What’s On… 44th Street? (Between 8th and 9th Avenue)

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
What’s On… 44th Street? (Between 8th and 9th Avenue)Try to ignore the proximity to the Theater District, Times Square, and Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar.

44th Street between 8th and 9th is just off the beaten path enough to have some good dining and drink options along with a rich history in the film and recording industry. This block was once home to offices of 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and Record Plant – the recording studio that revolutionized the recording industry, where Jimi Hendrix recorded Electric Ladyland and where John Lennon recorded “Walking On Thin Ice” the day he was shot and killed.
701 8th Avenue (@ 44th Street) – Smith’s Bar
Open from 7 am to 4 am every day (why even close?), Smith’s Bar is a staple in on the 8th Avenue landscape and we hope it will remain that way.  Locals and theater-goers alike frequent Smith’s for a good time, every time.  Live music Wednesday through Saturday adds to the appeal, but a word to the wise: stick to the booze here.

Smith's Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

310 W 44th Street – Ça Va
Todd English serves the Theater District well at Ça Va, a French brasserie serving as the restaurant for the InterContinental Hotel, meaning so-so hotel decor and 3 meals a day.The dinner pre fixe is your best bet and a great way to try out some of the more interesting menu options for the more adventurous diner.  Don’t expect accommodating service – it seems the staff is happier daydreaming about that standing ovation they’re hoping for after their next stint on Broadway. 

Ça Va Todd English on Urbanspoon

315 W 44th Street – Birdland.
Although not the original location, Birdland on 44th Street still gets it right after 63 years proving that it doesn’t matter what street the doors open onto, Birdland will always be the premier spot for all things jazz.  There’s not a bad seat in the house, so grab a seat and enjoy the southern inspired menu while listening to some cool jazz.

Birdland on Urbanspoon

W 44th Street – Gyu-Kaku
This Japanese BBQ Chain gets two thumbs up for reasonable pricing and a run place to take the kids.  A menu geared toward the American taste bud
is what has made this place such a success around the country (know your audience, right?) along with the experience of grilling your own food right at the table. It’s not authentic, but who cares?  You’ll have a great time with nearly anyone you bring of any age (except maybe the food snob in your life).

Gyu-Kaku on Urbanspoon

321 W 44th Street – New York Beer Company
This pretty massive bar near Times Square features fluctuating beer prices featured on a ticker board.  Prices go up with popularity,
but it seems like even the least popular selections are selling for more than we’d like to pay for.  Most try to ignore the gimmicky theme and agree that this is actually a decent neighborhood hangout, if Times Square is your ‘hood.
 *Come early and snag the table with its own tap.

New York Beer Company on Urbanspoon

339 W 44th Street – Smokey Burger
This recently opened burger shop sports organic burgers piled high with organic toppings.  Options range from beef to ostrich and lamb, but with average prices hitting the $17 mark before even a side of fries some are looking around at the fast casual setting waiting for even the tiniest slice of truffle or hint of foie gras to justify the prices.

339 W 44th Street – One Thai Chef
It would seem that the above restaurant and One Thai Chef share more than an address – what does the same owner mean for these two new restaurants?  Only time will tell; but my advice is that they both lower their prices – stat.

352 W 44th Street – Etcetera Etcetera
Etcetera Etcetera stands a bit apart from the other mundane pre-theater options in the area with a neighborhood feel despite its proximity to Broadway and the Theater District.
The menu reads to please – something for every taste with standard Italian favorites at reasonable prices.  The pasta will satisfy every time, but most locals suggest leaving this place to the out of town crowd.

Etcetera Etcetera on Urbanspoon

 

Harley’s

356 W 44th Street – Harley’s (f.k.a. The Irish Rouge)
The second of two locations for Harley’s (the original located in East Harlem), this newly opened BBQ haunt features a surprisingly large menu of cheap-o BBQ. A $14 dollar brunch special including two drinks might just be the best deal on the block!

