Theatre and dining — commentary about shows, and some restaurants near theatre

A Baker’s Dozen Cheap Pre-Theatre Eats: Theatre District

"Where should I eat?" I'm always asked, especially when friends are heading to theatre. To help respond to that query,  I've decided to create a few posts listing suggested places to grab a bite, divided by cost and time. This first post contains a baker's dozen offerings where you can get a quick meal — of course, depending on what you order — for about $25 (not including tax, tip and drinks!) located not far from the theatre district. Bareburger 366 W 46th St, (212) 673-2273. For a quick burger and fries. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., 1501 Broadway (at 43rd) (212) 391-7100 A down-home atmosphere reminiscent of the “Forrest Gump,”  [...]

By | September 9th, 2017|Rambling, Theatre|0 Comments

Treehaus, Hell’s Kitchen (The Whirligig), NYC

The menu at Signature Cafe inside The Pershing Square Signature Center where we were seeing Hamish Linklater’s new play “The Whirligig,” was more limited than it had been when I reviewed it. We ended up next door at Treehaus for a pre-theatre bite. Their menu was also limited but offered much more than a salad, sandwich or soup. We started with a glass of their happy hour ($5) rose  (Hecht and Bannier) and their fried clam strips with their housemade "haus" tartar sauce ($9); we never received the menu offered cole slaw and the strips were a bit overcooked. The scallops with roasted veggies were fine, but what was really [...]

By | July 21st, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Sammy’s House of BBQ, Theatre District (Anastasia), NYC

The best things about Sammy's House of BBQ are the extra-friendly staff and its location in the heart of the theatre district — almost right across from the Broadhurst Theatre where I was seeing "Anastasia," the delightful fairy-tale of a musical about the Czar Nicholas's youngest daughter with amnesia. I decided to order Sammy's slider trio, wanting a little something before the show. That app consisted of three buns each chockfull of a BBQ'd meat  — one with Texas brisket, another with Carolina pulled pork and the third filled with Alabama smoked chicken ($12.95). A hearty snack for sure! My friend arrived... having just finished his dinner and said he [...]

By | July 9th, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Room Service, Theatre District (Little Foxes), NYC

Before heading to the Samuel J Friedman Theatre for the second time seeing Lillian Hellman's Little Foxes with the powerful performances of Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon switching rolls, we headed to Ninth Avenue to get a bite. My friend had just been to and raved about the Thai restaurant Room Service. We started with the four crispy corn spring rolls stuffed with noodles and veggies ($6), followed by the eponymous mild-flavored Pad Thai ($16.90) with sauteed glass vermicelli mixed with shrimp, mussels, squid and scallops wrapped in an egg-white pancake. Great for those who don't like spicy food. My friend finished with a bowl with two scoops of coconut [...]

By | July 1st, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Raffles Bistro, Midtown East, (Marry Harry) NYC

Walking south on Lexington Avenue after seeing the York Theatre Company's fun new musical Marry Harry, directed by Bill Castellino (who also directed Off-Broadway musical Cagney), we walked into Raffles Bistro for a bite to eat and lots of conversation. We decided to share both a small pepperoni pizza ($20) and a burger ($19). Both were edible -- but nothing I'd suggest. The pepperoni pizza is reminiscent of frozen pie; the overcooked cheeseburger wasn't much better. At least the fries were large steak-cut and freshly fried, and the service friendly. Not a place I'd recommend. - bonnie BonnieBOTB Follow @BonnieBOTB   Raffles Bistro 511 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10017 [...]

By | June 20th, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Kings of Kobe, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC (The Hairy Ape)

After seeing the talented Bobby Cannavale in Eugene O'Neill 's "The Hairy Ape" at the Armory (also with David Costabile), we walked over to Hell's Kitchen to sample the fare at King of Kobe, known as the "The Burger & Hot Dog Monarchy." As their guests, we tried lots of the offerings beginning with Manhattanite ($8.75) hot dog topped with caramelized apples, frisee, shaved cheddar and a wasabi aioli. Neither I nor my dining partner generally eat hot dogs but agreed this one could change our minds. The fried balls of Mac & Cheese ($7.25) come creamy on the inside, crisp outside. The four rounds are a meal in themselves [...]

