Leave it to Manhattan to take a blue collar, suburban/exurban, beer guzzling, belching non-sport like bowling and turn it into a discoteque glam scene with starry lounge and apple martinis. Definitely an experience you should try once in your life, unless you are allergic to bowling with loud techno music and screen-saver like patterns projected onto plasma screens at the end of the alley. But I think maybe I'll just stick to grubby, sticky floor bowling like in my Jersey days.
PROS: Glam bowling if you are too cool for regular bowling.
CONS: I am not too cool for regular bowling.
The sashimi at Yama is the largest I have ever seen, and the quality is pretty good as well. The rolls are also decently sized in the age of ever shrinking sushi pieces. The owners are actually Japanese, so you know this place is somewhat authentic. The sake selection accompanies the menu well, and you always leave full (for the next hour or so, anyway). While not as spectacular as Tomoe Sushi or Jewel Bako, at these reasonable prices and lower waiting times, you will easily become a regular at Yama.
PROS: Big, fresh pieces of fish.
This sushi joint certainly isn't one that you would plan on going to on a weekend night, but rather a conciliatory prize after a long day at work when you need to eat but can barely move your arm off the couch. There are not a lot of sushi joints in this area where I would not fear food poisoning, so Yoro is a nice, convenient, affordable place to go if I'm having sushi withdrawal on a Monday night. The service, food and decor are all average, but what do you expect from Fulton Street?
PROS: You get what you pay for.
CONS: Oh so average.
Who would have though Chicken Tikka Paninis would be so good? They really need to franchise this place all over the city - adding a needed kick to the boring Cosis. Other specialties include tasty fillings wrapped in roti, and their slightly spicy and very flavorful yellow lentil soup. For under $10, this quickie Indian meal-to-go can't be beat.
PROS: Cheap! Tasty!
CONS: Portions could be oh-so-slightly larger.
This is a numero uno date place. Small groups are okay, but you would be afraid to disturb the zen-like tranquility that the owners have created in this space. The service is efficient and friendly, the wine list is both socially sensitive and tasteful, while the food is inventive, delicious and filling. No super skimpy portions at Annisa, they want you to leave full and happy. A meal will probably run at least $70, but it's well worth it if you're appreciative of a wonderful dining experience.
PROS: Creative food, great conversation spot
You know you will love Al Di La by: 1) The lines outside the door before the restaurant even opens, 2) The charming ceilings and other Brooklyn brownstone details, and 3) The food that you will never stop craving, months upon years after your first meal there. The risottos are incredible, the wine list is fabulous, and the tripe - OH, THE TRIPE! is amazing (and I usually think tripe is disgusting). If you ever liked food at any point in your life, this place will knock your tastebuds into next year. The food is worth waiting on line for, trust me. And the prices are not too shabby either, you can eat well for under $50 a person.
PROS: THE TRIPE! THE WINE!
CONS: The line (but who cares?!!)
For $60, you get an exquisite tasting menu with all kinds of delicacies and flavors you would not experience elsewhere, particularly not for that price. You get Veritas-style cuisine for a fraction of the price. The decor is a bit minimal and the furniture not as comfortable, of course, but the service is good and the restaurant is a bit more casual. This restaurant is really a phenomenal place for foodies who think $60 is a good value for an amazing tasting experience.
PROS: The best restaurant for its value in the whole world.
Tasty tapas reign supreme at this small but lively joint in the Lower East Side. The portions are not huge, but bigger than what I've seen at other tapas places. Best of all, the food is WONDERFUL and not expensive - especially if you come with a couple people to split the costs (typical when it comes to tapas). The Serrano Ham Croquettes and Boquerones (fresh anchovies in olive oil and vinegar) are both so delicious, as is the Octopus appetizer. The staff is so nice, and the sangria so sweet. Definitely the perfect chow spot for a small group!
PROS: Tasty food, Decent prices
CONS: Small, not too much seating
This particular branch of Whole Foods is spectacular. No matter how packed it is, the lines move briskly and you can almost always find a seat in the upstairs dining area within a couple minutes, which is pretty good for a hot spot on Union Square. While the salad bar and hot bar food is not cheap, the quality is great and it certainly beats going to a more expensive restaurant for dinner. I love this Whole Foods!
PROS: Great location, lines move fast, great food
CONS: We need more, especially downtown!!!
I think people like Fairway because it has that "warehouse" kind of feel, which equates to being in a "gourmet food mine" or something. However, there are always so many people there that it doesn't seem worth trying to push your cart through a maze of shelves only to wait on line for a billion years. The value isn't even all THAT. There are gourmet food items there, but nothing terribly out of the ordinary. I would rather go to Whole Foods, where their lines move quickly and there are some slow times.
PROS: Nice selection.
CONS: Totally packed and weird store layout.