Good Enough To Eat
520 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Hours: Mon-Thu 8:00 AM – 10:30 PM, Friday 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM, Sat 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM, Sun 9:00 AM – 10:30 PM
The name of the venue doesn’t really inspire confidence, but you know what? It was damn good enough to eat.
Alright, I won’t go too overboard. Good Enough To Eat is a perfectly decent place to get brunch if you’re in the Upper West Side. It’s a typical NYC eatery that tries its hardest to make it feel like a farmhouse-style diner that you can escape into from the busy streets. The food hits that comfort food craving if you’re in the mood for that kind of hearty brunch fare.
Much to my delight, the omelette that I ordered had giant nuggets of bacon, not the usual broken up bits that you’ll often get elsewhere. And the waffle lived up to what my friend told me was their claim to fame–though in my opinion it’s really, really hard to eff up waffles. Though what really stood out to me was the strawberry butter that accompanied the homemade biscuits that came with the entrees.
The one flaw of this place was the service–it was slow as molasses. Sure, it could be that our waitress was having a bad day, but I can’t give Good Enough To Eat a top review because of her lethargy.
For the Labor Day weekend, a couple friends from D.C. and I decided to take a long overdue trip up to New York City. Being from the east coast and having several friends and relatives living in the city over the course of my lifetime, I’m very familiar with the place (and their horrible professional sports teams). However, the thing that I love about New York is that every time you go, there’s always something new to discover.
For this post, I’m not going to go over the typical New York places to see that we did (a not so full effort to find the bridge from Home Alone 2 in Central Park, the Flatiron building, Time’s Square, etc.), but I’ll give you a rundown of a few places that we went to that were recommended by the locals.
230 Fifth (the name of the place is the address)
Located down the street from the Flatiron Building, this rooftop bar has the best view of the NYC skyline that I’ve ever seen. Bring your camera, you’ll have some great shots of the Empire State Building, Hudson River and in the distance the Freedom Tower. There’s plenty of space on the rooftop, as well as a large, indoor lounge on the top floor of the building, but regardless it does get busy around happy hour. There’s no cover charge, but the drinks will cost you a pretty penny. Because we went during Labor Day the temperature was nice, but the bar does offer red robes for everyone in the winter months.
Absolute Bagels and Sal & Carmine’s Pizza
We stayed at my buddy’s place on the Upper West Side and these are a few of the quick, and very New York eateries we tried. Realistically, I wouldn’t say to make a dedicated trip up to the Upper West Side to try these places, but if you’re in that area, they are very good options. Absolute Bagels had exactly what you’d expect from a NYC bagel – perfectly warm, soft, but not too chewy bagels with a large variety of cream cheeses and lox. I had a sesame bagel with walnut & raisin cream cheese and it easily trumped any Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Bruggers bagels I’ve ever had. Keep in mind, there will be a line of Columbia University kids (especially on the weekends) and it is CASH ONLY. And of course, only in New York, you have to pay an extra 10 cents to have your bagel toasted.
For a quick lunch, down the street from Absolute Bagels is Sal & Carmine’s Pizza. Like Absolute Bagels, you will walk right by this place if you’re not looking for it – it’s pretty boring looking. But you’re there for the pizza, not the ambiance. And the pizza does not disappoint. Your order will be taken by this really crusty, curmudgeonly old guy (my guess is he was either Sal or Carmine…) but he’s harmless. The cheese slices are $3 and the ones with toppings are $4. As far as slices go, you’d be hard-pressed to find a place with a better New York slice. The slice was very large, and the crust was perfectly thin and crispy. The pizza had the right amount of cheese and was greasy enough without dripping all over the place. It really hits the spot if you have that pizza craving.
We actually found this place on accident and I’m glad we did. Located on the Lower East Side, Rue B harkens back to the jazz clubs of the past. Dimly lit and intimate, the bar isn’t huge, but has a lot of character. The atmosphere is very chill with vintage black and white photos all along the walls and there’s live blues/jazz music performing. Good place to go if you’re looking for a place to have a relaxing drink or taking a date.
Pretty much the opposite of Rue B, the Blind Barber is like a speakeasy/dance club that literally has a rundown looking barbershop as its front. There wasn’t really anything special about the place (expensive drinks, dance music, people having fun) other than that random ass barber shop that you need to walk through to get inside. If you do get inside, you’ll probably have a good time if you’re with a group of friends and if you can get the bartender’s attention at the packed bar. And you get to say that you walked through a random ass barbershop to get into a club.