By | May 1st, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Hourglass Tavern, Theatre District (When it Was You), NYC

Eating after theatre worked best as the one-woman show "When it Was You" at the Clurman Theatre was about 70 minutes. Meaning we could relax and not rush off to catch the curtain. Ana Reeder's performance about a women who had once dated in high school a man who became a mass shooter was riviting. We headed to Hourglass Tavern, the tiny 3-story renovated nineteenth-century brownstone (build in 1894) on theatre row. From what I read, each table originally sported a working hourglass (now there are a couple as art on the walls). Their motto was you wouldn't miss the curtain of your show, as the service would take only the [...]

By | April 27th, 2017|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Signature Café and Bar, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC

What a find! Conveniently located in the lobby adjacent to Signature's three small theaters at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 42nd Street, the Signature Café and Bar offers light, flavorful and healthful fare from Great Performances. There's also a full bar including a glass of champagne or Prosecco and live music on performance nights. All this comes to you at reasonable prices with the organic produce they served grown at GP’s Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, NY. You'll need to go to the counter to order from the limited but tasty menu. Much of their food is already packaged — like deliciously dressed chopped Tuscan kale, roasted butternut squash, caramelized apples, [...]

By | December 23rd, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Zengo, Murray Hill, (Heisenberg) NYC

After seeing the incredible performances by Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt as two strangers who connect in a London train station in Heisenberg at Samuel J Friedman Theatre, we headed to Richard Sandoval's Zengo for a late night meal. The show made me think about relationships and how meeting one person can change your life. Worth seeing! Still on my spicy drink kick, I ordered a Zengo Margarita ($14) made with Rancho Alegre blanco tequila, blood orange juice and serrano peppers. It didn't disappoint. Neither did their Thai lettuce wraps ($14) with a perfect blend of ground chorizo, lots of peanuts, chopped cilantro and tamarind chutney. I'd return just for [...]

By | December 1st, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Seabird, West Village (All the Ways to Say I Love You), NYC

After seeing the amazing Judith Light in a mesmerizing one-woman performance in All the Ways to Say I Love You at the Lucille Lortel theatre, we stopped by the lively Seabird for a bite to eat. Judith Light deserved an Obie for her performance; catch it if you can. At Seabird on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Washington Place, we shared the octopus fritter ($14 for four) drizzled with both a curry aioli and a black squid ink sauce on a bed of shredded fresh carrots and julienned beets. Interesting concept, but I would  suggest ordering only if you like fried balls of dough. There wasn't much or the [...]

By | October 8th, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Virgil’s, Theatre District (Shuffle Along), NYC – Revisit

Before seeing the musical Shuffle Along, we stopped for a quick bite at Virgil's. The show is a revival of the 1921 one with music and lyrics by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, starring the noticeably pregnant Audra McDonald. This Tony-nominated production brings the sage of the original show and how it changed the world back to life. I returned to Virgil's to see whether the BBQ nachos could possibly be as good as they were when I described them as some of the best I had ever had ($13.95). Instead of salsa, the tortilla chips come topped with smoked pulled chicken, Carolina pulled pork and Texas beef brisket all drizzled [...]

By | September 7th, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Esca, Hell’s Kitchen (Cagney:The Musical), NYC

I was skeptical about dining at another pricey Italian seafood place after my mediocre-meal experience at Marea the day before. But with Esca right across the street from the Westside Theatre where we were seeing Cagney:The Musical it didn't make sense to change the res. I'm so glad we didn't.  Every dish was seasoned to perfection and service was attentive but not snooty. What a difference! Our amuse consisted of a lick-your-fingers white bean bruschetta. Off to a good start. My friends thought they weren't wild about octopus ($19) until they tasted Esca's version grilled crusty on the outside and tender in, served with giant corona beans, frisée and preserved [...]

By | June 25th, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Junior’s, Theatre District (Eclipsed), NYC

Since we had a 7 pm curtain of Eclipsed, my friend suggested we stop by Junior's for a quick bite instead of "dining."  As you're seated, Junior's serves bowls of gratis pickled beets, vinegary cole slaw and dill pickles that they'll continue to refill, if asked. As a beet lover, I ate an entire bowl of the sliced marinated dark red veggie and almost asked for me, but needed to save room for the large sandwiches. We ordered two of those sandwiches to share, plus a side of big fat steak fries ($4.95). The piled high turkey reuben ($15.95) on rye was warm and tasty but needed more than the [...]

