Manhattan in May (or Springtime in New York)

I’ll be back in NYC late-April/early-May and I’m looking for some dining advice and recs. Cross-posting from this thread on HungryOnion with a more focused set of questions for FTC: Favorite brunches or sit-down lunches in the city? - #4 by Oliverb - New York City - Hungry Onion

  • Dinner at Prune: y/n? (w/ pescatarian)

  • Dinner at Carbone with a vegetarian: y/n?

  • Cull & Pistol in Chelsea Market for dinner: a) good choice? b) one trick pony menu (lobster rolls/oysters) or well-rounded full kitchen experience?

  • Russ & Daughters Cafe for brunch?

  • Upland for brunch?

Lastly, wife’s friend wants to do Little Owl but I’ve heard it’s fairly mediocre/boring. I’ve been many years back and remember it being a charming space but that’s about it. Should I suggest something else in it’s place?

  • Slowly Shirley (new to me) for cocktails?

Last but not least, could anyone help with dinner suggestions using the following criteria:

  1. NOT Italian
  2. NOT Mediterranean (we’ve got Estela in the books)
  3. NOT Sushi (Tokyo in fall)
  4. Under $200 p/p (shouldn’t be difficult)
  5. ANYWHERE in Lower Manhattan, ideally…
  6. Soulful space, however you choose to interpret that; not 100+ seater nor some room covered in reclaimed wood w/ plastic seats
  7. Kick-ass (and creative) chef-driven kitchen

Thanks so much!!

Kyo ya

Thanks we love Kyo Ya. I’ve been twice before with my wife. It’s a consideration that I’ll run by her, but since we’ll be in Tokyo in the fall and we’ve already been, I’m leaning towards something new. Great recommendation though!

Edit: Just noticed your Jungsik suggestion which looks great on first glance. :+1: I’m going to dig a bit deeper…

Edit #2: Adding Jungsik to our itinerary!

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Yes, if a fan of Jewish delis, not everyone is.

It’s good but not spectacular. For brunch I much prefer Cosme (and would add Estela, but you’ve apparently already have that on your to-do list).

Le Coucou or MIMI

Thanks, just to follow up:

No to Prune b/c of restaurant or pescatarian restriction? It was recommended by someone on the other forum but my wife’s apparently been for brunch in the past so no big loss.

Same for Carbone – (b/c veg company or because it’s an overpriced scene spot??)

Not sure I understand your “B” response for Cull & Pistol? The question was “one trick pony menu or well-rounded full kitchen”… Just to be certain that I’m interpreting correctly: is it only good for lobster rolls? If so, I’ll scratch dinner and switch to week-day lunch.

R&D: Been to original countless times; certainly a fan of Jewish deli.

Thanks for the Cosme suggestion, I’ll look into it. We’ve been to Coucou but I’ll look into MIMI as well!


Because of the pescaterian. Near Prune in the same area of EV, a better and more interesting option might be n’eat.

Because of the vegetarian. Carbone might be one of my favorite guilty-pleasure restaurants in Manhattan.

Just good for lobster rolls and fresh oysters.

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Thanks again!

Would Prune be a good option for a solo meal?

I’ve got at least one dinner where I’m flying solo (may invite a friend but too early to plan) and I was initially just going to do ‘Old NY’ on the cheap; a deli or lunch counter. I wonder if I should make reservations at Prune for myself instead… is it primarily a neighborhood spot or would you consider it a solid dinner destination?

Sounds like you’d really like try Prune, so you should probably just go. Just to scratch that itch if nothing else.

FWIW, my favorite solo spot in Manhattan is eating at the bar at Marea.

Not necessarily; it’s in the neighborhood and I’ve heard it’s supposed to be great so I was just looking to get some more input and feedback. I could take it or leave it to be honest, although the classic bistro approach is definitely my speed. I’ve apparently been living under a rock as it wasn’t on my radar and I’d never seen “Mind of A Chef” before tonight. Anyhow, I adore Marea although I’ve never dined solo. I’d rather stick to Lower Manhattan though; especially if I’m dining alone. I’ll probably be meeting my wife later in the evening for drinks so I’d prefer not to truck all the way uptown. Do you have any other suggestions for solo dining? I suppose I could always do sushi counter…

Chef’s Club

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Thanks so much!

I have three more questions, if you don’t mind:

  • Yakitori Taisho on St Marks Pl for fun casual inexpensive – is it still a good bet??

  • The Beatrice Inn – I’ve always been curious about this place but have never been. I love the ambiance (seen in photos) and someone on CH recently mentioned that he/she enjoyed an excellent meal there (claimed it possibly best of year, which I find difficult to swallow). I understand it was a hot scene place for a while, which isn’t our thing. Old NY on the other hand, is entirely my bag. Minetta is one of my favorite spots in the city, as example. Any idea about the actual food coming out of the kitchen or thoughts on this as a throwback option?
    See: At the Beatrice Inn, Cuisine for Animals - The New York Times

  • The Dutch for dinner – excellent/good/meh?

All input welcomed; thanks again!

Haven’t been to Taisho in years (maybe I’m just not hip enough), but if I need a late-night binge worthy restaurant in the EV, it would be at Veselka where I can get a meatball sandwich with sauerkraut!

