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By Nikita Richardson
I’m back! Thank you to Becky Hughes for covering for me while I was out sick. For this month’s reader questions, we have a reader who wants to know where to grab an early dinner with a large group before a concert at Madison Square Garden; someone in search of affordable, slurpworthy oysters; and visitors from across the pond who want recommendations for happy hour dining that won’t break the bank.
As always, keep sending your questions or recommendations to [email protected] and you may see them featured here. Let’s get started!
Pre-Concert Group Dining
I’m going to a concert at Madison Square Garden with a group of my cousins (we’re six women in our 30s and 40s) and trying to think of somewhere that is fun, not too “Midtown-y,” that we could have an early-ish dinner and drinks at before the show within walking distance of the Garden. Any ideas? — Ellen B.
At just a 10-minute walk away to Koreatown, the home-style Korean restaurant Her Name Is Han is a great fit. Start your meal off with the grilled-cheese-like kimchi pancake with a soft-poached egg, and the rice cakes with kabocha and shishitos. Then get two hot pots, which are more than enough for six people. Alternatively, you can head just south of M.S.G. and go to Shukette in Chelsea, where the Middle Eastern menu’s selection of oven-fired breads, richly spiced vegetables and seafood, and dips lends itself handsomely to group dining. Reservations are hard to come by, but walking in shouldn’t be a problem if it’s on the earlier side.
All-You-Can-Eat Oysters That Won’t Disappoint
Love your newsletter & envy your job! I am wondering if you have advice on where to find inexpensive oysters in the city, during or outside of happy hour. — Katherine C.
I thought this was a simple question, but then I asked myself: Should oysters even cost a dollar? What about sustainability? What about quality? So, I reached out to Julie Qiu, a writer and oyster expert based in New York City. She told me that while $1 oysters aren’t necessarily bad, you absolutely do get what you pay for. So, where does Julie like to go for oyster happy hour? Crave Fishbar in Midtown and on the Upper West Side ($1.50 to $2 oysters from 4 to 6 p.m. every day), Cull & Pistol at Chelsea Market (all oysters half-price from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays), and Sel Rrose on Delancey Street ($2 oysters from 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays). Slurps up!
Happy Hours With Great Food
My husband and I are traveling to New York for a special anniversary and the exchange rate is not in our favor. We would love to find a few happy hour spots which also offer a happy hour food menu that is delicious plus substantial, not just a bowl of olives (as much as I love olives). We will be spending the bulk of our time in Manhattan and Brooklyn. — Maeve C.
How about bars with a good happy hour and a professional kitchen? After all, it’s your vacation and you deserve good food along the way. I think Canary Club on the Lower East Side is a great place for a romantic early date; the interior is gorgeous, and from 5 to 7 p.m. they have a happy hour that includes classic cocktails (Sazaracs and French 75s) for just $10 each. Sip them over the jumbo Nola prawns ($20), or the andouille sausage and chicken potpie ($18), and you have a happy hour date on the cheap. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, there’s Lighthouse BK, a lovely bar and restaurant that sells seasonal Mediterranean fare like chicken shawarama ($19) and Israeli nachos ($15). From 5 to 6:30 p.m., you can get $10 glasses from their well-considered wine list or a daily cocktail special for the same price.
In Other News …
Pete Wells visited Le Rock, from the Frenchette team, and found that it’s bringing needed downtown energy to Midtown. The menu doesn’t engage in only safe choices, with “blood sausages, snails and tablier de sapeur, a breaded and fried plank of tripe straight out of the gutbucket bouchons of Lyon,” Pete writes.
On Monday we sent the first edition of The Restaurant Review, a newsletter for Times news subscribers in which you’ll receive Pete’s weekly restaurant review a day before everyone else. Please sign up for that here.
Openings: Maialino (vicino) in NoMad, a reopening of Danny Meyer’s Maialino restaurant, now in the former Caffe Marchio and Vini e Fritti spaces in the Redbury Hotel; Peaches Prime, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with a “New York brasserie” menu; S&P in the Flatiron district, a revision of the longstanding Eisenberg’s by the Court Street Grocers team; and more.
Julia Moskin reported that the next Noma pop-up will be in Kyoto, Japan. René Redzepi will move his Copenhagen restaurant and 70 of its employees to Kyoto for a 10-week run that coincides with cherry blossom season.
From private “clubstaurants” to NFT reservation tokens to concierge services, the era of the paywalled restaurant is here, writes Rachel Sugar.
The New York Times Food Festival continues this week, with a series of dinners called “Nights to Remember,” at a few of our staff’s favorite restaurants in New York City: Shukette on Tuesday, Oct. 18; Bonnie’s on Thursday, Oct. 20; and Dame on Friday, Oct. 21. Reserve a table now. (And if you missed the festival in Damrosch Park in Manhattan, Camille Baker reported on the highlights.)
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