By | May 26th, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Maple, Theatre District (Disaster), NYC

An old grammar-school friend came to visit me in the Big Apple recently.  Our day included lunch where we stopped into Maple at the Night Hotel for a bite to eat on a Sunday midday before heading to the see the rollicking musical Disaster at the Nederlander Theatre. Silly, fun show with some fabulous singing performances. I liked my huevos rancheros, one of my favorite breakfasts. Instead of the more-typical heavy dish, this was more delicate with crispy tortillas, two eggs (I requested mine poached), beans, cheese and a dollop of salsa fresco. Totally satisfying choice, although served sans rice or avocado. My friend had ordered the salmon, prepared as [...]

By | March 31st, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Charlie Palmer at the Knickerbocker, Times Square, (Noises Off) NYC

Before heading to the American Air Lines theatre across the street to see the Noises Off,  Michael Frayn's rollicking English play-within-a-play farce, we stopped in for a dinner at Charlie Palmer at the Knickerbocker Hotel. Instead of ordering the pre-theatre prix fixe dinner, we selected from the regular menu. With our Nero d' Avola Cusumano, Sagana Sicily, 2012 ($85), we sampled the fried artichokes (crisp, but in need of seasoning $13) and a Tuscan flatbread that the menu described with smoky tomatoes, prosciutto and arugula ($17). I would have preferred much more arugula in lieu of the micro-green garnish. Exceptional were the pumpkin-filled ravioli with mushrooms (three for $17). I'd [...]

By | March 15th, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Hell’s Chicken, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC (Fiddler on the Roof)

Sung, the owner of Hell's Chicken, wrote to me about his Korean-style restaurant, known for their gluten-free fried chicken wanting me to cover it. I decided to sample it one night on my way to seeing the revival of Fiddler on the Roof, staring the amazingly talented Danny Burnstean as Tevya and Jessica Hecht as Goldie. The show remains a tearjerker that's as relevant today as when it was first produced in the '60s. Don't miss it. Not very familiar with Korean foods, Sung assisted us, suggesting the kimchi jeon ($10) a Korean-style spicy cabbage pancake served on a hot platter with soy sauce for dipping. It's sort of a [...]

By | March 6th, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Sushi Seki Bar & Oysters, Hell’s Kitchen, (Hamilton) NYC

The newest Sushi Seki restaurant recently opened in Hell's kitchen in the former Firebird location. I was invited to stop by for a meal recently before I headed to see the hottest ticket on Broadway - the rap musical Hamilton — up the street while Lin-Manuel Miranda was still performing. They seated me at the five-seat Kappo/Chef's counter to sample Chef Seki’s innovative cuisine for a tasting menu. I learned that Kap= cut fish and Po= steamed or cooked in Japanese. Instead of the regular 7-course tasting menu ($100) along with wine/sake pairings ($60), we were served offerings from the pre-theatre menu plus a sake selected for each course. Our [...]

By | March 2nd, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Ooviña Latin Kitchen & Wine Bar, Hells Kitchen, NYC (Allegiance) (The Color Purple)

Ooviña is a wine bar in Hell's Kitchen with an interesting motif of white leafed tree branches cascading from the ceiling. I was invited there to sample their traditional Latin cooking, with many of the dishes being Guatemalan. I stopped by between two Broadway show — the tear-jerking Allegiance, a story about the Japanese internment after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and The Color Purple, the Pulitzer Prize-winning story about an African women. Both are musicals. We started with margaritas ($15), mine a spicy jalapeño one, my friend's with an added splash of house-made sangria. Both recommended. As we were rushed for time, as our evening's performance began at 7, [...]

By | February 25th, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Gallo Nero, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC (Our Mother’s Brief Affair)

A hidden Italian gem in the Theatre District!  We stopped in to Gallo Nero, a rustic, wood-accented small restaurant serving a taste of Italy, on our way to see Linda Lavin in "Our Mother's Brief Affair." The bread is the type you hope for: warm, with a chewy crust and dense interior served with olive oil. Portions are hearty and shareable. We started with the simple Caesar salad topped with thick slices of cheese and some croutons ($10). Don't miss their gooey cheesy lasagna ($16), dripping with cheese ... just like homemade. With all this we sipped the earthy Sangiovese Superiore Di Romagna Nespoli 2011 Emilia-Romagna ($12) If you're on [...]

