Hell’s Kitchen is on fire. After the pandemic forced the closure of many restaurants, while others survived on selling drinks on street corners, 9th Avenue is once again hitting its stride with a new batch of restaurants leading the way.
Gilda at 401 W 47th St is a new Mediterranean spot with a distinguished front including porthole windows. The menu features assorted dips and spreads like charred baba ganoush with black sesame and baked sheep cheese with Moroccan muhammara and dried apricots. Larger plates bring grilled branzino, baby lamb chops and labneh marinated chicken schawarma along with lemon ricotta cake and baklava for dessert. Cocktails come with names like Painkiller, Slippery Slope and the the Gilda Martini.
Two new Chinese spots are drawing attention. Lubian Chinese Grilled Fish at 650 9th Avenue is as the name suggests, a fish-centric spot, with dishes such as Arctic clam with baby cucumber, sautéed crab in hot spicy sauce and grilled whole fish (sole, striped bass, Atlantic fluke, and freshwater bass) with choice of flavorings (hot spicy, Szechuan green peppercorn, lychee spicy, pepper and tomato). Non-fish options include Szechuan boiled sliced pork, bullfrog is sour soup and duck blood in chili sauce.
A well-known Chinatown restaurant, Big Wong, is also making an appearance at 683 9th Ave for classic Cantonese fare. Here you will find roast pork and ducks hanging in the window. Options include sliced Peking Duck with steamed pancakes and scallions, BBQ spare ribs or roast pig over rice, along with a number of noodle dishes and soups. Classics like Sweet & Sour pork, and Kung Pao Chicken and Pork Fried Rice can also be found along with assorted congee.
Lovely’s at 642 9th Ave is serving up old fashioned hamburgers and drawing a crowd. It could be the soft-on-the-walet prices. The Patty Melt with onions, mushrooms, double swiss on marble rye goes for $8.75, Single Cheeseburger for $7.50 and Pistachio Chocolate Swirl Bundt Cake for $5.50. All of the burgers are served on a butter toasted bun with mayo, pickles and raw onion. Sides of french fries and onion rings are $5.50 apiece.
Zillions Pizza at 360 West 42nd Street, from the folks behind nearby Steak Frites, is offering a spot for late night munchies. Assorted pies include cheese, pepperoni, white pie, vodka, buffalo and veggie. All are available by the slice or whole pie.
Other spots worth seeking out include Tradisyon (790 9th Ave) specializing in Filipino comfort foods and adobo dishes, Thonglor (789 9th Ave) a festive Thai spot that has been getting rave reviews, and American Retro Bar & Grill (785 9th Ave) known for its wings and lengthy list of gourmet tots.