Sunday, February 10, 2008

Where to eat in Midtown #1

Some folks from work are in NYC this weekend, staying in Midtown, and wondering where to eat. I wrote up a list but it's at work.So I'll post that later. But I also queried our friend David (see his blog, at right), who ofr course had some great ideas. This is from him, and then his friend Debbie. Thanks, guys!

From David:
I'm not the best person to ask about eating places in my own neighborhood due to my dietary restrictions (I just passed the 10 year gluten-free mark!) so I'm cc-ing some other people about your question concerning restaurants near Times Square for a family of three with a pre-teen daughter--a family that would be interested in the Ethiopian restaurant Meskerem....I do think the Cajun DELTA GRILL (48th and 9th) seems to be pretty solid and reasonably priced.

The sushi in the area tends to be pretty good--there's a chance of seeing cast members at KODAMA (45th and 8th). I've seen "Spring Awakening" people there, but of course that really doesn't mean a lot unless you'd recognize them! A Japanese restaurant that's a bit above average is HAKATA.

For an olde NY coffee shop atmosphere, there's lunch at the CAFE EDISON (jokingly known as the Polish Tea Room), where I used to order the big bowl of matzoh ball soup. Another soup-for-lunch option is chowder at the historic OYSTER BAR, underground at Grand Central Terminal, which is a little farther away than the other restaurants I mention here. For a kind of touristy sandwich experience (not that there's anything wrong with that), the STAGE DELI is just north of Times Square and the CARNEGIE DELI is north of that. Expect huge portions and high prices.

I've been hearing very good things about a bunch of inter-related Thai restaurants around Restaurant Row (say, around the corner of 46th and 9th), named with variations on the word YUM.

And look at the menupage reviews for PAM REAL THAI ENCORE. I do find that menupages can be helpful. Many of the restaurants can get crowded (sometimes during lunch and especially between 6 and 8 on a show night), so it's a good idea to make prior arrangements or at least talk with someone at the restaurant.

Oh--I knew I'd come up with something else if I just spent some time with this. I think the obscure DIAMOND DAIRY RESTAURANT is still doing business in the Diamond District, on 47th Street between 5th and 6th but nearer to 5th. This is also an olde New York experience. Based on my visits from years ago, I recommend it for the often superb blintzes (which are like crepes) and thick crunchy latkes (potato pancakes...which you can get with apple sauce), and the atmosphere, as it's a place where Orthodox Jews go to eat dairy (not meat, except for fish) with a view of a jewelry trading floor. I don't recommend getting jewelry there, though the last time I checked there's an eccentric but very good gun-slinging jewelry repair guy in the basement of the building. I kid you not: it's Joe Rissin. Anyway, the Diamond Dairy Restaurant is a weekday place that closes for Jewish holidays including the Sabbath (late Friday afternoon). You get there by entering the National Jewelry Exchange building at 4 W. 47 St. and then going up the stairs in the back. Check out this
link, and this, too.

From Dave's friend Debbie (thanks, Debbie!)
Very thorough, David. I can't think of much, myself, but I have been, and like, Empanada Mama on 9th and 52nd St. It's very small, with a counter and about 5 or 6 tables, but if you're looking for something quick and like empanadas that would be another option.

Also, maybe, Eatery, on 9th and 53rd. A little designy, a little more expensive, but they've got comfort food (meatloaf, mac 'n' cheese) and more sophisticated dishes that are all pretty satisfying.

I'm back: More soon. This has got me thinking about my other favorite Manhattan restaurants--and anyone else's--and I'll post on that some time soon, too. (NY NoodleTown, anyone? That little Thai place near the Public Theatre? Name, David?)

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