Here's where to go for good focaccia or hand-pulled noodles. (Spoiler: we got both).
“Hi there, I’m Dan, and we’re on 27th and Madison. Honestly, nobody really knows what this neighborhood should be called, but it is a great area. You can find whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s the most expensive things the city has to offer, or things that are casual and affordable. Today is absolutely freezing, so we're going to duck into a fine Italian grocery store, and then get spicy Chinese hand-pulled noodles.
Rosticerria e Panini: I’m not even going to try pronounce this place’s name. It’s got an amazing prime rib sandwich, it’s really good, and that’s about the end of it (laughs).
Eisenberg’s: One of the few remaining sort of greasy spoon diners in New York City.
Xian’s: It’s Western Chinese food, and they pull their noodles right in front you and by hand. It’s fun to watch. Whatever I get I always douse in a lot of black vinegar.
MADISON SQUARE PARK
Let’s start heading down on Madison, and then go through the park. Madison Square Park’s current installation is really pretty. It’s a set of golf ball-sized lights arranged in a series of rows, hanging about a foot above the snow. It doesn’t look like much during the day, but at night they twinkle in all these different patterns. It’s actually really beautiful. We’re at the south end of the park, and there’s the original Shake Shack. I don’t get anything too complicated, just a bacon burger and some fries. I’m not a really big shake person, I’m in it for the fries. The line is always really long, with hundreds of people sometimes. If you can have someone else pick it up for you, do it.
THE BEST SANDWICH
Here’s Eataly, across the park on the other side of Broadway. I’m a fan, at least for some parts of it. The food is great, I’ve bought odds and ends like pasta, sauce, and bread, things like that. The fresh pasta is really good, and the olive oil is amazing, though it’s expensive. Eataly has the most incredible sandwich in this tiny little lunch spot in the corner, right past the espresso bar called Rosticceria e Panini. They also have a little section for breads, and I’m going to buy some. I usually go for the regular marinara topping, or the eggplant. But today I’m going to get the classic. It’s a focaccia soaked in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. It’s amazing, nom, nom, nom. Eataly has everything, they pretend to be a supermarket though it’s really just a collection of small restaurants. I guess you could buy produce here but I don’t know why you would. See these banana peppers? These are really good if you kind of boil them, slice them, mix in breadcrumbs and cheese, grill them. Delicious.
A GREASY-SPOON DINER
Let’s take a right and walk south on 5th Avenue. This is Eisenberg’s. It’s old, from the 1920’s I think. I walked past it one day and just went in. It doesn’t like much but that’s kinda part of the charm. I usually get the burger and fries, but their omelets and hash browns are really good. This place is famous for their “Sorry, We’re Open” sign that can get a lot of people confused (laughs). It’s got all these pictures of celebrities who’ve eaten here on the walls. It’s just a really good, basic, New York City diner. There aren’t too many of those left, especially around here.
HAND-PULLED NOODLE HEAVEN
Now let’s walk to 23rd street, because where I really want to take you is Xian’s. I walked past this place once and went in because I was hungry. If you come here, eat your food in their dining area. Don’t get it to go, it doesn’t really keep very long and it never tastes as good. Everything on their menu is delicious. Today I’m going to get the spicy beef noodles. I’ve come here so many times since I moved here three years ago, lets see if they know me by my name yet.”
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