at lunch, but for dinner I've found that the wait time they quote you is drastically greater than it actually is. I just went last night at 7:45pm; they told me it would be two hours, probably more -- it was less than an hour.

I also believe that you can make a reservation to eat at the bar.

Aug 06, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Mission Chinese Food

Interesting, thanks for posting.

Aug 02, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan

Fresh locally roasted coffee beans near the Village or Chelsea?

I'm just saying that you're overstating how much expertise is required to roast coffee.

Jul 26, 2012
von_levi in Manhattan