A hungry man in the Big Apple
February 21st, 2011
03:15 PM ET
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The first thing I do when I get to NYC is pop two Advils.

All the delis, food carts, steakhouses, and ethnic food joints make my head hurt. Not because they make me ill, because I can't wrap my head around how I can try them all. It stresses me out to think the best meal I could ever have might be right around the corner, but I'll never know because I walked right on by staring at some monster billboard of Anderson Cooper gazing at me with those "national treasure" eyes.

So this week, I find myself back in the concrete jungle to work with my favorite Eatocracy editors. We have some fun stuff lined up to share with folks down the road. But first, I need to cross some places off my food bucket list.

1. Katz's Deli - I've been clamoring to get to Katz's for years. For some reason or another, I always get sidetracked and never make it down to East Houston St. That will not happen again. The question is not whether I will or won't go to Katz's, the question is corned beef or pastrami or both.

2. Hill Country BBQ- I could be in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan....I'm still going to find me some BBQ. Our beloved managing editor, Kat Kinsman, has the hook-up at Hill Country and urged me to go. I went to the restaurant's website and saw Kreuz's Market in Lockhart, Texas as its inspiration. SOLD. Kreuz's is my basilica of brisket, sausage, and ribs. If Hill Country can come anywhere close to Kreuz's, it'll be good. Hill Country is opening a store soon in my town of Washington, DC. Consider this my preview of hopefully many lunches to come.

3. Clinton St. Bakery- The blueberry pancakes are supposed to be worth the wait (which can be a long one) at this Lower East Side hot spot. Wait a second, it's only a couple blocks down from Katz's. Maybe I'll have breakfast at Clinton St., find a park bench to sleep off my food coma, then stroll over to Katz's for a very large sandwich. Yes, I love it when a plan comes together.

4. Gray's Papaya– Is it okay to try this place if I'm not drunk? I'm ashamed for not having had a Gray's dog in my 33 years of life. I'm not letting it get to 34.

So I'm keeping the list to this handful leaving the rest up to the opinion of our Eatocracy eaters. If you're a native New Yorker, or just a frequent visitor to the Big Apple, send me your suggestions. I have five days here before I head back down I-95. Bonus if you can tell me where to find the best black and white cookies to bring back to my eight-month pregnant wife.

Well he *could* just look at our list of where to eat in New York City, but we want to hear from you!

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Filed under: America • New York • Restaurants • Travel

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Tourist from Tucson Arizona-

    YUM YUM for the world famous Carnegie Deli is a true New York City landmark situated in Midtown on 7th Avenue at 55th Street.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  2. Sam Meyer

    Dinosaur is indeed delish, but pig ain't beef. Different kingdoms. (No knock on Dinosaur whatsoever, but Daisy May's and Blue Smoke both do pig better IMHO.)

    February 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  3. Ian

    How can you talk about BBQ in NYC and not mention Dinosaur BBQ? I wouldn't expect any pansy downtowners to understand. By far the best BBQ in the city. Period.

    February 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Barbaric Wonder

      You can't go wrong with good BBQ!!

      February 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  4. Sam Meyer

    Second the recommendation for X'ian Famous Foods, but they have more than two locations - going to one of the basement food courts in a Chinese mall in Flushing is a wonderful way to see lots of amazing food. Also in Flushing, Spicy & Tasty has some great Szechwan food.

    Momofuku Ssam Bar is famous and well-frequented by the foodiehipster crowd, but damn if it isn't famous for a very good reason.

    Shake Shack's a good time as well.

    For dim sum, try Golden Unicorn or Golden Bridge or Triple Eight Palace. Go early. I also like Nice Green Bo on Bayard Street in Chinatown for Shanghainese food, or New Pasteur on Baxter St for Vietnamese.

    Union Square Cafe isn't as "cool" as it used to be, and their menu isn't trendy, but they turn out fantastic food utterly consistently, and with the best service in town.

    Han Bat on W. 35th for 24-hour Southern Korean food, and Mandoo Bar on W. 32nd near 5th for Korean dumplings.

