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Apr 6, 2000 12:41 PM

9th Ave Good Eats (40s and 50s)

  • r

Hey there-

I live in the high 50s on 9th Ave and am aware
of a lot of new restaurants and cafes opening
in the area but curious if anyone has tried anything
or knows of any "gems" in the area

quickly- the only things i've tried have been

Puttanessca (55th/9th)
Route 66 Cafe (55th/9th)
Island Burger
Delta Grill

other than that......... you're on!


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  1. If you search the archives, you'll find a discussion not too long ago about Puttanesca & Julian's. If I recall correctly (which assumes a lot these days!) both got good comments. I've been to Puttanesca, which is actually at the corner of 56th, and been very pleased. Nothing fancy--just a nice neighborhood or pre-theatre place that's reasonably priced with decent food. BTW, I don't consider it "new."

    5 Replies
    1. re: Larry

      On the contrary, I live on 56 and 9th and don't bother going there anymore. The horrible service aside, all four visits I made resulted in basic Italian food that I could find absolutely anywhere. Nothing special - and the food is turned out so quickly that I can't imagine there is anything special going on in the kitchen. It's a good place to take grandparents who are picky because they can get spaghetti with meat sauce and be happy.

      1. re: Leslie KS

        What is the best Soup Nazi soup? If i'm gonna spend that much, it better be good!!!

        1. re: cinnamongrill

          Seafood Bisque, definitely. And $$$$$$

          1. re: leslie ks

            Hi, Leslie! A. What's in the bisque? Not that i'm doubting you, but i've had bad luck with local lobster bisque. B. What is the best budget-priced Nazi soup? C. Any good misspellings on the menu? Thanks for writing! -- cin.grill, CEO, NYCSP (nick-sip -- NY Spelling Police)

            1. re: cinnamongrill

              Spend the $$$$$ and go with the bisque. It is stellar and worth it. The other soups are great (chicken noodle, mushroom, etc). are excellent, but not stellar. Just my humble opinion.

    2. j
      Jeremy Osner

      In the low 40's there are a couple of Afghan restaurants. All are good, one is just excellent -- sorry though, I can never remember its name.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Jeremy Osner

        Sorry, that should be "low 50's".

        1. re: Jeremy Osner

          Jeremy--the great one was Caravan. It closed just as my book (extolling the place!) came out. Argh for me, Argh for all of us.

        2. Ninth Avenue makes me edgy. I know people like us are supposed to really dig it, but I almost always come away with meals there feeling vaguely dissatisfied.

          I like Uncle Vanya, but you've got to order VERY carefully and realize that you're there for the charm of the grandmotherly cooking, rather than good ingredients or a particularly deft hand in the kitchen. None of the Italians I've tried are much good. Old San Juan is good, but it's so expensive for what it is. Just almost nothing in the nabe makes it over the hurdle of making me enthusiastic.

          Except blessed Rinconcito Peruano (803 Ninth Avenue (between 53 and 54 Streets), 212-333-5685), the city's best all-around Peruvian (though I need to revisit Inti Raymi) and El Papsito (370 West 52nd (near 9th avenue), 212-265-2225), the best downtown Dominican. Actually, I've recently heard less-than-great reports from people eating at both. Sigh.

          To be fair, I've not tried all the places around there; not even all the ones you mentioned. The cumulative weight of mediocre meals eaten with high expectations makes me kind of lose my appetite when in that area.

          Sorry to be so doom and gloomy...I hope someone can change my mind!


          12 Replies
          1. re: Jim Leff

            Has anyone eaten at the fairly expensive Southern restaurant on 9th Ave and 46th or so? It's called something like Jezebel's, and I've always been intrigued when I've passed by there.

            1. re: Jeremy

              Skip it. Calling it "uninspired" would be generous. Interesting room though.


              1. re: Jeremy

                I've been there 3 times and will go again the next time I'm visiting NYC. Lovely atmosphere.....a bit pricey, but good Southern food!

                1. re: Jeremy

                  My stepmother says it was fantastic. Excellent food, great atmosphere. Very small portions for a hell of a lot of money. About 10 bucks per ounce of food, says my stepfather.

                  1. re: Jeremy

                    Food is merely OK, prices are outrageously high, decor is fun. You can do way better.

                    1. re: Sharon

                      Gee, thanks for all the responses, contradictory though they may be. I think, on the balance, I won't be checking in there anytime soon.

                    2. re: Jeremy
                      Gretel Branton

                      This resturant is the best! Everything is good here. The dishes are so well seasoned that salt & pepper is not offered and is not needed.My personal favorites presently are the cajun catfish, the best mashed potatoes I've ever put into my mouth and the okra that is prepared some magical tasty way. There is a pretty satisfying South African wine offered as well. Hope this encourages you to try it - well worth it.
                      Our whole family likes this place & every so often one of us will suggest "Jezebels" for a soul food fix.

