Ask the Critic: A Farewell Food Tour of NYC

Ask the Critic

You have restaurant questions? We have answers. Where to take a dinner date? Restaurants good for parents or picky eaters? Food etiquette? Food and restaurant writer Carey Jones answers your questions. Email to submit.


[Illustration: Robyn Lee]

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 with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question!

Goodbye Eating Tour of NYC

My husband and I are leaving New York for Berkeley, CA in a year. I know Berkeley is a great place, and a great food town, but I am going to miss New York City terribly and I want to say goodbye to it in the best way I know how—by eating my way through the city. What restaurants, in your opinion, are quintessentially "New York"? I am planning to visit wd~50, but where else should I definitely eat on my farewell tour?

As food destinations go, you're mighty lucky to relocate to the Bay Area. While I may be a little biased, coming from the San Francisco vicinity myself, it's easily up there with New York as one of the nation's premiere dining destinations. (Need to get excited? Check out our archives!)

Feel no urgency to seek out doughnuts or Mexican fare or Vietnamese or arepas or ice cream or farmers' markets or avocados (sigh, avocados)—you'll be well taken care of in California.

What can't you find on the West Coast, though? Perhaps you'll find a deli, but not one that can compare to the history and all-around awesome of Katz's or Ben's Best. You may find smoked fish, but you won't find the experience of chatting with the folks at Russ & Daughters or the classically, lovably gruff service at Barney Greengrass.

The Bay Area's pizza game has no question stepped up in the last few years, particularly in the Neapolitan/Neapolitan-esque genre of Delfina and Pizzeria Picco and Flour + Water and the legendary Una Pizza Napoletana. But they don't have the lineage of Patsy's or Totonno's or Di Fara. And while San Francisco is a great sandwich town, there's nothing quite like an old-school hero from Alidoro or Defonte's or Mama's.

Those are the genres I'd hit before any others. But what you'll really miss? Your own neighborhood restaurants, favorite cafés, street carts where you get lunch twice a week, bars where everybody knows your name. Make time for your old friends. It's easier to find a new favorite sandwich than a new favorite sandwich guy.

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About the author: Carey Jones is the former managing editor of Serious Eats. Follow her on Twitter (@careyjones).

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