Questions from readers: edition of the theater district

It’s a busy day in New York after news broke of the shooting at a subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I keep the victims in my thoughts, and I hope you do too.

In my very first dispatch, I said that if the New York food scene had an FAQ, where to eat on Mondays would be at the top of that list. But according to a dozen emails in the Where to Eat inbox, the most pressing question is old: Where to eat in the theater district?

Keep asking questions at [email protected], and we’ll try to answer them periodically in the newsletter.

Recently, a long dinner party left me watching the first act of “Madama Butterfly” in a tiny theater prison for latecomers at the Met Opera. Don’t be like me. I recommend giving yourself plenty of time before any performance: at least two hours for dinner and another 30 minutes to get to the theater and settle into your seats. Long live the 5:30 p.m. reservation!

For an old-school vibe, browse the classic chophouse menu at Gallagher Steakhouse (don’t sleep on the stuffed jumbo shrimp). But I’m all for the distinct energy of “The Godfather: Part 2” at Victor’s Coffeewhere la ropa vieja is famous for a reason and the waiters move around like they know you have somewhere to go.

Children behind? Try the Japanese barbecue restaurant Gyu-Kaku. My friend and fellow food writer Regan Stephens said her daughters love the food, especially the s’mores you get at the end of the meal.

Where there is Toloache, where fresh tortillas, octopus tostadas and soul-affirming birria abound. For something more intimate: Korean small plates at the crowd favorite restaurant Danji – think black cod poached in soy sauce and perfectly fried tofu in a rich ginger and scallion vinaigrette.

And though you may be inclined to go to long-time eves Joe Allen or Orsotheir sister institution Central Bar is the ticket. My colleague and theater regular Priya Krishna’s typical order: chickpea fries, shrimp and mushroom dumplings and a Negroni. “They’re great for filling you up before a show.”

Sometimes a long dinner is impossible, that’s why I thank the gods for the Shake Shack on 8th Avenue and West 44th Street.

Equally quick bites can be taken at Margon (morning only), where Cuban sandwiches and octopus salad have been the specialty since 1970, and at Los Tacos No. 1, which is standing only. (The tacos won’t last long anyway, especially if you get the adobada.)

To finish, Warkop NYC is a great new pre-theater option. You can choose from three types of goreng (Indonesian stir-fried noodles); add toppings of your choice, such as popcorn chicken, dark greens, eggs, or cheese; and get a side dish of corn fritters or fried tofu with a sticky sweet sauce. Even better, it’s also a coffee: order the kopi susu, a coffee with condensed milk, and thank me later.

For a cheeky post-show drink, venture into the 1 train subway station at 50th and Broadway, and you’ll find Nothing really mattersa new bar that advertises itself as “the greatest cocktail bar in the universe.” (Trust points, I guess?)

Or step into the second-floor lounge bar at Pebble baran extension of the Lower East Side hotspot Rays.

If you don’t want the music to stop – dinner and show and show – there is live music every night of the week at the House of Rum inside the Edison Hotel until shortly after midnight. Or head to Hotel Aliz and take the elevator to Dear Irving on Hudson on the 40th floor for incredible city views and top-notch cocktails (in three words: the Northern Spy).


  • Four years after closing for renovation, El QuixoteThe nearly 100-year-old restaurant inside the Chelsea Hotel has been revived with a much-improved menu of Spanish classics, writes Pete Wells, but the same splendor and charm remains.

  • Openings: Casa Carmen, the first restaurant outside Mexico from the family behind El Bajío restaurants, opens Thursday in TriBeCa; Mott Haven hosts Mae Mae Cafea plant-based taco bar; Nino’s beacha new southern Italian restaurant offering wood-fired pizzas has opened on the north shore of Long Island.

  • Robert Simonson wrote about Tony Yoshida, the press-shy entrepreneur behind Dojo, Angel’s Share, Sunrise Mart and other Japanese-influenced businesseswho disappear from the Little Tokyo he built in the East Village.

  • Mark Lander reported on Jeremy King, one of London’s top restaurateurs, who was forced out of his Corbin & King empire (the Wolseley, the Delaunays, Bellanger and others).

  • Tony May, the restaurateur who helped usher in a new era of Italian dining at his now closed flagship restaurant, Saint Dominicon Central Park South, died at age 84.

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