Hungry but not sure what you’re in the mood for? And instead of making a decision, you just sit there and get increasingly hungry and irrationally moody?
FEAR NOT. There is an answer. Actually, there are a few answers. Westvilles all over downtown! Each location (West Village, East Village and Chelsea) provides a similar menu filled with classic goodies: smokey mac n cheese, fish and chips, all kinds of enormous salads, french toast, and daily market specials. And if you feel like being extra classy, they have entrees for your type: grilled trout, grilled pork chops, grilled salmon. They like to grill things, obviously.
Veggie burger with fries, corn on the cob with lime, cumin and cotija cheese, and the smokey mac n cheese (bacon optional). My boyfriend swears that this is the greatest mac n cheese he’s ever had, and although it’s pretty great, I have to disagree. Beecher’s will always win.
My customary order at Westville: Greek salad with avocados and their special dill-infused balsamic dressing. Mind the heart in the dressing.
Baked challah french toast with strawberries, and a market side of brussel sprouts with honey dijon mustard. A classic breakfast here.
A quick note: their delivery service isn’t so hot (literally). The food was cold and the delivery man pedaled away quickly with the rest of my change. But on a more positive note, I once saw GAIL SIMMONS there from Top Chef having brunch with her fam. That made me very happy, since I have a celebrity girl crush on her. I was also glad that it was her and not Padma. Padma scares the living daylights out of me.
My boyfriend has been traveling a lot recently for work, so when he’s back in New York for 1-2 week stretches, The Meatball Shop is on his “must” list. Little did I know, he’s so into this place that the staff knows his name. I mean, this isn’t freaking Cheers. It’s New York City, where people are programmed to forget about you instantaneously and then steal your cab from you on the street during a torrential downpour.
When he’s home, he frequents the Greenwich Village location about 2-3 times in the span of a week. And those are just the visits that he’ll admit. He once broke down and confessed that he had gone RIGHT BEFORE WE WERE GOING OUT TO DINNER TOGETHER. So I forced him to have 2 meals. Cuz I’m evil like that.
I’ll give it to him though: this place is pretty great. I’ve only been twice, because I try not to intrude on his not-so-secret spot. You get a laminated menu (which is normally a clear sign that you’re in high school and at Denny’s) with a marker, and create your dream meatball meal. Here’s the breakdown:
- pick your balls (heyo!): naked style, in a brioche bun, in mini slider buns, in a hoagie, or over market veggies and salad. You have your choice of veggie balls, chicken balls, regular meatballs, pork balls, and the special of the day. And the specials are usually something amazing - like chicken balls with bleu cheese crumbles and Frank’s Red Hot.
- pick your sauce: your choice of marinara, parmesan pesto, mushroom gravy, ETC.
- add some goodies (either under your balls or on the side): mashed potatoes, polenta, spaghetti, risotto, etc. OR for the health conscious - an array of veggies
My go-to order (see below): naked veggie balls with mushroom gravy served over mashed potatoes. Boyfriend’s order: chicken balls in a brioche bun with side salad and side order of summer squash and zucchini in a lemon-basil butter.
Moral of this meatball story: Competing for your significant other’s love is no easy feat. Especially when “the other woman” is consistently awesome, and totally BALLIN’.
The Meatball Shop
Take a train about an hour outside of New York City and enter the land of Vineyard Vines AKA Katonah, NY - the home to one of the most amazing rustic Italian restaurants.
I have family who lives nearby, so I’ve been lucky enough to be a Blue Dolphin customer for the past 15 years. The pasta is always fresh, the service is topnotch (Alfredo, the owner, usually brings around shots of lemoncello after dinner), and just thinking about their special marinara sauce is making me drool as I type.
Mussels in the glorious marinara sauce. Use bread and really get in there.
Another way to soak up marinara sauce from the Italian gods.
Black linguine with mussels, scallops, and shrimp.
Pesto pasta, pasta with vodka sauce, halibut and spaghetti.
Before you all nominate me as the next contestant for Biggest Loser, here’s proof that I didn’t eat all that delicious food by myself.
175 Katonah Ave, Katonah, NY: Blue Dolphin Ristorante
Peanut butter balls (a combo of creamy peanut butter, real butter, and both brown and powdered sugar) sandwiched between two pretzels and dipped in semi-sweet milk chocolate Ghiradelli. And guess what? They’re CALORIE-FREE* so you can look just like Angelina Jolie, and pop your leg out of dresses with confidence. And yes, her right leg already has its own Twitter page.
*By calorie-free, I mean that every pretzel sandwich has approximately 200 calories.
So — call me a culturally devoid human but…I’ve never actually tried Ethiopian food before. HOWEVER – since this is the year of expanding my horizons (mentally, hopefully not physically, but ya know…we shall see), I arranged a lunch date with some wonderful people and headed to Zoma in South Harlem.
Prepare yourself for heaping mounds of stews and plenty of spongy injera (Ethiopian flat bread).
Vegetarian combination with heaps of chickpea, lentil and berbere stews.
Doro Wett (chicken mixed with onions, ginger, and a hard-boiled egg), Yebeg Alitcha (lamb marinated in ginger, rosemary and turmeric), and two other vegetarian stews.
We ate and ate and ate, until we were almost done with our [eight] servings of injera. But here’s the most special part: just when you think you’re done, you realize – oh hey, there’s way more injera (AND IT’S CRISPY!) hiding under the stews.
The good: Zoma is the perfect restaurant for groups who are okay with sharing, eating with their hands, and open to trying new and different flavors.
The meh: The restaurant gives off a very sleek/minimalist vibe, which unfortunately comes off as sterile instead of chic and inviting. I’m also not convinced Zoma is the most authentic Ethiopian restaurant in New York. The search will continue. Until then, I’ll be dreaming of crispy injera.
2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd; Harlem: Zoma