Waterfront Ale House
Stopped in after work today to meet some clients.
This place on 2nd Ave. & 30th Street has an unbelievable beer selection and interesting food choices. Ralph the chef has been there since the place opened in 1995 and since he grew up in Wisconsin, knows his brats. Anything he doesn't make himself comes from Schaller & Weber and we tried about 5 different wursts served with great sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.
Does anyone remember when this place was called Shelter? There was also a Shelter uptown around 72nd & Bway. At the time, they had the best beer selection in the city ( bottled beers from around the world ).
Hey dog, have you ever been to this place ?
I'm an unabashed fan of Waterfront Ale House. Even though I'm not a beer maven, there are so many reasons I like it. Not the least are three key people there:
1. the (co-) owner, Sam, who even though he doesn't have to, encourages the chef to make the best food possible
2. Ralph, the chef, who isn't content to stick with bar reliables. Not everything works, of course, but I love his constant experimentation in his specials.
3. Michelle, formerly one of the best waitresses in New York, and now one of the most fun bartenders. Trust her about what specials to order.
The place is just full of little grace notes. The popcorn is cooked in coconut oil -- your doctor wouldn't improve, but it explains its distinctiveness. The chipotle ranch dressing is positively addictive, not just with salads, but as a dip for the popcorn. There is always some form of game burger (most often, ostrich, less often buffalo or venison). Peter's ice cream is wonderful, especially when Monster ice cream is available.
My only complaint is the wan waffle fries.
Oh man, I miss this place.... I don't recall what was here immediately before Waterfront, but I definitely remember when Waterfront arrived. It was like a beacon of light in an otherwise unrelenting sea of inky blackness that is the Murray Hill area. I went to med school at NYU down the block, so I (and many of my friends) frequented this place OFTEN. And not just for the beer (which was awesome, especially when they had Rodenbach on tap, and even when they didn't, because their price for a bottle of Rodenbach ain't much more than you'd pay retail anywhere in the city), but for the surprisingly good food. Believe me, when you're enduring hospital-type food all day, something like the Waterfront is a godsend.
Now to find out if there's something similar in LA....
The Waterfront is an old favorite with the NYC Beer Guide crowd; you can find reviews of it on our website. They have another place with the same name in Brooklyn, on Atlantic Avenue.
For the very best beer in New York, I'll go to dba every time; but if I also want to be served great food, you'll find me at Waterfront.
re: Josh Mittleman
I've been a bit disappointed with dba lately. Their selection of good American micros seems very limited, the cask ale taps unused, etc. etc. On my last visit, about 2 weeks ago, I was hoping for a hoppy bitter/pale ale and just about the only thing they had was a Southampton (LI) pale ale, which was quite tasty. But there was a lot of commercial crap of the Boddingtons ilk and stuff you can get anywhere like Sierra Nevada and Anchor (hey, we have breweries out east too). New York just dosn't seem to be a very good beer town. If dba is the best tap list in town then it is put to shame by the likes of Andy's Corner Bar in Bogata, NJ, Monk's in Phila., The Blue Tusk in Syracuse, Chapter House in Ithaca, etc. etc..... And the prices are nothing to get excited about either.
I do agree with John about the food a Waterfront, and the beer selection is fair too. Anyone been to the Ginger Man lately? I think they may have the best beer selection around, but I hate the atmosphere (trogoloditic frat boys who have gone on to make big bucks in NYC).