Also see: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Disclaimer: it’s been so long since the last one that I don’t remember half the things anymore.

Updated 2020-01-26: turns out Greenwich doesn’t have as posh a spelling as I thought. Added Haidilao which didn’t deserve to be forgotten.

Bookstores

  • Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe (SoHo)

    A used bookstore and cafe. Not a big selection, but decent enough—you could spend a few hours here. I ended up getting Weike Wang’s Chemistry, which was an amazing read about dating/romance/Asian parent expectations.

Food and Restaurants

These locations are in no particular order, though I roughly sort places I liked more first.

Takeout/Street Food/Fast Casual

Worth visiting:

  • Suki (East Village)

    A tiny, counter-service-only katsu curry place that gives generous portions of katsu, curry, and rice. The curry is rich, but heavy or thick like at Go! Go! Curry. You also get a really nice kale salad, which was honestly the only time I’ve ever enjoyed kale and felt like it belonged in a dish.

  • The Dessert Kitchen (Flushing)

    A cozy dessert shop in Flushing, offering board games. Honestly, the desserts are just decent, but the board games make everything worth it. (Featuring: Cards Against Humanity and Jenga.)

  • Fei Long Market (Sunset Park)

    麻辣香锅 Mala xiangguo or dry pot is a dish where you pick out meat and vegetables, then they take it, season it, stir-fry it in a wok for a bit, then hand it to you with rice. If you’ve heard the hype around Mala Project in NYC, that’s what they serve. But at Fei Long, it’s just ~$10/pound—you’re not paying $5 for a handful of cabbage!

  • Cha-An Teahouse (East Village)

    They offer dessert as well as baking classes! Grab an elaborate parfait and a kettle of fancy tea.

Worth dropping by if in the area:

  • Taste of Guilin (Sunset Park)

    A cash-only counter-service shop with some specialties from the city of Guilin, including Guilin rice noodles.

  • Meet Fresh (East Village)

    A Taiwanese dessert shop with an extensive menu. Grab the chewy QQ mochi!

  • C Fruit Life (Flushing)

    Yet another Chinese dessert shop—you know the drill.

  • Bento place in the New World Mall food court

    Don’t know the name, but for ~$8, you can get lu rou fan (滷肉饭)—braised pork rice bowl—with pork and a marinated egg.

Maybe worth considering:

  • Yifang (Chinatown)

    A Taiwanese tea chain specializing in fruit teas. Nothing particularly special—either when we visited in Japan or America.

  • Mudflow Bubble Tea (Sunset Park)

    A bubble tea shop with really fancy pictures, but the tea is just alright.

  • Alidoro (SoHo)

    A lunchtime sandwich spot near the office.

Avoid:

  • Culture (Park Slope)

    A frozen yogurt shop, with a very limited selection of flavors and a vague “suburban mom health” vibe. The white peach flavor tasted exactly like vanilla, and the employee wasn’t even sure which was which.

Closed:

  • Gran Gelato (Greenwich Village)

    A small gelato shop with lots of flavors, generous portions, and a friendly owner. Sadly closed ☹️

  • Bad Seed (Prospect Heights)

    A cidery with several interesting flavors, including a particularly sour one. Sadly they closed their NYC taproom.

Actual Restaurants

Worth visiting:

  • Haidilao (Flushing)

    An imported Chinese hot pot chain, with lines out the door before even opening. To be honest, the hot pot itself isn’t that different (and in general I feel like the food is mostly the same between different hot pot places); where Haidilao distinguishes itself is service, with a waiting room equipped with drinks, snacks, a Switch, a playground for kinds, and a hand massage station, and gimmicks like having the waiter do some dance to stretch your noodles out before your eyes. (Protip: someone else is going to get baited into ordering that, so just watch the tables around you.)

  • Soba Noodle Azuma (Midtown)

    An imported Japanese soba shop, with an extensive menu. Grab the fried soft-shell crab. For soba, you have lots of choices: cold or hot, dipping or noodle soup, etc. All the noodle portion sizes are the same price, for 100g, 200g, or 300g. 200g is quite a large meal; 100g is one bundle of grocery store soba.

  • FunNY BBQ (Chinatown)

    A hot pot, skewer, and malatang restaurant, offering all-you-can-eat skewers. For lunch, they offer a skewer/malatang combo that is an unreasonably large portion of food—definitely a good value.

