Broadway and Times Square. This is where the joints are jumping, but also where the tourists are swarming. Look at the map, and we'll guide you up or downtown.
A Map to guide you, wherever it is you want to be!
If you are going to catch a show, get out of the crowd and head on over to Restaurant Row. Everything from Russian to Southern, you will find it here.
Dervish Turkish, 146 W 47th, Mediterranean Restaurant
Since we've been headed downtown toward's Times Square, how about a little changes. Dervish was a wonderful find while we were walking around the Times Square area before a show. Over on
West 47th Street, it is an alternative to Molyvos, and much more casual and family oriented.
They have a prix fixe menu at $27.95 per person, and it includes many of the delightful dishes from their main menu - stuffed filo withe feta & spinach, babaganoush, hummus, salads and stuffed vine leaves. On the main menu, you absolutely must have the spiced octopus. I have never had it so tender in my life. You can also have the Dervish combination platter which includes seven (7) apps for only $14.50.
As for the entrees, the moussaka is so creamy and luscious I was sorry to have finished it. Their lamb dinners are delicious, especially Sultan's Delight (braised lamb over eggplant puree and roasted tomato sauce). You can also go with fish (grilled whole branzino is the one to pick) or vegetarian (vegetable casserole).
You really should give Dervish a try. The food is fresh and delicately and carefully prepared and the prices are more than reasonable.
The Glass House Tavern
On a recent visit to the Glass House Tavern (W 47th, Times Square), I was hoping to discover a new favorite. Nope, I did not. The food is expensive, and not worth it. As you've seen by now, I am usually willing to pay a pretty penny for good food. I
honestly would not pay a cent to go back here.
Despite the fact that we arrived early to a virtually empty restaurant on a Tuesday night, we were shuffled upstairs into a section of the restaurant where the tables were jammed together. The prix fix menu was $35.00 per person, and the entrees were: hangar steak, roast chicken, grilled salmon and shrimp and white beans. Yep, that's it. That night there was a special of short ribs. I went for that, and was disappointed.
The regular menu provides a bit more of a selection, and the mussels with hot sopressata, white wine, garlic and tomatoes are a good choice. They are priced reasonably for an appetizer, but there are very few of them on the plate. The entrees include a seafood paella, seafood spaghettini, rock shrimp cavatelli, and lamb bolognese over parpadelle pasta.
Considering we advised our waitress we had to see be out to see a show, the service was excrutiatingly slow and we had to run to be in time. Over all, the regular menu was ok, good but not great. There really is nothing special about the Glass House Tavern that would give reason to go back.
Barbetta, W 46th, between 8th & 9th. The Famous Restaurant Row
As we have reached the fabulous Restaurant Row, it is only fitting to start with BARBETTA. The name deserves capitalization because Barbetta is the oldest restaurant
in New York still owned by its founding family, in addition to the oldest Italian restaurant in NY and the oldest in the Theatre District. Located in a beautiful townhouse on Restaurant Row (46th St), the interior simply glows and glitters with 18th century
charm and antiques. In the summer, there is a beautiful garden for outdoor dining behind the restaurant (so you are not sitting at tables on the street!)
The cuisine is Northern Italian, with specialties like Charcoal Grilled Octopus & Calamari with marinated chickpeas, and Soup of Pureed Roasted Vegetables. The main courses include Cold Chicken Tonne (chicken breast in tuna mayonnaise); Grilled Swordfish over a Ragu of Lentils, Bue Al Barolo (beef braised in red wine with polenta) -that one was excellent. After dinner, there is the traditional "dessert cart."
The service is excellent, white glove, and it is fancy. You must go to Barbetta because it is not only gorgeous and special, but also because it will allow you to escape into another time. The food is very good, but not absolutely great. It doesn't matter, I'd still go back just to sit under that beautiful chandellier.
Becco, 46th St. (Italian)
A Lidia & Joe Bastianich venture, Becco, located just down the road from Barbetta, is a traditional Italian restaurant claiming to serve innovative pasta, reasonable wine list and excellent fresh tasting ingredients. Everybody loves Becco
- except me.
