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Feb 1, 2008 05:39 AM

Restaurant and supermarket situation in Washington Heights?

I looked at some gorgeous apartment in Hudson Heights and Audubon Terrace. I know this covers a large area, but I was curious about what the food options were like up there. Thanks.

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    1. There's not much discussion of supermarkets in either of those threads, so I'll add that there's a Gristede's on Broadway at 170th. And if you have a car, there's a parking lot at the uptown Fairway.

      8 Replies
      1. re: platypus

        There is also a nice little "gourmet" market up there - I think on the same street that one enter after walking up the Fort Tryon stairs - don't remember the name though.

        1. re: MMRuth

          That's Frank's Market, on 187 between Fort Washington and Cabrini Aves. Great selection of epicurean items -- it's easy to overspend in there!

          (Don't confuse the "Fort Tryon" stairs in Fort Tryon Park with the stairs MMRuth refers to, which are the 187 St stairs that connect 187th in the valley with 187th on the west ridge.) (Adding to the confusion is the Not For Tourists Guide, which refers to the store as "Frank's Meat Market" in "Fort Tryon." That was the neighborhood name before WWII.)

          There's a great little butcher on Broadway and 176th, called La Rosa II. Lots of meats, and on-staff butchers who trim them any way you want. No pre-packaged meat! Fresh fish on ice, too, and the best cheese selection next to Frank's. Small but reliable selection of produce, and the store itself is a visual delight: copper ceiling, modern cases. Plus, if you drive, they'll pay your parking ticket if you get one while shopping there.

          1. re: nbaz36

            Up until a couple of years ago (maybe a few more than a couple) Frank's WAS called Frank's Meat Market. It was strictly a butcher, and a narrow, single store front. There was a big green grocer that was three storefronts next door, Frank's took it over maybe 3 or 4 years ago. Then the hardware store on Ft Washington closed down and they annexed that as well. But Frank's used to be a teeny tiny butcher for 30+ years.

            For good meat I sometimes go to the Latin butchers on St Nicholas...there are several.

            The fish market on 181st and Broadway is quite good. Nice selection, good prices.

            FYI La Rosa was a shortlived bar/club. Not sure why it closed, but it was barely open for what seemed like a few weeks before they closed again. The market inherited a lot of the club's decor.

            1. re: ballulah

              Thanks for the historical perspective, Ballulah! I didn't know La Rosa had been a club. Nor did I realize Frank's humble beginnings.

              1. re: ballulah

                Thanks for the information from both of you. BTW - do either of you happen to know about places in WH that sell live chickens and butcher them for you - viveras? A Dominican butcher mentioned this to my husband as a cheap source of Guinea Hen, which would be wonderful, since I just paid $35 for one!

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Hmmm... I haven't seen one in WH, but I've seen a Halal butcher that advertises live poultry in Harlem. It's around Amsterdam and 125th (just a few blocks north of 125th), although that neighborhood is so rapidly changing the place may no longer be there.

                  On St Nick between 170th and 187th there are half a dozen to a dozen butchers. MIght be a good place to start looking. There's a guy on the east side of St Nick between either 181st and 182nd or the next block up who is the most willing to go an extra mile for his customers. Latin cuts of meat are very different from what I cook with, and he's always willing to cut what I want and how I want it. He's been in his spot for YEARS. He would know if anyone does, and he's the friendliest and most willing to talk to gringas. The places a little further south are much busier and livelier, but not very friendly if you don't speak Spanish.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I think I found your source for Guinea Hen. The butcher on the southeast corner of St Nicholas and 178th had a big sign in Spanish saying they have Guinea Hen and goat and other exotic meats available. Not sure they were live, the sign was in Spanish and I don't speak it!

                    1. re: ballulah

                      Thanks! I think that is the one my cleaning lady mentioned. Haven't made it up there yet! My husband is Dominican - so the language isn't an issue for us - had missed your post above earlier - thanks for that.

          2. My husband and I have lived in Audubon Terrace for four years (because of the great spaces and light) and love it, but the food is limited compared to downtown. That being said, three months of maternity leave has given me a better layout of the area and have been pleasantly surprised by the markets - there is an Associated on Bway and 162 that has organic milk, eggs and yogurt, as well as decent produce, but if you can plan, use the Fairway on 125. There's also a supermarket on 157th bet Bway and Amsterdam that has organic stuff and is good if you need to run out for things - all the markets have come a long way since we got here, and they have always been excellent for South American staples like the cheese and other dominican goodies.

            There's a fruit stand on 160th and Broadway that has good tropical fruit and you can get a boatload of it cutup for 1/2 price you would get on Freshdirect or Fairway - I buy about $12 worth of mango, pineapple and watermelon and we have our fresh fruit for the week. Also lots of vendors selling limited fruit and veg (lots of cilantro, avocado, squash and tomato as reflects the community). We had a greenmarket two years ago, but it closed, so you can go uptown to the Inwood one or the one on 175th on sat.

