This is more like it. We have Chelsea Market, then Todd English’s Food Hall, but if you’re serious about trying a variety of foods from a variety of vendors, Gotham West Market is the one you want.
It’s far smaller than the other two and presents only eight purveyors. But it’s the definition of quality over quantity. It’s less about rummaging around and exploring the atmosphere, which, don’t get me wrong, is all well and good. But if you’re looking for a meal and feel like a ramen, when your friend feels like a sandwich, Gotham is your answer.
It reminds of me a pint-size version of Union Market in DC, but I’d say with a wider-ranging in food selection.
Kim and I spent a good half-day there, testing six of the eight vendors.
Okay so, first: Cannibal. Kim and I shared a luscious lamb tartar, pictured up top. Not a single hint of gaminess, peppered with crunchy cucumber swimming on top of creamy olive pesto. You shouldn’t get meat tartar just anywhere, but a place like Cannibal is a clear greenlight. Kim says its standalone location in Murray Hill is even better.
Next: Ivan Ramen. He’s already made a name for himself, and to be honest, the two dozen or so common tables consisted mostly of patrons with ramen bowls before them. Kim and I shared the garlic ramen, more saucy than soup — it’s that powerfully flavored. For me, it’s always about the noodles, and Ivan has his specific rye recipe. In that sense, Momofuku reins.
What we started off with at Genuine Roadside was my next favorite. A pair of ceviche tacos, oh so tangy, it’s like eating guacamole without the guilt because there’s mahi mahi underneath it all. The crisp taco shells are warm and fresh, and the mouthwatering guacamole wasn’t so scene-stealing that it didn’t let the juicy fish shine. I haven’t seen something like this anywhere else.
Little Chef offers yet another genre with it fresh farm-to-table selections. Its salads with a softly poached egg is a perfect post-workout dish, with bouncy lettuce, pecorino shavings and bread crumbs.
But ordering here runs the risk giving in to one of their freshly baked pastries. The pistachio-topped muffin was somehow fluffy but dense at the same time, topped with glitter-dusted pistachio crumbs. It’s biscuit rivals that of Tea & Sympathy’s with sea-salted butter.
Our trip happened on a snowy Saturday morning, so we had a chance to mosey between vendors and sit at each of their individual bars. I can’t see it being so spacious, especially as the weather warms up, even if it is somewhat of a trek to the west side. But Gotham puts a thoughtful range of restaurant-worthy cooks (some already with their own locations) under one roof — here’s to midtown west!