A spacious food court featuring some of NYC's most popular purveyors has landed right where it was needed most. Gotham West Market, located in far-west Hell's Kitchen on 11th Avenue and 45th Street, opened its doors yesterday with a badass roster of restaurants. What once was a food wasteland for all the poor bastards in those new luxury residential towers—not to mention area office drones trying to choke down yet another footlong from Subway—has been instantly transformed into enviable eating grounds.
The lineup is impressive: Seamus Mullen of Tertulia contributes tapas bar El Colmado (get the Chaquetes Fritos, a pile of crispy fried whiting atop a puddle of bright yellow saffron all i oli). The Court Street Grocers gang is here with a killer sandwich selection, including the super seXXXy Patty Melt, pictured above. And comfort food spot Genuine Roadside serves up classic fried delights like a Buttermilk Battered Chicken Sandwich (the contemporary "twist": sambal mayo and celeriac apple slaw) with Sweet Potato Fries.
Lauded ramen chef Ivan Orkin debuts his Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop to satisfy your noodle needs; the spicy/smoky Chili Eggplant Mazeman flat-out rules and the Negi Salad is prepared with a Slurp Shop-exclusive, $1,000 scallion slicing machine they just shipped in from Japan. The Cannibal has its usual array of appealing nose-to-tail fare, including an excellent Pig's Head Terrine with a slather of Lemon Butter.
And in what may be the sleeper hit of the whole shebang, Caroline Fidanza of Williamsburg's Saltie has set up shop as the Little Chef, with a short, screamingly-healthy menu featuring the Clean Slate, an invigorating mound of lentil hummus, quinoa, yogurt, pickled veggies, hot sauces served on a "plate" of Nan(ish). Even among such succulent company, this might be the best dish I ate all day.
In addition to all the eats, Gotham West Market also houses a Blue Bottle Coffee; a Brooklyn Kitchen outpost with high-end gear and groceries plus cooking classes like Thai Street Food, EZ Weeknight Meals, and Knife Skills; and a Velo bicycle showroom.
The block-long, faux-industrial space was designed by the folks at AvroKO (Saxon + Parole, Public), so it will feel familiar if you've eaten at a NYC restaurant at some point in the last five years: reclaimed wood furniture, Edison-bulbs lamps, white tile, concrete floors, "blackened steel finishes", and the like. It's open early (7 a.m. on weekdays; 8 a.m. on weekends) until late (11 p.m. every night) and there's no shortage of beer, wine and booze options as well.