    Lombardi's on Spring for coal-oven pizza that's worth the wait. And you can have dessert at Rice to Riches (20 flavors of gourmet rice puddings!) across the street.

    Taverna Kyclades in Astoria for Greek seafood prepared expertly and served simply.

    in Midtown, Margon on E. 46th or 47th is a great hole-in-the-wall Cuban lunch place. Really nice Cuban sandwiches and octopus salad.

    Just looked at the other list of NYC restaurant recommendations and they're solid. Otto is definitely a favorite, and so is Grand Central (though I'd skip the dining room and head straight to the lunch counter.)

    February 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  5. Kacey

    If you haven't yet been to Katz's, then I suggest you do the duel: order pastrami and Katz's and head over the 2nd Ave Deli and order the same thing.
    For years this feud has gone on, and NYC and its visitors are split over which deli dominates. I personally have chosen one of the two – and no, I won't say which – and to me it is well worth your time to dine at each of these landmarks.

    February 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  6. Rebecca O.

    For the best black and white, take a quick trip into Brooklyn and go to Caputo's Bake Shop on Court. (http://www.yelp.com/biz/caputos-bake-shop-brooklyn)

    You're going for the black and whites, but if you don't walk out of there with a lard bread too, you should check your pulse.

    February 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  7. Mildred

    Trust me, you can go to Gray's without being drunk. Granted, my visits have been during the later hours of the night, but it's good food.

    I'd suggest the Biryani Cart, at 46th and 6th Ave.

    February 22, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  8. ellen

    1. Sanur – for excellent and cheap Malaysian and Indonesian (my go-to place for my fav, mee rebus) http://www.yelp.com/biz/sanur-new-york
    2. Xian – for excellent and cheap northern Chinese food (there are 2 locations, one in Chinatown under the Manhattan Bridge or in East Village)
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/xian-famous-foods-new-york-2 or http://www.yelp.com/biz/xian-famous-foods-new-york-3

    West Village:
    1. Spain – for cheap wine and free tapas – perfect for an afternoon drinkie and snack http://www.yelp.com/biz/spain-restaurant-new-york
    2. Kati Roll Co. – for good kati rolls http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Kati+Roll+Company&ns=1&find_loc=New+York%2C+NY

    East Village:
    1. Ippudo – for the best ramen you've ever had (though it's prob the most expensive ramen, it's still not that pricey in general)
    2. Carracas – for excellent arepa sandwiches http://www.yelp.com/biz/caracas-arepa-bar-new-york-3
    3. Artichoke – for huge slices of artichoke pizza http://www.yelp.com/biz/artichoke-basilles-pizza-and-brewery-new-york (there's no seating though but they have new storefronts on the west side also (yelp that)) If at the East Village location, you can bring it in to a bar around the corner on 2nd Ave called Finnerty's and eat it there (just be sure to order a drink)

    Food carts:
    Kati Roll Kart

    February 22, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  9. travelingmad

    Nice post. Eating in NY is a bit overwhelming. I am ashamed to say that I have lived so close but haven't tried some of the great eateries there.
    Next time I'm in the big apple I will try to eat more.

    I have been to Papaya before. You will enjoy tlhe food even when sober.

    February 21, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  10. Jdizzle McHammerpants

    Lovin' the "D*ck In a Box" link next to this video clip she mentions.

    February 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  11. FLNative

    THE hands-down BEST B&W's I've ever had are at Toojay's. How far down I-95 are you coming? There are Toojay's all over Florida.

    I always get 2 of the large-size cookies, get 'em home, put 'em in the freezer. Two hours later, take one out and try to eat it as sloooooooooowly as I can. If I still have room for the second one, I'll eat that one as sloooooowly as I can, too.

    If you are coming down to Florida, don't bother buying the B&W's at Publix (Florida-based grocery store) I HAVE tried theirs and at best they're second to Toojays!

    February 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  12. Joseph

    Maialino on Lexington is Danny Meyer's lastest concoction– It's definitely worth trying. Described as a "Roman-style trattoria," modern execution on rustic food.

    February 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
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