By | February 21st, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Empire Steak House, Theatre District (Stranger in my House), NYC

After going to a reading of Stranger in my House with the amazing Tovah Feldshuh, Olivia Oguma and John Stanisci, my friend and I crossed the street to the Empire Steak House for a glass of wine. We walked into their inviting bar, asking to also see the menu so we could nibble something with our libation. We sat at one of the hightop tables and each ordered a glass of the 2013 Portillo, estate bottled Mendoza Malbec ($12.95) plus one portion of fried calamari to share ($12.95). Once we ordered the food, the staff jumped into action, setting the hightop with a white linen tablecloth, linen napkins and silverware. [...]

By | February 10th, 2016|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Lattanzi Ristorante, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC (Whorl Inside A Loop)

After seeing the thought-provoking prison drama "Whorl Inside A Loop" written by Dick Scanlan & Sherrie Rene Scott (who also starred in the play), we headed to Lattanzi Ristorante, a white-tablecloth, great-service restaurant a few blocks from the theatre to get a light late nibble. To start, we sipped the pricey but tasty Aperol spritzer ($15) followed by the restaurant's signature dish of artichoke hearts cooked Jewish style. The Carciofi Alla Giudia — sautéed with garlic and olive oil — are flavorful but a small portion for $18. What you're seeing to the right is the full portion! We then split their Bucatini all’ Amatriciana ($21), thick tube-like spaghetti coated [...]

By | October 21st, 2015|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Dafni Greek Taverna, Theater District (On The Town), NYC

The aroma of garlic whet my appetite as I walked through the door of Dafni Greek Taverna on 42nd Street, a perfect place to grab a bite before heading to see "On The Town" at the Lyric Theatre just up the street. When I watched the movie version I couldn't resist singing, "New York, New York' along with  Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, but I restrained myself from doing so in the theatre! We started with the gigantes, oven baked giant beans swimming in an herbed tomato sauce ($8.95), perfect for dipping the warm pita. I'd recommend those as I would the octopus. The grilled octopus, octapodi ($12.95), came  accompanied [...]

By | July 24th, 2015|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Toloache, Midtown West, NYC (iow@)

After seeing the very unusual, somewhat absurd musical iow@ at Playwrights Horizon, we headed uptown for a bite to eat at Toloache, a Mexican restaurant that a friend raved about. To start we selected their Rojo, purportedly spicy guacamole option ($14). This blend of huge chunks of avocado red onion, tomato, chipotle and queso fresco came served with warm chips and a thin chipotle dipping sauce. Enjoyable, although the spiciness was in the accompanying sauce, not the guac. We asked for some more of the dipping sauce for our next dishes and were told they didn't give away sauces. And oddly — we thought — sauce didn't accompany our other [...]

By | May 31st, 2015|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Ktchn, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC (Application Pending)

After seeing the highly entertaining, one-woman show "Application Pending" at the Westside Theatre, we headed to the sleek, modern Ktchn nearby that serves simple modern American cuisine. We were lucky enough to get a booth by the floor-to-ceiling windows to do some people-watching. Getting ready for an upcoming trip to Spain, I opted for a glass of the zesty, refreshing Albariño (2012, Bodegas Castro $13), to enjoy with the crunchy salty tempura green beans served with a mild ($8) serrano guacamole for dipping. We found the service incredibly friendly and fairly efficient, other than forgetting that we had asked for some grilled chicken on the pasta.  That tagliatelle ($18) came with [...]

By | May 27th, 2015|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Snack Taverna, West Village, NYC Revisit (Everything You Touch)

Stopped by Snack Taverna after the fun, intelligent show Everything You Touch at the Cherry Lane Theatre about a fashion designer's life, replete with emaciated leggy models and couture. Snack Taverna is a welcoming tavern with enthusiastic helpful servers. I had a braised lamb shank; my friend the chicken. The lamb casserole contained a shank with wild mushrooms and orzo in a cinnamon-scented tomato sauce topped with Kefalotyri cheese and fresh watercress. The pan-seared chicken was seasoned with rosemary and with chickpeas braised endive, golden raisins and olive.  Each dish was were incredibly tasty, nicely seasoned ... but slightly over cooked. Something the restaurant could easily rectify. Still it's all [...]

By | April 2nd, 2015|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments