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Chelsea: eye candy + good food, possible?

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So my gay male friend is coming to town Friday night. I want to take him out in Chelsea somewhere fun/trendy where he can see the boys, but it seems like Cafeteria, Viceroy et al don't bother much about the quality of their eats. Any good suggestions? Thanks.

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  1. Maybe Rocking Horse? Not great, but better than some of the sceney rest. Vynl is OK too.

    1. Elmo can be surprisingly good if you order carefully. The fried chicken is fine, fish dishes are generally good, mac and cheese is very tasty, tuna tartare quite good. Spaghetti and meatballs is good for what it is. I think it is a better choice than the 8th Ave. places, which are generally abysmal foodwise. I haven't been to Cafeteria in a very long time, so I'm not sure how their food compares, but I think Elmo is more fun.

      1. One more thought: O Mai on 9th Ave. is Vietnamese with really good food. The gay/straight mix varies but is usually about 50/50.

        1. Second Elmo. And I haven't been in a really long time, but I have fond memories of Food Bar on 8th & 17th. Not the greatest meal ever, but good enough, and wall-to-wall boys.

          1 Reply
          1. re: small h

            I was reluctant to suggest Elmo b/c my last experience wasn't good--I couldn't cut the cod w/a knife! When I brought it up to the server he confessed another person had complained and offered to get me another dish. I'd stick w/the diner options instead--cob salad replacement was good. I've only been to Foodbar for brunch. Concur w/small h on the "good enough" and the wall-to-wall boys. I was one of 2 women in the restaurant, which is pretty good-sized.

          2. Viceroy used to be bad but it has gotten significantly better over the past year. We have been back a few times and pleased, and for what you are requesting, a pretty good scene. Also, Lasagna (resto) is decent basic Italian - It's not like Crispo or LeZie but for scene it definitely has that lively "8th ave" vibe - fun music, fun staff and perfectly fine food. As others mentioned, Elmo is a fun place but the food is either good or terrible. I think you may have to sacrifice amazing food for the scene but it doesn't mean you won't eat anything decent. I had some pretty good chicken quesadillas and watermelon margaritas at Food Bar recently (highest boy ratio no doubt). Viceroy, Food Bar and Lasagna are all within 3 blocks from each other so you could pick after taking a peak inside.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ellenb

              I was at Viceroy for brunch 2 weeks ago for one of the worst meals I've had in NYC. Meatloaf was disappointing, the accompanying sauce terrible, sides were an obvious second thought for the kitchen and the "boys" were kidding themselves if they still thought of themselves as boys.

              Better off to go to Elmo. Food Bar, however, is a much scenier option as is Nooch down the street.

              1. re: JungMann

                Agreed on Feed Bag (oops, I mean Food Bar), it's pretty awful, though you are right about the "scene". Nooch is actually rather tasty and certainly cheap enough, but sometimes I pass by and wonder where all the boys are.