This pretty, upscale former bohemia is the soul of downtown.
Thu Nov 20 2008
Eats and treats
You could spend days on a gastronomic safari here. A tasty place to start is the Diner (44 Ninth Ave, 212-627-2230). Catering to Meatpacking District clubbers at night, it has become a daytime staple for resident families, especially on weekends. The cuisine is solid comfort food with a twist—think kobe sliders —and breakfast is served anytime.
Fancy name notwithstanding, La Bonbonniere (28 Eighth Ave, 212-741-9266) is a classic greasy spoon renowned for its French toast. Coffeeshop favorites from burgers and fries to egg creams are also on the menu. Dublin 6 (575 Hudson St, 646-638-2900) offers a taste of Ireland in a kid-friendly environment. Relax with a pint of Guinness while the sprats enjoy a weekend brunch of sausage and chips. Cross the Irish Sea (or rather, Hudson Street) to Myers of Keswick (634 Hudson St, 212-691-4194) for Brit fare like Cumberland sausage, Cornish pasties, McVitie’s biscuits and a broad range of Cadbury goodies. Find locally sourced sweet-tooth satisfaction at 85-year-old Li-Lac Chocolates (40 Eighth Ave, 212-924-2280). Your kids will drool over the daily selection of fudge, French mint bars and hazelnut truffle rolls.
Don’t be surprised if the staff of Bourbon Street Southern Gourmet Pantry (529 Hudson St, 212-337-0988) asks to call you by your first name. They take their Dixie-style hospitality as seriously as they do the home cooking at this combo bakery, café and ice cream parlor. Come in for the po’ boys, cheese grits and eggs with sausage gravy; stay for the sweet potato cheesecake and pecan pie.
Step down below street level to Delicia Brazil (322 W 11th St, 212-242-2002), which dishes out authentic chow. Why settle for McDonald’s fries when you can have mandioca frita—fried yuca —instead? Speaking of big chains, foreign ones aren’t such a bad thing if they offer distinctive fare. Two Asian outfits with true kid appeal have stores near each other. Beard Papa’s (5 Carmine St, 212-255-4675), a Japanese purveyor with several city locations, serves fresh cream puffs in flavors like chocolate, green tea and pumpkin, plus other desserts like mochi ice cream—bite-sized morsels wrapped in chewy rice dough. Korean franchise New York Hotdog & Coffee (245 Bleecker St, 917-388-2608) offers variations on the ubiquitous tube steak. Try the one topped with bulgogi (marinated beef). Less adventurous types can dig into waffles, fro-yo and sundaes. Need a caffeine jolt after your day of schlepping? Remember that “& Coffee.”