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Papaya's Profile

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Soho/Tribeca anything great?

Have clients in town staying at the SoHo Grand. As a lifelong NYer and current Union Sq resident, was excited to check out a new place in SoHo or TriBeCa since I just don't really get down there for dinner. After some research am surprisingly having a tough time deciding on a place.

I'm looking for something relatively high end, but relaxed (so no Bouley or Chanterelle type resto). Would also love something that has a bit of life, which is what worries me about many of the places in Soho/Tribeca. For example, Matsugen sounds interesting but I have a vision of sitting in a relatively empty room with the sushi chefs looking bored.

Have already been and don't love: Balthazar, Lure, Hundred Acres, Zoe, City Hall and such.

I've seen some of the renewed interest in The Harrison because of their new chef, so may go with that but wish I could check out a new place. Also Blue Ribbon Brasserie seems like fun. Any other places I'm just not thinking of?

Jun 08, 2009
Papaya in Manhattan

Breakfast in LIC

Need to be in LIC this Saturday for an 11am meeting. Wanted to see if there were any good breakfast places in case we get there a little early. Even if not a full service restaurant, what's a good place just to grab coffee?

Thanks!

Feb 06, 2009
Papaya in Outer Boroughs

Great Options for Delivery B'day Lunch Nr Union Sq?

I live in Union Sq so have tried a lot of delivery. If you're in the mood for Chinese, Grand Sichuan on St. Marks delivers. I also took out from Chino's recently and it was nice fusion asian (though they are know for their BBQ pork bao).

A little pricier, but BLT Fish's Fish Shack delivers.

Feb 06, 2009
Papaya in Manhattan

ISO: dark and stormy (or even just ginger beer)

Reed's Ginger Beer is what we use for our Dark and
Stormys. I've seen it at various bodegas, though can't say specifically. But if you're willing to head over to Brooklyn/Cobble Hill, I know for sure American Beer Distro carries it (along with a great selection of harder to find beers).

http://www.americanbeerbuzz.com/

Jun 12, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

Mystery restaurant....does this place exist?

I've never been, but I know of it cos Regis Philbin and his producer love ValBella and rave about it all the time on air.

Jun 05, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

This is vague but I know you guys can figure it out!

Cibar? Next to Pure Food and under Irving Place Inn/Lady Mendl's Tea

May 08, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

eating alone and expense account

Thanks for your suggestions! I completely agree about eating alone, and am very used to it as a result of my work travel but there are definitely certain restaurants that have better atmospheres for this than others. I'll definitely check out some of your picks.

Apr 18, 2008
Papaya in Chicago Area

eating alone and expense account

Hello -- I'm a NYC Chowhounder coming to Chicago for a conference next week. On my final night, I will be on my own so wanted to get your suggestions for the best place to eat alone -- even at the bar, which I love to do -- while on an expense account.

I'll be staying at the Drake, though will have a car so could possibly drive. And am open to any cuisine.

Thanks!

Apr 17, 2008
Papaya in Chicago Area

NEED MIDTOWN ITALIAN W CLIENTS

How about Insieme? It also nice and quiet so you can talk and pretty easy to score a table at lunch.

Apr 02, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

Good Sushi near Union Square

Japonica is actually good for take out as well as delivery. The people taking the orders are very nice and you can sit in front area along with the guests waiting for their tables. Sometimes they'll even offer you some tea while you wait.

Yama is very good every day sushi, but I've always had a relatively gruff experience with their staff. There was a period of time when they weren't doing take out, but I think they're back to doing it. Seems like it depends on whether or not they're really busy.

Choshi is another decent every day take out place with a friendly staff.

Apr 02, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

Soup Noodles

If so, New Green Bo is also another good place for soup dumplings.

Apr 02, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

Murray's Bagels/Cream Cheese alternate

But I don't understand why anyone would want to toast a freshly baked bagel?

Feb 23, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

Delta Grill?

I can see why someone would recommend Delta Grill to you considering the size of your group and location need, but just be ready for mediocre food. I could make some other suggestions, but don't know if you were married to Cajun.

Feb 19, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

Anyone tried Merkato 55 yet?

Just tried it this past Friday night. I was excited to go having followed Marcus Samuelsson's career for awhile and also intrigued by the African style cuisine. As I expected, there were some standouts and some flops -- flops in terms of uninteresting, rather than inedible. Menu was written as a preview menu for February, but I don't sense there will be much change in the next couple of months.

We started with a selection of African breads, some very straight forward like pita (I didn't get the sense this was made on premise due to the char marks, so a little disappointed) more unusual like a pumpkin bread. We also order a couple of spreads the standout being an Apple Yogurt dip. The Foie Gras Date chutney was a little cloying and didn't meld well together. Just felt like they cut up some dried dates and mixed it up. We also had a Shrimp spread that was very spicy and had a more SE Asian flair to it and also heavy handed.

We didn't order any small plates, but received one on the house for the delay in receiving our large plates, which they brought without us even complaining, so that was a nice touch. We received the Oysters served raw with harrissa mignonette and melon granite. I love oysters so was excited to try this, though when I did, was surprised at the lack of vinegar flavor from the mignonette and overwhelming sweetness of the melon granite. The oysters were served on a bed of rock salt probably meant for presentation, but we immediately sprinkled some over our oysters and it made all the difference. This is the one dish we tried that I would say was not very tasty. The combination just didn't work for me.