With all the talk about this restaurant, open since 1993, I finally had to go. We went early, before the theatre crowd. We barely got out before the show. The restaurant got so crowded, and the tables were so close together, you almost couldn't leave. You could not have a conversation about anything other than the weather without your neighbor joining in. You could not use the bathroom unless you wanted to get run down by the staff carrying trays of food from the kitchen.
So, would you go through all this for the food? The cold antipasti is good (pictured below) but, how can you go wrong there. The pasta special, where you can get a Salad or Antipasti, and table side service of each of three daily pasta preparations, all for 22.95 is a very good value, but you could die of hunger waiting for the servers to come by when they are busy. We also ordered off the menu, just to try something different. I am hesitant to say anything bad about Lidia, of whom I am a fan, but the Osso Bucco of Veal was simply awful. It was undercooked and chewey. And Fava Beans? Really? Yuk.
On the bright side, the cappuccino and cannoli were excellent. I do not reccommend Becco. So sorry Lidia.
Bourbon Street, W 46th, (Southern, New Orleans, Cajun --FUN)
Just across the street from Becco, you will find Bourbon Street Bar and Grill, a wonderful, festive & exciting restaurant. You will not be sorry about your visit here. If you want fun, an enjoyable dinner and the spirit of New Orleans, go there.
They also get crowded, but there is enough space between the tables that you can still breathe. Ask for the tables by the balcony - its a bit of New Orleans in New York City.
Specializing in the cuising of Louisiana and the French Quarter, you will find appetizers such as Fried Pickles, Alligator in a Blanket, Pork Wings and Voodoo Gumbo Potato Chips. We had the Crab & Artichoke Dip (enough to share) and it was excellent, as was the BBQ Style Calamari and the Chicken & Andouille Gumbo. If none of that pleases you, there are a number of festive appetizer and dinner salads to choose from.
For dinner, there are a number of Burgers, Sliders and sides like collard greens, cheese grits, and creole roasted vegetables to choose from. You will also find, and should not miss, the full entrees like: Smothered Chicken & Biscuits, Cajun Jambalaya, 'Slap Yo Mama' Pasta (baby shrimp, smoky andouille sausage tossed with habanero-garlic hot sauce and tomatoes in a scallion butter sauce, Shrimp Creole, and Blackened Catfish. I had the Crawfish Macaroni & Cheese which was worth a trip into the city just to have it again. Don't forget the Po'Boys - especialloy the fried catfish and blackened shrimp w/ avocado, lettuce tomato onion & remoulade.
And don't leave without one Original Hurricane - the original rum drink of New Orleans, founded by Pat O'Brien in the 1940's. As they say at Bourbon Street, Laissez les bons temps rouler...
Sangria 46, (Spanish/Tapas)
Walking along 46th, you might almost pass by this little place. Sangria 46 doesn't stand out much, but it is big on flavor and reasonable on price.
Skip the main dishes and order from the Tapas Menu. You will want to taste a bit of everything, and bring a friend so you can share. I can personally reccommend mussles vinagret, russian potato salad with tuna, spanish potato omelett with chorizo, shrimp in garlic sauce, skillet grilled baby squid, ham croquettes, grilled baby lamb chops & codfish croquettes. The list goes on, but it is impossible to try them all.
If you must, they do have a prix fixe dinner for the reasonable price of $29.95, which includes appetizer, dinner & dessert. The main courses that have come reccommended are the Vegetable Paella, Skirt Steak, and Mussels Diablo.
The chocolate mousse was good, but there wasn't much else to choose from. However, if you are looking for Tapas in the theatre district, try this one.
The Firebird, W 46th (Russian, elegant)
Firebird, Russian food and a Vodka Menu. Need I say more? The vodka menu is pages long, and there even vodka sommeliers, as the waitstaff know so much about them.
The food is good, but the experience at FireBird is why you go. When you walk in you think old world elegance. When they begin to show you around and take you to your table, you are truly impressed. And you have to admit it. The restaurant, like Barbetta, takes up an entire brownstone. The decor is opulent and fit for a Tsar.
