Eat uP, Drink uP: Take a walk down Washington Street

14 07 2010

I’m very fortunate to have an incredibly scenic commute to work. Every day I walk up Washington Street, from Christopher to 14th (where I work) and back again, and marvel at how many great bars and restaurants are along this 10-block west side street. As a matter of fact, you can do your own little “pub crawl” without ever stepping off Washington Street.

Begin your descent at 14th Street, and walk one block down to the corner of 13th and Washington. Here you will find one of the original Meatpacking biker bars: Hogs and Heifers (859 Washington Street), aka the “Coyote Ugly” bar. This is basically a disgusting dive bar but hey, beer is beer, right? Plus, it’s always a hoot to see tourists bring their kids here: “Look, Johnny! There are SLUTS dancing on the bar!”

The Biergarten at the Standard: You'll never see it this empty again

Cross the street and you’ll find The Standard Grill (848 Washington Street) and their outdoor Biergarten, serving up beer, German-style snacks and boozed up chicks in 5″ heels. Get there early because it gets packed and it gets loud.

If the scene at the Standard isn’t for you, cross back over Washington and grab some thai food at SEA (835 Washington Street). There’s outside seating with a great view of the High Line and the drunken hooligans at the Biergarten.

Food is served here. Really.

In the mood for diner food, or doing an AM walk down Washington? Grab a breakfast wrap at Hector’s Café (Corner of Little West 12th & Washington Street). It looks like the shadiest diner in the world but it’s inexpensive and delicious. I recommend the Florentine wrap.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more upscale and Italian, Barbuto (775 Washington Street) is a fabulous place with great ambiance. With outdoor seating, daily menus and brunch on the weekends, you can’t go wrong here.

Barbuto. But look out the window: it's Tortilla Flats!

Now if it’s cheap, not really authentic but still delicious Mexican you’re craving, you’re in luck! Everyone’s favorite west side drunkery, Tortilla Flats (767 Washington Street) is just across West 12th Street.  If you’re not in the mood to have your memory erased by a barrage of tequila and bingo, not a problem. There’s a new wine bar next door called Entwine (765 Washington Street) that has an outside garden, wine tasting downstairs and a more loungey, sophisticated vibe.

On the corner of Bank and Washington Streets you’ll find the best happy hour deal on the west side at Automatic Slim’s (733 Washington Street): $3 draft beer, $4 wine. It can get crowded and loud here but there’s always good music and funny bartenders. Oh, and cheap booze.

Continue your trek to The Upholstery Store (713 Washington Street), one of my absolute favorite places in the city to get wine and a snack. From the outside it appears to be a home furnishings store (hence the name) but what’s inside is an intimate space filled with friendly bartendresses, overpriced pretzels and a lovely wine selection.

Last but not least, before hopping onto the PATH train back to the Jerz, we stumble upon Malatesta Vino & Cucina (649 Washington Street), a terrific little Italian restaurant on the corner of Washington and Christopher Streets. There’s plenty to see on Christopher Street so this is perfect even if you just want to sit outside, have a carafe of Chianti and take in the sights.

Happy west side eating and drinking!


Eat uP: Cafe Gitane at the Jane Hotel

29 01 2010

As I’ve said many times before, I have a love-hate relationship with the Meatpacking District restaurants.  I generally find them to be overpriced, Eurotrash pre-game hangouts or crowded mid-week sausage fests, and  I tend to take my culinary business elsewhere. But last week my friend Scott and I went to Cafe Gitane at the Jane Hotel on a recommendation from a neighborhood client and renewed our love for eating on the far west side.

Some may already be familiar with the Cafe Gitane in Nolita–delicious, affordable French-Moroccan cuisine, steps away from SoHo shopping and usually packed to the gills with weary travelers.  The west side location boasts a similar (if not identical) menu and Parisian-chic vibe, but as you enter the somewhat creepy Jane Hotel and walk into the gorgeous cafe space to the left of the lobby, you feel as if you’ve discovered something incredibly special that nobody but the neighbors know about.

Food ranges from breakfast to salads/sandwiches to the house specialty cous cous (vegetarian and meaty, both) with prices pretty much under $15. The wine is completely affordable with most glasses under $10 and they are not chintzy with the pours. Specialty cocktails are also available as well as a wide range of teas, so nobody feels left out.

Reservations are not required…yet.  But I have a feeling that once the word gets out that could change.

Front area of Cafe Gitane. Yes, that IS a Foosball table.

Cafe Gitane @ The Jane Hotel

113 Jane Street

New York, NY 10014