New York Noshing

One of the best markets anywhere, and a great place to start a whirlwind culinary week in New York, is the Greenmarket, which takes place a few times a week in Union Square.

Corn

New York’s Greenmarket is a colorful riot of fresh corn, technicolor heirloom tomatoes, fresh-made Ronnybrook ice cream (which I didn’t get to try since my consorts put a damper on things and said it was too early in the morning and I didn’t think I could finish a pint by myself), tiny little chili peppers, sweet amber-colored maple syrup and some respectable locally-made cheeses.

Tomatoes

I’d be happy to go on and on and one, but the visit was recorded for posterity on video. Stay tuned…

Greenmarket
Union Square
NYC

Corned Beef

Speaking of corn, ever since the Second Avenue Deli closed their doors, life hasn’t been the same. Even though I live thousands of miles away, just knowing Sharon Lebewohl and her crew were there slicing mounds of corned beef and pastrami was always enough to make it my first, and often last stop too, on trips to New York.


Thankfully Katz’s Deli is still going strong and people still line up daily for their overstuffed sandwiches. My corned beef was somewhat fatty, which made it a bit difficult to chew, so I advise asking for ‘lean’ when ordering.

Half-Sour Pickels

But with crunchy half-sour pickles served by the plateful washed down with an icy-sweet Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry soda, I may be returning for a final fress.

Katz’s Deli
205 Houston Street
NYC

Lever House Bar

One of my favorite buildings in the world is the Lever House. And ever since they opened a retro-sleek restaurant inside, I’ve wanted to eat there. So when my editor gave me a list of places to confab, I picked Lever House.

The dining room is amazing, but the pallid lighting doesn’t do it justice. We swapped seats to be in a quieter area overlooking the other diners and enjoyed Iceberg Lettuce Salads with Bacon and Tomato, and I followed up with a appetizer-portion of short ribs, which were tough and a bit too fatty. Dessert was a frozen Peanut Butter Parfait dipped in dark chocolate with Sour Cherry Ice Cream, which sounded promising but was clunky and too dense and we picked at it for a bit, then stopped midway.

Although we weren’t blown-away by the meal, I’d return to the bar for the superb French Fries and to soak up the atmosphere.

Lever House Restaurant
390 Park Avenue
NYC

I had a fun, floorside Korean dinner at Cho Dang Gol with Deb and her dishwasher/hubby, and Luisa, and although the company was super-duper, the waiter had a hard time believing that we wanted to order things…like more beer and more food. You would have thought I were asking for his left nut when I asked for more banchan, the little side dishes that go so well with Korean bbq (they only brought a measly four), but after a bit of prodding, reluctantly a few more came out.

They’re most famous for their homemade tofu, but the kimchiand tofu soup was a tad too tame. It was no Korea House but the company was terrific—although I think Alex is still trying to unkink his legs.

Cho Dang Gol
55 West 35th Street
NYC

Blue Smoke

It’s hard not to like a place that makes excellent Whiskey Sours (in the plural). And has the most amazing roasted peanuts I’ve ever eaten. And where the friendly staff is genuinely happy to serve you and make sure you’re having a good time.

While all these things are nice, the barbeque at Blue Smoke is the star of the show. This is one of those places where it’s wise to over-order, since you want to taste everything: fried chicken, two kinds of ribs, hush puppies, just-fried potato chips, and sublime and smoky beef brisket. We had it all.

The desserts of Chocolate Pudding and Chocolate Cake didn’t win us over, but it’s safe to stick with anything else on the menu. What a great restaurant and it’s going on my always go-to places in New York City from now on.

I may go back this weekend!

Blue Smoke
116 East 27th Street
NYC

There’s quite a few places in New York serving ‘street food’, where meats and things are fried up and served on the sidewalks. But the best is where the lines are longest…

halalline.jpg

For just five dollars, you can stand overlooking the Hilton Hotel and surround yourself with every kind of New Yorker shoveling in Gyros. It’s one of the best deals in town and quite a scene, day and night.

Gyro

Oh, in case you want the address…

halal.jpg

Also read New York Noshing Part 2.

21 comments

  • Thanks for giving all of us without access to the city of New York a peek into the great Greenmarket!

