With a close family member suddenly battling leukaemia, we’ve been spending most days at NYU Langone Hospital on 33rd and 1st. Usually, we stay far away from this no man’s land of next-day-regret bars and all-you-can-eat-sushi restaurants, but we’ve gotten to know the best and worst places to eat in Kips Bay. There are even some real gems worth heading way out east for.
This cosy corner bistro doesn’t feel like it belong in Kips Bay, but locals show their appreciation by packing it on weekend evenings and brunch. During the week, sit at the bar and order the meatballs with tagliarini. It’s all handmade and incredibly comforting, exactly what you need after a long day. 603 3rd Ave at 33rd St.
Waterfront Ale House
Calling it a neighborhood salon seems apt. The long menu lists venison nachos as one of the city’s best – it’s not, but sitting at the bar shovelling a mound of cheesy corn chips into your face is oddly satisfying after a day in a sterile hospital room. But choose the Southwestern chicken quesadilla, which is tastier than it sounds. 540 2nd Ave at 30th St.
When you only eat heroes maybe once a year, an overstuffed sandwich at an old-school Italian deli like Todaro’s is a thing of beauty. 555 2nd Ave between 30th and 31st Sts.
A 10-minute walk from the hospital, this is one of our favorite Sichuan restaurants in the city. The classics – cold tripe and tendon, fish fillets in spicy sauce – can’t be faulted, but their braised beef stew noodle soup is a must-order. Meltingly tender cubes of beef in an aromatic broth, with chewy noodles, is enough to feed two and a steal at $8.95. 363 3rd Ave b/w 26th and 27th Sts.
A craving for potstickers duped us into ordering dumplings at this greasy Chinese joint. Avoid. 538 2nd Ave.
Kitschy Mexican with unserviceable food. Awful nachos, awful chile relleno, crappy drinks. Definitely a next day regret. 627 2nd Ave.
Photo credit Julia Blanter – Great Sichuan