Helpful ReplyHoliday in Midtown Manhattan

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jmckee
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2015/11/11 11:09:23 (permalink)

Holiday in Midtown Manhattan

My wife and I have talked about doing this for years, but here goes: We're spending Christmas in New York. I've been twice -- once for work and once when the chorus I'm in sang at Carnegie with our Symphony -- and she's never been. We're staying four nights at a hotel on 45th right near Times Square. Christmas is taken care of -- dinner and a Broadway musical -- but where else should we eat? We're probably not going to stray further north than Central Park or further south than the ESB, because (a) I can get around that area OK and (b) she doesn't want to see so much it overwhelms her. We'd like a nice-ish Italian place for Xmas eve, a good deli (I understand that Carnegie is currently closed) and I'll need to pick my bagel and lox connection for the days. We're open, otherwise, to suggestions.
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buffetbuster
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/11 11:18:36 (permalink)
Billyboy is definitely the right man for this job. 
 
I offer no suggestions, but still want to say how much fun this sounds like and I hope you have a great time!
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pnwchef
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/11 11:43:21 (permalink)
What a great way to spend the Holidays. I know it would be nice to have a white Christmas but you wouldn't want to walk around NYC in that stuff. To me Peter Lugers is a tradition for my family as soon as we land in NYC. From The bread basket to the thick cut bacon, thick cut steak fries to a wonderful thick crusted steak. I think Eataly  would be a fun place to have dinner.............I'm a Katz's lover! I know some don't think much of this deli but it's my place to go for Pastrami on Rye. I just feel good being there.......Have fun!
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/11 12:43:32 (permalink)
I know that most tourists want to hit the tourist spots when visiting the city IE Katz's Deli, but you would be totally remiss in not checking out what the locals enjoy for Roadfood including   fantastic Asian, African and Latin American cuisine.  
Last year we went to a fantastic Morrocan Restaurant in the East Village- Zerza
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lleechef
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/11 16:00:58 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Twinwillow 2015/11/12 23:32:03
I have only been to NYC once.  If I were to go there at Christmas I would definitely want to eat "New York Style".  Not Asian or African.  We have those in Ohio!
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/11 16:05:23 (permalink)
lleechef
I have only been to NYC once.  If I were to go there at Christmas I would definitely want to eat "New York Style".  Not Asian or African.  We have those in Ohio!




Roadfood is always changing, there are now many Asian, Latin American and African dishes that New Yorkers call their own.  Jewish Deli's may have been "New York Style" but that was many, many decades ago and is no longer the case.
I wouldn't hesitate to say that Durgin Park and Union Oyster House are still "contemporary Boston roadfood" more so that than Jewish Deli's are in New York. As for someone like myself who lives in the Boston Metro area, I can at least say that the locals still go there.
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rudebarb
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/11 16:11:10 (permalink)
jmckee
My wife and I have talked about doing this for years, but here goes: We're spending Christmas in New York. I've been twice -- once for work and once when the chorus I'm in sang at Carnegie with our Symphony -- and she's never been. We're staying four nights at a hotel on 45th right near Times Square. Christmas is taken care of -- dinner and a Broadway musical -- but where else should we eat? We're probably not going to stray further north than Central Park or further south than the ESB, because (a) I can get around that area OK and (b) she doesn't want to see so much it overwhelms her. We'd like a nice-ish Italian place for Xmas eve, a good deli (I understand that Carnegie is currently closed) and I'll need to pick my bagel and lox connection for the days. We're open, otherwise, to suggestions.



Recommend Padre Figlio for Italian--44th st and 2nd ave.--you won't be disappointed!
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/12 01:03:35 (permalink)
One place worth visiting:
http://www.oysterbarny.com/ 
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/12 22:06:21 (permalink)
If you're looking for high-end Italian we loved Felidia on 58th st (2-3 Ave). The chef/ owner Lidia does,or did, have a TV cooking show.
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ken8038
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/13 13:18:28 (permalink)
Some of these suggestions seem to ignore the fact that you're looking to remain in Midtown. With that in mind:
 
Our go-to place for pre-theater (which is once or twice a year) is an upstairs place on 38th street called Lazzara's. Totally off the beaten path, great thin crust square pizza (similar to what on Long Island is called Grandma Pizza but they don't call it that here), very good Italian food, and a short but good wine list. It's probably not "Christmas-Eve Worthy" (I'm not even sure if they are open then), but definitely a good stop.
 
http://www.lazzaraspizza.com/html/home.php
 
As far as Deli, in that area you can't go wrong with the original location of Ben's Deli, right near Lazzara's.
http://www.bensdeli.net/content/ben%E2%80%99s-manhattan-kosher-foods-and-kosher-catering
 
