With spring break looming over the horizon—for Columbia students, all mayhem commences tomorrow—I’ve received a number of queries along similar lines:
“I’m going to be in New York over spring break. Where should I eat?”
Two preliminary tips: take advantage of weekday opportunities otherwise inaccessible due to schedule conflicts; and take a relaxing ride on the subway to some outer borough (or just far, far away) fantasy.
Now, seven slightly more specific ideas. (One per day? A week of good eating to decompress from midterms?)
1. Fancy Lunch: During the week, critically acclaimed and super-riche restaurants like Jean Georges, Aldea, and Del Posto offer cheap lunch prix-fixe menus. For example, right now at Aldea $24.07 buys a serving of rustic pork and duck terrine, followed by skate wing “a la plancha” and orange bread pudding. These lunch deals offer students an opportunity to explore New York’s finest dining establishments without putting undue pressure on stressed budgets.
2. Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter: Skip the lunch and drop-in for supper. Pressure fried chicken (3 pieces!) and a hot biscuit sells for $10.50. Almost (almost!) as good as Kentucky. Look for a more extensive entry on this new Alphabet City spot later next week.
3. Chinatown Beef Jerky: Have you ever had Chinese beef (or pork) jerky? No? Now’s the time to educate yourself. I like New Beef King Corp. on Bayard. But then again, Bayard’s my favorite street in Chinatown, so I might be a bit biased.
4. Think Outside the Joe: Although Joe serves a tasty pour-over, their espresso drinks leave a little depth to be desired. Take a (comically long) study break and hit up Abraço on 7th Street. Famous for olive oil cake and soul-satisfying espresso, Abraço will make you second guess your collection of Joe punch cards.
5. Arthur Avenue: Judging from the weather forecast, next week promises temperate breezes and a butter yellow sun. Head for the Bronx, to the New York Botanical Garden, and walk a mile to Arthur Avenue for a late afternoon snack—or, let’s admit the possibility, a second lunch. Zero Otto Nove serves a predictably good pizza pie, comforting in its cliché: blistered, covered in San Marzano tomatoes, and draped with mozzarella made in the neighborhood at Casa della Mozzarella. Or eat a pound of Italian cookies instead.
6. Essex Street Market: Shopsin’s General Store is an anti-tourist tourist trap. The chef and owner, Kenny, dishes out some serious attitude along with mac ‘n cheese pancakes, bacon and peanut butter sliders, and frito pie. Break Kenny’s rules at your own risk, and whatever you do, don’t show up with more than four in your party.
7. Brooklyn Museum and the Early Bird: Check out the Brooklyn Museum’s collection of Egyptian art, and then walk to Franny’s. To avoid long lines, show up at 5:30 when Franny’s opens. Unless you’re on a first date, don’t miss the anchovy garlic pizza.