It might be worth a visit now because Angie Mar from Spotted Pig has essentially revamped the menu, if not the complete vibe of this once stodgy place.

Meh. I suppose the fried chicken and the tartare are pretty good, but not good enough to deal with the crowds.

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Thanks so much!

I’m going to give Beatrice Inn a try (will post feedback!) as I’ve been curious about this place for ages and it seems like the right time.

Dutch gets scratched off!

I’m making good progress. :+1:

What about Bar Sardine in the West Village for weekday lunch or weekend brunch?

I really do prefer the ambiance of these quaint little neighborhood bistros in NY to the bigger power places, truth be told. Does the food hold it’s own though?

Sorry, no idea. Never been to Bar Sardine.

One can have a great meal at Carbone with a pescatarian.

Caesar salad
Seafood stew
Octopus app
Lobster ravioli
Lemon cheesecake
Side meatballs all to yourself cuz greedy

Ha that sounds great and I’m sure it won’t be a hindrance but the biggest issue is my wife’s small appetite coupled with her pescatarian diet… it makes it difficult for the two of us to eat family-style when I want to sample a few different things and also be carnivorous. I’ve resigned myself to accepting that we’ll just order way too much and have a lot of leftovers. It’s been done before on many a trips!

I do have a related question actually: are the dishes so large that I could potentially invite a meat-eating friend to share our portions without ordering extra or expecting he/she to throw in for the bill?

Say we do the caesar, baked clams, lobster ravioli, beef ribs and carrot cake… maybe even another entree- veal marsala or parm?

That would surely feed three people very well, right? Would you say that each dish is roughly double portioned; ie. suited for two? Also, why is the rigatoni vodka so famous here? I get that Carbone does Italian-American red sauce comfort food, but that still seems like such a simple dish and not the kind of thing one would typically order in a pricey restaurant. Is it it worth trying? My gut says “no” but then reviews seem to suggest otherwise.

Could I make out with approx. $500 tab (not incl drinks) for 3 entrees - (ravioli, rigatoni, veal dish) - plus caesar, meatballs, clams, and shared desert? If so, then screw it… you only live once! :slight_smile: Who knows if and when we’ll be back at Carbone so I’ll order what I want to try!

My plan of attack is to invite a friend (perhaps with date) and ask him to cover the drinks and possibly tip; depending on how expensive drinks are. I assume this is a red wine kind of place over cocktails, right? Is the wine list reasonably affordable?

Also, is the zuppa di pesce a must as well?

Edit: Is the dining room with all the wood, low hanging chandeliers, and the large red & black tiled floors the main room? Not the one with the exposed brick walls - the more theatrical set designed looking room. Is there a name to request when making the reservation?

The Caesar is enough to share for 3 people. Two big eaters. The Lobster ravioli is a smaller pasta dish but quite rich. Seafood stew is a healthy portion and IMO a must order. Skip the carrot cake and go for the lemon cheesecake. It was way too sweet and only ate two bites. Lemon cheesecake is a big portion, definitely enough for 3 people.

Ribs while big, were pork and meh. Skip those. The veal parm, while not huge, it a nice size and rich. Meatballs are a must get. Don’t get the chicken scar or whatever they call it. For entree, zuppa di pesce is my choice.

They have really good cocktails, I have had wine there but I never ordered it, just drank it. :joy:

If you want a louder ambiance, front room. Back room is more conversational. The front room is where many people waiting for their table grab a drink at the bar. Depending on what you want, you can request either room.

For three people, I would say Caesar salad, appetizer, pasta, entree and meatballs plus dessert is enough food. Maybe another pasta to be on the safe side. The bread basket is quite tasty, as is the pickled vegetables and cheese. I tend to make little sandwiches with the salami, bread and Parmesan cheese. The salami is awesome and free.

Last time for two big eaters, we had:

Lobster ravioli
Chicken scar
Caesar salad

We took the meatball and the bread back home, which was a nice treat then next day. All that delicious bread was amazing sopping up their marinara. We part of the chicken dish there, it wasn’t worth taking. Too full for dessert.


Veal - $65
Ravioli - $30
Rigatoni - $30
Caesar - $25
Meatballs - $20
Clams - $30
Dessert - $15

This is rough estimate of what I remember prices to be. They may be a little more or a little less.

Excellent info! Thank you both so much!!

I don’t see the meatballs listed on the menu for some reason; are they just offered table-side as an accompaniment to the mains but not listed?

Have either of you (or anyone else reading this thread) tried the veal marsala? I’m wondering how it stacks up to the veal parm.

Also, this question is directed at A5KOBE as I just want to be totally clear – the seafood stew that you highly recommend is the same thing as the zuppa di pesce on the menu, right? I just want to ask since you call it a stew but it’s listed as soup on the menu. I want to make sure we order right based on all your really helpful feedback!

Are any of the side dishes worth trying? The menu lists a mushroom dish, which I usually really enjoy at Italian restaurants. Anything worth exploring there?

Lastly, would you kindly ID which particular room is captured in the picture below, and how I would best go about requesting seating in it?

According to other photos I’ve seen of the restaurant, there appears to be a similar room with exposed brick, and then at least one other room with smaller white & black tiled floors (reminiscent of Casamento’s in New Orleans) and blue painted walls.