Hi there, here's a top line report back on our recent week in New York City:
Hotels - two great and one not so great
-Hotel Le Bleu - Brooklyen, 4 th Avenue - best value hotel in greater NYC - just a short subway ride to Lower East Side/etc. Really cannot be beat - large well decorated rooms - minutes from Subway to Manhattan. Great bagles in continental breakfast included in rate.
-414 Hotel - Midtown Theatre District - 46th St bet 9th and 10th Aves. Loved this charming small quality establishment - stayed here after spending 5 nights in the above. Would definitely come back to both
-Pod Hotel - a real looser - stayed here one night- promoted as best value in NYC - same price as Le Bleu but adding insult to injury no continental breakfast included- hole in the wall double - maybe better available as seen on website - but we didn't get one of these- don't be caught in this East Side establishement.
Restaurants - several bouquets and one bat
-Buttermilk Channel - Brooklyn - Carroll Gardens -524 Court St - order the fried chicken - only $18 for mains - worth coming to NYC just for this place!!
-Recipe - Upper West Side - 452 Amsterdam Ave - as good as a 3 Star Michelin restaurant- ordered zuchini flowers stuffed with prawn and scallop mousse followed by seared scallops - would eat here every other night if lived in NYC.
-Pastrami Queen - Upper East Side - 1125 Lexington Ave at 78th St - THIS IS THE BEST PASTRAMI IN NYC - there is none better - and I'll repeat it again if you didn't get the message- great flavour/moist succulent without being fatty.$15 for a sandwich that you'll dream about.
b.Good to Great Choices
-Mermaid Inn - East Village - 96 2nd Ave bet 5th and 6th sts - came on a Tues night - soft shell crabs served in a bucket- lots of effort to get to the most succulent crabmeat but worth every moment.
-Minetta Tavern - Greenwich Village - 113 MacDougall St near w.3rd st - had to order the often touted Black Label Burger - yes, it was the best burger I ever had - but it wasn't phenomenal - also a little short on the caramelised onions - what was up? First course really great - selection of three types of clams with lamb sausage. Ambiance warm and rich but not ostentatious.
-Ed's Lobster Bar - 222 Lafayette St near Spring St in SOHO District - pale grey interior - thought we were in Maine by the seashore - tasty buttered roll filled with good portion of lobster (could have been just a bit tenderer) and wish there was a little more lobster.
-Hell's Kitchen - Hell's Kitchen 9th Avenue between 46th and 47th Sts. Mexican cuisine - first the great - amazing selection of cocktails - had three margaritas - guava/blood orange and tomato like fruit also the most friendly service in the whole of NYC. Somewhat disappointed in Main course and dessert - salmon definitely overcooked and flan was so close to a packed dessert - should have had some texture and taste- had neither -but would still go back and make certain we made the right choices.
d.Average to Good Choices
-Hill Country Barbeque - Flat Iron District - 30 W 26th Street - we went on a Monday night for the "all you can eat" special - well that was a bit of a mistake - didn't really take advantage of the offer - while the brisket was really good, one of our favourites - spare ribs did not fall off the bone - waiter said they didn't make them that way - I don't think that "tough" is the way they make ribs in Texas!! They should rethink their strategy on this. Vibe was really great with young guys and girls serving. Plenty of other places to go to get great ribs.
-Joe's Ginger - Mott Street, Chinatown - related to the famous Joe's Shanghai down the street on Mott - lines very long at the latter so went to "Ginger" - we really know our Chinese - and after ordering one of the listed "chef's specials" - jumbo sesame shrimp - we can only say that the chef isn't that special - sauce subtle but the shrimp were overcooked- a real disappointment. Maybe that's why the lines were longer at "Shanghai" alternative.
Why is the Barney Greengrass Deli still be promoted as one of the ultimate deli destinations. (Upper West Side - Amsterdam at 86th street - but you don't need the address). We both ordered the pastrami sandwiches which were absolutely awful - especially when considering the New York standard. It was a mingy portion of overly fatty meat - yes we know pastrami can be fattj but just refer to our Upper East Side alternative. Even the scrambled eggs and smoked white fish that B.G. is so famous for looked less than mouth watering at the table next to ours.
Hope this gives you all some food for thought. Regards.