Introducing City Kitchen, NYC’s Newest Giant Food Hall
You know it will happen again, and maybe soon: you splurge on Broadway tickets for you and the kids, or you and your sweetheart; or someone gives you a pair as a gift; or you're in charge of out of town visitors who just HAVE to see [insert latest show with movie stars]. Which is all great, I have nothing against Broadway spectacles, they're just a bit out of my price range for a frequent entertainment option. Anyway, sometimes the most difficult part of seeing a Broadway show–not including wading through Times Square–is figuring out where to grab a quick dinner before the curtain. You want someplace close, but it can't be terrible (everything on Restaurant Row), or crazy pricey (Esca), or a full-on tourist mob scene (Shake Shack). Enter the latest upscale food court, City Kitchen, which, though tiny when compared to, say, Hudson Eats or Gotham West, has several first-rate vendors and is conveniently located on Eighth Avenue and on 44th Street. And if you work in the area, your lunch options just got a whole better.
Welcome To City Kitchen in Times Square
I popped into City Kitchen pretty late (for me) last Friday night after a day of art fairs, and was relieved that, although plenty busy–it's attached to a hotel, Row NYC, with its steady stream of guests/eaters–there weren't really lines at any of the vendors. Basically: it didn't feel desolate, a definite danger considering it's above street level, but I could get a seat, and my food, right away. Apparently City Kitchen is somehow connected to the folks at Urban Space, who do, among other things, the big holiday markets and Mad Sq. Eats, so the line up here is both familiar and welcome. Among the first-rate food options: Luke's Lobster, with their always-a-pleasure lobster rolls; Dough's donut crowd-pleasers; interesting Middle Eastern fare from ilili Box (next time I'm trying their Duck Shawarma); flavored shaved snow–with crazy toppings like Pocky Sticks and Fruity Pebbles–from Wooly's; and, maybe most exciting, the Kuro Obi ramen stand, which is an offshoot of the great Ippudo.
What To Eat at City Kitchen
All of the above is pretty much can't-miss for satisfying all sorts of tastes and moods–this is why these food courts are good for a crowd, especially if a member or two of the crew are picky eaters–but on this night I headed straight for the Whitman's booth, whose down-home burger spot in the East Village has long been a favorite. And although I did NOT get the PB&B Burger (with peanut butter and bacon) because of a missed communication, my straight-up Upstate Burger was excellent, cooked medium rare as requested, the plentiful toppings fresh and lively. I also tried the Al Pastor taco–that's the roasted pork with pineapple one that Alex Stupak (among many others) do so well–from Gabriela's but, as feared (and even though the crew assured me it would not be the case) the pre-shredded meat was terribly dry from sitting under the heat lamp for however many hours. Oh well. Good thing there are plenty of other options at City Kitchen from which to choose!
For More Information on City Kitchen
City Kitchen is located at 700 Eighth Avenue, just north of 44th Street, and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day. For more info and complete menus from each of the vendors, see here.