Editor's note: Here to answer your questions is senior managing editor, former SENY editor, and frequent author of our NYC restaurant reviews Carey Jones. We'll take a few of your questions each week and give you the New York restaurant advice you're looking for. Email [email protected] with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question!
This week on Ask the Critic: a day eating and drinking in Williamsburg, and an affordable lunch in Midtown.
Day Out In Williamsburg
I have some friends visiting town and they want to spend Saturday in Williamsburg, eating and drinking (and definitely day-drinking). I know we can't spend ALL day just doing that but do you have ideas for an itinerary? Nothing Peter Luger expensive but it doesn't all have to be super-cheap. Oh, and if the weather's nice, we'd want to take advantage of that too.
Purely on food terms, Egg is my favorite brunch in Williamsburg; give me a plate of scrapple and eggs, or the cheese-smothered egg-in-a-hole Eggs Rothko, and I'm a happy lady. But when I'm bringing friends around New York, I occasionally go for something a little more offbeat. Nitehawk Cinema is an independent movie house / "cinema eatery" where they deliver food and drinks right to your seat during the film, and their brunches are an incredibly fun way to kick off a weekend. (Dirty Dancing goes beautifully with a Bloody Mary or three.) Check their schedule to see if anything appeals.
From there, perhaps Radegast? It's a huge, lively beer hall with ample room to hang out and a huge number of beers to try. When it's sunny, light streams in the windows and it's the next-best thing to being outside. After a few pints have mellowed you a bit (the better to tolerate the crowds), wander over to Smorgasburg and show your friends the many, many small-scale food purveyors that make it so exciting.
For drinks and a bite before dinner, head to Maison Premiere, as good as a cocktail-oyster spot can get, with a gorgeous garden in back; or Huckleberry Bar, for more craft cocktails and outdoor seating; or the brand-new Desnuda Williamsburg for drinks and a little ceviche. Or if you'd rather stick with beer, you can't beat Spuyten Duyvil, and they've got a spacious backyard too.
Dinner? Well, if you're at Spuyten Duyvil, it's three steps to the meat-centric St Anselm or the barbecue joint across the street, Fette Sau. If you're looking to go a little lighter, our new favorite Mediterranean spot Zizi Limona isn't far.
Reasonably Priced Lunch in Midtown
Hi, critic. I work in Midtown in the 40s and often run into a problem when planning lunch meetings and lunch dates. There are lots of expensive sit-down restaurants, and plenty of street carts and cheap eats spots. But I don't know many in-betweens, places where we could sit down and have a good meal but won't have to spend $40 for the privilege. Any thoughts?
It does at times seem like Midtown is made for power lunching or street-cart eating; nothing wrong with either of those, of course, but sometimes you don't want either.
How about Bi Lokma, for affordable Turkish fare? Or Cafe China for excellent Sichuan in one of the prettier dining rooms we've seen lately. Or Don Antonio to share pizza and salad. Or go for casual Japanese with Hide-Chan ramen, Go Go Curry, or either of two good soba spots.
Also, April Bloomfield's new taqueria, Salvation Taco, would be a great pick for lunch if you don't hit peak hours. The tortas and tacos are excellent; the colorful room, a fun place to kill your lunch hour in; and if you end up accidentally ordering a few of their top-notch cocktails, no one in your office will be the wiser.
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Have more advice for these folks? Jump in, in the comment thread!