Finally, for a real NY Street Experience, you need to have at least one street meal (late night preferred) from the Hilal Guys cart at 53rd and 6th. Perhaps the best people-watching in all Manhattan, while standing in line.
 
http://53rdand6th.com/
 
Oh, and if you're the type that likes to have a authentic NY Old School Bar experience, Rudy's is your place. Everybody from One Percenters to No Percenters can be seen there. Free Hot Dogs, cheap beer and PINT Glasses of wine ($5!!) for the little lady.
 
http://www.rudysbarnyc.com/
 
Enjoy your trip!
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billyboy
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/13 15:15:04 (permalink)
Jmckee, so glad you'll both be coming to the city I call home!  I'll be up in CNY visiting family for Christmas so I won't be able to offer any in-person guided tours.    And yes, Carnegie Deli is still closed for the foreseeable future...  What musical are you going to see?  My girlfriend and I LOVE Broadway and we go as often as we can!
 
Just remember that the First Rule of Roadfood always applies:  CALL AHEAD!!  Especially given the time of year, many places will be booked days if not weeks in advance.  The closest thing to a deli that I am familiar with in Midtown is Junior's.  They are located in Shubert Alley between 44th & 45th Streets.  It's an offshoot of the original restaurant on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.  Great pastrami Reubens and turkey Reubens.  Their tuna & egg salad combo sandwich on challah is pretty good too.  Excellent cheesecake and it's my favorite in the city.  They don't take reservations but you can call them 30 minutes ahead of when you arrive to put your name on the list for a table so your wait won't be as long when you get there.  Here is my review of the location in Grand Central Terminal, to give you an idea of what they serve:  http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/4228-4171/juniors
 
I don't know how far west or east you are willing to go/walk, but Sarge's Delicatessen on 3rd Avenue between 36th & 37th Streets has always been a winner with me.  A well-worn, old-school deli with good pastrami sandwiches, french fries (though I'm not sure if they still have the big, Nathan's-style, crinkle-cut fries), egg creams, sweet & sour cabbage rolls, etc...  Here's my review:  http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/5175-5246/sarges-delicatessen
 
2nd Ave Deli on 33rd Street between Lexington Avenue & 3rd Avenue (Toidy Toid-N-Toid, as the old timers might say!) has the best Mushroom Barley soup I've ever tasted and I love its presentation by the waiters.  Not my most favorite deli in NYC, but pretty, pretty good.  The review:  http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Overview/6269/second-ave-deli
 
I wish I had some Midtown Italian places to recommend but I've been to a number of places in that area and they just didn't really stand out to me as anything special.  
 
If you want a respectable "NYC bagel", you will need to travel outside of your comfort zone.  The two closest places I would recommend are: 
1.) Ess-A-Bagel on 3rd Ave @ 51st Street.  Solid bagels in a no-nonsense shop.  A few tables and chairs but if it is a nice day and it's too crowded inside, I would suggest walking over to Greenacre Park on the north side of 51st Street.  A great little "hidden" park where you can sit, relax and listen to the waterfall drown out the sounds of the city while you nosh.  Not sure how into alfresco dining you might be or how "nice" of a day it will be in December but just wanted to put it out there.  I went there with Ralph & Lori Melton when they came to visit in June.  Here are some pics:  http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/This-is-New-York-with-Ralph-Lori-m811559.aspx
 
2.)  Tal Bagels on 1st Avenue between 53rd & 54th Streets.  NOTE:  I've never been to this location but I have been to two other Tal Bagel shops on the Upper West Side and have had great bagels every time.  Not sure if there is any connection as the UES locations are listed on one website but the Midtown East and UWS both have their own websites apart from the UES collective.  There is a Tal Bagel on the Upper West Side that had been reviewed here on Roadfood a few years ago.  Perhaps another Roadfooder could give some more insight as to this Midtown East location?  
 
If you have any questions or need any more info, please feel free to send me a PM.  Have a great Christmas in NYC!!
 
 
 
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billyboy
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/13 15:36:55 (permalink)
rudebarb
jmckee
My wife and I have talked about doing this for years, but here goes: We're spending Christmas in New York. I've been twice -- once for work and once when the chorus I'm in sang at Carnegie with our Symphony -- and she's never been. We're staying four nights at a hotel on 45th right near Times Square. Christmas is taken care of -- dinner and a Broadway musical -- but where else should we eat? We're probably not going to stray further north than Central Park or further south than the ESB, because (a) I can get around that area OK and (b) she doesn't want to see so much it overwhelms her. We'd like a nice-ish Italian place for Xmas eve, a good deli (I understand that Carnegie is currently closed) and I'll need to pick my bagel and lox connection for the days. We're open, otherwise, to suggestions.