            In terms of resto - for a nice afterwork place, In Vino Veritas on St Nick and 170 is a lovely wine bar, there's Plum Pomidor for grilled stuff and pasta (the family also runs the pastry place JouJou around the corner which has amazing things). Fiesta is great for Mexican, Joa has AWESOME Korean delivery on 162, Tawaa has Indian, Swish around Columbia delivers (but I think it's gross unless you are dying for weird Thai-fusion). There's an ESG that delivers Chinese. The OC is a great bakery on 158 and Edgecombe with good bread, quiches, and sweets. Also, Vinegar Hill on 138 delivers amazing thin crust pizza that is the closest thing you will get to Otto up here.

            2 Replies
            1. re: weezie1818

              Thank you so much. That's very helpful. I'm looking at an apartment in Audubon terrace and it's good to hear about some food options. I forgot about the Fairway, but that's great!

              1. re: weezie1818

                I've been in the area almost eight years, and you aren't kidding about the markets being better. The first time I went to Associated they didn't have fresh garlic (only pre-chopped in oil). I might have broken my lease the first year if it weren't for Fairway.

                I like Ollie's and China Place better than Empire Szechuan. Both deliver to me (160th). What do you like at ESG? I had truly disgusting food from there more than once and totally gave up on them a few years back. Gross seems a bit strong to apply to Swish, though it's true that they aren't even remotely Thai. I like a few of their dishes enough to keep them in the rotation (mango shrimp salad and chicken scallion pancake sandwich come to mind). On the other hand, Saga-- the psuedo-Vietnamese place that I'm pretty sure is owned by the same folks-- has truly mediocre food and they can't get an order right to save their lives. Another place to avoid is Ming's Wok.

                Totally agree about Vinegar Hill, though I find their toppings limited and if you try to customize your pizza, they tend to get confused. And Flaco on Broadway isn't bad for pizza (ask them to leave it in the oven a bit longer). Plus the owner is a nice guy.

                China Place
                3141 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

                2957 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

                Vinegar Hill Bread Market and Gourmet
                3385 Broadway, New York, NY 10031

                Flaco's Pizza
                3876 Broadway, New York, NY 10032

              2. Oh and there's a Dunkin Donuts opening on 162 and Bway and their Milky Way hot chocolate is pretty addictive.

                1. I've lived in Hudson Heights for nearly 13 years and the neighborhood has changed SO MUCH. I can't believe no one ever talks about Jin's Superette on 181st and Fort Washington. This store is tiny, but completely, mind bogglingly amazing. The produce is of EXCELLENT quality (they rival Fairway for freshness and price and quality), varied, lots that's exotic and fairly priced for the convenience of 24/7 for 365 days of the year. I defy you not to find anything you really need there. For example, I once had a crazy impulse to make a bulgur wheat salad but I had no bulgur wheat...Jin's Superette had bulgur wheat. You want organic Weetabix? Jin's has it. You want a bottle of fancy Belgian beer? Jin's has it. You want Ronnybrook Farms yogurt drinks? Jin's has it. You want shittake mushrooms? Pacific Northwest soups in a box? You get the idea. For a shop that is smaller than my living room, they are completely amazing.

                  We also have a really good Mexican bakery on 181st directly next door to Jin's. Everything is very fresh and the cakes, pastries and cookies taste much much better than your standard bakery cardboard. I especially like the delicate cinnamon cookies, I often by them as a hostess/host gift if I'm going to someone's house for dinner.

                  I really like the Bravo on Broadway and 181st. They have lots of specialty Latin items that can make it fun to browse there. There is also a very large Latin grocery on St Nicholas and 183rd (or 182nd). I stock up on Mexican condiments and spices and dried chiles when I'm there.

                  There's a really good Dominican bakery on the corner of Audubon and 181st (southwest corner). I get whatever looks good, and it always IS good. They have a really dense bread pudding that I get a craving for sometimes.

                  The Associated on 187th and Ft Washington is alright for your standard grocery fare, but I don't shop there much. Frank's Market is also on 187th, they are expensive and stocked heavily with all kinds of stuff you really don't need but might want for a splurge. It's expensive and slightly disappointing, but very convenient if you need a bunch of fancy cheeses and don't have time to get really good ones elsewhere. Or for when you really need a pint of Ciao Bella Blackberry Cabernet sorbet on your way home from the park.

                  Someone already mentioned the Gristedes, I rarely go there, but I like knowing it's there if I need it.

                  I like Mambi for delivery sometimes, but usually I just stop in in person for a $3 Cuban sandwich. There are all kinds of little taquerias opening up that I have yet to try, but look promising, not the Chino-Mexican kind, but the Mexi-Mexican kind.

                  If you have access to a car, Arthur Ave in the Bronx is a very straightforward, 10 minute drive away. You will never ever want to shop anywhere else once you've been there. It's also very convenient to pop over the GWB into Jersey. I stock up on pantry items at the Shoprite in Fair Lawn and the H-Mart (huge Korean supermarket) and I'm there and back home again in an hour. There's also a very nice Whole Foods on River Road in Edgewater, and a Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa, a little further south.