  • Should invite you for some Vietnamese in the village, email me David!

  • Wow, you are really cramming in the eats and meats. From Katz’s to Blue Smoke with a bit of tofu thrown in, you must be stuffed to the gills.
    But I suppose you need to when you have only a week to get in all of your cravings.

    When I lived in Paris and came back to NY one of the first things I needed was a pastrami sandwich but I have long since given them up. Used to be a weekly habit, then monthly, yearly and now I haven’t had one since 2nd Ave Deli closed. I heard they will be reopening so I will probably wait until then.

    I used to live right near that Halal cart but never dared sample the fare. It certainly is quite a scene over there but was it actually notable?

  • what in the world is a half sour pickle?

  • Drooooling over the corn and corn beef sandwich photos. Do you have room in your carry-on bag for about ten of each of those? oh my god, Korean BBQ, you do know how to live!

  • The Tomatoes look so wonderful.

    Oh yes and it is never too early for ice cream.

  • 2 things. Like izzy’s mama, I also heard that 2 Ave Deli is reopening in a different location (not on Second Ave.). Can’t wait! You had dinner with Luisa? So envious.

  • We sampled rosemary sorbet at the Union Sq market yesterday – it was incredible! And now all my boyfiend keeps saying is – make that rosemary sorbet, make that rosemary sorbet. I’m so glad I have your book to guide me in structuring this refreshing, uniquely-flavored dessert!

  • I used to live right by Union Square and went to that market all the time. Your photos made me very homesick.

  • Don’t mourn the 2nd Avenue Deli. Instead, visit Pastrami Queen on Lex between 78th and 79th.

  • I’ll be in New York in November for the first time, so I’m grateful for all your tips. Now I’ll know where to go! And eat properly :-)

  • Maaike: I’m also posting some favorite places on Flickr page too!

  • Just want to point out that the best pastrami in the world is in fact not in New York City, but at the legendary Langer’s in Los Angeles. Don’t want to start a coast war, but I’ve lived and loved in both towns, and nothing makes me yearn for that sweet sweet sandwich like Langer’s.

  • bza: The best in the world?

    Then one must speak only of Schwartz’s in Montreal. If you haven’t been, oy is it good…and well-worth the airfare.

  • Thanks! I’ll have a look right now.

  • I’ve never been to New York – oh the horror! – but am planning a trip this fall. My sister and I are going to eat our way around the city and after seeing that sandwich from Katz’s – it is on my list of things to see/taste! (I will remember to ask for LEAN though.) Then again – I have a serious pickle obsession. I might just eat those:) Love your blog!

  • that gyro place by the Hilton really is quite busy! i stayed in the Hilton for a conference in August, and people were lined up for quite a while, even late in the evening! (although not that late in NYC time, I suppose) I didn’t get a chance to try it, unfortunately.

  • Oh no! David … I didn’t know you wanted that ice cream so bad. I would have helped you eat it. I was busy futzing with the camera and wasn’t really paying attention to the ice cream dialog at the time.

  • I am happy to report that Second Avenue Deli is reopening on East 30th Street between 3rd and Lexington Avenues. The work on the restaurant is almost completed although the new restaurant looks smaller than the original.

  • Can’t believe that I didn’t know you were in New York the first week in October. I’ve been traveling so much (I live in Austin) I’ve missed reading the DL blog, and tonight had the amazing coincidence revealed to me that I picked up Halal combo plate at 6pm on October 5 at THAT Halal. Crazy! Being the food junkie I am, I also have a picture of the greasy fabulousness it was, PLUS all the white sauce and pepper sauce they could squeeze on mine! So although I hated to have missed your other suggestions, I was glad to have picked one of your choices all on my own. Keep it coming.

  • Man, did we walk miles in the rain to where the 2nd Ave deli USED to be!! Finding that it had closed was one of the big disappointments of our trip. I had exactly the same as you at Katz’s (I’ll have what he had, ha ha ha!). I loved their pastrami sandwiches and their glorious, glorious pickles. Is “half-sour” the correct name for them? Would love to try and make them at home as I FAR preferred them to ordinary dill pickles.