Random Observation/Comment #441: There’s something about going to a restaurant and ordering ‘the usual’ or walking into a bar and getting greeted on a first name basis that makes me smile. I think we all just want to be accepted as a regular.
Recently, friends and old travel buddies have been visiting NYC and asking me where to go eat and what to see. It made me wonder if I ever gave the advice I’d want to hear. I pointed out amazing places, but they were never my regulars – my real suggestions that I would miss if I left NYC.
Here are my top picks & why:
1) SPiN New York – 23rd & Park, New York, USA: I come here daily because I love the community, atmosphere, and most of all: table tennis. It’s an amazing mix of underground matches and half price happy hour alcohol. It’s also a great place to bring a date.
2) Duck’s Eatery – St Mark’s Area, New York, USA: The food is unbelievable. Crispy pig ears and goat’s neck that just falls off the bone. Brisket Tuesdays are also a must. Come here if you’re looking for something different and very flavorful.
3) Cafe Katja – LES, New York, USA: If you’re German and you miss home, come here and get your full liter steins and Rueben sandwiches. Servings are huge and food is delicious.
4) Restaurant Riki – By Grand Central, New York, USA: This is one of my regulars because only Japanese people come here after work with other Japanese business people from out of town. It has that extracted directly from Tokyo vibe and I love it. For izakaya, get the beef tongue.
5) Eataly – Flatiron, New York, USA: First and foremost, drop by the coffee shop and get creme espresso. In Italy, it’s called Crema di Cafe, but it tastes just the same here. It’s a caffeinated dense coffee slush that almost tastes like coffee ice cream. I try to get this once a week because it makes me so happy. Pasta is also very fresh and made the proper way.
6) Flying Puck, MSG, New York, USA: Truly the place where I’d go after SPiN if there is a hockey game playing. Dave, Bobby, and Mickey are the best bartenders to date and I just love being a local here.
7) American Cut – Tribeca, New York, USA: There are a lot of amazing steakhouses in NYC, but I personally love American Cut for the atmosphere, service, and amazing bone marrow over NY strip. I highly recommend the cracker jack ice cream sundae dessert as well.
8) Brandy Library – Tribeca, New York, USA: If you want classy bourbon or single malt whisky, come here. Not only are the librarians extremely knowledgeable, but the entire place just oozes baller. Don’t skimp because the truth is that the expensive stuff is closer to a good deal.
9) Smorgasburg – DUMBO Brooklyn, New York, USA: This isn’t really a particular stand, but rather the whole idea of having a bunch of food trucks come together and let me try everything. I usually come here with a friend or two and just get small portions of everything and spend around $10-15 per person ordering different delights and sharing them. Great way to wander and spend an afternoon.
10) Shanghai Cafe – Chinatown, New York, USA: There’s a better soup dumpling place in Flushing, but it’s so far. I love Shanghai cafe because it’s gritty and pretty much only serves great dumplings. I can probably order 2 racks for myself and call it a day. For $5 a rack, that’s a pretty damn awesome deal.
There are at least 20 more places I’ve thought about going since even making this list, but I must say that these are my long-time regulars that would make me truly miss NYC food and company.