This month, we saw a large number of store closings of all sorts. The closing of Pó was widely reported, and with the previous closing of Home, and the news that Cornelia Street Café is struggling, the outlook for the Cornelia Street restaurant scene is not rosy. On the positive side, two interesting openings and a ‘Coming Soon’ sign in Gansevoort Market are good news for this food court, which has experienced a high level of turnover since its move to 14th Street.
Additionally, one of our WestView contributors bemoaned the dearth of newsstands in the West Village. She explained, “There is no place to buy a newspaper in the entire area from my house on Morton Street heading east until the newsstand near the handball courts on 6th Avenue and, heading west, until a deli on Hudson Street.” Last month, we reported on the closing of Perry News and Grocery, and recently we’ve noticed that the newsstand on 6th Avenue near 8th Street has also disappeared, making it hard to get one’s print news (fake or otherwise). All photos by Maggie Berkvist.
Chick’nCone (Gansevoort Market, 353 14th Street, between 8th Avenue and Hudson Street): The New York Post reported on the opening of Chick’nCone with the headline: “The new Frankenfood people are freaking out about.” This stand is the first brick-and-mortar manifestation of a concept that started as a food truck and at stalls in holiday markets. The chicken breast is breaded, fried, and chopped into bite-sized pieces, then coated with sauce (there are five options) and served in a homemade waffle cone, yielding something that is #SoCluckingGood. If you enjoy the concept, you can also have apple- or blueberry-filled cones topped with whipped cream for dessert.
Baby Brasa (173 7th Avenue South, at Perry Street): The “I FEEL YOU BABY” sign next to the “Tiles for America” enticed many to stop for selfies, and finally, the restaurant that spawned the sign has opened in the space formerly occupied by Empire Szechuan Village. This is the second restaurant for Chef Franco Noriega who is a former model known for his shirtless photos. I was excited to finally have Peruvian rotisserie chicken available in the neighborhood. One can order half- and quarter- chickens (white or dark meat) accompanied by unusual sauces, as well as chicken sandwiches. The Tequeños appetizer is delicious—wonton skins filled with cheese and fried, then served with guacamole. The Arroz con Choclo is an addictive pilaf of sorts with kernels of giant Peruvian corn, similar in taste to hominy. Pisco sours are the drinks of choice, with an outstanding passion fruit version. Good food, friendly staff, and reasonable prices should make this a popular destination. (See George Capsis’ piece on page 5 of this issue.)
Rahi (60 Greenwich Avenue, between 7th Avenue South and Perry Street): The space that housed the short-lived Tapestry has been reincarnated as Rahi (meaning ‘traveler’ in Hindi). The owner has not changed, but the concept has: While Tapestry served Indian food with American accents, Rahi bills itself as an “artisanal Indian restaurant.” The maître d’ told us immediately that they had poached the chef from Michelin-starred Junoon. The menu is divided into three sections—“In a New York Minute,” “At Ease,” and “Leisurely,” allowing diners to choose their level of commitment. The entrée prices are still high, so it remains to be seen whether this approach to Indian food will work better.
Flip ‘n Toss (82 Christopher Street, between 7th Avenue South and Bleecker Street): For a while, we only observed closings on this stretch of Christopher Street, but recently we have reported some openings (e.g., Hudson Bagels, Milk Bar). Flip ‘n Toss appears to be primarily a burger spot, but it does have a more extensive menu than you might expect. The “flip” includes grass-fed and vegetarian burgers as well as lobster rolls, while the “toss” comprises the salad options. There are hand-cut fries, and the milkshakes come in various flavors including Oreo. Some of the most interesting dishes reside on the breakfast section of the menu, which includes a PB and Banana Croque (hot-pressed sandwich).
Sushi by Bou/Sushi by Bae (Gansevoort Market, 353 14th Street, between 8th Avenue and Hudson Street): Next to Chick’nCone is another new stand, this one serving sushi/omakase. At the eight-seat counter, four seats are set aside for Sushi by Bou, which serves lunch and dinner seven days a week. The menu is an affordable $50 12-piece sushi offering which must be consumed in 30 minutes. At the stand’s other four seats, different chefs will do pop-ups. Currently, Sushi by Bae with Chef Oona Tempest is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Each evening there are three seatings, and for $100, you get an 18-piece omakase and 90 minutes in which to eat it.
