Sun Sai Gai  Italian Food Center HeroTwo Hands


I recently had the pleasure of doing Grand Jury Duty (luckily only 3 hours a day w/breaks) in NYC. I figured since I did the afternoon shift I could take a multi-cultural/national gastronomic journey by the Courts…which in NYC happen to be located in Chinatown with Little Italy and Soho just a few block away. You can literally eat like a Princess or Pauper in NYC depending on how well you know where to go and with this list you can feast like a God with paupers purse.

Sun Sai Gai– 220 Canal Street

Chinatown style dumplings, duck, roast pork, lunch specials over rice. I had the small bowl of Wonton Soup which was fairly large and very good with the Shrimp and Lobster sauce from the over rice menu. I haven’t had that dish in ages and this was a rock solid version of it bringing back memories of my earliest adventures with the cuisine of Americanized Chinese food( I mean this in a good way).

Dragon Land Bakery – 125 Walker Street

I…Love…Coconut Buns and this place has really good ones along with a  huge assortment of Chinatown style baked goods stuffed with Coconut, Pineapple, Red bean etc. Choose one for a little over a buck, grab a Chinatown style Sweet Coffee and enjoy. They have a variety of teas and juice drinks as well.

Nha Trang Centre – 140-48 Centre Street

Since when I was in Vietnam(as a Traveller not a Snake Eater) I spent some time in the beach side city of Nha Trang…thus, how could I not check this place out right down the block from the courts. I ordered up Summer Rolls to start and Shrimp with Lemongrass and chilies over broken rice for my entree which were both great. French iced Lemon tea to drink…lemony.

Traveller Bonus…if you should ever find yourself in Nha Trang hit the Po Nagar Cham Towers the-Petra-of-Vietnam 

Maid Cafe – 150 Centre Street

Girls dress as maids serving Coffee, Tea, Frappes, Baked goods and Japanese Rice, Beef, and Curry bowls. Pretty good coffee and home-like baked goods…and girls dressed like Maids if that’s your thing with a Cosplay Pop-up shop inside.

BreakRoom Burgers and Tacos -83 Baxter  Street

I needed a change from Asian food (as much as i like it) and while walking along Baxter came upon Breakroom Burgers and Tacos. I went big with their namesake burger that is topped with confit of pork belly, cheese, egg, tempura onion rings, jalapenos, L& T + pickles! For my side I had the Chipotle Thai Chili which had some heat but not too much. They have fries and Tempura Onion Rings available as sides.  To drink I had Mint Lemonade which was awesome and loaded with fresh Mint. I came back again to try some more from the menu and had the Bacon wrapped Jalapeno Hot Dog and a Grilled Sesame Chicken sandwich in Sambal sauce. Full review at Breakroom-best-burgers-and-tacos-in-Chinatown

Gasoline Alley Coffee- 154 Grand Street

Great coffee, usual suspects, and very good cookies (Awesome Chocolate Sea Salt)and baked goods(Muffins, Croissants) Mast Chocolate bars and bags of Beans to go

Green Bo-66 Bayard Street

Amazing Soup Dim Sim…maybe the best I’ve had. Full menu with lots of over rice lunch dishes, I really enjoyed the spicy double cooked pork. Highly recommended.

Shanghai Cuisine – 89 Bayard Street

Located on the corner of Bayard and Mulberry, thus very close to the Hogan Street entrance to the courts. I tried their Soup Dumplings, the pork only version and while keeping it Kosher tried the namesake noodles with Pork and Spinach…green and healthy:) Of note the food is good but this menu for the most part is built for groups to share and they don’t have a over rice lunch special section(which is unusual in Chinatown).

Happy Bones – 394 Broome Street

Very good coffee especially if you are looking for a flat white. Delicious baked goods as well, love the Cardamon Pistachio Cake…so good it made my Favorite-fall-2014-finds list.

Paesano of Mulberry Street – 136 Mulberry Street

Your standard Pastas, Pizzas, Entrees, Hero’s and a menu full of Lunch Specials. I enjoyed a pretty good Veal Parmigiana hero.

Xe Lua Vietnamese Restaurant – 86 Mulberry Street

Salted Lemonade hot might sound odd but tastes great. Very good Summer Rolls with Shrimp and a great Lemongrass and Chile Chicken over rice brightened a grey rainy day.

TJ’s Coffee World – 228 Canal Street

Pretty good cup of joe right in Chinatown. Large assortment of baked goods. I had their Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti, which, while very good was more like a macaroon in texture.

Italian Food Center – 188 Grand Street

Pizzas, Appi’s Salads, Pastas and Heroes. I had little time so went  with a cold Italian Combo hero and cup of coffee. The hero was excellent though you are paying a premium price for the location and ambiance…however more importantly the high end ingredients. ie L&T on this sandwich is fresh basil and heirloom cherry tomatoes. 4 different Italian cold cuts and shaved Parmigiana Cheese.

