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Sushi to go - From Midtown to Queens?

Definitely Shimizu Sushi. It's expensive, but I'd say one of the top ten sushi places in NYC. It's where I go to treat myself.
It's in the WJ Hotel on 51st between 8th & 9th.

Apr 25, 2008
haofan in Manhattan

Insieme: Review

So, I decided to give Insieme a try for Valentine's Day/my SO's birthday after it was ranked as one of the 10 best new restaurants of 2007 by both Frank Bruni and New York Magazine. Plus, it was one of the few restaurants I could find on V-Day without a special prixe fixe menu.

A great choice...especially in the company of Chef Marco Canora...which I'll get to later.

We had an 8pm reservation and killed the 45 minute wait time by getting some drinks from the bar. Hostess was extremely apologetic about the wait and our drinks were comped. Along with our first two glasses of wine. Who can complain??

During a bathroom break I ran into the Chef, who stands overlooking the front of the restaurant and opening the door for patrons. We talked about his other restaurant (Hearth), and he was extremely pleasant and appreciative. What a treat! He ended up sending over a plate of decadent but light pineapple and hazelnut risotto. Another treat!!!

Ambience: Really open, contemporary space---small but miraculously quiet. Great tables for larger groups in the middle and booths on one side of the restaurant, which would be ideal seating. Crowd was sophisticated and older.

Food: The menu is diverse and interesting, split into a "traditional" and "contemporary" menu as well as a prixe fixe. The meal was accompanied by 2 wonderful amuse bouche surprises---one of which i vividly remember as a a smooth, silky egg-drop soup. For appetizers we shared the "fish crudo" which included 3 elegantly displayed bites of yellowtail, barracuda and branzino tartare. Portions were all very tasty, but so tiny that they all ended up tasting quite similar. For entrees SO got the lamb dish (different cuts of lamb), which he loved (and he eats lots of lamb). The most disappointing point of the night was my entree, which was a farfalle pasta with shrimp and mussels. the farfalle was outstanding---rich in its own right with a hint of a butter parsley sauce. However, there were about 3 shrimp, all cut into tiny pieces and very plain, and 3 meesly muscles. Really a shortcoming for a very pricey dish and a restaurant focusing on small, but sophisticated dishes. Dessert was yet another gratis plate of small cookies, and ANOTHER gratis plate of bites of different desserts with "Happy Birthday" written on the plate. Thank you Marco!

Service: Absolutely fantastic. The waiter was clearly busy, but he did his best, and the service never suffered because of all the other staff constantly refilling our water, wine, resetting our utensils, etc. I've never been treated so well in a NYC restaurant, or by the restaurant's chef himself.

Overall: The disappointment in my entree seemed minor in comparison to the king-like treatment. Plus, who can complain for getting 6 drinks, 2 amuse bouches, 1 app, 2 free risottos, 2 entrees and 2 free desserts for $130 (w/out tax & tip)!!! I would definitely return, even to pay in full.

Feb 16, 2008
haofan in Manhattan

Aack! Valentine's Day late-notice recommendations?

Al Di La doesn't take reservations, even on Valentine's Day. Go put your name in and have a drink downstairs. I had a fantastic Valentine's meal there last year.

Feb 13, 2008
haofan in Manhattan

Recos - nr Broadway/49th

This is my hood so I've got lots of experience with the grub. Find the websites or check out for more details. Also search this board for comments.

-Breakfast: Le Pain Quotidien--midpriced, great baked goods, breakfast foods & sandwiches (58th & 7); Vynl--mid-priced, good comfort food breakfast (9th/50 & 51); Sarabeth's---upscale, great juices, pancakes, lox; (40 Central Park West/5th & 6th); apparently Petrossian Cafe has one of best croissants in city but sell out fast (7th/57th & 58th)
-Italian: ViceVersa (51st/8th & 9) or Trattoria Trecolori (47th/8 & Brdwy)
-Chinese: not dimsum but Wu Liang Ye is excellent--really high quality vs. typical chinese rests & they deliver (48th/5&6)
-Burgers: haven't had it but heard db Bistro Moderne's burger excellent but REALLY pricey (standard: $35...and that's w/out truffles) (44th/5&6)
-Pubs: would go downtown for any barhopping; Ginger Man---extensive beer selection, Puck Fair & Swift--Irish pubs; if must stay in hood, Scruffy Duffy's good sports bar, The Snug has darts; would stop in at Russian Vodka Room for infused vodkas (52nd/8 &brdwy)

When in doubt, head to 9th Avenue. Great mix of everything. And there's always Whole Foods at Time Warner Center.


Feb 12, 2008
haofan in Manhattan

Alta - what to order?

Was there about a month ago and really enjoyed these vegetarian dishes (besides the brussels sprouts and couliflower, which were incredible):
fried goat cheese
catalonian flatbread
royal trumpet mushrooms

We didn't order dessert, just too stuffed.

Jan 16, 2008
haofan in Manhattan

Pre-Theater meal

Price point? Cuisine choice?

