As the story goes, Hell's Kitchen earned its gruesome monicker at a riot back in the late 1800's. Apparently, a rookie cop at the scene remarked, “This place is Hell itself.” To which a veteran cop responded darkly, “Hell’s a mild climate. This is Hell’s Kitchen, no less.” Nowadays we like to think of it as much more. For an area that was once infamous for crime and mayhem, Hell’s Kitchen certainly has undergone quite the transformation. Nowadays, the riots have given way to local theater, bustling avenues and high-class eats. Still, walk toward the Hudson, and it’s pretty noticeable that there ain’t much goin’ on farther across the island. At least, not until now.
Enter: Gotham West Market. They’ve pulled together eight of New York’s top minds in the food biz and created a go-to spot on the notoriously barren thoroughfare of 11th Avenue. Now that the paint is dry and the doors are open, we’re releasing this handy guide for folks lookin’ for a wild-west side culinary fix at this brand new market.
Blue Bottle Coffee
Good for: A super strong cup o’ joe to get you through the mid-afternoon urge to nap.
Who’s cookin’: This Oakland-born coffee joint is well-known for freshly roasted coffee (as in roasted and served within 48 hours) made on stellar vintage equipment. The proof? The amazing aroma that permeates the air at every Blue Bottle shop.
What to get: A New Orleans-style iced coffee cut with sweet chicory, plus a vanilla saffron snickerdoodle cookie. (Yes, you deserve it.)
The Brooklyn Kitchen
Good for: Feeling brainy while checking out some of the city’s best specialty foods, chef demos and culinary classes.
Who’s cookin’: The Brooklyn Kitchen makes its way across the East River to set up shop near the Hudson. Expect to see items and classes similar to their home base in Williamsburg, like pickling workshops with McClure’s or sweet French macaron courses.
What to get: Save your precious fingers with a session of their famous knife skills class. Who doesn’t like having intact index fingers and expertly sliced meat?
Good for: Curing carnivorous cravings with some creative cured meats.
Who’s cookin’: Christian Pappanicholas, who also owns Resto and The Cannibal in Gramercy. An avid cyclist, he’s named the spot after cycling legend Eddy Merckx, who was nicknamed “The Cannibal” for his appetite for victories at the races — not for, uh, eating other humans.
What to get: Snag some serious protein with steak tartare, morcilla with cauliflower and hazelnut, or a Cannibal Dog served “Tiger Style.”
Good for: Classy snacking with well-crafted Spanish tapas after finishing a long project.
Who’s cookin’: Chef Seamus Mullen of Tertulia fame composes a menu of tapas and mordiscos at this Spanish-style eatery, inspired by the markets of Barcelona.
What to get: A mini bocadillo de calamar (a crispy squid sandwich with mojo verde and black onions) along with some fried baby artichokes and the albóndigas (lamb meatballs with sheep’s milk yogurt.) Delicioso.
Good for: A nostalgic taste of the great American road trip while escaping the office for lunch break.
Who’s cookin’: AvroKO, the design and restaurant firm behind other Manhattan favorites like Public and Saxon + Parole, brings us this sumptuous take on traditional American roadside stand fare.
What to get: Fresh ceviche tacos, pulled pork sandwiches, or the spicy smokehouse burger. The latter is served with smoked cheddar, charred jalapeño mayo, chipotle BBQ sauce and, of course, bacon.
Court Street Grocers Sandwich Shop
Good for: A gourmet ‘wich to revive brain cells after an onslaught of morning meetings.
Who’s cookin’: Brooklyn’s beloved team from Court Street Grocers mans this outpost of the popular sandwich shop in Red Hook.
What to get: The Reuben or the Italian Combo. They’re old New York favorites for good, taste bud – and stomach-satisfying – reason.
Good for: Fresh farm-to-table fare surprisingly close to the insanity of Times Square.
Who’s cookin’: Caroline Fidanza works some culinary magic here, turning her crowd-pleasing sandwiches from Williamsburg’s Saltie into a savory batch of seasonal soups and salads.
What to get: The refreshing “Clean Slate” with lentil hummus, quinoa and pickled vegetables or the odd-but-intriguing “Cock-a-Leekie,” a chicken, leek and prune soup.
Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop
Good for: A proud moment of noodle-slurping glory whenever the umami craving strikes.
Who’s cookin’: Ramen maestro Ivan Orkin opens this highly-anticipated spot, his first outside of Japan. Expect hungry noodle-loving crowds, but a meal that’s well worth the wait.
What to get: Classic shio ramen, roasted garlic mazemen or a smoked whitefish donburi rice bowl.
Gotham West Market
600 11th Avenue (44th-45th)
Sun–Thurs, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Fri–Sat: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.