Thursday, January 31, 2008

Top Ten Restaurants

Top 10 Restaurants I've Been to in New York City (not really in order). Please keep in mind we are far from high rollers and live in the neighborhood of Washington Heights which has a huge culinary shortage.

Tao - could be considered a chain because there is one in Las Vegas and is decidedly tourist-ridden, but the food is delicious and the prices are high, but not out of this world for a special occasion.

Carmine's - Family-style Italian - always go with a group and don't miss the lemon butter chicken which isn't on the menu and the "tugboat" which is a scaled down version of the "Titanic" ice cream dessert. I've been many times, usually when friends or family is in town, and each time is very fun and memorable.

before sinking the Titanic

Shanghai Joe's - I don't know if I can forgive Joe's bathroom, which was one of the worst disasters I've ever seen in my entire life, but the food was good Chinese smorgageboard. You sit with complete strangers at your table, but it seems to work out fine.

Ollie's - the Upper West Side location at 86th St. seems to be the best. All of the locations do their menu slightly differently but the General Tso's chicken here is my favorite in the city. Service is very fast and prices are cheap.

Saigon Grill - We tried this place because it was in Columbia's Guide to the City and went back many times for the lightning fast service, amazing spring rolls, yummy Vietnamese dishes and the ability to accommodate large groups at a moment's notice.

Yu II - I had to include Yu II because it's my favorite Washington Heights restaurant though we don't go too much because it's sushi and you can't eat that every weekend.

Citrus Grill - We went here for Valentine's Day and were subjected to a special overpriced menu. It was still really good though, but is better on regular days for half price.

Ruby Foo's - I just love Asian food. Good service and atmosphere.

La Vela - Inexpensive Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. I've tasted several of the dishes and love them all, especially the Pollo Al' Forno.

Max's Soha - I loved that the employees were willing to move heaven and earth (and all of their other customers) to fit Charlotte's stroller in this tiny restaurant near Columbia's main campus. The prices are amazingly low and I've been back a couple times for the rich, lasts-for-two-meals lasagna.

**Had to leave off some of the great restaurants I went to during working lunches. I think everything tastes great when you're not paying, don't you?

Dishonorable Mentions:

Mars 2112 - Where do I even start? We went here with friends several years ago and I still vividly remember the sickening "ride" you HAVE to take to get to the eating area, the absolutely overpriced terrible, alternating rubbery and rock hard food, non-existent service (yet a 18% automatic tip added on) and the rat that Helaman spied in the corner.

Maxine's - No one in my family appreciated the huge portions of semi-frozen entrees or the fact that you were subject to a "sharing fee" if you wanted to split it with someone in this Times Square joint.

Roxy's - Owned by the same peeps as Maxine's featuring $20 sandwiches with absolutely nothing but meat on them (not even a swipe of mayonnaise) and never-ending fees.

dislocating my jaw to get a bite

Honorable and Dishonorable Mention:

Serendipity III

The Good: We've had many good times with visiting friends and family here eating the delicious, rich ice cream and amazing frozen hot chocolate. I've loved our girls' mornings out here chatting in the rain and freezing temps while we wait.

The Bad: Employees of this restaurant are complete snobs and the service reflects it. They also don't allow strollers (even folded up ones) though once some of our friends coming straight from the airport brought about 200 pounds of luggage and there was no problem with that. There is usually a 2-3 hour wait to get in, though once you get in you notice that a LOT of the tables are empty. Last but not least - we all know about the closing due to roaches.

taking the good with the bad


phil said...

nice work. let's have a top ten list from new york every week until you leave.

Ellen said...

Great idea - I think I'll steal it for my blog. I have to disagree though. You can eat sushi every weekend. I guess you mean price-wise. Serendipity memories were fun. I have to say I love Carmine's toasted bread.
It seems that many of the good vs bad reviews have to do with price and service fees. What a shock! :)

Marie said...

That sandwich looks awesome. I'm not one of those people that's huge on traveling, but if I could go on any trip with all expenses included I would go to NYC and eat at every single restaurant.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, hope to see you back!

Ted & Hilery said...

I didn't realize you loved Asian food as much as you do. We also love to go to a good Asian restaurant and there are a few in Des Moines but I am sure it does not compare to NYC!
Fun list! Are you getting a little sentimental with the idea of moving?

Ann said...

How about the 10 top places to take visitors to NYC? I would recommend Madame Trousseau's Wax Museum. That was where Helaman got his picture taken with n-sync. Some other visitor thought H was part of the band!

Julia said...

I like your list. I'm glad that Max Soha made the top ten-- perhaps we will have to do another lunch date so you can eat there again.

Aaron.Shara.Abby said...

I LOVE eating out. Oh the picture of Roxy's brings back memories. They also won't let you share a meal, even if the other person is just ordering hot chocolate!!