West Village


Dining Room, Chumley'sIn the dead quiet of Bedford Street at night, without even a sign to guide you, you might ring the wrong buzzer in your attempt to find Chumley’s, the historic NYC speakeasy just reopened as a full service restaurant. But just push the door of number 86, and it will open into a dark, wood-paneled dining room filled to the rafters with vintage book covers and portraits of the writers who wrote them – many of whom were Chumley’s patrons of years past.  (more…)

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The Marrow

If it’s true that “you are what you eat,” we also are what we grow up eating. Harold Dieterle, the chef behind the Thai restaurant Kin Shop and American restaurant Perilla, has gone back to his roots with the Marrow, with a menu that highlights German offerings from his father’s side, “Familie Dieterle,” and Italian dishes from his mother’s side, “Famiglia Chiarelli.”  (more…)

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Murray's Cheese Bar

How can a city so obsessed with cheese not have a cheese bar until now? That is the main question that comes to mind with Murray’s Cheese Bar on Bleecker Street. New York has wine bars galore, cheese stands in the Greenmarket and specialty cheese counters popping up in so many groceries, but Murray’s is the first NYC wine bar specifically dedicated to cheese.  (more…)

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In any other town – even in other parts of New York City – it would be a sad tale of recession-era urban blight: a decades-old family business burns down, leaving a blackened shell of a building that sits empty for years.

But not here. When Village Paper burned down over a year ago and the owners relocated to 8th Street, several restauranteurs started vying for the burned out shell of a building on a prime West Village corner, only to be rejected by Community Board 2. You’d think the community would be thrilled to be rid of a burned out shell of a building, but no.  (more…)

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Usually when friends want to go out to dinner, “British” is not on their top list of desired cuisines. Nevertheless, the buzz about British restaurant Whitehall has been building since it opened six months ago, and it’s full almost every night. We stopped by recently to see what gives.  (more…)

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Buvette is easy to overlook. Situated on a quiet block in the West Village, it’s narrower than most coffee shops. The bar takes up nearly half the space in a restaurant lined with little cafe tables on one side and a communal table in back. It’s so petite it’s practically miniature.

Terrine, Buvette

Recently a French expat we know recommended Buvette as one of the most authentic French restaurants in Paris. Vraiment? Chef Jodi Williams wrote the book on small Italian plates at Gusto, Morandi, Gottino and more. And now she was cooking the most authentic French food in the city? There have been several positive reviews of Buvette, but this recommendation was what convinced us to go.

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Dining Room, Onegin
Though I’ve never been to Russia, visiting there has always seemed like a good way to lose weight. A regimen of sightseeing all day with nothing to eat at night except a limited menu of meat and bread could be a new sort of Zone diet. So it was quite a surprise to go to this new Russian restaurant and find that it was the traditional Russian food, not just the scene, that would tempt us back here. (more…)

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Frankies 570

Exterior, Frankies 570

Whatever x-factor makes for a successful restaurant, the Franks have figured it out. Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, owners of Frankies 457, Prime Meats, and Cafe Pedlar in Brooklyn plus Frankies 17 in the Lower East Side, have expanded again to open another Frankies Spuntino, this time in the West Village. They’re already the Keith McNally of Carroll Gardens, and now they may have their sights set on Manhattan.  (more…)

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New York tapas restaurants tend to serve as a reminder of what Spain is not. Imagine average New Yorkers drinking wine into the wee hours on a weeknight (I can’t – my job!), strolling into whatever decent restaurant happens to be nearby (Is it buzz-worthy?) and generally putting food second to the act of drinking up the wine, the atmosphere and the company.

We’re just too type A to be Spanish. So the amount of hype surrounding a new, hot tapas place by former Boqueria chef Seamus Mullen almost invalidates it as a Spanish restaurant. It’s supposed to be food without thinking – cuisine that’s tipico(more…)

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Jeffrey’s Grocery

The past few years have seen a huge influx of “foodies” on the New York scene, Yelping, Chowhounding, and Four-Squaring about every bite. But don’t worry, New Yorkers haven’t been totally domesticated yet. For every one person jarring and pickling Union Square Greenmarket produce at home, there are probably four with nothing but a jar of pickles in the fridge.