Nolita Mart and Espresso Bar – 156 Mott Street

Every neighborhood should have a spot like this. Great coffee done a variety of ways including Pour Overs and Cold Brew, along with tasty looking baked goods and a full selection of Gourmet and basic cupboard food goods. Oh and Beer on tap for Growlers!

New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe – 50 Mott Street

Huge lunch menu with most entrees under $6 that come with rice and soup(hot and sour or egg drop) ! So I ordered two dishes, Chicken with Broccoli for some veggies and Orange flavored beef since I have not had it in ages. Good solid basic Chinese dishes done right with possibly the best Lunch special piecewise in NYC or the planet!

Pepe Rosso Social – 173 Mott Street

Full Italian menu with about half dozen each of Pasta’s, Salads, Panini and Entrees plus a $9 lunch special that offers a soup or salad and either a pasta or panini. I choose the Italian Burger which is made up of the high holy trinity of meats Pork, Veal, and Beef topped with caramelized onions, mushrooms and Gorgonzola. It was rather tasty as were the homemade chips and the side salad it came with…all for $10.

Pasteur Vietnamese – 85 Baxter Street

Rather large menu where even the entrees are very fairly priced and if course lunch specials over rice. I ordered up the Vermicelli with Peanuts, Shrimp and Spring rolls off the regular menu for only $9! To drink I had the Plum Lemonade served hot that was very good.

Casa Bella – 127 Mulberry Street

Good solid old school red sauce joint on Mulberry Street. Good size lunch menu and specials as well as very good Panini Sandwiches. Outdoor seating for sunny days. The Chicken with Broccoli Rabe was on Ciabatta was really good.

Red Egg – 202 Centre Street

This was one of my favorite finds. They Offer Dim Sum all the time but instead of it pushed around in carts they give you a sushi like menu to check off what you want. They offer a fairly large selection and have a great Lunch Special for under $10 that includes Soup, Rice and an Entree all in a far superior interior. For full review hit  Red Egg

Crave Coffee – 386 Canal Street

This was the furthest West spot I hit, but still a short walk crosstown from the Courts. Good spot for a cup of coffee ( they use Filicori) or to grab a sandwich or pastry. Two floors…great people watching from the ground floor. This spot led to my next find….

Pi Greek Bakerie – 512 Broome Street

Some of the best Baklava I’ve ever had…especially the Pistachio, though the Chocolate was really good too. Great selection of Greek pastries as well as dishes like Pastitsio (Greek lasagna, which is so huge a portion I had to take half of it home), Greek Salads, and meat and veggie Pie’s…Tasty Teas and Coffee to drink. The Greek coffee my Greek bud said was some of the best he’s ever had.

China Village – 94 Baxter Street

OK food, but the only place I found without lunch specials. Until they gave the lunch menu to another table and I reordered. Also where most places the service is to fast…here way too slow. They also charge for the tea $2 a pot, which I would have been OK with if I didn’t have to ask for it five(5) times! Plus, I had the pleasure of one table getting into a loud verbal fight, that the staff ignored. Worst lunch I had. Dishonorable mention and my first ever negative review.

Two Hands- 164 Mott Street

Great new Aussie spot for Coffee, Baked goods, sandwiches etc in Little Italy. They do a solid Flat White and have tasty Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies. Their upscale version of an Egg sandwich is tasty but a little pricey for it’s size. Though I think it’s more geared for the leggy Models that come to this place like Butterfly’s to a flame. They use Cafe Integral from Nicaragua for make their brews. It’s a spacious spot filled with a very good looking clientele and friendly service. Another of my favorite finds.

Pongsri Thai- 106 Bayard Street

My last lunch was here which is right by the Hogan Street entrance and always packed. I had the Pra Raam Curry that is a Spicy Peanut curry with coconut cream over broccoli with chicken. First time I’ve ever seen this dish on a menu and really enjoyed it. As much as I love Thai soups when I saw Wonton I was feeling it. It was good, though order a Thai soup here, hit the Chinese spots for Wonton soup.

Of note, I didn’t go to any of my usual spots so these are all new finds for me for the most part. I also didn’t do any research, I just walked around, looked at menu’s and sometimes searched the web for reviews. Also, I usually found a spot and had lunch within 45 minutes, so if you’re rushed for time it’s already factored in. I found a number of great new spots and that’s not even including the old school Italian gourmet food joints on Grand Street and a great Chilean Wine shop. NYC is loaded with the best food in the world from all around the world. Embrace it, the world is your Oyster…eat it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s