Times Square can often feel like it exists in an entirely different universe from the rest of the city, so any time it gets a little local flair is a good thing. And since nothing is trendier right now than food halls, the Row NYC hotel has collected nine local vendors, both permanent and seasonal, to fill the void of non-chain food in the neighborhood.
City Kitchen, which opens today at 44th Street and Eighth Avenue, is an airy, subway-tiled oasis of some of the city’s biggest recent culinary hits, with counter and windowside seating for about 70, in case you don’t have to rush back to your desk. New among the restaurant concepts is Kuro Obi,a ramen outpost of Ippudo. The other permanent tenants are sushi spotAzuki(get the eponymous roll),Dough(the dulce de leche doughnut will be a fixture on the menu),Luke’s Lobster,Whitmansand its bafflingly tasty Juicy Lucy burger,ilili BoxandGabriela’s Taqueriabrings the bite-size soft tacos.
The seasonal vendors are Wooly’s, serving shaved snow (the silky lovechild of ice cream and, well, ice), and Sigmund’s Pretzels (we recommend the churro pretzel).
Vendors were asked to “pare down their menus to the ‘best of the best,’” says City Kitchen curator and interior designer Heidi Avedisian, so if you’re new to one of the restaurants, a trip to its fully fledged location is still in order. But for a slice of what’s hot on the city’s food scene right now, it’s a solid collection.