This week, New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells gives two stars to Gotham West Market, where guests tend to like everything at the food court, except the inconvenience of the location on 11th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen.
“But the inconvenient address is the reason this new eating adventure exists,” he says. “It was built to lure renters to Gotham West, the 1,238-unit apartment complex above and behind it. As any New York real estate agent can tell you, even buyers who think of themselves as pioneers don’t want to mill corn and slaughter hogs like Pa Ingalls. Gotham West’s developer tried to answer that objection by bringing forth a troop of places to eat in a spot that had almost none.”
He notes also that more food venues will soon pop up nearby: “A few blocks south, the sprawling Hudson Yards development will have a food hall (the preferred term these days), as will Brookfield Place in Battery Park City. This spring, Crown Heights in Brooklyn will get Berg’n, a beer hall with food from stalwarts of the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg. Anthony Bourdain, meanwhile, has driven his fans into a near frenzy with his plan to bring street food from around the world to Manhattan.”
Wells marks Gotham West with an “unusual degree of imagination,” saying it “smartly stakes out a middle ground between the star power that packs Eataly and the hope of discovery that drives small-business proving grounds like Smorgasburg and the Golden Shopping Mall in Flushing, Queens.”
Vendors at the market include Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, which serves authentic Tokyo ramen that stands out from even the best; El Colmado, where the Spanish dishes and wines from Catalonia and Bierzo allow you to pretend that 11th Avenue is in Spain; and Cannibal, where “charcuterie is the strong suit” with dishes like spicy lamb sausages in natural casings or a surprisingly gentle sausage of juicy rock shrimp with fennel pollen. Unfortunately, Wells says, “dessert is a weak spot” at the market.
And although diners travel far to experience the cultural cuisine at the market, Wells assures us that service is always given with a smile, and the venders “share a common spirit of friendliness.” “It’s as if everybody knows you didn’t really want to come to 11th Avenue.”
For Wells' full review, click here.