food 05.19.09

Neighborhood Faves
Plus: MUG Under $21

In this series, MUG looks at neighborhood restaurants that have reliable food, where you don't have to book four-weeks-to-the-day ahead, where they're happy to see you, and where you'll get decent value for your money.

WEST 40s
Joe Allen, 326 W. 46th [8th/9th] 212.581.6464
Cuisine: Traditional American
Average entree: $21
We always have the same thing at Joe Allen: the La Scala salad, though you can do well with any of the simpler preparations. Joe's, which opened in 1965, has really become a theater district landmark, worthy of consideration by the Landmarks Commission. The famous (or infamous) show cards on the wall chronicle decades of Broadway musical flops.

Film Center Cafe, 635 9th [44th/45th] 212.262.2525
Cuisine: American
Average entree: $13
The makeover could have spelled trouble for this old standby, but fortunately hasn't. The basics are all here – things like burgers and pastas – plus quesadillas, fried chicken, and pizza. Still, it's best if you think of the place as a pub with decent food and, now, plenty of leg room.

Dafni Greek Taverna, 325 W. 42nd [8th/9th] 212.315.1010
Cuisine: Greek
Average entree: $18
A relative newcomer on this list, Dafni's chef, who worked for many years at Periyali, has created a menu of greatest hits: things like tzatziki, saganaki, grilled fish, and lamb.

No. 7, 7 Greene Ave. [Fulton] 718.522.6370
Cuisine: New American
Average entree: $19
Ft. Greene seems to be growing at the same pace as a morning glory in summer. No. 7 may not have been around long, but it has wrapped its tendrils around the nabe and vice versa. A short menu of familiar dishes, given enough thought to make them interesting – and delicious.

Ruthies, 560 Myrtle [Emerson/Classon] 718.399.2400
Cuisine: Soul Food
Average entree: $10
Smothered and BBQ chicken, collard greens, mac and cheese, and black eyed peas might be all you need, though you can also snag meatloaf, pork chops, and mashed potato salad.

Luz,177 Vanderbilt [Myrtle/Willoughby] 718.246.4000
Cuisine: Nuevo Latino
Average entree: $20
Defintely boisterous, so if you're looking for low affect, Luz isn't for you. Get into the high spirits and have a Peruvian rotisserie chicken, a ceviche, or one of their entrees which smartly mix Latin and South American ingredient.

Chow Bar, 230 W. 4th [10th] 212.633.2212
Cuisine: Pan-Asian
Average entree: $20
Our strategy for Chow Bar, which has settled in for a nice long run, is to concentrate on the apps: order a few of those (they average $9), share, rinse (with a white wine or beer), repeat.

The Place, 310 W. 4th [W. 12th/Bank] 212.924.2711
Cuisine: American
Average entree: $24
More than most restaurants we can think of, The Place evokes 1950's Greenwich Village. So let's call it a bohemian haunt, romantic in the right light, with a menu that suggests the present without killing the buzz.

Westville, 210 W. 10th [Bleecker/W. 4th] 212.741.7971
Cuisine: Traditional American
Average entree: $14
Westville pre-dates the current recession, though it seems tailor-made for it. Hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, along with fresh seasonal veggies that have been zested up a little, not too much.

Previous Neighborhood Faves:

West 70s, East 70s, Tribeca

Lower East Side, West 100s, Corona

East 40s, Chelsea, Brooklyn Heights

Goodbye annoying Anya Hindmarch 'I'm not a plastic bag' bag. Hello Bag the Habit which makes reusable, padded-handled shopping totes in three colors ($18) that fold up and snap shut. And they've now got reusable produce bags, perfect for your farmer's market hauls.

Previous MUG Under $21
iPhone Peggle
Brainwave Series
Mast Brothers Chocolate
Tilly Bloom Bobby Pins
Peoples' Symphony Concerts
Chicken Pot Pie
Improv Everywhere DVD
Sparrow Earrings
Lobel's Ground Beef
Leah Siegel album
Wave Hill


recent entries

Food Notes

Book Land: Food, Flickr Pool Picks

Hot Bread Kitchen

See all articles in FOOD

Get a daily dose of MUG
right in your Inbox.