2021 NYC - Eating Out Thread

Well, it’s 2021…

Restaurant dining is still hit by the pandemic. But, lots of creativity in tents, igloos, and full on outhouse structures!

Lots of takeout options - more delivery than ever before, from further away than ever available.

More direct sourcing options, too - fish from fishermen, meat from those raising it, produce from farms (without a CSA commitment), restaurants offering high quality grocery boxes.

SO. The world is new. How are you eating these days? Going anywhere? Tried any new delivery or takeout services? Attempted any of the new sources to DIY at home?

Let’s talk about NYC food!

Are you back in NYC?

I haven’t had a sit-down dinner at a restaurant since the cold weather made eating outside impossible (and it was never exactly pleasant). And I’m not getting food delivered much, either, but I did start using Chowbus.com, a new-ish service that is less costly to restaurants than Grubhub or DoorDash. It’s mostly independent Chinese places, and to a lesser extend other Asian and other “other” restaurants, often ones that are absent from the more established platforms. It has an unusual feature - which I’ve never used - making it possible to order dishes from several different restaurants. And the delivery range is enormous; I could order delivery from Flushing if I felt like it (I’m on the LES). I don’t really trust that my food would arrive in good condition with a super-long trip, but the several times I’ve ordered from Chowbus, the food arrived on time or early. And the delivery guys are unusually pleasant. One downside: The website could be better designed so that sorting by “distance” is an option.

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Soon. Dreaming ahead.

And we needed a new NYC thread!

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Oh wow! Haven’t you always wondered when somebody was going to do this…

Yes. Be my guinea pig - order this way and tell me if it works well. There’s actually a fictional startup (on the tv drama Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist) that does this, except it’s a restaurant, not a delivery service.

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I will push this over to my friend’s teenager who might as well own stock in every delivery service, lol.

I’ve been really curious about new direct-to-consumer options like seafood direct from Montauk and similar from folks who delivered to restaurants, and so on.

Anyone ventured down this path?

(You may know from WFD that I have loved this in CA - fishermen who were wholesale to restaurant only who started selling - and delivering - to consumers, day or day after the boat comes back. It’s fantastic.)

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In NJ we have Local 130 Seafood that used to deliver fresh fish to high end restaurants and started selling to consumers during Covid. I have ordered from them in the past and they have the freshest seafood right off the boat. They might even deliver to NY overnight.

Also, Montclair has started Montclair Meal Kits where you can order fully cooked meals from several restaurants delivered for one fee. Unfortunately I am out of their delivery zone even though I am only 20 minutes to a half hour away.


I’ve been eating out throughout the pandemic whenever restaurants were open. We had dinner at our regular Italian place the last night before the lockdown started last March. It was strange watching the staff lock the door at whatever time the lockdown officially started. Again last November, we were having dinner at the Fulton on the last night of dining before restaurants had to close again. Once they reopened we have been back with vigor. Never had an issue with indoor dining during the whole time. Always masked up coming in and leaving and whenever we got up from the table. A couple of restaurants we are regulars at that we wanted to support by showing up. They were always appreciative of that.

For in home options that came about because of COVID, Pierless Fish has been great. Lots of stuff I could never get before was suddenly available. Baldor’s delivery has been a pain as they weren’t set up for retail, but again stuff that as a regular person used to be hard to get was now there for the picking. Best thing that has happened is the overnight shipping of oysters direct from the farms. Island Creek Oysters has been a regular delivery for us. Order a box of 100 at a time and it only lasts us 2 days. I’ve gotten pretty damn good at shucking.

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I’ve now had two indoor dinners: Blue Ribbon Izakaya and Essex Restaurant, And one sidewalk tent dinner: Dhamaka. (And @saregama, if I’m correct that you’re knowledgeable about Indian food, you might want to check it out.) Both Blue Ribbon and Essex gave us plenty of space, so I was cool with it. Dhamaka seated us by a roll-up panel in the tent (which otherwise would’ve been airtight and thus, not outdoor in any meaningful sense of the word). It was kinda cold until we’d warmed up from eating, but we didn’t suffer too much.


Thanks - from the Rahi and Adda people.

Menu looks good.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold