Back to NYC Eats… and Drinks!
Anjappar, 116 Lexington Ave [INDIAN]
– Service can be spotty here, and the decor isn’t anything to write home about, but the food here is as close to authentic Chettinad cuisine as it probably gets in NYC! Start with the Kothu Parotta (a chef specialty) for sure, and then move on to any of their Chettinad-style curries. The Anjappar Masala and Pepper Chicken, especially, have the right balance of flavour and spice! Reasonably priced place with good servings.
Birreria, 200 5th Ave [ITALIAN / ROOFTOP BAR]
– This recently opened rooftop space is going to be a hit for quite some time – mark my words! Batali’s got it right (yet again!) with a retractable roof and space heaters, which will ensure this remains a popular year round venue! The food is good, from what I hear, but what I can vouch for immediately are their selection of house brewed Cask Ales – exceptional! The city’s Biergartens better watch out 😉
Blue Smoke, 116 East 27th St [AMERICAN / BBQ]
– Great ambiance with Jazz downstairs and some decent Ribs upstairs! Well stocked bar with a good selection of beers. A tad pricey as far as Barbecue places go!
Buddakan, 75 9th Ave [ASIAN FUSION]
– Humongous space, awesomely well done up and some amazing fusion food! Worth all the $$$!
City Bakery, 3 West 18th St [BAKERY / CAFE]
– Self serve Cafetaria style space, great for weekend breakfasts / brunches. Home to some of the best French Toast you’ll get in the city. Not cheap!
Company, 230 9th Ave [PIZZERIA]
– Very good, thin crust, individual serve pies with creative toppings. Their Gelatos are good to!
Coppelia, 207W 14th St [DINER / CUBAN]
– In a neighborhood known for its Diners, Coppelia is a standout. This Latin Diner (Cuban to be precise) is inexpensive, has quick service, is open 24×7, and serves some really good Sandwiches and Soups. The Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Guacamole and Chipotle Mayo was filling and extremely flavorful. For an extra kick, ask for their hot sauce – beware though, it is one of the hottest I’ve sampled in the city, and that’s saying a lot!
Dhabha, 108 Lexington Ave [INDIAN]
– The decor and music are sub par but the food more than makes up for it here. Their poultry dishes are good, as is their selection of Indian bread (Roomali included!) but possibly the best thing on their menu is their black Dal (lentils) which is as close to home made as it can possibly get in a restaurant!
El Cocotero, 228W 18th St [VENEZUELAN]
– The interiors are cramped, the service is a little sloppy, they’re a tad too expensive and they certainly could do with some more lighting! That said, the food here is very good and from all accounts, quite authentic too! Their Arepas and Patacones are superb, as is their ‘Young Goat’ Curry! Lively Latin music accompanies all meals 😉
Frying Pan, West 26th St & Hudson River Park [BAR]
– An outdoor bar and grill on a retired Lightship docked on the Hudson. Probably one of the best (and most crowded!) outdoor spaces on the West Side in summer!
Gallow Green, 542W 27th St [ROOFTOP BAR / NEW AMERICAN]
– From the creators of “Sleep No More”, Gallow Green is probably the most unique and awesome rooftop bar in the city, but then again, you wouldn’t expect anything less from those guys! Done up to resemble an abandoned train station in the UK, complete with rusted rails, an overgrown-with-weed carriage and plenty of foliage, this is truly a gem of a spot to eat, drink, people watch or simply linger. Cocktails are expensive (as is everything else on the menu) but expertly put together, and the food is great, although the servings leave a lot to be desired! Summer 2014 could’t come sooner!!
Gastro Market, 315 10th Ave [BAR / BEER GARDEN]
– A spacious, and much needed, outdoor space in Chelsea, close enough to the High Line, and the upcoming Hudson Yards neighbourhood. Friendly service, reasonably priced food and drink, and an impressive selection of Cask Beers and Wines. For what remains of this summer, and possibly the next one (2014), Gastro Market promises to be a great respite from other overcrowded summer venues.
Hanjan, 36W 26th St [KOREAN]
– Featuring amongst the NYTs “Top Ten” for 2013 is no mean feat, but only if they gave the same recognition to its West Side sibling, Danji! The ambience, menu, pricing and overall Korean Gastropub concept is very similar to that of Danji’s, but in my opinion, Danji still scores a few marks higher. That being said, they have done a great job of the larger space at Hanjan; the service remains as attentive as it is on the West Side, and all told, the food is excellent.
Intelligentsia, 180 10th Ave [CAFE]
– Nestled in the beautifully repurposed seminary turned High Line Hotel building, Chicago-based Intelligentsia’s first outlet in the city is a sure shot winner. Occupying one corner of a charming old lobby, with additional seating in the front and back patios, Intelligentsia serves my favorite cup of Cappuccino across NYC! There are other caffeine-friendly beverages to choose from too, and a good selection of baked goods as well. In the warmer months, the front patio features an extension to the coffee bar, housed in a vintage Citroen truck!
La Pizza & Pasta, 200 5th Ave [ITALIAN]
– Nestled in one corner of Eataly, this canteen like space offers a wide selection of Pizzas and Pastas – as the name would suggest! – all reasonably priced, and from the 2 items we tried, very good! The Neapolitan style Pizzas emerge from a gold-tiled oven, which forms the centrepiece of the space! We ordered a Vegetarian Pizza, with minimal toppings, and it certainly passed the test!
La Taza De Oro, 96 8th Ave [LATIN AMERICAN]
– This Puerto Rican version of a Diner was our ‘go to’ spot during school days! This cozy, all-red interior, eatery, with menus on the wall is one of the most reasonable Latin American places in the city, with a wide selection of food, all of it really good!
Live Bait, 14 East 23rd St [SOUL]
– A plethora of old signs and paraphernalia make up this establishment that has a wide selection of beers and serves good, wholesome, soul food!
Markt, 676 6th Ave [BELGIAN]
– The Mussels are good but what’s even better is their huge selection of Belgian Beers! Great corner location and lively ambiance for weekend brunch.
Saravana Bhavan, 81 Lexington Ave [INDIAN]
– The closest thing to food from back home – of the South Indian (think crepes!) variety i.e!
Shake Shack, SE Corner of Madison Square Park [AMERICAN] – In my opinion the fries and shakes are actually better than their burgers but the win win for this place is really its location – in the heart of Madison Square Park! The lines can be a pain but are worth the wait on a good summer day. Several other locations across the city too.
Spin, 48 East 23rd St [PING PONG BAR / LOUNGE]
– A much spiffier version of Fat Cat, if you will, minus the pool and jazz. If you like your Ping Pong in a lounge setting, this is your spot!
Stumptown Coffee, 20W 29th St [COFFEE BAR]
– Located in the Ace Hotel (its lobby, quite the destination!), Portland’s venerable Coffee brand finally sets up shop in NYC! This is a Coffee Bar in every sense of the word, so expect nothing more than standing room! The staff is extremely knowledgeable and would be happy to help you choose from one of many variants available in store. A cup of house blend comes gratis with any purchase of coffee beans!
The Breslin, 16W 29th St [GASTROPUB]
– A great multilevel space, complete with high ceilings, dark wood and rustic touches all around. A buzzing bar (finding a spot isn’t too hard, thankfully) with a good Beer and Wine selection. The Anglo-French menu is concise and well thought out. Their Lamb Burger is excellent (one of the best I’ve had!), and comes with “thrice cooked chips” (Frites, essentially) and a great Cumin Mayo dip. The special appetizer we got, a Goat Spinach Sausage, was superb! Great service overall. Can be quite pricey!
The Cannibal, 113E 29th St [AMERICAN / BAR]
– They’re advertised as ‘Beer & Butcher’ and truly live up to that reputation, what with one of the largest selection of Beers in the city and a great assortment of Charcuterie. The space is small, the bar area intimate, and the Butcher’s corner more than inviting, with its line up of cuts! They even have an outdoor space at the back, with views of the ESB! Their Beers are a little pricey for my liking but their small plates are well priced and good for sharing. Their Veal Tartare and Chicken Pate are outstanding!!
The Half King, 505W 23rd St [PUB]
Conveniently located right by the High Line and in the heart of Chelsea’s Gallery District, this watering hole is as much a ‘local’ as it is a stopover for someone visiting the area. They do a decent brunch, have a good selection of Beer, boast a conservatory at the back in the winter, and sidewalk seating in warmer months.
The Heath, 542W 27th St [NEW AMERICAN / PERFORMANCE VENUE]
– This might well be one of the most charming venues for brunch in all of NYC! From the folks that brought you Sleep No More and Gallow Green, comes this beautiful space, done up in the same classy aesthetic one has come to expect from them, with every little attention to detail. A live jazz band serenades diners in a Great Gatsby-like setting, with waitresses in costume hurriedly delivering cocktails to patrons, and a huge brunch spread behind it all. Unlimited servings, unlimited fun – you get the picture!
The Park, 118 10th Ave [BAR / LOUNGE]
– The garage style ‘park’ sign outside is a tad deceptive, for within lies a humungous space, beautifully done up and featuring two levels, a bar and restaurant area, atrium and verandah-style lounge on the upper level. Seems to attract late night diners in the Chelsea area as well, and given its proximity to the High Line and River, it’s apparently a popular brunch spot too!
Vatan, 409 3rd Ave [INDIAN]
– Vatan specializes in a cuisine that most Indian restaurants in the city overlook, or then make a complete hash of. This is where you head if you want to try an authentic “Thali” from Western India. It’s not cheap, and reservations are recommended, but the experience and the quality, and sheer quantity of food, makes it well worth your while. Go hungry!
230 5th [ROOFTOP BAR / CLUB]
– The name is the address! A huge rooftop space with fabulous views of the Empire State Building and the rest of Manhattan’s famed skyline!