Eating Around the Grand Hyatt New York

I was staying at the Grand Hyatt, and as folks who read the review know I had a bit of room service on arrival. So I wasn’t hungry early, but headed out to get a little bit of dinner around 8pm. First stop was Schnitzel & Things, a small restaurant that started off as a food truck with both excellent schnitzel and sides, it’s counter service and a few tables in back.

Unfortunately they close at 8pm and were cleaning up as I arrived. So had to go looking for something else to try.

That neighborhood has plenty of Japanese restaurants, and wherever there are clusters of one type of food you have competition which gives you a good shot that the food at any given place will be ok. And walking down the side streets off the avenues will imply lower rents, likelihood of experimentation, and lower prices.

So I simply wandered into the closest one, East Japanese Restaurant at 210 E. 44th St. It’s the area outpost of a small local chain of Japanese restaurants.

Walking inside it was mostly Japanese customers, another good sign because the clientele is generally educated in the cuisine they’re eating.

Sitting down, I was given a menu with pictures and subtitles. The place reminded me of the sort of Yakitori restaurant you’d find in a mall in Singapore. Not the most expensive, highest-end, or best Japanese restaurant in Japan, but a reasonable and reasonably-priced substitute that can be found elsewhere in Asia. Which struck me as pretty good for New York.

    Vinegar Mackerel

    Cured Pork in Kim Chi

    Fried Oysters with Egg

    Grilled Short Ribs

    Fried Fish Cakes

    Dragon Roll

The ribs, fried oysters, and kim chi were the highlights. The fish, both uncooked and fried, and the sushi roll were fairly bland.

At a price point of about $6 per dish, you don’t expect the best quality ingredients. That would suggest that the ribs might not be great. But they’re fatty and flavorful, and that flavor is about the cooking rather than the meat itself. That’s the key to this restaurant, complex dishes stand up well while items that rest on the raw ingredients will not impress.

Ultimately it was a good and interesting meal, and a stunner for the price.

Skipped dessert here, but picked up a quick fix of sweets right next to the entrance of the Grand Hyatt (where things are much more overpriced).

Little mini-cupcakes in a variety of flavors, each one the size of a single bite and about $1 apiece (slightly lower pricing the more you buy) but each one delicious.

None of this was gourmet dining, but it was all quite reasonably priced, far less expensive than the room service lunch, and definitely tasty. And overall represents what I like so much about eating in New York, small places doing interesting things a bit off the beaten path where if you know where to look or experiment a bit you can dine well while running up a modest bill.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I love your dining reviews Gary. I think my all time facorite was the gas station mexican food near DC

  2. gotta love Baked by Melissa.. I work right around the corner from Grand Hyatt.. and we get treats from there all the time for any special occasion!!

  3. Next time try Sushi Yasuda at 43rd 3rd Ave or head up to the 50’s on 2nd ave for a good selection of restaurants.

  4. Believe it or not, the restaurant at Grand Hyatt NYC has a great “happy hour” deal that runs through 10pm. You can get a platter of tuna tartare and several other apps for $5 each, and they have some combo deals (think beer and burger) at a discounted price.

  5. go to Docks at 40th and 3rd Avenue. Its a very good seafood restaurant with a large bar. At happy hour – clams are 50 cents and oysters a buck. Let me know the next time you’re in NYC and I’ll meet you there!

  6. Sushi Yasuda is awesome. Also very big bill, but it is my favorite sushi place in the US!

    Grand Central Market has so much great food, it’s easy to make an in room picnic (no hot food though).

    Grand Central Oyster Bar is great for oysters and chowder!

  7. If Schnitzel & Things was closed when you arrived, then why even bother mentioning it? Seems like filler (similar to the Grand Hyatt review itself….good review but too long and lots of unnecessary filler that doesn’t add any value).

  8. @mark that’s two days in a row where you don’t like my posts 🙂 i say what’s on my mind, offer my thinking processes frequently, some folks value it and others don’t. I guess I would read your comment “doesn’t add any value” as “don’t add any value to you.” Perhaps others would even agree with you! 🙂

    Why mention it? Because I wished I had gotten to eat it, because it’s delicious, and explains how I was left meandering into a random spot for dinner.

  9. I liked both posts on this recent NYC trip…no problem with learning background on writer’s stay history w/ hotel, or that the Schnitzel truck has a storefront.

    Gary’s food posts are always interesting, such as the recent NYC Chinatown one, and the Austin BBQ post.

  10. @Gary, I appreciate your trip recaps precisely for the reasons that others feel you’re off the Mark…don’t change a thing. Keep us posted on your next (attempted) visit to “Schnitzel”–this has the makings of a Buñuel storyline.

  11. I liked hearing about the schnitzel place as well even if you didn’t get to eat there.

    Those mini-cupcakes look like a ripoff. I hope they tasted good.

  12. @Gary – Yes, it is two days in a row that I felt you made your post twice as long as it needed to be to get the same information across to your reads. Guilty as charged. (It’s known as constructive feedback.)

    I read a bunch of travel blogs (you, Lucky, Points Guy, Wandering Armenian, etc.) and y’all have different perspectives. It’s great information.

    But, one think you all have in common — to differing degrees — is lots and lots of filler, unfortunately. Lucky posts endless pictures of water glasses and food. Your guilty pleasure seems to be walks down memory lane (“15 years ago I bid $70 on Priceline for xyz property”…umm, okay? What would you need to bid today might be more relevant.).

    I guess I come from the school that you want people to focus on the relevant details. And, if you go on and on and on with drivel and then make your point, the point won’t be as impactful when you make it.

    Why do you guys fixate on unnecessary information? I don’t know. Maybe content is hard to come by. You seem to all write about the same promotions. You all get your fair share of bread buttering done (i.e., credit cards). It’s hard to differentiate. And, on some days, I am sure it is tough to think of content…so, let’s make this review twice as long as it needs to be?

    So, while it is interesting (or not) the restaurants you stopped by that were closing, I would rather (only) hear about the food you actually ate (because that is what I care about).

  13. Schnitzel info OK by me.
    I can’t believe the cost of the mediocre or poor room service. (and yes I know costs in NY)

    It only takes a second to delete a post that is not relevant to me. Especially on my mobile, I can just scan through with no image download.

  14. @mark I think you read too much in here, truly. I don’t try to make reviews extra long. I write the way I think, I guess you’d consider it over-share. 🙂

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