The fanciest food court you’ve ever seen is now a choice for your lunch. Opened in June, Hudson Eats is a collection of upscale restaurants and take-out shops that are part of the new Brookfield Place, formerly known as the World Financial Center. Hudson Eats advertises itself as a “foodie’s paradise with no rules” and is particularly attractive to white-collar workers tired of the same food for lunch every day. Though prices are a little higher than a meal at Terry’s or Ferry’s, Hudson Eats presents itself as a great Friday afternoon hangout spot. The eatery includes fourteen of the city’s best dining options, ranging from Blue Ribbon’s artful sushi to Umami Burger’s full-bodied truffle burgers. Northern Tiger, a new Chinese restaurant, will be joining them later this season. Located four blocks down North End Avenue from Stuyvesant and up the escalator by the palm trees inside the Winter Garden, its location on the waterfront provides seating with a luxurious view, complete with yachts.
Now with a branch in Hudson Eats, this highly popular Greenwich Village eatery is one of the most economical choices for students. Dos Toros is best compared to a Chipotle with smaller portions. It sells burritos, tacos, and quesadillas ($4 to $7) with the option to add a selection of spicy sauces, tomatoes, lettuce, and guacamole. The service is fast. However, the taste and textures are inferior to those of Chipotle; the beef at Dos Toros is tougher and the tortillas stiffer.
A family friend claims Mighty Quinn’s pulled pork sandwich is “the best [they’ve] ever had—and [they’re] from Tennessee.” People with a craving for southern comfort food can satisfy their appetites here, and the queues are often long for barbecued dishes. In the nearby garden where patrons enjoy their food, a strong aroma of barbecue sauce fills the air. The secret to Mighty Quinn’s top quality dishes lies within the process of smoking the seasoned meat with wood for hours, resulting in tender, spicy pulled pork. Other popular options include smoked sausage, brontosaurus ribs (aptly named because the ribs are huge and carry almost a pound of beef), and chicken wings, either “naked” or in sandwiches.
This counter sells affordable thin crust pizza (for example, $3.81 for a Margherita slice) that I found bland. It is so thin that a couple of slices are likely necessary to satisfy people. Still, Skinny Pizza attracts crowds with its health-conscious menu. All ingredients are organic, and no preservatives are used in the process of the pizza making. A customer described a Buffalo chicken slice as “tangy and tasty,” though not good enough to make him yearn for another slice. Skinny Pizza may, however, have the best soft-drink selection in the food court, including delicious Boylan sodas.
Num Pang’s dishes combine spices and details of Cambodian influence. The sandwiches burst with big flavor that matches their thick size. The salads are less cumbersome to eat and the peppercorn catfish salad is an exciting mix of spice and cool flavors. A recent visitor commented that “the sandwiches hit the spot for a Banh Mi-type sandwich” and praised the coconut tiger shrimp with cilantro and Num Pang’s signature chili mayo. He also found the watermelon tomato salad to be a “cheap, tasty, refreshing side with a little kick.” Another customer reported that the pork belly sandwich reminded her of her grandmother’s cooking in the Philippines.
You might want to splurge on this for a celebration. It’s best if you order your burger medium rare—this results in a crispy outer bite that melts into your mouth as you chew. The truffle burger ($13) is made with a house-made truffle cheese and a complementary truffle glaze, and has an extraordinarily rich and earthy taste that is at the same time heavenly; there are truffle fries ($6.50) to match.
Dig Inn’s hearty food includes meat and fish, as well as salads that are large enough for two. Healthy ingredients like quinoa and kale abound, Dig Inn boasts a rotating menu that largely depends upon the produce grown locally in the area for cheap and affordable prices. Seasonal menus and a grilled fish special with a market price demonstrate the restaurant’s “farm to counter” mission. The Happy Salmon salad that I ate ($10.10) was satisfying but for the flood of oil.
If you’re willing to wait quite a while for the ingredients to be chopped and tossed by hand, you will discover how impeccable fresh ingredients make Chop’t salads a premium and distinguish Chop’t from other salad venues. Customers can order one of Chop’t’s specialties, such as the summery Mexican Caesar, or choose their own ingredients for an original salad. The Cobb salad, with tender free-range chicken, avocado, smoked bacon, hard-boiled egg and crumbled blue cheese, is even better when kale and spinach are added to the standard romaine.
Blue Ribbon Sushi:
Blue Ribbon is a fancy Japanese restaurant where you can eat carefully crafted, beautiful sushi and dare to try gooey quail egg while watching the cooking spectacle in front of you. A tasty take-out choice that’s big enough to share with a few friends is the fish bowl ($16), which combines your choice of poke (raw marinated yellowtail, tuna, salmon, or octopus), rice or soba noodles, and a vegetable.
A pop of childlike color in the food court is the polka-dotted façade of Sprinkles Cupcakes, and the cupcakes are just as fun. For $3.75, the shop sells classics like red velvet, in addition to unusual ones like key lime pie cupcakes, which were featured over the summer for a short time. Its puffy merengue top and strong lime filling made it addictive, so we can only hope for more featured cupcakes that are just as good. However, not all flavors are offered every day, so be sure to check the weekly calendar and opt to try the flavor of the month.
This French restaurant is named for tartines, or open-faced sandwiches (minimum $12). The ricotta tartine was an uninteresting sandwich (dry toast, thinly spread ricotta, and a halved cherry tomato) that could easily have been made at home without exhausting my lunch money—so I didn’t try anything further. Other items include soups, salads, and breakfast tartines, one of which is topped with Nutella.
Little Muenster brings a French twist to the classic grilled cheese sandwich. The cheese choices are not limited to Muenster; cheddar, gruyere, Swiss, and ricotta are also offered between slices of perfectly toasted bread. Made to be a fast food joint specializing in this classic American sandwich, Little Muenster aims to elevate this kid-favorite dish with a variety of seasonal ingredients. If you’re looking for a great combination, try the lobster grilled cheese, filled with endless bites of lobster meat. It’s a little pricey, but worth the $18. For a cheaper option, try the classic, with layers of white American and Muenster cheese oozing out of a crunchy shell. Bon appetit!