Jan 14, 2008
haofan in Manhattan

Chicagoan in NYC for Writer's Conference - where to eat?

I live right near the Sheraton, so if you are too tired to venture far here are some regular favorites of mine:
Shimizu Sushi: 51st betw 8&9 (in WJ hotel); truly a high end, hidden gem sushi place
Wu Liang Ye: 48th betw 5/6th; best Chinese outside of Chinatown (and delivers)
Yakitorri Toto: 55th betw Broadway/8th; authentic Japanese focused on meat skewers

And when in doubt....walk to 8th or 9th ave for great food, just don't eat on 7th ave!

Jan 07, 2008
haofan in Manhattan

union square dinner recs for friends who don't like anything "weird"

Cafeteria, on 17th & 7th Ave. may be a good option. It's "upscale" diner/American so fits the simple food needs. Entrees run around $20 each so may just make your budget. Check out the menu:

Jan 07, 2008
haofan in Manhattan

Need a Sushi/Hibachi suggestion Times Square

Check out Bann, 350 W. 50th (between 8&9th in the worldwide plaza). It's "upscale" Korean/Asian fusion and you can grill chicken, beef, shrimp, etc right at your table. It's not authentic Korean but I've always been pleased with the food:

Jan 04, 2008
haofan in Manhattan

Valentine's Double Whammie!

Well, my boyfriend's birthday is on Valentine's Day so I'm looking to do something extra special (especially since he far outdid me with xmas gifts). Besides the typical "romantic" restaurant scenes (quiet, warm ambience), I'd love to hear if anyone has a favorite romantic spot, such as a corner table, back room, etc. at a restaurant (that you won't need for V day!). I'm creative and crazy so wouldn't mind making the extra effort to make his night stand out!

Specific requests:
-Budget: $120 on food alone (for 2)
-Wine & cocktails available
-Non pre-fixe options available
-not too casual (formal fine as well)
-any neighborhood
-NOT Indian, Mexican, small plates/tapas


Jan 03, 2008
haofan in Manhattan

East Coast Pride - HELP

Lots of info for you here! Many of your requests have already been discussed....
The best thing is to search this board (click on "search this board" at top of the page), or search "The Best" board under "NYC metro" on the home page.
But here are some links to get you started:
1) Best pizza (not Ray's! Stay away)
2) Best fried chicken
3) Best bagels: Ess-a-Bagel, Murray's, H&H Bagels
4) Best moderately priced lunch
Best to specify your food type preference. Here are some favorite diners and streetcarts:
5) Others:
Best steakhouse (could get pricey
Best burgers:

And lots more options when you search (try "best cheap eats" for example). You can post your food itinerary and have people comment on it when you're done...

Good luck, it should be an easy win.

Dec 29, 2007
haofan in Manhattan

Need some advice...please help

I just had a wonderful meal with my BF at ViceVersa, a contemporary Italian restaurant on 51st between 8th/9th. The food and atmosphere is simple and elegant and everything was on the mark. It also has a prix fixe dinner for $35.

Doesn't have lobster bisque---don't know if that means you want a steakhouse or seafood restaurant---but check out the place and the menu:

Dec 28, 2007
haofan in Manhattan


Le Pain Quotidien, 922 Seventh Ave (at W. 58th St); great sandwiches, salads, baked goods. One of the few chain restaurants that gets great reviews on here---and you don't need to worry about reservations. I live right in the neighborhood and it's my go to lunch spot.

Dec 11, 2007
haofan in Manhattan

Eating Alone Before A Broadway Show

I would definitely recommend Shimizu (51st betw 8&9th) for sushi. Not as pricey as Yasuda or something of that caliber, but still high end sushi. It's a quiet dining room in the WJ hotel, and a hidden gem from the tourist mania. There's a bar or small tables for single diners (check out menu on sure search "shimizu" not "shimizu sushi")

I'd also recommend Yakitori Totto (W 55 betw Brdwy & 8th), which features yakitori: Japanese version of kabobs. No sushi but great authentic dishes. Long bar with many single diners. More discussion on this place:

Dec 01, 2007
haofan in Manhattan

Xmas & New Year in NYC

I live (and often must eat) near the Times Square Marriott. The key is to go a few blocks West and you find a diversity of good, non-touristy restaurants. Here are some of my favorites:

Brunch: Vynl (9th betw 50&51)
Chinese: Wu Liang Ye (48th betw 5&6)
Thai: Wondee Siam (9th betw 52/53)
Japanese/sushi: Shimizu (51 betw 8&9)
Italian: Trattoria Trecolori, Vice Versa or Roberto Passon

All of the menus are available at

In addition, the Time Warner Center at 59th and 8th has high end shops, a huge Whole Foods, and top notch restaurants (Per Se, Landmarc, Cafe Gray, etc):

And you should definitely go shopping at Century 21 downtown....check out posts about eats in Tribeca.or the Financial District for nearby dining.


Nov 19, 2007
haofan in Manhattan