A Taste of New York

Work up an appetite for the Big Apple.



Graze theGayborhoods

Hell's Kitchen
Though not yet known as one of New York's top
restaurant neighborhoods, Hell's Kitchen is certainly
on the culinary rise, and is meanwhile home to the
city's famed Restaurant Row on 46th Street between Eighth
and Ninth Avenues. Although hopelessly tourist-laden,
the strip includes some decent options (the
Italian-cuisined Becco being among the most popular)
that are undeniably convenient for a pre- or post-theatre
dinner (though superior Italian can easily be had a
few blocks further afield at ViceVersa. The gay incursion into
the neighborhood has naturally brought shamelessly gay
dining to the table, among the more popular (and fortunately
better) of this ilk being the French-Asian HK and the Asian-Asian Bamboo 52. Thanks to its mix
of mingling nationalities, Hell's Kitchen also offers a vast
bounty of small under-the-radar dining options, many of
which take part in the wonderful International Food
Festival that commandeers Ninth Avenue between 37th
and 57th Streets the weekend after Mother's Day every

East Village
Cheerfully priced options and long-established
restaurants and cafes with character reign in the
laissez-faire East Village. Try the more upscale Knife and Fork, which charts
new East Village territory by merging top-notch prix
fixe dining (best new outlet in the city, say TimeOut NY
readers) with the wonderful laid-back vibe the neighborhood
does best. David Chang of Noodle Bar fame now brings
us Momofuku Ssäm Bar, which offers
truly inspired Asia-influenced cuisine, featuring such
unexpected wonders as an impressive collection of
Southern country hams. Upscale Asian fusion with a
flirtini chaser may have been unthinkable not so long ago on
Avenue C, but thankfully Nolia (158 Ave. C, at
10th St; 212-228-8103) has come along to prove that it
can be done, and done well.

West Village
Restaurants in the historic West Village run the gamut
from downscale dives to delectable date dens. At Mas (farmhouse), slats of antique
barn hang overhead as delighted diners tuck into culinary
marvels from the Provence regions. The trout piscator
and monkfish in black olive paste are particular
standouts of this Greenwich Village gem. Lupa is a casual bistro-style
Italian restaurant in the Village offering perfect
pasta and delectable, savory fare to a mixed (gay/straight)
crowd. Celebrity chef and part owner Mario Batali
(also of the aforementioned Babbo) puts plenty of
interesting pork, fish, and vegetable items on the
menu, so there's something for everyone. Another great local
Italian bistro is Extra Virgin, serving up
creative Mediterranean on one of the neighborhood's lovelier
tree-lined blocks.

Tags: Travel