Jeffrey’s Grocery in the West Village started out as a gourmet corner store with limited food service. Freshly cut flowers occupied the front, and the shelves were stocked with fancy pastas, olive oil and other top notch pantry supplies. Then the store closed and reopened as a plain old restaurant, with two- and four-tops where the flowers were. The lesson? As much as New Yorkers talk about food, they don’t actually prepare it themselves.  (more…)

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Monument Lane

Like the celebrity who tries to portray herself as being “just like us,” many hot new restaurants now aspire to humility. A recent attempt to get a table at a new restaurant in the neighborhood yielded zero results between 7 and 10pm on a weekday, any weekday, for the next month. Why? Not all tables are available for reservations because, as the hostess intoned in the “fully committed” catchphrase of the moment, “We’re trying to keep it a neighborhood place.”

Interior, Monument Lane

Exactly. That’s why there’s a celebrity chef attached! But let’s face it: Not every place can be a neighborhood restaurant. There’s a certain degree of ordinariness that can’t be faked, which is why it was a relief to walk into Monument Lane, an actual neighborhood restaurant in the West Village.  (more…)

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FOMO: fear of missing out. It’s the feeling that strikes whenever a much-hyped new restaurant opens and oh my god you might not get there while it’s still hot and everyone’s talking about it unless you get there right now. It’s the feeling that has gripped New York ever since foodie mania has slowly crept into the city’s zeitgeist – and anytime ramps are in season.

Exterior, Empellon

Given the amount of hoopla surrounding the opening of Alex Stupak’s new restaurant Empellón, diners should be forgiven for mobbing the place. A WD-50 alum takes on Mexican cuisine! In a cool new space in the West Village! This was in every imaginable media outlet online and off a couple weeks ago. Well, take a deep breath, because if you haven’t gotten there yet, you’re not missing out that much.  (more…)

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As much as we hate to see old icons of the New York dining scene disappear, let’s face it: not every place is worth saving. Take Fedora, the gay bar on West 4th Street that’s been around since before gay bars were even legal. The atmosphere: fabulously decrepit, as was much of the clientele. The food: questionable. Fedora was a restaurant in the vein of the bygone bohemian Greenwich Village depicted in Mad Men, a style that only lives on in such stalwarts as Gene’s on West 11th Street.

Fast forward to 2010, when new owner Gabriel Stulman of Joseph Leonard took over the Fedora space and reopened it this January. He kept the name and the iconic neon sign outside. A long wooden bar spanning one side of the spare, black and white room looks antique, but it’s actually a new, custom-made bar that incorporates parts of the old Fedora bar. It feels as if it’s been here forever, as does the impressive collection of black and white photos on the opposite wall. Even some of the original Fedora’s regulars are now regulars here. Though Stulman’s following is pretty straight, the original regulars can’t be displeased by the eye candy in this good-looking, stylish crowd. (more…)

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Kin Shop

Good food is a lot like good clothing in one regard: Surround yourself with enough cheap copies, and you’ll forget what the real thing is like. Such has been the case for Thai food in the Village over the past 10 years. While Korean and Japanese restaurants have gone up and up in quality and stature, authentic Thai places like Holy Basil went on the decline as numerous “Asian fusion” concept restaurants piled in, angling for customers (NYU students) by plying them with the lowest common denominator of the nation’s cuisine (sugar).

Red Snapper, Kin Shop

All it takes is one look at the menu outside the door to divine that Kin Shop, the new restaurant by Perilla chef Harold Dieterle, is not for students. Several of the shared entree dishes are in the $20+ range, and the green-tinged decor beyond the plate glass windows is sophisticated if casual. We went in hoping to rediscover the true draw of Thai cuisine: a complex mix of flavors and spice, spice, spice. (more…)

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Yerba Buena West

A restaurant that serves food from a variety of different but interrelated countries is usually one you should avoid. Sushi and bibimbop and pad thai? How do you know which one the kitchen can actually do well? But if chef-partner Julian Medina at Yerba Buena West had stuck to just Mexican or Cuban food, the diners would have been the ones missing out on the variety of stimulating dishes and cocktails this place has to offer.

Cholula Cocktail, Yerba Buena Perry

Not just Mexican or Cuban but also Argentinian, Peruvian and Chilean, the menu at Yerba Buena West touches down on ceviches, arepas, empanadas and grilled meat. Here everything feels a little less trendy and more grown up than the original Yerba Buena in the East Village. An antique bar frames one side of the room, and the vibrant blue lighting of the East Village spot has been ditched for the traditional look of cream-colored upholstered chairs, black and white tile floors, exposed brick and cream colored walls and minimal decorations. Senor Swanky’s this is not. (more…)

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