March 13th, 2016 Update: While Gotham West is still very much part of the rotation (about twice a month) its becoming increasingly difficult to recommend individual eats there. Its constantly evolving, and the menus constantly change. Court Street Grocers is long gone, and in its place is Uma, Oprah, Uma (I couldnt resist) Temakeria from Chris Jaeckle of the great all’onda in the village. Uma specializes in sushi burritos, design your own Chirashis and Temakis sushi cones. Nothing outrageously delicious, but a refreshing healthy addition. Give it a try.
Rumor has it Akhtar Nawab is the next in line as the Most Interesting Man in The World (they retired the current dude). Nawab keeps getting featured as one of the sexiest chefs in America, and slowly taking over the market with Choza and Indie Fresh. My lunch partner Lou of Smum County eats only Choza when we are there, while Indie Fresh keep growing on me with their inventive soups, salads, and healthy sandwiches. Akhtar Nawab – When opportunity knocks and he’s not home, opportunity waits!
While the great Whitefish Donburi is no more at Ivan Ramen (wasnt selling well – Idiots!), they replaced it with Breakfast Ramen (below) – cheesy dashi, egg, ham, ramen noodles and more – quite possibly the best eat at the market at the moment. Also, something happened to the great Genuine chicken sandwich. Not the same anymore judging from the darker, blander piece I got a few weeks ago, and a reader comment below. The burgers are still good. While at the Cannibal the most interesting thing I ate lately is a Butchers Salad – spinach, kale, salami. tomato, squash and light parm dressins
July 31st, 2015 Update: Little Chef is long gone and I miss it dearly. Choza (Mexican) took it’s place, and although my co-workers like it, I rather pay a visit to the many other Mexicans in the area like Tehuitzingo and the just reopened Parada 47 (former HK survival guide member Guelaguetza). The bigger addition to the market is Ample Hills, one of the cities premier ice cream maker. Their Salted Crack Caramel is the closest I will ever get to crack. Add it to the list of musts here. The chicken sandwich at Genuine is still crack like (I’m told), and the whitefish Doburi is now Salmon Donbui. Although I miss the whitefish smokiness, this is still the strongest dish at Ivan’s. Ivan also introduced an incredibly unique morning menu which I’m yet to try. Canibal menu continues to impress and its quickly becoming one of my Hell’s Kitchen faves. Try the wings
6 Vendors and a Funeral
“In a world… where soups and salads reign lunch supreme.. and halal carts are routine… one man will rise… and change lunch!” “A story about love, betrayal, and Ramen” “The rise and fall of a food blogger, battling food addiction” (who finally saw his demise when a little food court consisting mostly of 6 food vendors opened on the far west side, right near the rehab clinic). In theaters near you.
What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been to Gotham West Market a lot, about once, sometimes twice a week since it opened about 4 months ago. I brought family, friends, enemies, co-workers and even my rabbi to the market. As I said before, Gotham West is the most thrilling thing to happen to Hell’s Kitchen since Ezra the Falafel Nazi cracked a smile 4 years ago.
But lets get down to business. There are actually more than 6 vendors at Gotham West. There’s also a kitchen supply store, a Coffee shop, and you guessed it, a bicycle shop. But for the purpose of this post I will focus on the 6 hand picked, artisanal vendors that can… well.. pretty much kill you.
Buttermilk Battered Chicken Sandwich at Genuine Roadside – One bite of this Chicken Sandwich and you’ll understand why its in this space. While its not gonna be on Man vs. Food any time soon for its size, this is a very satisfying sandwich, and combined with the Shake Shack-upgrade fries, very filling. The fried Chicken as everything else here, is made to order and the result is one heck of a juicy and flavorful sandwich. The mayo, slaw with apples – addition by addition. And while the tourists wait in line for the Shake Shack revelation, only to find out they need to fight another tourist for standing room eating, have a burger here that is just as good if not better, in a comfortable environment. Owner Avroko, the firm who designed Gotham West have done a great job with Genuine Roadside, the only original vendor in the market
Smoked Whitefish Donburi at Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop – Not exactly a shocker here after including the Donburi in the best of 2013 list. Ok, confession time, Out of 8 or so visits I believe I tried everything on the menu and more, except for one little thing… the Ramen. Thats more of a testament to the rest of the dishes here, and to a ramen filled neighborhood. The whitefish Donburi was love at first smell with its smokiness, sweet soy dashi, cucumber, scallion, over this delicious white rice. Perfection in a bowl. And a reminder that Jewish food can mesh with any cuisine. Well, except for Gefilte Fish.. FEH!
Pig’s Head Cuban Sandwich at The Cannibal – This may very well be the Cuban to beat in NYC. Delicious super tender slow roasted funky pork, Vermont Ham, semi melted cheese and pickles, served warm with perfectly crispy bread. Not to be confused with another neighborhood fave, Casellula’s fine Pig’s Ass Sandwich. One tastes like head, while the other tastes like ass. And while you at it, try the “Shrimp Roll” as well at the Cannibal. Like the hotdog and lobster roll had a baby. A beautiful healthy, delicious baby, called Shmuel, after uncle Shmuel. Even though he was a big drunk, he would always send money
Egg Bowl at Little Chef – I’m writing this one with great difficulties after taking a glance at the pictures of this dish. My stomach is suddenly talking to me in Armenian. As with her popular Williamsburg sandwich shop Saltie, freshness is key with Caroline Fidanza. In the fall the egg bowl featured fresh greens, assorted roasted veggies like broccoli and potatoes and just about the tastiest bread crumbs you will ever have. The same breadcrumbs are featured in the winter version along with porky cranberry beans, salsa rojas (roasted red salsa). And its another proof that everything looks and tastes that much better with a fried egg
Bacon Wrapped Dates at El Colmado – Explosive come to mind. This is a common Spanish tapas dish that is often uneventful for us but not here. Its larger than usual and stuffed better with Almond and Valdeon cheese. A classic dish from the classic team of Seamus Mullen and Gil Avital of West Village hotspot Tertullia. Welcome to the neighborhood guys. The dates are pictures here on the right
Pork Shoulder at Court Street Grocers – Pork Shoulder, Mayo, Provolone, Broccoli Rabe, Red Peppers for much needed acidity, Pecorino Romano, on a Hero Roll. Need I say more? Simply Outstanding. And if you ever in the mood for an Italian, the Mortadella, Salami, Hot Coppa, Swiss, Mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, Arugula, Red Onion, Mayo, “CSG” Hoagie Spread, Red Wine Vinaigrette, on Hero Roll as good as Italian gets in NYC