The Manhattan Beer Garden at the Standard
Located in the newly created Chelsea High Line (also definitely worth checking out is the new Chelsea Market as well. We only were able to walk through it though because we were on a mission to drink), this beer garden is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun, outdoor (and covered) venue with German big beers and a healthy array of pretzels and sausages. The process for getting draft beers is unique in that you have to buy a ticket for a beer at a separate booth first, then go to the bar and order. Each ticket is $8 (which gets you one beer). If you see a long line, don’t let that dissuade you. It moves quick and will have moments where there’s practically no line if you wait a few minutes. If you’re in that area, but want a more rooftopy bar experience with a more standard drink selection, the Brass Monkey next to the beer garden has a nice rooftop where you can catch some sun and a drink list with more typical libations.
Saxon and Parole
For those of you looking for a little bit of a fancier restaurant to eat at, we stumbled upon Saxon and Parole. Admittedly, we were trying to go to the italian restaurant around the corner, but the wait there was an hour long, so we ended up at S & P instead. That being said, I think we were pleasantly surprised. The hanger steak I had was excellent and came with these duck fat fingerling potatoes that were awesome. The cheese plate we ordered as an appetizer was pretty good too, though they were, in my opinion, a little stingy with the amount of cheese given. The service is what takes the place down a notch – it was just a little too slow, though the waiter himself was perfectly fine when he was actually around.
Sing Sing Karaoke
It’s awesome. We went singing there from 1 AM until 4 AM. It’s $8 an hour per person. That’s all that needs to be said.
West Village location
643 Hudson Street
New York, NY
Monday – Wednesday | Noon to Midnight
Thursday & Friday | Noon to 2AM
Saturday | 11AM to 2AM
Sunday | 11AM to Midnight
Upper West Side location
New York, NY
Monday – Wednesday | Noon to 11PM Thursday – Saturday, Noon to Midnight
Sundays | Noon to 10PM
Happy Hour | Monday – Friday, 4pm to 7PM
If Tao was the big, glitzy dinner, then the Fatty Crab was the opposite of that. Located in the West Village (with a second location in the Upper West Side), the Fatty Crab is a small shack serving some of the most unique Malaysian-Thai hybrid food I’ve ever tried. With seating for only about 30 (and about 6 at the bar) in the dark and intimate hut, you should expect to wait a little bit for a table if you’re a party bigger than 2. Not to worry though, there are seats outside the restaurant and when we arrived there was a little crowd out there with their libations in hand (Note: Not totally sure if them drinking on the sidewalk outside the restaurant was legal, but they were going for it).
My buddy and I took a seat at the bar, which offers a full menu as well. The menu is very small with only a handful of entrees and appetizers. We got some recommendations from the bartender, who was more than happy to answer any questions we had about the food all night. For starters, we gave the pork steamed buns a try. Now these aren’t like the typical pork steamed buns you might get at Dim Sum in Chinatown; these required assembly. The buns shaped like flattened donuts and we had to put the chunks of pork, along with what I think was plum sauce, and cabbage on top of it. From there it was a little awkward trying to fold it up like a taco because it was so bulky, but it was damn tasty even as messy as it was.
For our entrees, we tried the Nasi Lemak and Beef Rendang. Of those two, the Nasi Lemak was the far more bizarre one. The dish consists of a platter of some of the craziest flavors put together. There’s a large chicken leg, that tasted like it was slow cooked and it came off the bone with ease. The chicken was on top of coconut rice that we were instructed to mix with the poached egg on the plate. Also on the plate was a fish paste called “otak” which was on top of these spicy, sardine eggs (or something crunchy that was fishy). I didn’t mind the fishiness of the paste, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the spicy sardine eggs. I liked the spice, but the sardine part was just one step too salty, fishy for me.
The Beef Rendang was the more traditional looking dish, but just a tasty. The dish was made up of short ribs that were braised in lemongrass chili and it came with an interesting sweet paste. The short ribs were very good, a tad bit over cooked for my taste, but still tender, and very savory.
The restaurant is a good example of a place having a small menu, but doing each item very well. All it all, it’s a great little place to try some exotic flavors, or to take a date who doesn’t mind a little adventure in their meal. Grade: B+