With our first Faber project to be designed in New York City kicking off, we had the opportunity to visit the city and explore a tiny part of this vast metropolis. What can you say about New York; the endless grid of streets and avenues, the tapestry of culture and people, the seemingly limitless array of places to eat and drink. We were busy, undertaking a site survey, but we did get some time to explore a snippet of what this amazing city has to offer.
Customers queue for Los Tacos No1; all day, all night, a constant queue. It has become iconic, with five locations across the city. The menu is simple but effective; tacos or quesadillas, corn or flour, chicken, pork, beef or cactus (yes, cactus!). Topped with onions, guacamole, salsa or cilantro (coriander to us Brits). ‘Con Todo’ means you have the lot.
This is fresh, fast (the queue moves surprisingly quickly) and very messy (to eat). Once inside, you hit the cookline and move along at quite a pace. Want a drink? How about tamarind juice, Jamaica (a hibiscus juice) or Horchata (a milky delight).
When you have your food, you move to the dining area. This is standing room only; a series of tall, tiled counters that everyone gathers around to get stuck in. Don’t worry if you’re standing next to a stranger; we’re all in this together, munching our way through what are apparently the best tacos in NYC.
This was a local’s tip, one of our NYC colleagues recommended a small, unassuming and somewhat hidden-away pizza restaurant. Located in the Times Square district, the entrance is up some steps and through a doorway; one of those entrances where you’re not sure you’re allowed to enter.
When you do enter, you find a dining room that’s a real ‘timewarp’ moment; clearly, the decor is not what makes this place so popular, however you can’t help but feel relaxed in a place that’s so unpretentious. The staff really made the atmosphere - possibly the friendliest people we met in New York.
But the whole point of this place is their pizza; I’m not exaggerating to say possibly the best I have eaten. This is not authentic Italian Neopolitan pizza; this is authentic New York Italian pizza. Super thin, a sauce so rich you could bath in it. It was far too big for us (we had one each) but we ate the lot.
Heading downtown, into Soho and Greenwich Village, the vibe is more bohemian and relaxed. Boucherie, technically in the West Village, sits on the junction of 7th Avenue South and West 4th Street. From the outside, it’s an oasis of greenery. Inside, it’s a pretty French brasserie with mosaic tiled floor, pewter bar and marble tables. A skylight in the middle of the dining room allows light onto an olive tree; a simple yet effective focal point.
The menu focuses on dry-aged steaks and other French fare, with a bar that’s strong on absinthe.
This feels like a place for locals, not tourists. Sat there, relaxing and chatting, we felt like we might see Monica and Chandler pop in for a spot of lunch. This is the New York we dreamt of in the ’90s, still going strong.