It is a heavy day in New York City following news of the shooting at a subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I’m keeping the victims in my thoughts, and I hope you will, too.
In my very first dispatch, I said that if the New York City dining scene had an F.A.Q., where to eat on Mondays would be near the top of that list. But according to roughly a dozen emails in the Where to Eat inbox, the most pressing question is an age-old one: Where can I eat in the theater district?
Keep the questions coming to [email protected], and we’ll try to answer them periodically in the newsletter.
If You Have a Few Hours to Spare
Recently, a long dinner left me watching the first act of “Madama Butterfly” inside a tiny theater jail for latecomers at the Met Opera. Don’t be like me. I recommend giving yourself ample time before any performance: at least two hours to dine and another 30 minutes to get to the theater and settle into your seats. All hail the 5:30 p.m. reservation!
For an old-school vibe, peruse the classic chophouse menu at Gallaghers Steakhouse (don’t sleep on the stuffed jumbo shrimp). But I’m partial to the distinctly “The Godfather: Part 2” energy at Victor’s Café, where the ropa vieja is famous for a reason and the waiters move like they know you have somewhere to be.
Kids in tow? Try the Japanese barbecue restaurant Gyu-Kaku. My friend and fellow food writer Regan Stephens said her daughters loved the food, especially the s’mores you get at the end of the meal.
Or there’s Toloache, where fresh tortillas, octopus tostadas and soul-affirming birria abound. For something more intimate: Korean small plates at crowd-favorite Danji — think black cod poached in soy sauce, and perfectly fried tofu in a rich ginger-scallion dressing.
And while you may be inclined to go to the longtime standbys Joe Allen or Orso, their sister institution Bar Centrale is the ticket. My colleague and frequent theatergoer Priya Krishna’s typical order: chickpea fries, shrimp and mushroom dumplings, and a Negroni. “They are the perfect thing to fill you up before a show.”
If You’re Booking It
Sometimes a long dinner is impossible, which is why I thank the gods for the Shake Shack at 8th Avenue and West 44th Street.
Equally quick bites can be had at Margon (matinee only), where Cubano sandwiches and octopus salad have been the specialty since 1970, and at Los Tacos No. 1, which is standing room only. (The tacos won’t last long anyway, especially if you get the adobada.)
Finally, Warkop NYC is an excellent new pre-theater option. You can choose from three types of goreng (Indonesian stir-fried noodles); add your toppings of choice, like popcorn chicken, dark greens, egg or cheese; and get a side of corn fritters or fried tofu with a sticky-sweet sauce. Even better, it’s also a coffee shop: Order the kopi susu, coffee with condensed milk, and thank me later.
And if You Want a Memorable Nightcap
For a cheeky post-show drink, venture inside the 1 train subway station at 50th and Broadway, and you’ll find Nothing Really Matters, a new bar that bills itself as “the greatest cocktail bar in the universe.” (Points for confidence, I guess?)
Or elbow your way into the second-floor cocktail lounge at Pebble Bar, an extension of the Lower East Side hot spot Ray’s.
If you don’t want the music to ever stop — dinner and a show and a show — there’s live music every night of the week at the Rum House inside the Hotel Edison until just after midnight. Or head over to the Aliz Hotel and take the elevator to Dear Irving on Hudson on the 40th floor for incredible views of the city and top-tier cocktails (three words: the Northern Spy).
In Other News …
Four years after closing for renovations, El Quijote, the nearly 100-year-old restaurant inside the Hotel Chelsea, has been revived with a much-improved menu of Spanish classics, Pete Wells writes, but the same splendor and charm remain.
Openings: Casa Carmen, the first restaurant outside Mexico from the family behind the El Bajío restaurants, opens on Thursday in TriBeCa; Mott Haven welcomes Mae Mae Café, a plant-based taco bar; Nino’s Beach, a new Southern Italian restaurant with wood-fired pizza, has opened on the North Shore of Long Island.
Robert Simonson wrote about Tony Yoshida, the press-shy entrepreneur behind Dojo, Angel’s Share, Sunrise Mart and other Japan-influenced ventures, which are disappearing from the Little Tokyo he built in the East Village.
Mark Lander reported on Jeremy King, one of London’s top restaurateurs, who was pushed out of his Corbin & King empire (the Wolseley, the Delaunay, Bellanger and others).
Tony May, the restaurateur who helped usher in a new era of Italian fine dining at his now-shuttered flagship restaurant, San Domenico, on Central Park South, has died at 84.