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Who has a good (and extensive) selection of Japanese Whiskeys?

Try On The Rocks, which is in Midtown West, on 10th Ave. They have a very extensive whiskey menu, including at least a few Japanese whiskeys the last time I was there. It is a small spot but they are serious about their whisk(e)y.

May 28, 2013
orthorunner in Manhattan

casual, excellent restaurants for grown-ups

Also consider Back 40 West. Unfortunately there is only one entree that is completely vegetarian, but quite a few apps and sides, so if your friend is flexible he could certainly have options. Definitely fits your criteria of casual atmosphere, and it probably gives you more ability to linger than some of the current hotspots.

May 19, 2013
orthorunner in Manhattan

Pre-theater dining at bar..... party of one.

I wouldn't say that the OP would eat "far better"outside of the theater district, considering what he is looking for (ie not a 4h long 3-star Michelin meal). Danji is an excellent choice for someone looking to sit at the bar as a solo diner. Caveat is that their bar is not particularly big, but I would still echo what others have said in recommending it.
If you're willing to be a little further away, you could also consider the bar at the Modern. Ma Peche is another option.

May 05, 2013
orthorunner in Manhattan

recs for a decadent brunch while dining solo

It would be cutting it close on your budget, but Lincoln does have brunch, at $35; would make for a nice brunch splurge. Though to stay under budget you couldnt sample offerings from their prosecco bar...

Feb 05, 2013
orthorunner in Manhattan

Dinner near 54th and 6th

Other nearby options include the Modern (dining or bar room) or Aquavit. Neither should rush you too much, as they are higher-end experiences, though the bar room would likely be less quiet than the Modern dining room or Aquavit for you.

Jan 29, 2013
orthorunner in Manhattan

Tim Tams and other Australian foods in NY?

Try Fairway; I think I have seen them at the Harlem location, where they have a lot of international packaged items.

Jan 27, 2013
orthorunner in Manhattan

The Marrow: yet another winner for Dieterle

Sorry, assume I am too late for you, but for others' information, I don't think that one could make a pasta an entree purely on its own. Size-wise, it'd be on the larger end of the spectrum of a typical "primo piatto." For anyone who is more cost-conscious, the duck schnitzel is a good pick; one of the larger entrees, and it seems to be one of their standout dishes.

Jan 08, 2013
orthorunner in Manhattan

Good Food and Cocktail Lounge/Bar Together - do they Exist?

As re Momofuku Ssam; kathryn was referring to going to Momofuku Ssam and then going to Booker & Dax after (it's next door). While I wouldn't consider it a lounge, they have an excellent cocktail program, and thus would fit the request for good food and cocktail bar.
NoMad is an excellent choice; if you want to do a lounge-type atmosphere, you could consider going to their "Library," though I believe they only serve their small plates there.
Another option would be WD-50 if you enjoy more avant-garde cuisine; great cocktails in addition to the restaurant itself.
One question to the OP would be what is more important to you: a cocktail "lounge" atmosphere, or truly good/inventive cocktails? Many of the best cocktail bars in the city I would not consider to be lounges per se.

Jan 06, 2013
orthorunner in Manhattan

Can you recommend a brand of Pumpkin butter?

I too was pleasantly surprised with Trader Joe's pumpkin butter. While it is definitely more sweet and jammy than most apple or pear butter, it had a more complex flavor than expected with the spicing. (some clove/allspice type flavors)

Jan 04, 2013
orthorunner in General Topics

The Marrow: yet another winner for Dieterle

We had been looking forward to try out Harold Dieterle's new restaurant The Marrow since we heard of its impending opening. As our reservation drew nearer, I had the anxiety that perhaps it would not live up to its sister restaurants, which I think are among the more underrated restaurants in the city. Luckily, we were not disappointed!
Starting off, we had an excellent server who was well versed in the menu, and able to explain all the components of the various dishes very well. (Normally would be expected out of this caliber of restaurant, but we were prepared for the potential for 1st month hiccups. Luckily we had none of that) We also had good service from the sommelier, who was able to direct us towards an appropriate wine for our entrees without being overly pushy.
I started with an appetizer of the herring salad with roasted beets, while the others in my party opted for the lamb ribs and the hand-cut fettucini with pork sausage. Once we each tasted our dishes we tended to hoard them for ourselves, but I did taste the lamb ribs which were nicely prepared. The herring salad came with arugula, and provided a nice contrast of flavors; only downside was that the horseradish cream on the side did not have quite as much punch as it could have. But if it had not even been included, I would have had no complaints.
As re entrees, I opted for the lambs neck. For those who have never had it, I would describe it as tasting like a lamb version of short ribs. It was very tender, left on the bone and fork-tender. The meatiness/fattiness was nicely contrasted with the sharp acidity of red sauerkraut, while a rutabega puree beneath provided earthy undertones. As per Dieterle's usual style, everything was very evenly balanced. The others in my party had duck schnitzel and the beef braciole. I neglected to try either one as I was too focused on denuding my lambs neck of all morsels of meat, but the duck schnitzel got high marks, in particular the spaetzle, which was prepared with hazelnuts as a twist. We were unfortunately too full for dessert, but we did get an amuse at the end of apple strudel, which was a nice single bite to end the meal.
The atmosphere was very pleasant, with a hint of rustic casual but very polished nonetheless. I would put it in between Perilla and Kin Shop as re formality, though closer to Perilla. Service from all staff was attentive but not overly aggressive. While it certainly had the buzz of conversation, we had no problems hearing each other; tables were reasonably spaced.
In all, we thoroughly enjoyed the meal, especially at the price point. I continue to think that Harold Dieterle is a master of combining flavor combinations that work well together and keeping everything in balance, while not doing anything too out of the box (good for taking folks that aren't too adventurous!) Look forward to seeing what he continues to do.

Jan 03, 2013
orthorunner in Manhattan

Vegan noshes

For vegan desserts that will please non-vegans, try Kyotofu for both their cupcakes (recommend the large over the mini size) and for their soy soft-serve in seasonal flavors. It's in Midtown on 9th Ave.

Dec 08, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Monday Eve Hurricane Sandy OPEN RESTAURANTS List:

Along these lines, though, it is key to note that, as mentioned above, at some smaller restaurants/cafes, the owners do live in that building or down the street, so to be open is not only reasonable but also has the potential to make them a lot more money than a usual night. Just saying not to judge unless its obviously a chain that has workers having to trek in from elsewhere...

Oct 29, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

First time dinner date

In a similar vein, another great place for tapas is Txikito (Basque cuisine). You can share a few plates between you, which always lends an air of casual intimacy IMHO. Their sangria is great as well! They do have some larger plates if you're not in the mood for tapas.
Marc Forgione also has a good atmosphere for 1st time dates, but you should know it would be at the upper end/above your price range.

Oct 26, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Jury Duty, and help for a Chinatown neophyte

When I was on jury duty, my go-to spots were Xi'an famous foods and Nom Wah Tea Parlor. If you want a lot of bang for your buck at lunch, the hot & spicy tofu at Xi'an is a huge portion, enough to get a side and save part of it for later, and for only $2!
Nom Wah had fallen off the radar a while back, but for the past couple of years has been run by a relative of the original owners (I think it's the grandson but others may know the history better) who has revitalized it. I was impressed with my meals from there, even though I got them to-go to make sure I made it back in plenty of time. (watch out: occasionally the security lines at the jury duty buildings get very long, so it's good to play it safe with timing!) The shrimp and pea-leaf dumplings were particularly good.

Oct 22, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Is there a French restaurant that straddles the great middle?

Agree with those who rec'd La Silhouette: while more formal than a bistro, is more casual than La Grenouille or Le Bernardin, and has a modern flair. I think it would fit your request nicely.

Oct 22, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Hip bar near Times Square

Second Lantern's Keep for your best bet at a quiet but "hip in its own right" way. The drinks are fantastic, and it is small and perfect for good conversation.
At 8pm, the Bar Downstairs down by Bryant Park (in the Andaz Hotel) is another option; it doesn't get hopping until later. Unfortunately, in and around Times Square, there aren't many options now that JBird has flown the coop to the UES.

Sep 11, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Need suggestions

Back Forty West is another good spot in Soho; it is located where Savoy used to be. Farm-to-table aesthetics, and would fit your desire for good food with more casual dress.

Sep 10, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Great food and cocktails for 12 pp

Marc Forgione, for the food moreso than the cocktails, though they do have a composed cocktail list. Also, if you wanted to go anywhere afterwards for cocktails, Ward III is right down the block and Silver Lining is also nearby.
I assume that WD-50 would be too risky for a group of 12, but if they are all adventurous it has historically had excellent cocktails to go along with their food. Have not been since they redid their entire menu, including cocktails, but I wouldn't imagine the quality has fallen.