Recommend Padre Figlio for Italian--44th st and 2nd ave.--you won't be disappointed!



 
Just wanted to let you know that it appears Padre Figlio is permanently closed.  Their website seems to still be online, but I called the phone number listed and it is not in service and I clicked on the link to make a reservation through OpenTable but it bounced back saying that the restaurant "could not be found".  Yelp has them as permanently closed and Figlio's FB page says they are permanently closed.  Sorry.  
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pnwchef
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/14 11:44:26 (permalink)
When I go to NYC my hotel is $400 a night. I don't get there very offend. IMHO, if you also don't get there that offend  it may be a good idea to take a taxi or Uber to open up the whole city to places you would like to eat. It really doesn't cost that much to take a cab........You only like once!......I bet Billyboy would have a bigger list if you did so........Enjoy!........I bet you could also get a good Roadfood experience on Author Ave and some Italian Deli's. I know it's not Midtown Manhattan but it would be some great Italian deli food.........Billyboy, have you got over to Russ and Daughters Cafe yet ???? that would be another NYC old jewish traditional food experience.......
post edited by pnwchef - 2015/11/14 12:49:26
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/14 17:16:43 (permalink)
plb
If you're looking for high-end Italian we loved Felidia on 58th st (2-3 Ave). The chef/ owner Lidia does,or did, have a TV cooking show.

She still does. Saturday afternoon on PBS.
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rumaki
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/16 10:06:23 (permalink)
It's a bit north of your parameters, but my husband and I had dinner at Cafe Fiorello last February.  It is right across from Lincoln Center. I was a little dubious, because it is rather touristy and can be quite boisterous before curtain time. But the food we had was excellent and the service was truly superb. Be sure to make a reservation!
http://www.cafefiorello.com/
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/16 12:40:13 (permalink)
billyboy
Jmckee, so glad you'll both be coming to the city I call home!  I'll be up in CNY visiting family for Christmas so I won't be able to offer any in-person guided tours.    And yes, Carnegie Deli is still closed for the foreseeable future...  What musical are you going to see?  My girlfriend and I LOVE Broadway and we go as often as we can!
 
Just remember that the First Rule of Roadfood always applies:  CALL AHEAD!!  Especially given the time of year, many places will be booked days if not weeks in advance.  The closest thing to a deli that I am familiar with in Midtown is Junior's.  They are located in Shubert Alley between 44th & 45th Streets.  It's an offshoot of the original restaurant on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.  Great pastrami Reubens and turkey Reubens.  Their tuna & egg salad combo sandwich on challah is pretty good too.  Excellent cheesecake and it's my favorite in the city.  They don't take reservations but you can call them 30 minutes ahead of when you arrive to put your name on the list for a table so your wait won't be as long when you get there.  Here is my review of the location in Grand Central Terminal, to give you an idea of what they serve:  http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/4228-4171/juniors
 
I don't know how far west or east you are willing to go/walk, but Sarge's Delicatessen on 3rd Avenue between 36th & 37th Streets has always been a winner with me.  A well-worn, old-school deli with good pastrami sandwiches, french fries (though I'm not sure if they still have the big, Nathan's-style, crinkle-cut fries), egg creams, sweet & sour cabbage rolls, etc...  Here's my review:  http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/5175-5246/sarges-delicatessen
 
2nd Ave Deli on 33rd Street between Lexington Avenue & 3rd Avenue (Toidy Toid-N-Toid, as the old timers might say!) has the best Mushroom Barley soup I've ever tasted and I love its presentation by the waiters.  Not my most favorite deli in NYC, but pretty, pretty good.  The review:  http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Overview/6269/second-ave-deli
 
I wish I had some Midtown Italian places to recommend but I've been to a number of places in that area and they just didn't really stand out to me as anything special.  
 
