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New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

johannesburg,southaf...
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New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

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

a.Great

-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.

Good choices

-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.

e."No No"Choice

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.

Brooklyn, NY
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1. Re: New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

Not sure who orders pastrami at Barney Greengrass - you go there for the fish. Also not sure why you expected to get a continental breakfast at a hotel that doesn't offer one. Glad you enjoyed the rest of your trip. Thank you for the report.

Sterling, VA
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2. Re: New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

"soft shell crabs served in a bucket" --- Very interesting! Every time I've had soft shell crabs, they've been served fried and there is no picking the meat out of the shell---you eat the whole thing!

Glad to hear you had a good time. Thanks for sharing!

Columbus, Ohio
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3. Re: New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

I loved Recipe, too! It's a great little place, but it seems that most people haven't even heard about it. Loved the coziness of the small size, and the food was great.

johannesburg,southaf...
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4. Re: New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

Dear NYCforMe - great to hear from you. Yes - if it weren't for a young lady sitting next to us on the cross town bus from the Metropolitan Museum we possibly would not have had the great meal we did at Recipe. Hope others onto Tripadvisor will now know.

Regarding my mention of "soft shell" crabs - thanks for correcting me - clearly they were regular crabs - you are correct - they were regular crabs but really delicious.

Just another recommendation. If visiting NYC in the next few months, try to book for the play "War Horse" it was the entertainment highlight of our trip - the horses themselves were created by family friends who live in South Africa. We also saw an off Broadway production of "Avenue Q" which was most entertaining and got a standing ovation the night we attended.

If you are interested in New York City history, try and get downtown - Lower East Side to the Tenement Museum on Orchard street - we went on a tour of the district with "Annie" -she was extremely knowledgeable and full of life.

Also, if in the Chelsea area - one of the highlights of our trip was a walk on the "Highline" - a renovated elevated trainline running from about 14th street to 30th street above 10th Avenue - absolutely stunning - with benches, trees and plants - you can still see the actual tracks themselves and great views of the Hudson river and boats. A real must for everyone.

Regards

Queens, New York
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5. Re: New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

Great report, travelworld23! Thanks for the happy recap!

Albany, New York
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6. Re: New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

In my opinion, ribs that are "falling off the bone" are usually overdone. Also Texas ribs are usually beef ribs and shouldn't be falling off the bone.

johannesburg,southaf...
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7. Re: New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

Dear "queensboulevard" - your warm thanks were most appreciated. We have benefitted consistently from Traveladvisor experts such as yourself - we can only partially repay yourselves by providing some support via communicating our experiences - both great and not so great. We look forward to our next trip and the making of "destination friends" even before we leave. Fond regards.

johannesburg,southaf...
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8. Re: New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

Dear TPXB, great to hear your opinion - that's what makes Traveladvisor so helpful - that we get to hear all range of opinions. By the way, the only reason that I mentioned Texas was that in researching restaurants before we left for New York, a link with the Lone Star state was noted in one of the reviews. We do love beef ribs and, agree with you, the meat doesn't "fall off the bone" but is indeed extremely succulent and tender - which was not the case at the restaurant we had visited. Regards.

johannesburg,southaf...
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9. Re: New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

Hi there, Just realised I did the unforgivable - referring to Tripadvisor as "Traveladvisor" in my last two responses - "trip" is somehow more informal and friendly than "travel"and therefore more approachable. Regards to all.

Gig Harbor...
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10. Re: New York City - Bouquets and Brick Bats

My whole family is from Texas and they like their ribs....chewy..lol..I actually prefer to bite the meat off the bone but that may speak to my "baser" nature..:)..Falling off the bone is too soft for me.

Sounds like you had a great time & Can't wait to try Recipe..