  • Friendship BBQ (Chinatown)

    The Manhattan outpost of a Flushing BBQ skewer place. It’s higher-end than FunNY, and lacks an all-you-can-eat option, but tastes better overall—better seasoned.

  • Katsu-Hama (Midtown)

    かつ, ~$20

    All the katsu! Get nice crisp deep-fried breaded pork cutlets with lots of side dishes (miso soup, salad), or get it with egg on rice (katsudon), or get it with curry, or get it in ramen…

  • Jing Fong (Chinatown)

    A very traditional Cantonese dim sum spot (with all the carts) in an enormous second floor space in Chinatown. Grab the durian cakes (榴莲酥)—a deep-fried shell with durian custard inside.

  • Asian Jewels (Flushing)

    A traditional dim sum shop (carts and all). Wide variety of dishes (though no durian cakes).

Worth dropping by if in the area:

  • Wasan (Park Slope)

    A Japanese restaurant in Park Slope, which I think occupies the space between your usual American “sushi and hibachi” spot and a fancy Japanese import restaurant. It’s not quite as high-end—you don’t get fancy wooden furniture and an imported chef—but the food is good and you aren’t dealing with a long wait and extreme prices.

  • Taiwan Pork Chop House (Chinatown)

    A cash-only restaurant featuring various proteins (like, pork chops) with pickled mustard greens over rice. While it sounds simple, the oil/juices from the meat (pork, duck, etc.) soak into the rice for that distinctly unhealthy and filling taste, and the tang of the mustard greens make sure it doesn’t feel too heavy.

  • Golden Rich (Sunset Park)

    A small Taiwanese restaurant on the northern edge of Sunset Park (aka not the Chinatown part, surprisingly). Grab the deep-fried stinky tofu and the three-cup chicken (三杯鸡).

  • Old Tbilisi Garden (Greenwich Village) oldtbilisigarden.com

    A Georgian restaurant. Order the cheese breads (khachapuri)—you won’t regret it.

  • Wong Wong Noodle Shop (Sunset Park)

    An AMAZING beef noodle shop. You get a large bowl of noodles with a tea egg, beef, tripe, and bok choy for less than $10. Definitely worth it over Meet Noodles, if you’re in Sunset Park ever.

  • Meet Noodles (Sunset Park)

    A Chongqing hand-pulled noodle shop, with a location in East Village as well. There’s lots of choices of broths, meats, and vegetables; broth is nice and fatty—maybe a bit oily—and the noodles are chewy. Not a place to seek out (there are other Chongqing noodle shops), but a worthy contender for a meal when you’re in the area.

  • Shinka Ramen (Chinatown)

    Ramen, $15-20

    A hotel restaurant ramen joint: decent, but definitely not the best ramen in the city. Their house special involves a giant bone where you scrape the bone marrow off.

  • Turntable Jazz & Chicken

    Service is rather slow, however, and quality is uneven (depending on when you go).

  • Western Yunnan Crossing Bridge Noodle (Sunset Park)

    A noodle restaurant with a gimmick/story attached about a devoted wife trying to bring noodles to her husband far away. To keep the noodles fresh and not soggy, she separated the broth, noodles, and other ingredients, packing them individually. So it goes here, where they bring you a tray with all the ingredients, then bring a pot of broth and dump everything in in front of you.

  • Lobster Place (Chelsea)

    A seafood market and sushi counter. Nothing particularly special either way—not too expensive, not particularly amazing. Of course, it’s in Chelsea Market, so it’s rather crowded and noisy.

Maybe worth considering:

  • PhoBar (Chinatown)

    A more upscale pho spot. Honestly, the pho is about on par with your typical counter-serve joint, but the space is a little nicer. Cash only!

  • China Blue (Chinatown)

    A Shanghainese/Chinese restaurant. Get the beef noodles for lunch.

  • Peking Duck House (Chinatown)

    A restaurant specializing in Peking duck. They bring the duck to the table and slice it in front of you, then give you the crepes for wrapping. While the duck itself is good, the crepes are a little thick and chewy, and the rest of their dishes are nothing special.

  • Wok Wok (Chinatown)

    Yet another “Malaysian” restaurant in Chinatown, though this one seemed a little better than the ones below. Get the fried rice, which comes with baby anchovies fried in some spicy sauce.