Now this was not the case with the Chickpea Dumplings and Chicken Doro Wat. The dumplings was one of those vegetarian dishes that makes one wonder why I don't order vegetarian more when I go to fancy restaurants. The creativity of the dish was noted. The chicken, which the waiter described as their signature dish, consisted of two legs served in a pot and fell off the bone into the sauce of spices and cottage cheese. There was injera bread served on the side, but in the pot, so it absorbed some of the sauce and made for a tasty reference to Ethiopean. Their injera was definitely less tangy than I've had in strictly Ethiopean restaurants, but also more delicate. My friend also ordered the rack of lamb, but did not have anything exceptional to say. In addition, for sides we had Kale, which was southern styled but with different spices, and Blackened Corn. I thought the corn was again on the sweet side.

Merkato 55 had an extensive drink menu, which in MPD fashion included about 10 mixed cocktails designed exclusively (don't know by whom) to the restaurant and all named after African dances. There was a reference on the menu to a future infused liquor drink menu. I enjoyed my cocktail, though at $14 a pop, wasn't blown away. The wine list was also extensive, featuring South African wines (as the only African wines). The South African wines were pricy compared to the French/Italian wines, which I know a lot better, so we went with a French burgundy that was about $45 and not bad. The beer list had all the usuals and Tusker beer from Kenya.

Overall, I would say that despite the pedigree and nice decor, Merkato 55 felt like yet another Meat Packing District restaurant with that same loud, club thumping music full of twenty-somethings with too much money to spend (myself included ;) . The restaurant definitly felt like it still had some service issues to figure out (our sommelier wandering with our wine not knowing which table it was for, our waiter felt like the only person working that night despite a room full of bus boys, reservation that I was initially told unavailable because they were booked, but when we arrived the room was half empty) but I would revisit, perhaps not on my own dime, and try some of the even more interesting dishes like the Pork Belly.

Ironically, my only other experience with this type of African-esque upscale cuisine was at Jiko, in the Animal Kingdom Lodge in DisneyWorld and considered a CH favorite, and perhaps it was the environment, but ultimately I'd say this was a very nice taste of Africa in a somewhat "Disneyfied" fashion.

Feb 19, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

Morimoto any good?

The Kobe Carpaccio was very good, which my BF and i got complementary from the restaurant for not seating us until 1 hr after our reservation. The fish was all above average but not the best (considering the price)

Feb 12, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

Best Biscuits and Gravy for Breakfast on Sun

Great Jones Cafe has a smothered eggs that includes a biscuit. Will be a little tough to get a seat Sunday morning, but you can always wait at the bar and enjoy a great bloody mary.

Feb 12, 2008
Papaya in Manhattan

Looking for Atmospheric, Cozy, Ethinc Spot for B-day

how about Tabla?

Oct 11, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

Restaurants everyone loves--except you

Mary's Fish Camp - This too will be blasphamy, but I don't love it. The lobster roll is fine, but I thought the lobster salad itself was a little too runny. The brioche roll it came in was amazing though.

BLT Prime - BLT Prime and BLT Burger were both incredibly underwhelming. The steak we had at BLT Prime had too much gristle and though we ordered medium rare was actually cool overall. Enjoyed BLT Fish downstairs (great all you can eat mussels Wednesday night) and havent' been to BLT Steak yet, but I think I get the overall BLT "wanna be a chain, but don't want to admit it" mentality.

Shaffer City Oyster - While Oyster Bar is not the best, at least it has atmosphere. I can't understand why Shaffers gets recommended over and over again. Yes they have a wide selection of oysters, but they don't all taste that great.

Sep 21, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

best bakery for birthday cake in nyc

My vote is always for Cupcake Cafe. Best tasting cakes as well as most beautiful!

Sep 21, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

Recs for after one show and before another

Bottino on 10th ave could be a good alternative to Tia Pol. I enjoy the food and the room is very pretty and romantic.

Jun 05, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

Del Frisco's Lemon Cake

I love it too!!! Actually I work in the building and sometimes we'll go down for a mid afternoon coffee and cake!

Jun 05, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

Favorite seafood restaurants?

BLT Fish downstairs has an all you can eat mussels on wednesday night that is delicious. $18 i think.

Jun 04, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

Great Cupcakes/Birthday Cake Recommendations?

the most beautiful and tasty cupcake or cake is Cupcake Cafe!!!

Jun 04, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

Chinatown Soft Shell Crabs besides Noodletown

We just had soft shell crabs last week while at Joe's Shanghai. Two crabs done any way for $15 (we had ours lightly deep fried with salt and fresh jalapenos). That along with some soup dumplings and we were very satisfied.

Jun 04, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

Best Fish and Chips?

We also like Chip Shop, but lately have been leaning towards Pete's Waterfront Ale House (down the block on Atlantic) for their fish & chips. Huge portion just like Chip Shop, though being able to get an appetizer of Pete's great ribs doesn't hurt either!

Mar 09, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

French Onion Soup

L'Express on Park Ave South/20th.

Mar 09, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

burgers/sandwiches union square

Just went to Stand last night and it is as good as everyone on the board is raving about. It's right next door to Cinema Village and is definitely a full service restaurant (great beers on tap selection from lesser known breweries) though with some communalish tables -- like at Republic.

If you haven't been, Stand is the place to try in Union Square.

Mar 07, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

Cacio e Pepe - how long the wait?

Actually we were there Sunday night around 7:30p for dinner and was able to get a table right away...it was pretty full though so our restaurant karma may have just been in full swing.

Jan 30, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

Veal Saltimbocca (won't break the bank?)

Cacio E Pepe is a nice little Roman restaurant in the EV that has great moderately priced pasta and an inventive Saltimbocca made with monkfish.

cacioepepe.com

Jan 30, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan

Omakase under $75?

Ushiwaka Maru...had the $70 omakase again the other night and it was just the most creative and top notch I've had at that price.

Jan 12, 2007
Papaya in Manhattan