The menu is classic Russian fare. Do have the caviar, the vareniki and the herring, which all stand out on the appetizer side of the menu. As for the main courses, are you going to pass up the borscht? I did because I hate beets, but hubby said it was excellent. I couldn't agree. But my chicken kiev was excellent. On another visit I had the muskovy duck breast, which was cooked as ordered and very tender. I also tasted the beef stroganoff and loved it. Their prix fixe dinner is a little pricey at $45.00 each but, then again, the entire menu is a bit pricey. The bananas foster, pictured below, may make it worth it.
Go here once, just for the atmosphere and elegance of Tsarist Russia. And ladies, go to the restroom and take a look at the swan faucets, they are beautiful.
Le Rivage, W 46th St. (French)
If you want truly authentic, old world French, without and crazy sticks and crackers sticking out of your food, go to Le Rivage. You will find it 46th Street, tucked away down the stairs, all
cozy and inviting, where you will be warmly greeted by the staff.
The menu is classic, and the prix fixe dinner is $39.00. Of course there are escargot, and they are melt in your mouth, silky wonderful, as is the coquille maison (scallops and shrimp). For dinner, you can still get Grenoulles (frogs legs), but if you're not that adventurous (they were excellent by the way) try the Sole baked with mushrooms and bechamel, lobster ravioli, Coq au Vin (chicken w/ wine sauce) or Cervelle (veal) with black butter. If you are that adventurous, the Ris de Veau (sweetbreads with mushroom sherry sause were tender and delectable). There is also a pork and beef menu, but the lamb chops were fantastic.
Try this little gem. I promise its worth it.
Pomaire, W 46th St. (South American, Chilean)
You are going to love this one. Pomaire is way at the end of Restaurant Row, but it is so worth the walk. The atmosphere and the food makes it feel like you're on vacation. One caveat, the prix
fixe is limiting, so order off the regular menue.
The empanadas stuffed with beef, onion, raisin and egg are delicious. The pastry is delicate, and the inside so flavorful. The Tomato Relleno, a tomato stuffed with langostinos and corn over mixed greens is worth going back for and a bargain at $10.00, as is the Mariscal Frio, a ceviche mix of clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops and cochayuyo seaweed. There is so much more and its all so mouth-watering you may not even get to dinner. But do try.
The entrees include pan roasted south bass filet, roasted half chicken and hangar steak & fries, but skip that part. Go straight to the Chupe (pictured below), a Chilean style seafood gratin. If you don't want the seafood, you can get this gratin with meat and corn, or you can try the Pollo al Cognac, a chicken stew cooked in wine and spices. There is also the Plateado, a marinated beef brisket chilean style, fingerling potatoes and vegetables served in Chilean Copper pots.
The sangria, at $6.00 a glass is excellent and comes red, white or apple and orange. Do try this one, I promise you will love it.
Chimmichuri Grill, Argentinian Steakhouse
Finally, located way over on the west side, on 9th Ave., is a tiny little Argentinian steakhouse that came to me highly reccommended. I'm sorry to say that I cannot pass on that reccommendation. It was simply not that good. The inside was tiny and cramped,
and the service was poor. We were seated at the smallest table even though the restaurant remained almost empty the whole time we were there. By the time we were done, I knew why.
The Gazpacho Frio was ok, except that it was topped with a scoop of black raspberry sorbet. The empanadas were good, but the pulpo (octopus) was chewy. My husband claims the steak with chimichurri sauce was good, but what I tasted of it lacked flavor unless you put the sauce on it. I had the short ribs, which came with mashed fava beans. The short ribs were tough, and the fava beans..., well, they were just awful. I should have had the chicken, which did look delicious, served as a chicken thigh rolled and roasted, filled with wild mushrooms, garlic, thyme and shallots, served with mashed potatoes. I should have asked for mashed potatoes!
I have to confess that dessert was good, and they had a large selection to choose from including homemade tower of rice pudding, and thin crepes filled with dulce de leche, served warm. I went for the flourless chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream. Can't go wrong with that! y,