Favorite Restaurants on W46th Restaurant Row?
Until recently, I've never eaten at any of the restaurants along the strip between 8th & 9th ave on W 46th st. I've always assumed the food in them to be subpar, the restaurants having sprung up there to capture the theatergoers and times square tourist crowds. The hawkers out front didn't help.
But every assumption warrants a challenge. Do any of the W46th restaurants serve great food?
I don't know about "great," but over the years I've had good meals at Orso, Firebird, and Becco.
I am definitely not a fan of Becco. Mediocre pastas, uncomfortably packed seating, and a noise level so hideous that normal conversation becomes impossible.
We've been to Le Rivage and Les Sans Culottes. In a word: Avoid!
Though we haven't been to Orso or Joe Allen's, based on the positive things I've read, I would consider trying them, but I wouldn't expect *great* food.
When I eat on Restaurant Row, I usually wind up at Les Sans Culottes. Nothing special, but their "sausage tree" appetizer is fun and the food is bistro-style stuff, mostly solid. I've had decent steak, duck breast, moules frites, etc there. Their chocolate mousse is good for dessert. The prix-fixe price is quite reasonable, too, for all the food you get ($21 or $22 last time I was there). I've tried several others on the strip, including Joe Allen, Firebird and a couple of others, and they're okay, but generally mediocre. I try to avoid the whole row when possible, simply because I know there's better food on the other side (9th Ave.).
I am probably in the minority but I like Becco - for certain times. The all you can eat 3 pasta tableside deal is a nice price ($22, including a caesar or antipasto) and I am fond of the pastas, though usually only 2 out of the 3 are actually home made pasta. Sauces range from good to excellent for a reasonably priced manhattan restaurant, in my opinion.
Rest of becco's stuff is just adequate at best. I agree with what others have said about tight seating, bad noise, and frequently inattentive service. Best time to go is a weeknight for dinner - weekend nights, forget about it. The once kept my girlfriend and I waiting 1hr + for an 8pm reservation we had made a week in advance with no apology.