Taking a Bite of the Big Apple 2016: Restaurant Recommendations for the US Open

So you’re in New York for the US Open, eh?  While the food at the venue has improved over the years, for those who love a good meal, it would be a shame to miss out on the amazing food offerings in New York.  While last year’s list focused on the delicious offerings of Queens, this year I’m including places where you can grab a quick (but incredibly delicious) bite en route to or from the US Open.  After all, you’re going to spend most of your time at the tennis, but, by taking a few minutes extra, you can add world class food to the itinerary as well.

1.  Great Northern Food Hall, Grand Central Terminal


In an alcove off of the great hall of Grand Central Terminal is a food court featuring delicous Scandinavian foods — from smørrebrød (pictured) to kanelsnurr (cinnamon rolls) to fresh juices and a full bar.  That a train station food court is curated by Claus Meyer, co-founder of Noma, widely regarded as one of the greatest restaurants in the world, is one of those only-in-New-York things.  If you’re taking the 7 train out to Flushing, this one’s only a few steps out of your way, so be sure to grab something for the way there.

Hours: 6:00 AM – 10:00PM (M-F); 8:00AM – 9:00PM (Sat-Sun)

2.  Urbanspace Vanderbilt


I promise this isn’t going to be all food courts, but this food court is truly special.  Urbanspace Vanderbilt is also just a few steps from Grand Central Terminal (and the 7 train), and it houses outlets of some of New York’s greatest restaurants.  The star of the show is Roberta’s Pizza, whose main location is in the far reaches of Bushwick, Brooklyn, and often requires significant time waiting in line.  The outlet at Urbanspace Vanderbilt produces excellent, thin crust pizza, with the inventive toppings for which Roberta’s is revered.  My favorite pie is the Bee Sting, which has tomato, mozzarella, soppressata, chili and honey, though I’m also quite fond of the Axl Rosenberg (tomato, mozzarella, soppressata, garlic, jalapeno, mushrooms).

Another favorite — and only found at Urbanspace Vanderbilt, is the fried chicken sandwich at Delaney Chicken.  It’s modeled on the Chick Fil A sandwich, so has a squishy bun, pickles and hot sauce, but the batter fried piece of chicken thigh that fills the sandwich seriously outclasses its fast food and non-fast food (yes, even David Chang’s Fuku+) rivals.  It’s simply not to be missed.

Urbanspace Vanderbilt also hosts Kuro-Obi by Ippudo, one of New York’s best ramen shops, baked goods from Ovenly, an inventive (and often gluten free) bakery otherwise found in Greenpoint (the chocolate blackout cake with stout is incredible), Oddfellows Ice Cream, smoked meat sandwiches from Mile End deli, lobster rolls from the Red Hook Lobster Pound, as well as healthier fare such as veggie summer rolls from Two Tablespoons and juice from East Village mainstay Liquiteria.  For a car-less New Yorker, getting all of these well-regarded eateries that are hours apart by public transportation into one place is almost miraculous.  For those who want to sample New York’s best food with limited time, this is where you want to go.

Urbanspace Vanderbilt, 45th Street & Vanderbilt Avenue, inside The Helmsley Building at 230 Park
Hours: 6:30AM – 9:00PM (M-F); 9:00AM – 5:00PM (Sat-Sun)

3.  Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao

Photo of Xiao Long Bao by Lori L.

Photo of Xiao Long Bao by Lori L.

For me, the US Open means two things: great tennis and great Chinese food.  I do actively plan to visit all of my Flushing Chinatown favorites when I’m out at the tennis — after all, it’s only minutes away.  I’ve always loved soup dumplings (xiao long bao), and Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao specializes in making them.  It’s a quick walk from the 7 train stop at Flushing-Main Street (or a quick ride from the venue via cab or Uber), and you’ll see tables stacked with steamers of soup dumplings when you walk in.  There are other offerings — the Shanghai dumplings and the noodles are both good as well, but I prefer to stick to the namesake soup dumplings, which are as flavorsome and fresh as any you’ll find in NYC.  Added bonus — they’re open ’til midnight, just in case you have post-night session munchies.

Nanxiang Xiao Long Bao, 38-12 Prince St, Flushing, NY 11354
Hours: 8:00AM – 12:00AM (daily)

4. Khao Kang

Photo courtesy of Jenny L.

Photo courtesy of Jenny L.

About half-way between Manhattan and Flushing is one of the most interesting dining neighborhoods in New York — Elmhurst. Stocked with restaurants from all parts of China, Indonesia, as well as Argentina and Mexico, it’s might be the meltingest of the New York City melting pot. In addition, Elmhurst is home to New York’s burgeoning Thai scene. There are many great options here — whether it’s chicken rice at Eim Khao Mun Kai or coconut laced Thai sweets (and decadent toasts) at Sugar Club, there’s a variety of Thai food here that is hard to find anywhere else. My favorite — and the best option for someone rushing to the tennis, is Khao Kang — a modest storefront offering 2 or 3 curries over rice for under $10. It’s not for the timid, though, as the spice levels are definitely geared towards the Thai community that frequents the place, but the flavors beat your corner Thai pad thai any day of the week.

Khao Kang, 76-20 Woodside Ave.; 718-662-8721
Hours: 11:00AM – 9:00PM (T-Sun); closed Monday