Two long-standing village institutions closed this month—Pó and Good. Pó (31 Cornelia Street, between Bleecker and West 4th Streets), the Italian restaurant that opened in 1993 with Mario Batali (he later left to open Babbo) is gone. The remaining owner, Steve Crane, told Eater that his $10,000 monthly rent was set to increase 120%. Good (89 Greenwich Avenue, near Bank Street), another spot popular with locals, has also closed. Neighbor Mimi Sheraton bemoaned its passing in a New York Magazine piece entitled “There Goes the Neighborhood Restaurant – A regular’s lament.” In it, she called Good her “go-to place for lunches, dinners, and send-out.” In this case, the rent increase was only 20%, but owner Steven Picker explained that higher staff pay and other costs meant he “struggled with charging enough to stay profitable but not enough to drive away repeat customers.” It is unfortunate that, after surviving the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital and the years-long construction, Good is closing, and just when that part of Greenwich Avenue is benefitting from the opening of the lovely St. Vincent’s Triangle Park and NYC AIDS Memorial. Perhaps the West Village is just not a favorable location for vegan restaurants. Gone is Ladybird (127 MacDougal Street, between West 4th and West 3rd Streets), which opened in July 2016 and served “globally-inspired vegetable tapas.” It had the same owners as meat-centric Bourgeois Pig which had occupied the space for 10 years before. The restaurant received positive reviews and will apparently reopen in the East Village where the owners have three sister vegan spots. Gingersnap’s Organic (113 West 10th Street, between 6th and Greenwich Avenues), which specialized in raw food, vegan food, cold-pressed juices, cleanses, gluten-free, and was “all organic all the time,” also didn’t last long. On the same block, Stolle (109 West 10th Street, between 6th and Greenwich Avenues) the Eastern European sweet and savory pie purveyor is also gone. Malibu Dog Kitchen (35 Christopher Street, near Waverly Place) has closed its doors after a brief run. Perhaps dog owners here are not as willing to spend money on homemade dog food as they are in California. MM6 Maison Martin Margiela (363 Bleecker Street, near Charles Street) is the latest Bleecker Street retail clothing casualty. It opened in 2012 in the space that had housed the literarily-named gallery, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” At the time of its opening, the real estate listing for the space referred to the location as “the Far West Village Gold Coast Retail Mecca.”
Further east on Bleecker Street, we must say ciao to bisous, ciao Macarons (235 Bleecker Street, between Leroy and Carmine Streets). For seven years, the store was colorfully decorated with a large selection of macaron flavors. The parting note on the door promises “This won’t be the last you see of bisous, ciao.” Silk Day Spa (47 West 13th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues) is now shuttered. It opened in 2003 and was an early entrant into the day spa explosion. With treatments like the Silk Emperor/Empress and Silk Melt Away Massage, it had more character and charm than the spa chains popping up all over the West Village. Il Conte (310 West 14th Street, between 8th Avenue and Hudson Street) had a similar approach to pasta as the long-awaited Pasta Flyer; the pasta is partially cooked in advance, and then finished at the time it is ordered, making the wait much shorter. Il Conte was in the original Gansevoort Market on Gansevoort Street, and did not wait for the market to re-open. Instead, it moved to a stand-alone shop where it remained for less than a year.
Skinny’s Satay Bar (Gansevoort Market, 353 14th Street, between 8th Avenue and Hudson Street) promises that “Our Chicken Satays will revolutionize the fast food industry.” Initially, this stand, which plans to serve chicken, beef, and shrimp satays, was supposed to open on May 21st, but now the opening has been delayed until June. Two more Asian restaurants, Village Express Asian Cuisine (33 Barrow Street, near 7th Avenue South) and Ms. Mi’s Hot Pot (6 West 14th Street, near 5th Avenue) are displaying signage. blo blow dry bar (113 West 10th Street, between 6th and Greenwich Avenues) is coming to the space just vacated by Gingersnap’s Organic and will offer blow-outs starting at $40.00.