New York Comic Con is upon us! Happening October 8-10th at the Jacob Javits Center here in… NYC, obviously. 75,000 comic creators and fans descending on our fair city to share in a communal love of graphic storytelling. With every single one of you also needing to feed your faces during your stay here!
The good thing is it’s New York City, one of, if not THE best, food city on the planet, with more restaurants than anyone can try in the course of a lifetime, let alone a three day weekend. So in order to help all my friends who are coming to town avoid shitty con food and bad Irish pub grub, I’ve decided to put together a quick little guide of some place for good eats here in the Big Apple. I’ll divide this list up into a few sections over a few days, to first get you some recommendations of places to eat in the vicinity of the con center, and then hit you with some other farther and pricier establishments that I do suggest you try if you have time. This list will be my selection of suggestions based on my personal eating experiences. For every joint I jot down here, there are a thousand other places to eat, yes, but I just wanted to get the ball rolling with my thoughts. And I’d love to see other New Yorkers post their favorites places in the comments section here!
Now let’s face it, the Javits Center isn’t the most convenient place on Earth, flung all the way over on the far West Side of Manhattan on 11th Ave. However, as long as you don’t mind a 10-15 walk, 10th and 9th Avenues do offer an extraordinary number of great restaurant and bar options for lunches and dinners. Starting on 10th Ave…
Tehuitzingo’s - A hidden gem. Arguably the best and most authentic taco joint in the city is right on 10th between 47th and 48th. It’s a hole in the wall, almost literally. You go to the back of this Mexican deli where there’s a small window you order $2.00 tacos from the lovely two women working there. It doesn’t get any more real or any better. Simply delicious! Best in the city, if you ask me. Try the tongue! http://www.yelp.com/biz/tehuitzingo-deli-grocery-new-york
The Pony Bar - Everyone who’s been to NYCC knows about Lansdowne, one of many a comic creators’ favorite drinking spots while in town. But the owners recently opened The Pony Bar up the block, which has quickly become one of my favorites in the city. The Pony is a wonderful American craft beer bar. Their beer menu changes daily, sometimes hourly even, based on what they get in and what the sell out of. I have had more amazing beers here that anywhere else in recent memory. All beers are $5 with a great food menu to boot. Try the tempura green beans! And they even display their changing beer menu in real time online: (At 45th St.) http://www.theponybar.com/
Hallo Berlin - A 10th Ave. classic, between 44th and 45th! An important stop on many a late night pub crawl. Sausage and beer served at communal picnic tables. http://www.halloberlinrestaurant.com/
Lansdowne Road - The aforementioned “official con pub”, one of almost all NYCCers regular stops. Sure to fill up quickly at lunch, but still the closest place for a good burger and a beer. If you go, be sure to try their special “Pickleback” too! (At 43th St.) http://www.lansdowneroadnyc.com/
Moving over from 9th Ave. which is a wonderful stretch of eateries and watering holes…
Shorty’s - Probably the shortest walk from the con center, a near authentic Philly cheese steak joint. (Not cheese steak “sandwiches”, mind you!) A little divey, sure, but the food is good and cheap. (At 41st St.) http://www.shortysnyc.com/
Delta Grill - Cajun food. Tasty jambalaya and fried chicken, a great selection of Abita beers, wonderful daily food specials. (At 48th St.) http://thedeltagrill.com/
Balkanika - A newer market/take out joint specializing in Balkan and Mediterranean foods. Try the Cevapici! (At 48th St.) http://tinyurl.com/2bxo3vq
Mee Noodle - One of my oldest haunts in NYC. Great, simply-prepared Chinese food, not overly done or overpriced. Their sizzling platters rock, and the meat dumplings with Peking meat sauce over noodles still one of my favorites dishes in the city. (At 49th St.) http://meenoodleshopnyc.com/
Five Napkin Burger - Getting all kinds of buzz recently, but I’m still not 100% sold on them yet. I know lots of people who swear by it though. Their lamb burger stood out for me. (At 45th St.) http://www.5napkinburger.com
Island Burgers and Shakes - A smaller, but better burger joint, if you ask me. And X-Men editor Nick Lowe constantly raves about their chicken burgers. (At 51st St.) http://islandburgers.ordersvc.com/
Kyotofu - Japanese desserts, pastries and more importantly… sake! (At 48th St.) http://www.kyotofu-nyc.com/
Co. - An artisanal pizza joint. Probably some of the best personal pies I have ever eaten, here in NYC or in Italy for that matter. (At 24th St.) http://www.co-pane.com/
Txikito - Chef Alexandra Raji’s Big Apple ode to Spanish tapas. An adventurous menu that can do no wrong in my mind. Always inevntive and outstanding. (At 24th St.) http://www.txikitonyc.com
Grand Sichuan - If you like spicy food, bring your hankering for heat here. One of the three best Chinese restaurants outside of Chinatown, in my opinion. The jellyfish is the best in the city, and their spicy chicken with dried chili peppers is orgasmic, but be ready for the burn. (At 24th St.) http://www.thegrandsichuan.com/chelsea
Expanding out a bit, but still in West Side range….
Yakitori Totto - One of my top ten restaurants in all New York City! On 55th and 8th. An authentic Japanese yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) joint. Absolutely wonderful! But super small. Make reservations! I recommend sitting at the counter and getting any of the daily specials right away as they sell out quickly. DO NOT MISS their bonchiri if you go! http://tottonyc.com/
Ramen Totto - A Japanese ramen joint from the same owners a few blocks south on 52nd between 8th and 9th. They serve a chicken based soup called paitan. No reservations taken so you have to line up, and sometimes it is a LONG wait. But so worth it! I highly recommend the spicy miso ramen. And just order double noodles (kaidama) right up front. http://www.tottoramen.com/
Szechuan Gourmet - Easily one of the other three best Chinese joints outside of Chinatown, along with Grand Sichuan from earlier up the list. Nice and spicy! Makes every “Best of NYC” list I can think of. You will regret not ordering the pork belly with chili leeks if you go. http://szechuangourmet56.com (At 56th St. But there is also another location on 39th and 6th.)
Then, even farther up West and on the fancier/pricier side…
A Voce - Incredible Italian in the Time Warner Center. Fantastic food, great wine list, nice views of Central Park. Reservations recommended. Don’t miss the pork belly and spaghetti with sea urchin. And the limonciello cocktail is out of this world! http://www.avocerestaurant.com/
Marea - The 2010 James Beard Award winner for “Best New Restaurant”. Reservations a must, and hard to get at times. They have gotten hype for their crudos, which I did not particularly care for and think you can get better raw fish at any number of sushi joints in NYC. But Chef Michael White is a maestro when it comes to pasta and they are simply stunning here. The red wine braised octopus and bone marrow fusilli is one of those dishes you need to try before you die. http://www.marea-nyc.com/home.html
Rosa Mexicano - Mouth-watering modern Mexican. Their table-side guacamole, hand-made tortillas, moles, salsas and fajitas are a must! http://www.rosamexicano.com
Man, I know I’m forgetting so many other good places. More soon…
Next up, New York’s best burger joints!