                    3. re: Jim Leff
                      Adam Stephanides

                      I had lunch at El Papasito a few Saturdays ago, after reading the rave in Jim's book, and I was very disappointed. The lauded beans--red in my case--were virtually tasteless, though the sauce at the bottom of the bowl did have more flavor. The chicharrones were O.K. at best. I've been disappointed before at places Jim's recommended because I didn't have the transcendent dining experience his prose had led me to expect, but this meal wasn't even good.

                      I considered posting or emailing Jim at the time, but didn't because of Jim's warnings against judging a restaurant on the basis of one meal, because I have no other experience with Dominican cooking, and because my tastes seem to differ from Jim's anyway. But now that I know my experience wasn't unique, I thought I'd mention it.


                      1. re: Adam Stephanides

                        Adam--that's about the third complaint I've heard about this place in three months.

                        Last time I was there, they were building a second location (under a different name, if I recall). My speculation is that the chef may have went there. Let me check it out. Trust me, the place was killing a year ago or so.

                        Sorry you've been having bad experiences...please bear in mind that the book was published well over a year ago, and researched a few months before that. Places WERE as described at the time, I promise you that. But entropy is setting in, places are starting to decline, close, and generally change. The book's still helpful as a general guide (MUCH better than simply walking into random places!), and if you'd like to check with me about specific places before you visit, feel free to post, and I'll make an effort to get back to you (or anyone else) with up to date info...and the others can chime in with even more cumulative reports.

                        This is the problem with food guidebooks, alas. But this site is the solution!


                        1. re: Jim Leff
                          Adam Stephanides

                          Well, as I said, this is the only place I've had a "bad" experience. The other meals I've eaten on your recommendation have been good, even when they weren't great. And actually, my other "disappointments" have been at places which you had recommended in recent articles or posts. So I suspect that in those cases it really was a question of divergent tastes, rather than entropy.

                          Incidentally, I did find the updates page to the Eclectic Gourmet Guide on this site. But I wasn't sure how current that page was, even with regard to closings. ("Downhill Alert" seems to be pretty dormant too.)


                        2. re: Adam Stephanides

                          >>>I considered posting or emailing Jim at the time, but didn't because of Jim's warnings against judging a restaurant on the basis of one meal,<<<
                          With all the combined posts of "one nite stands" at a particular restaurant I think readers can still get a good idea of how it will fair.

                          1. re: Marilayne

                            Yep, thanks, Marilayne. While it's essential for a professional reviewer doing a thorough review to do a thorough check-out, the cumulative weight of individual reports on these boards (only because such a high proportion of our users are really smart and dependable) is even more compelling.

                            This is also why I encourage you all to not be overly polite about disagreeing...if someone posts questionable info and everybody's afraid to be negative, it can lead to dreaded Chowhound Reality Distortion!

                            It takes lots of divergent opinions to make these boards work, and Adam's experiences are valuable to us even if they were single meal reports.Even if (especially if!) they disagree with my own (though I'm not sure they do...I still suspect it's a case of quality downturns and overall entropy)


                      2. I always really enjoy Druids on 10th bet. 50 & 51. It's basically a nice Irish bar with ambitious food. The chef, Frank something (Coe?) is quite a character and worth chatting with for a few minutes. Highly recommended.

                        On 9th, I really like Chimichurri Grill in the low 40s. Pietrasanta and Amarone do pretty decent Italian to my taste. On 8th, Trattoria Rino does pretty good Italian at rock-bottom prices (also good for takeout).

                        That's what I've got off the top of my head.


                        1. a
                          Adam Stephanides

                          You might try Wondee Siam, between 52nd and 53rd. I friend of mine, who travels to Thailand often and who introduced me to Sripraphai, swears by it. I'm not quite as enthusiastic, though the food is definitely good (and cheap); but I'm not an expert on Thai food.

                          Other places in the area I've had good meals at are Africa Restaurant, a Senegalese restaurant on 53rd Street east of 9th Ave (though I recall Robert Sietsema saying that the Harlem branch is better), and Meskerem, an Ethiopean restaurant on 47th Street off 10th Avenue.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Adam Stephanides
                            Adam Stephanides

                            A couple of cautions to anyone who wants to check out Wondee Siam:

                            1) The place is tiny--only a few tables--and pretty popular; when I went there last Saturday around 7:30, it was full up.

                            2) My friend tells me that the main chef told him she was returning to Thailand in a month. According to him, she's said this before, but this time she sounded more serious.