Harley's Smokeshack on Urbanspoon

357 W 44th Street – Reunion Surf Bar
Don’t miss the understated entrance of Reunion Surf bar on 44th St.  This bar, named after a tiny volcanic island off the coast of Africa which happens
to be a prime locale for catching serious waves, serves surf inspired cuisine (think Hawaiian surf shack) that would satisfy any hungry dude or dudette.  Some complain that this place isn’t what it used to be, now that the shubees have taken over.

Réunion Surf Bar on Urbanspoon

358 W 44th Street – Don Giovanni
Ok, so it’s not the best you’ve ever had but you’ll find something for everyone at this red sauce Italian serving all the basics including pizzas and heroes.
Geared toward the out of town crowd due to its proximity to Times Square, it might just work if you don’t know what you’re missing elsewhere.

Don Giovanni on Urbanspoon

358 W 44th Street (Upstairs) – The Producers Club
This storefront rental space for off-Broadway productions features 5 theaters and a downstairs bar/lounge area.  Here, you’ll find a wide variety of shows from Shakespeare to comedy to the Avant Garde.  The digs could use some updating, but most agree it just adds to the charm.

630 9th Avenue (@ 44th Street) – Marseille
Around since 2001 Marseille has been supplying Hells Kitchen with dependable French fare with an emphasis on the cuisine of its namesake port city.
Brunch is the standout, especially during the summer to take advantage of the prime 9th avenue people watching.  Executive chef and partner Andy D’Amico
seems to have taken over the block (of 9th Avenue) with restaurant openings at every store front. (See: Nizza and Five Napkin Burger).

Marseille on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

What’s On… MacDougal? (btwn Prince and W Houston)

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

What’s On… MacDougal? (btwn Prince and W Houston)
Soho

Think of MacDougal Street and think of the heart of the Village.  That is, until you step south of Houston Street where MacDougal becomes a sleepy, more refined version of itself.  Named for Senator and the first president of the Bank of New York, Alexander MacDougall, MacDougal Street has been a fixture in the fame and overall boheme essence of Greenwich Village.  The 1950s brought with it, such literary greats as E.E. Cummings, William S. Burroughs, and Dylan Thomas who used Greenwich Village as their muse; and  the 1960s saw Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix strum some of their first public chords on this street, leading the way for a whole new take on rock music.

Fried chicken at Hundred Acres

38 MacDougal Street – Hundred Acres
You’ll feel like you’re at home (if your home looked like a French Country style restaurant) at Hundred Acres, whose menu sports the farm to table mantra dishing out comfort food done right.  The neighborhood feel and solid menu (with something for everyone) keeps the regulars coming back for more.  *Try the pork chop or fried chicken for dinner.

Hundred Acres on Urbanspoon

Exterior @ Rouge et Blanc

48 MacDougal Street – Rouge et Blanc

While the sleek wood exterior may deter some, a few steps inside Rouge et Blanc and you’ll feel  completely different.  The French-Vietnamese food, and atmosphere are both welcoming and serene.  The tapas style menu can add up (as they always seem to) – try the fried brussel sprouts or the grilled quail and don’t miss out on the Gateau au Chocolat for dessert!

Rouge et Blanc on Urbanspoon

 51 MacDougal Street – Something Special

Grab a cup of coffee while you’re waiting for your ‘something special’ to be notarized.  This Village notary has bee a fixture here, for as long as anyone can remember.  There are mailboxes for rent, convenient,  if you’re trying to live under the radar like Something Special’s celebrity clientele.

56 MacDougal Street – 12 Chairs
The Israeli-Russian menu inspired menu at 12 Chairs is best suited for a lunch date with large salads and plenty of hummus to go around.  During the nice weather, this place always has a crowd due to the front doors they open creating a breezy hangout with nice street view.  It’s easy to linger with a cup of nana tea and some good company.

12 Chairs on Urbanspoon

58 MacDougal Street – Comodo

At the (very) recently opened Comodo, it’s all about family – and they’ll make you feel like you’re part of theirs.  The family run restaurant serves inspired Latin cuisine in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere.  Stop by to check out this new spot for yourself, just don’t forget to try to lamb sliders while you’re there!

Comodo on Urbanspoon