  • Java (Park Slope) yelp.com

    An Indonesian restaurant. Not being familiar with the cuisine, I couldn’t really tell you if it was authentic or not, but it was decent food at decent prices. (Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was really an American-Chinese restaurant in disguise.)

  • East Harbor Seafood Palace (Sunset Park)

    A very traditional (apparently) Cantonese restaurant that normally specializes in dim sum, but we went for dinner (oops). The place is really meant for large groups/families; portions are large and two people can’t do very well if you want a variety of dishes.

  • Tataki (SoHo)

    A Japanese place, basically like Wasan above: it’s a step up from the typical Japanese-American place, but isn’t quite as refined as one of the Japanese imports or smaller places.

Closed:

  • Bombay Bread Bar (SoHo)

    An Indian restaurant, with notably good naan (as expected, given the name). Sadly, it closed soon after we visited.

  • Oriental Garden (Chinatown)

    A very traditional, ornate Cantonese restaurant.

Meh:

  • Cornerstone Cafe (Lower East Side)

    A generic American brunch place.

  • Soho Thai (SoHo)

    A Thai restaurant. Small portions, kinda pricey.

  • Boqueria (SoHo)

    A tapas restaurant. Pricey, but good if you like that kind of thing.

  • Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings (East Village)

    A dumpling shop in East Village. While the dumplings themselves are nice, service is slow, menu items are expensive, and portions are miniscule for dumplings.

  • Koku (Koreatown)

    A ramen joint in Koreatown. Not very inspiring—especially not their cold noodles.

  • Udon at Japan Village (Industry City)

    Overly salty and heavy, while somehow also not filling at all.

  • Thailicious (Chinatown)

    It’s a Thai place.

  • West New Malaysia (Chinatown)
  • Langkawi

    Both are “Malaysian” places (really they’re Chinese restaurants).

  • BentOn (FiDi)

    A counter-service ramen/Japanese joint in FiDi. Decent if you have no other choice (especially given the area), but not worth going out of the way for.

  • Wayla (Chinatown)

    When we visited, this restaurant had recently opened, and had a long wait. While the decor is snazzy, menu items were pricey, and they gave especially small portions—a noodle-wrapped meatball appetizer gave a handful of grape-sized meatballs, and the Thai iced tea was filled to the brim with ice.

  • Cafe Steinhof (Park Slope)

    An Austrian restaurant. Cute decor?

  • Formosa Cafe (Sunset Park)

    A Taiwanese dessert shop. I forget what I ordered, but soup with rice and a chunk of ice in it was not the best thing I’ve ever had.

  • Mee Thai (Park Slope)

    A meh Thai place.

Not Restaurants

  • Morgan Museum (Midtown)

    It’s sometimes free? An art museum in a library, not particularly interesting.

  • NYC Ferry

    The schedule is very infrequent and you can’t use a MetroCard pass, but the ferry itself is comfortable enough, and you can go up on the roof to watch things.

  • Coney Island

    It’s a shitty amusement park and a beach.

  • Green-Wood Cemetery (Sunset Park)

    It turns out there’s a crematorium here with a koi pond that’s enjoyable to walk around for a bit.

  • Sang Kung (Chinatown)

    A restaurant supply store. Hope you speak Chinese, but the staff were helpful even though I’m definitely not a restaurant.

  • Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center (Chinatown)

    An arcade in Chinatown. Rather small and not up to date, but they have a few DDR (and DDR-style) games.

  • National Museum of the American Indian

  • K-One Karaoke (Chinatown)

    A karaoke place. Nothing particularly notable, though you can order from the restaurant downstairs.

  • Indoor Extreme Sports Paintball & Laser Tag (Long Island City)

    Laser tag!! The arena is quite big and has lots of hiding spots and such, though it does seem to favor one side. (Also, you can crawl under a desk and get a lot of hits that way.) They also offer, though we didn’t try, a Hunger Games style match where you get bows and foam arrows.

  • Wegmans (Brooklyn Navy Yard)

    While they’re much beloved elsewhere, Wegmans’ NYC location was kind of a disappointment: difficult to get to, with no nearby public transit, not an especially breathtaking selection, and high prices.

  • AnimeNYC 2019

    Jump over to my anime blog.

Bonus: 2019 Film Ranking

Jump over to my anime blog.