Not that there aren’t some real bright spots in Hell’s Kitchen (like Esca and Danji), but for the most part, the area has largely been known as a restaurant wasteland. I mean, how could it be anything else with a name like that? Well, believe it or not, Hell’s Kitchen has suddenly become a dining destination with last week’s opening of Gotham West Market, a high-end food court akin to hubs like Chelsea Market or the High Line.
In addition to its very own outpost of Blue Bottle Coffee and Brooklyn Kitchen (which sells awesome supplies and hosts cooking classes), there are six great eateries fronted by some of the biggest names in the industry. From Ivan Orkin’s new ramen joint to Sean Mullen’s tapas spot, here’s a breakdown of Gotham West Market’s incredible, edible offerings. Honestly, this is first time we wished we were an office worker in a nearby high rise.
Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop: We’ve been waiting for this Long Island native-turned-ramen superstar to open a branch of his Tokyo spot somewhere in the city for years now. And surprisingly, this Hell’s Kitchen noodle shop is his first. Outfitted with little more than a counter, Orkin is staying true to the laid-back style of ramen-ya throughout Japan, offering a streamlined menu of Shio, Shoyu, Donburi (rice bowls), and two variations of Mazemen (brothless noodles). We can wile away the time here while we wait for Orkin to open his anticipated stand-alone spot on the Lower East Side.
The Cannibal: An outpost of the genial butcher shop and beer bar in the Flatiron District, this meat-obsessed eatery puts an even greater emphasis on charcuterie. There’s Pig’s Head Terrine, Italian Sausage, Lamb Tartare and Pork Neck Kimchi Rillettes, along with an assorted Bacon Board, a Country Ham Board, and larger feeds of Bone Marrow with Trout Roe and Hot Dogs topped with Spicy Tripe Chili. They’re also working towards offering large format feasts… taking down an entire steer together sounds like a perfect team building activity for local businesses!
El Colmado: Tertulia’s Seamus Mullen is behind this Spanish tapas and wine bar, inspired by the small plates spots in Barcelona’s Boqueria, one of the best known markets in the world. In addition to traditional dishes, like Jamon Iberico, Patatas Bravas and Pan Con Tomate, El Colmado specializes in a variety of crunchy nibbles, like Chanquetos Fritos (whole, tiny Whiting), Urfa Pepper-dusted Marcona Almonds and Smoked Eel Croquettes, which have all been crisped in a dedicated olive oil fryer.
Little Chef: Caroline Fidanza is a big name in Brooklyn, having helped open Marlow & Sons and Diner before branching out on her own with the cute and quirky sandwich shop, Saltie. Now, she’s brought some of her best known cold creations to the West Side (like the Ships Biscuit and the Scrambled Eggs and Ricotta on Focaccia), but the market’s fully equipped kitchen has allowed Fidanza to branch out well beyond sandwiches, too. Check out the Curried Meatballs, Clam Pozole and an intriguing take on Scottish Cock-a-Leekie Soup – a Chicken, Leek and Prune Broth topped with Chicken Liver Mousse, which happens to be delicious.
Genuine Roadside: In addition to designing the Gotham West Market, AvroKO Hospitality Group is responsible for this kitschy, 1970’s-style diner, serving Grilled Fish Tacos, Spicy Smokehouse Burgers, Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Dill Pickle Fries. Naturally, you can order an extra-thick Milkshake to wash it all down (like the Nutty Buddy with Roasted Peanuts and Sugar Cone Crumbles), or you can try the pre-bottled, housemade cocktails, a specialty at their chic Bowery spot, Saxon + Parole.
Court Street Grocers Sandwich Shop: What started out as a small neighborhood store selling idiosyncratic, hyper-regional groceries is quickly evolving into a beloved sandwich chain. Brooklynites flock to the original Court Street shop for the “Turkey and Durkee” (topped with Durkee Famous Sauce) as well as the new Red Hook branch for the “Mr. Cays” (Roast Beef slathered with French Onion Dip). And now Manhattanites will have exclusive access to a decadent, Braised Beef Shank Sandwich topped with Mushrooms, Gruyere, Fried Onions and Red Wine Sauce, which the owners describe as a “steak dinner on a bun.” We look forward to calling it lunch.