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A Very, Very Short Food Journey of NYC

Because Yelp needs help!

Jonathan Zalman
May 08, 2015


Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that consumer review website Yelp was seeking a buyer. The news comes five years after Google was in talks for the company (Google offered a reported $500 million), which didn’t pan out. Instead, Google acquired Zagat.

According to WSJ, Yelp is “struggl[ing] to post strong growth with users and advertisers”:

Yelp is contending with a host of troubles: slowing user growth, rising costs, a return to a quarterly loss and a stock price that has shed more than half its value since its high last year.

So let’s give Yelp a hand!

Below is a short list of Manhattan food locales that I love—each a bit bourgeois—followed by user reviews from Yelp to woo you.

Some mornings I like my coffee bad. Like really bad. Like gravely and sour with that powerful bodega punch. But the two bodegas I get sometimes get my coffee from on-the-go don’t even have Yelp pages. So try out:

User “Tuff G.” gives it a 1-star rating:

This place was weird. Wanted to like it but the guy behind the counter was condescending and rude-I made light conversation but he wasnt having it. When I went back to my photoshoot the people in the studio told me the guys at this place were also rude to them. When i was walking out with coffee a bunch of hipster bro guys walked in super happy and the guy behind the counter completely changed. Its just clicky I suppose. Its a pitty this overpriced place is so uninviting. And the coffee was average.

But user “Ruggy J” gives it a 5-star rating:

This place is awesome… It’s like my two favorite things collided and ended up in New York City: Southern California surf vibes + San Francisco coffee (Blue Bottle). Doesn’t get much better than that… It’s a super comfy place to sip your morning Joe, rock some free wifi, listen to ska music, watch surf videos, or chill outside on a lazy weekend morning in Lower Manhattan. Now if only I could get my hands on some decent Mexican food, it’d be like I never left California at all!

Everything else
I go nuts at Russ & Daughters, a long-time purveyor of “caviar, smoked fish, herring, bagels and elegant food gifts.” I know I’m not alone. Like, if money were no object, which it is, I’d buy enough babka loaves and fancy tuna salad quarts and whole whitefishes and sable slices to fill up a subway car. And then I’d eat it all. But don’t just take my word for it; let’s see what Yelp users have to say:

Russ & Daughters (no, not the new restaurant with its insane wait-times)

User “Julia H.” gives it a 5-star rating:

OMG – I don’t even know where to start.

User “Cindy N.” gives it a perfect rating, too:

There is a reason this fine establishment has been in business for a 101 years. Oh Russ and Daughters, if I could shrink you, put you in my pocket, and take you back to California with me I would do it in a heartbeat!

But user “Danny M.” gives it a 1-star rating and hates pretty hard on the 101-year-old NYC institution:

Move along people, nothing to see here.

You’ll hate it trust me. I know this because I have a liberal arts degree and studied with Guy Fieri. The salmon tastes like silky Neptune daydreams and the staff are way too smart to be working there – It’s such an annoying mix of overqualification and unpretension. Not to mention obnoxiously clean.

You’d be better off trying Katz’s Deli next door. Meg Ryan liked it so much she came.

Speaking of Katz’s deli

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.

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