When the second stage of the High Line was completed it put the Half King just steps away from the main entrance. So it is not surprise to see this spot, known as a haunt for foreign journalists, packed to the rafters on a Saturday night. And the owners have utilized every ounce of space. There is ample seating outside for people watching, a full dining room, a full-size bar with more booths, a lounge area with red banquettes and a small patio with strings of lights that are visible from the High Line above.
There is a definite pub feel here from the bulky oak tables, wide plank wooden floors and explosed brick. But don't expect a very quiet setting, the volume here can get pretty high at times, especially when the restaurant is catering to large groups.
The food is your traditional pub fare and the portions are large. We noshed on nachos ($9) piled high with meat, cheese and jalepanos, and hot wings ($13) that are among the best you'll find in the city. Burgers are big and cooked to order, loaded up with your personal favorites and served with fries or wonderfully greasy homemade onion rings. I love shepherd's pie ($17) and Half King's does not disappoint. It's big enough for two with a thick layer of mashed potatoes atop a bed of ground lamb that is stewed with tomatoes, onion, peas and parsnips. It's excellent. You can also get it as "Shepherd's Pie Shooters" served in "pop-it" size shells.
The Half King is also offering a number of different types of salad, including one with roasted beets, orange and fennel ($13), and another with baby spinach and Maytag bleu cheese ($13). For the fish lovers, there is grilled tuna, fish-n-chips and pan-seared salmon with grilled veggies. Meat lovers have their pick of roast chicken with an apricot-chipotle glaze, a Kobe burger, and Berkshire pork chops served on a bed of andoúille jambalaya.
Top it all off with a scoop of malt ball gelato. This creamy, chocolatey treat will appeal to the kid in all of us. And after your meal is done (which will undoubtedly include a few beers), walk it off with a stroll along the elevated High Line. There's an elevator across the street if you're too full to makle it up the stairs.