Aug 30, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Buy Astronaut Strawberries in NYC?

The Intrepid Museum Store has a brand of astronaut freeze-dried strawberries.

Aug 30, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

The Red Cat or Cookshop for mid-week lunch in Chelsea

I found Cookshop to seem more ambitious on their menu than the dishes actually turned out. Red Cat I found to be solid, so I would pick it over Cookshop, but it was by no means a home run.
I would also pick Txikito over either of them. If you decide to go there, the lamb meatballs are a must.

Jul 28, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Bar Mixology Classes/Private Events

Death and Co has a "cocktail catering" service; they have some info on their website about the options.

Jul 27, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Vegan and gluten free sandwiches in NYC?

Blossom and its iterations (Blossom Cafe, Blossom Du Jour) specify their gluten free options on their vegan menu; I dont know if for certain they can do the gluten-free black bean burger you are looking for, but it is certainly a good option for you to try.

Jul 27, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Restaurant for dinner near the Village Vanguard

I shouldn't have implied that they didnt have a cocktail list at all, just that it is not particularly known for its cocktails. I tend to think that their beers go better with the food, but one can certainly have cocktails there too. Thanks for pointing that out.

Jul 20, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Restaurant for dinner near the Village Vanguard

If drinks can be something casual like beer as opposed to a composed cocktail, consider Kin Shop. Modern Thai, shouldn't have a problem getting a reservation for August, and wouldn't take too long prior to the show. It's only a few blocks away. BLT Burger is also an option in that area.

Jul 17, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Any midtown west bars with a downtown vibe?

On the Rocks is definitely one of the best options in the area; just don't tell many people as I would hate for it to get crowded! They have an extensive selection of whisky: American, Irish, single malts, and the bartenders know their craft.
As far as speak-easy vibe places, the closest we got was JBird, which closed shop and moved to UES quicker than you could say go. Definitely a shame.
In central midtown there is Lanterns Keep, which reminds me of Raines Law Room, and is generally quiet and civilized and makes a good drink to boot.
Another spot with decent drinks is near Bryant Park, the Bar Downstairs. It's basically a hotel's concept of a giant speakeasy. It is somewhat hidden away, but is a giant room so definitely not the same feel. Their drinks are solid, nothing groundbreaking but worth a try. It hasnt been too rowdy when I've gone, at least before midnight.
If anyone knows of anywhere else please post~the East Village shouldn't get to have all the fun.

Jul 14, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Peperoncino Macinato - Where can i get this Italian spice in NYC please?

I don't know if he uses it in any of his pepper blends, but Lior would be a good resource to ask. If anyone knows where to get a spice it'd be him:

Jul 12, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Looking for something yummy in the general vicinity of the East Village where we can pick up a late afternoon meal to eat on our 6:00 flight from LaGuardia...

While mayonnaise may not be as much of an issue as traditionally thought because of the vinegar, the fish and eggs contained in salad spreads can harbor bacteria that cause food poisoning if kept unrefrigerated for long periods of time. Food poisoning on a plane or even right after getting home does not sound particularly pleasant...

Jul 12, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

Seafood for 19 Year old

While not "strictly seafood," as it does serve a few meat dishes, Aquavit is ~ 2/3 seafood on its menu. May be worth a consideration as it should give you plenty of options re seafood. Would be much easier than Catch to snag a reservation, so it somewhat depends on how far out you are from this dinner. Aquavit is modern in a minimalistic, Scandinavian way, though certainly not as hip as John Dory or as much of a "scene" as Catch.

Jul 12, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

NYC Restaurants That Grow Their Own Food

It's not growing their own food per se, but the chef for Atera is well-known for foraging for his ingredients.

Jun 13, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan

weekday after 2pm lunch following circle cruise for a group of 10?

If your group consists of meat-eaters, consider Daisy May's for barbecue; yes, some tourists do go there, but it is still one of the better options for food in that region and not a tourist trap. Would be a great option as far as being kid-friendly. Otherwise, your best options are probably to head over to 9th ave, so it depends on if all in the group are able/willing to head there. Options over there range from Five Napkin Burger to hole in the wall places such as Afghan Kebab (how well these places work would depend on if they are empty enough to accomodate you and how adventurous the children are...) If you want something quick, you could get sandwiches at City Sandwich (generic name, but high quality sandwiches) and then head to a public space to eat them.

May 31, 2012
orthorunner in Manhattan