This month saw fewer closings than February. Plus, two long-awaited restaurants finally opened—Greenwich Steakhouse and Hot N Juicy Crawfish. One Italian restaurant opened and an Italian sandwich shop/grocery store is coming soon. Is this a trend? Is the Village returning to its Italian roots?
1. Tfor (14 Bedford Street, near Downing Street): This Italian/Mediterranean spot focuses on raw fish preparations (tartare, carpaccio, and ceviche) and also features dishes with cooked fish, homemade pasta (the Pasta alla Norma was delicious), and organic hydroponic vegetables. Da Tommy Osteria previously occupied the space, but for this new incarnation, the owner, Tommaso Roncari, hired a food consulting firm from Italy and two Italian chefs—Stefano Crialesi and Riccardo Di Rocca. Everything is made in-house, including a small selection of delicious-sounding desserts. The wine list is based on unusual varietals from around the world. For more details, see David Porat’s full review on page 28.
2. Greenwich Steakhouse (62 Greenwich Avenue, near 7th Avenue): Victor Chavez, who had been the executive chef at Smith & Wollensky in Midtown, retired from that job about a year ago, and found that retirement was not to his liking. So for his next act, he opened a restaurant with steakhouse-quality meats in a narrow townhouse. The downstairs is a bar area with a few tables for walk-ins as well as a prep kitchen. The second floor contains an opulent dining room with a fireplace, murals, and blue velvet-upholstered chairs. The top floor can be rented for private events. The meat was delicious, and some of the cuts came in different-sized options, which I appreciated. The side dishes are traditional but well done—the creamed spinach was masterful. The “FR” in the logo stands for “French Grill,” but the food is mostly standard steakhouse fare.
3. Hot N Juicy Crawfish (243 West 14th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues): Almost a year after we expected this restaurant to open, it finally did. If you don’t like seafood, don’t come. The main attraction is “Temptations by the Pound” which could be crabs, lobster, shrimp, crawfish, mussels, or clams. You order the quantity, seasoning, and heat level you want (the “extra spicy” option was NOT as frightening as the waitress promised), and it comes to the table in a plastic bag with an empty bucket for shells (plus a bib). Seafood can also be ordered fried, in a basket, or in a po’ boy. For dessert, there is only one option, the Fried Brownie. There isn’t much atmosphere but the prices are reasonable and the food is pretty much what you’d expect.
4. Le Pain Quotidien (65 Bleecker Street, between Broadway and Lafayette Street): This is the third location of the Belgian chain in the West Village. The space is bi-level with the majority of seating in the basement area. The offerings are the same as at all the other branches.
5.Goa Taco (101 MacDougal Street, between Minetta Lane and Bleecker Street): Goa is a state in western India; the first Goa Taco was a pop-up on Delancey Street on the Lower East Side which then became permanent. The “tacos” are made with paratha bread instead of tortillas, and the fillings span the globe from Asian (pork belly) to Greek (lamb and tzatziki) to Vietnamese (Bánh Mì) and Indian (Paneer). The food is inexpensive and quite good.
A few months ago, I mistakenly reported that a bar was opening in Gansevoort Market (353 West 14th Street, near 9th Avenue). A workman there had told me that one of the stalls would be a bar, but it turned out to be a soap bar. However, now DNAInfo reports that a real bar is imminent. It will serve craft beers and specialty cocktails if the liquor license application is approved. Irving Farm Coffee Roasters will open a café at 78 West 3rd Street (near Thompson Street). The company has a roasting plant in the Hudson Valley town of Millerton and six other locations in the City. Sergimmo Salumeria (462 6th Avenue, near West 11th Street) is coming to the space where Greenwich Gallery Frame Shop used to be. Their other store is located at 456 9th Avenue (between West 35th and West 36th Streets) and is known for its salumi and panini.
Alexandra (455 Hudson Street, near Barrow Street): A number of readers wrote to tell us of the closing of this American bistro. The restaurant had opened in 2005 and was run by a husband and wife team. Lucy’s Whey (75 9th Avenue, between 16th and 15th Streets, in Chelsea Market): This tiny cheese counter, with a great selection of mostly American cheeses, will be closing soon. They still operate a café on the Upper East Side and plan to re-open a shop downtown. Duane Reade at 378 6th Avenue (near Waverly Place) has closed. For a long time, Duane Reade stores were opening everywhere, but in the last month, another Duane Reade further north on 6th Avenue also closed and they are in the process of closing their Maspeth distribution center as well. Less than 10 months after opening, Tapestry at 60 Greenwich Avenue (near 7th Avenue) is gone. I found the fusion Indian food offered there rather strange, although not displeasing. According to The New York Times, the restaurant was not doing enough business to stay open. The owner of a neighboring restaurant told me that the same folks behind Tapestry are planning a more traditional Indian restaurant in the space. Pho Sure (120 Christopher Street, near Bedford Street): This Vietnamese restaurant in a Croman building, on an ever more desolate stretch of Christopher Street, is gone and, as usual, there is a sad story behind the closing. According to another local restaurant owner, the owner of Pho Sure wanted to get out of his lease and had found someone to take it over. Initially, Croman indicated that he would allow the transfer, but then did not approve the new tenant for months, and eventually said he’d changed his mind. In the meantime, Pho Sure had vacated the premises and let the staff go, so the owner had to purchase new equipment and hire new people. The restaurant remained open for a while after that, but now the space is empty and there is a “For Rent” sign in the window.
Eater reports that Mas (farmhouse) at 39 Downing Street (near Bedford Street), which had closed in July due to a fire, is re-opening in late spring. The New York Times, in their “Off the Menu” section, reported the opening of Nisi Estiatorio at 302 Bleecker Street (near Barrow Street). The only problem is that Nisi opened back in November 2016, and David Porat wrote a review for the November issue of WestView News after he, George, and I had a great dinner there. Coincidentally, George chose it as his favorite Village restaurant (see his review on page 24).
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All photos by Maggie Berkvist.