A restaurant row emerges in Harlem
By V.L. Hendrickson
Special to amNewYork
Once known to gourmets only as the home of Fairways biggest store, an area known as West Harlem Piers is emerging as a culinary hotspot. We now have a restaurant row, a long-time West Harlem resident and activist, Savonna Bailey-McClain, says. We have choices. The restaurants inhabit the once-empty warehouses on 12th Avenue from 125th Street to 133rd Street, near the new West Harlem Waterfront Park and the Cotton Club. Water taxi service, retail stores, and another restaurant (for which a bidding war is currently taking place) are all planned for the area. The cuisine at these restaurants ranges from Latin-inspired seafood to barbecue to authentic Italian, offering it up with live music, spacious dining rooms, and valet parking.
Photo: RJ MickelsonDinosaur Bar-B-Que
646 W. 131st St.
EntrÃ©e price range: $13-25
For almost four years, Dinosaur has served up a little bit of the south in West Harlem. The menu features pork shoulder, beef brisket, barbecued fried rice, and fried green tomatoes in a fun, kid-friendly atmosphere. Try the Big Ass Pork Plate or Ode to Elgin, named in honor of a hot sausage made in Elgin, Texas.
697 W. 133rd St.,
EntrÃ©e price range: $15-34
Diners can feel the energy of this restaurant from two blocks away. Watch Amtrak trains zip by on the bi-level, heated patio while sipping a signature cocktail, or dine inside on seafood dishes with a Latin/soul flair. The cafÃ© attracts a hip set and has a changing menu to accommodate early diners or late-night scenesters.
701 W. 135th St.
EntrÃ©e price range: $12-$25
Even the fire escape is ornate at Talay, a Thai-Latin eatery with a pair of 10-foot cats greeting diners at the door. Chefs King Phojanakong, of the Kuma Inn, and Phet Schwader, of BLT Steak, serve up dishes like pork and chive dumplings, arroz valenciana, saffron rice with sausage and mussels, and lemongrass marinated ribs. The second level is a bottle-service lounge and club.
701 W. 135th St.
EntrÃ©e price range: $11-$20
New and old Harlem meet in this homey Italian eatery with a laid-back atmosphere. A large brick oven imported from Verona, Italy, gives the space a rustic feel, and the restaurant offers over 15 authentic pizzas. On weekends, the space fills up with families that have biked up the West Side. Adults can select wine from a 160 varieties and sample classic Italian dishes.
701 W. 135th St. (entrance on 12th Avenue)
EntrÃ©e price range: $14-24
Mirrored doors lead up to this ultra-modern space at the end of restaurant row. Best known as a nightclub, the clean and creamy interior welcomes visitors into its three rooms. Body offers an upscale but casual menu and outdoor seating. A roof deck will be coming soon.