I lived in Manhattan for 11 months, and I got to know a few spots. 11 months is not nearly enough to build any kind of definitive list, but it’s my list.
Whiskey Tavern I love this bar. I first came here for an Unfogged meetup; I came back for a Husky Basketball game and was introduced to the pickleback by Rob, bartender/owner. The place is right in Chinatown, next to the city jail. In fact, when folks are released from jail and interviewed by local news, the Whiskey Tavern is usually in the background. The drinks are stiff, everybody knows my name, and there’s lovely courtyard seating in the back.
Mudville 9 Saloon This was my neighborhood bar in Tribeca; it was our 206 Mondays bar for a while. Look out for towers of beer, and firehouse fries with bacon.
Rattle & Hum This is a UW Huskey bar in Murray Hill. Lot’s of local beers, good pub food.
Japas 38 My friends took me here for my 37th birthday. The private karaoke room with a big plate of fritanga was fun; the bar was even funner.
El Idolo This is a taco truck on West 14th Street. It’s pretty good as taco trucks go, although they use grocery store tortillas and an inexplicably large amount of shredded lettuce. It’s not the greatest, but it is the most Mexican place in what otherwise is a desert of texmex punishment. Some Yelpers hate the place because the taco “shells” aren’t even crunchy. Ho ho ho.
Pick A Bagel I’ve never been a fan of bagels, but this place serves a monster lox on poppyseed bagels with cream cheese, tomato, onion, and capers. Note: wait till lunch, when they have the salad bar open, that’s when you can get capers…. the big kind. I like this sandwich better here than the large but overly orderly version at Zucker’s in Tribeca.
Jackson Hole Gourmet burgers on the Upper West Side. I don’t really get the Wyoming reference.
Waldy’s I met cowsin F here, and on the day I was fired I met F here as well. It’s a wood fire pizza; the pies are oblong, and they have spiced oil to drizzle… just like in France! I like it better than the traditional New York places, and even better than Artichoke Pizza.
The Tuck Shop I came here first with cowsin M for a mince pie and a Cooper’s Stout. It was great to be able to get an honest Aussie Pie every once in a while.
Gogo Curry Japanese brown curry is my favorite way to eat curry…with a piece of katzu, over pillowy Japanese rice. Garment District.
Aura This is a Thai place trying to be a pan-asian place run by Thai people. Obviously their Thai dishes were the best. Garment District.
Woorijip 24 hour Korean cafeteria and noodle shop in Koreatown. Garment District.
The Frying Pan. Fried seafood, beer, and drinks on a docked boat on the Hudson River. I went there with M and Dr. Jazz when he was in town. It seemed pretty douchical the day we went, but I see the appeal.
Yakitori Taisho The food here was delicious. When I came, though, it was the dead of winter, and people kept standing in the damn door. I was the belligerent guy sitting on the corner of the bar yelling IN OR OUT.
The thing about Japanese food in America is that Japanese people consistently try to maintain the Japanese standard of their cuisine. They, more than any other ethnic group–Asian, Latin, European–seem to be the most careful about not dumbing down their food for American eaters. That’s not to say I haven’t eaten dumbed down Japanese food, but when I do get dumbed down Japanese food, it’s not Japanese people who have prepared it. Thank you, Japanese immigrants, for bringing us the real deal.
Udon West Also delicious, very authentic, very comforting.
King’s Head Tavern A seemingly British pub with Mexican candles in the East Village on East 14th. I would have gone there more if it were closer.
Shanghai Cafe How do I know this place is authentic? Because it reminded me of Shanghai. Specifically, the sweet flavors I don’t like. It’s not a huge deal to me, but the xiao long bao here were better than at Joe’s Shanghai. I’m annoyed that both places use big baskets instead of little ones.
Jimmy’s Burger Shack The mini burgers are good, the jumbos are good, whatever. The real story is the tater tots.
Soup Spot They have 17 soups on a rotating menu, but all I want is the lobster/salmon bisque.
Meyers of Keswic English Pork Pie. West Village/Meat Packing District.
Yello Free karaoke in the basement!
Asia Roma I love empty bars; this one was empty with good music and a pretty bartender.
I’ll update this list if I think of anything new.