Food in Manhattan
Posted by Wei Min Tan on January 2, 2020
It’s been twenty years since I’ve been living in Manhattan. The first few years I always had the Zagat guide to check out new restaurants. After a while, I realized that we always try to find new things, only to discover that the regular restaurants are more dependable, consistent, better. Food in Manhattan is excellent, I am reminded of this every time we go on vacation. ie wherever we go, I am reminded that Manhattan has that type of food and plenty of options. No need to fly, go through airport, jetlag etc to experience such and such food.
I’ve tried all of Manhattan’s Michelin 3-stars. Sitting for 3+ hours is overwhelming, the butt aches after 2 hours. Expensive is not better.
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These are my favorite spots. Keep in mind I work out like a beast and hence eat a lot. The places I go to tend to have large quantities and are healthy.
Brazilian steakhouse in Midtown West on W 53 between 5/6 Aves. Enormous salad bar (bigger than at any vegetarian place) and you can have meat too. Very high ceilings, a plus with real estate people like me. I never leave hungry. The risk is eating too much meat, so I tend to get the Gaucho Lunch – full salad bar with one cut of meat.
This is the best of the new healthy/vegan places which includes Sweet Green, The Little Beet, Dig Inn etc. Servings at Pure Ktchn are large and very healthy. My favorite is the Thai Salad Bowl. It seems like most orders are takeout/delivery so there is usually a table available. There is only one location though, in Midtown West. It’s easy to miss because it’s in the basement level.
Ping’s is the best Cantonese restaurant in Manhattan. The chef, Ping, is a famous award-winning chef from Hong Kong. We go there so often that we know every dish. At a Cantonese restaurant, you want to order seafood (live fish/shrimp) and the house special soup, which requires advanced ordering.
EN is the most spacious Japanese restaurant in Manhattan. Located in West Village and ceiling are very high. My client Demmi introduced me to it a few years ago. Nice presentation, good variety and the kaiseki dinner is amazingly zen.
Palm is a steakhouse in Tribeca with a local vibe. Almost no tourist there despite being close to the World Trade Center. Maybe because it’s not marketed in the tourist literature. I think Palm caters to the residents at the luxury condos around it. The porterhouse is excellent, have the creamed spinach alongside.
Nobu has the best omakase (Japanese for ‘I’ll leave it up to you’) in Manhattan. The new downtown location is nicer than the old Tribeca location. Enough food to fill me up and much cheaper than Masa (Michelin 3-star). If you go to Nobu, get the omakase. The a la carte is not worth it, you’re paying a premium for an experience that’s not as memorable as the omakase.
Westville, the West Village location
This Westville is small and tight but that’s what makes it different. It’s on the tree-lined W 10 Street. Vegetarian platter really fills you up. Weekdays are best because weekends are packed.