If you want a respectable "NYC bagel", you will need to travel outside of your comfort zone.  The two closest places I would recommend are: 
1.) Ess-A-Bagel on 3rd Ave @ 51st Street.  Solid bagels in a no-nonsense shop.  A few tables and chairs but if it is a nice day and it's too crowded inside, I would suggest walking over to Greenacre Park on the north side of 51st Street.  A great little "hidden" park where you can sit, relax and listen to the waterfall drown out the sounds of the city while you nosh.  Not sure how into alfresco dining you might be or how "nice" of a day it will be in December but just wanted to put it out there.  I went there with Ralph & Lori Melton when they came to visit in June.  Here are some pics:  http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/This-is-New-York-with-Ralph-Lori-m811559.aspx
 
2.)  Tal Bagels on 1st Avenue between 53rd & 54th Streets.  NOTE:  I've never been to this location but I have been to two other Tal Bagel shops on the Upper West Side and have had great bagels every time.  Not sure if there is any connection as the UES locations are listed on one website but the Midtown East and UWS both have their own websites apart from the UES collective.  There is a Tal Bagel on the Upper West Side that had been reviewed here on Roadfood a few years ago.  Perhaps another Roadfooder could give some more insight as to this Midtown East location?  
 
If you have any questions or need any more info, please feel free to send me a PM.  Have a great Christmas in NYC!!
 
 
 


Thanks for the recommendations and keep 'em coming.
We're seeing "Something Rotten" Christmas Evening, preceded (because we're old theater people and want the historic experience) by dinner at Sardi's.
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leethebard
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/16 14:31:58 (permalink)
Let me second 2nd ave Deli
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billyboy
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/16 14:42:42 (permalink)
Jmckee, unlike the show title, "Something Rotten!" is wonderful!  My girlfriend and I loved it.  Lots of great nods to Shakespeare and the institution of Broadway musicals.  In my 12 years here in the Big Apple, I have yet to dine at Sardi's.  I need to rectify that.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/16 15:18:23 (permalink)
I always enjoyed Sardi's. It's been more than 30 years since I last was there.
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leethebard
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/17 10:21:50 (permalink)
Sardi's is a New York institution...an experience as well as a dinner. Everyone should take this trip down memory lane. I,too, recommend it!!
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jmckee
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/17 11:21:11 (permalink)
billyboy
Jmckee, unlike the show title, "Something Rotten!" is wonderful!  My girlfriend and I loved it.  Lots of great nods to Shakespeare and the institution of Broadway musicals.  In my 12 years here in the Big Apple, I have yet to dine at Sardi's.  I need to rectify that.


We liked what we saw on the Tonys. We may stop at the Times Square ticket booth on another night as well.
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billyboy
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/17 11:24:44 (permalink)
They have two separate lines at that booth.  One for plays and one for musicals.  The musicals line seems to move faster as it leads to 5 or 6 windows (more demand, I guess) and the play line leads to one window.  So, while the play line is much shorter, it moves much slower.
post edited by billyboy - 2015/11/20 11:43:04
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lleechef
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/17 11:51:07 (permalink)
I was only in NYC once, in 1974.  My college roommate lived in Chatham, NJ.  We took the train into the city and spent the afternoon.  In the evening we met her parents for dinner........at Sardi's! 
#23
cavandre
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/20 09:32:02 (permalink)
Isn't someone going to tell them where to get a breakfast of bacon, egg & cheese on a NYC hard roll?
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billyboy
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/20 11:50:39 (permalink)
cavandre
Isn't someone going to tell them where to get a breakfast of bacon, egg & cheese on a NYC hard roll?




Why, yes.  Of course!  I must be slipping.  Almost every deli with a griddle makes a decent bacon, egg and cheese on a hard roll, I can't think of any in the Times Square area that stand out to me.  I haven't spent any consistent amount of time in that area during the breakfast rush since 2009.  However, there is a food cart called Eggstravaganza that I read about on Serious Eats NY and I made a point of checking it out and it was pretty darn good.  I had a crumbled chorizo, egg and cheese on a hard roll that I really loved.  They also have just egg and cheese, pancakes and other breakfast dishes too.  It's run by a bother and sister team and is located on the Northeast corner of 52nd Street & Park Avenue, Monday to Friday from 6:00am to 12:00 noon.  Really nice people and great food.  As it is a cart, there isn't any seating so you'd have to find a nearby bench, eat while you walk or take breakfast back to your hotel.  I just called them earlier this morning to confirm their location, days of operation and hours.
 
Here's is the article from 2009 that first put me on to them:  http://newyork.seriouseat...ast-manhattan-nyc.html
post edited by billyboy - 2015/11/20 12:16:17
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mlm
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/20 12:11:33 (permalink)
Terrific report but I have a question about that crumbled CHORUS, egg, and cheese on a hard roll. Is that a speciality item? Music on your mind or a spellcheck which won't quit.
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billyboy
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/20 12:16:42 (permalink)
Dang autocorrect!
#27
mlm
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Re: Holiday in Midtown Manhattan 2015/11/20 12:27:58 (permalink)
Yeah. I kind a thought so.
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