Typical American Food in New York
‘Where can I eat typical American food in New York?’ It’s a frequently asked question. First things first, what is ‘typical American food’? Of course, I’ll start with my good old favourites: burgers and pizza. Another very American thing to do is eating ‘Southern soul food’, such as barbecue dishes and pulled pork. Besides that, there is a new American cuisine, since the food culture is rapidly evolving in the United States as well! In this top five, I tried to make a selection of various restaurants, all representing the American food culture in their own special way.
Going for dinner at Virgil’s Southern-style barbecue restaurant? Order ‘train wreck fries’ as a starter for all. This doesn’t sound too appetizing, but it is. It’s actually a pile of fries, bacon, cheese and other good stuff. I then recommend choosing the pulled pork, which is truly delicious. Other typical specialities on the menu include mac and cheese and hushpuppies for example. They even make their own sauces. You’ll always have about four of them on your table. The interior is spacious and tidy. It’s a great place to visit with (small) children.Eric’s tip: If you’re in the mood for mac and cheese, go to STK. It’s a steak house indeed, but their mac & cheese is very good.
The Mercer Kitchen
At The Mercer Kitchen, they serve ‘new American’ cuisine. You can go there for burgers, but also a tuna pizza with wasabi, for example. It’s a bit upscale, with a romantic atmosphere due to its underground location. The perfect place for a date! The owner is a well-known New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Just taste his creations once, and you’ll immediately understand why he has become so famous. There is a varied menu, with lots of healthy ingredients and an emphasis on fish- and seafood.
A bit like Virgil’s, only the quality of food is a little lower, and the atmosphere, much better. You’ll find Cowgirl in a quaint street of an attractive neighbourhood: Greenwich Village. They’ve selected the decor with the utmost care: it’s like you just walked into a Spaghetti Western, only, they don’t serve spaghetti. They do serve other pasta dishes though, and all with a ‘Western twist’. Mozzarella sticks with bacon and fresh jalapeños and a cowboy steak accompanied by green chillies and sun-dried tomatoes, to name a few. Make sure you save some space some for ‘New York’s best dessert’: baked potato ice-cream. It’s like a baked potato, only the taste is quite different. Let them surprise you! You can visit this place for lunch and dinner. It’s all very low key, you can easily get away with wearing a baseball cap, not a problem at all.
Gotham Bar and Grill
A warning first: Gotham is quite pricey. You’ll easily pay US$35 for the main course – something extremely expensive from an American point of view. That’s why this is the perfect place for an evening full of luxury. You’ll get delicious food, prepared by famous chef Alfred Portale. In his restaurant, he serves ‘new American’ cuisine: surprising combinations of traditional ingredients, like his favourites pumpkin, kale (known as a superfood and currently rather hip) and fish.
IHOP makes it into this top 5 as a wildcard. Why? This is a ‘love it or hate it’ kind of chain. It’s not what most would describe as ‘atmospheric’, but it is a prime example of how hundreds of millions of Americans spend their mornings. In this predominantly breakfast restaurant there is a wide variety of different pancakes and syrups. They also serve a fine brunch (after which they’ll have to roll you out of the restaurant) and a ‘lumberjack breakfast’. Oh, they do love strange combinations. I remember eating a steak filled omelette for breakfast as if it was a kind of taco. Prices are really low. Again: don’t expect any atmosphere whatsoever, do expect an all American experience though – including ‘unlimited coffee’ and ‘unlimited pancakes’ once in a while. Be prepared!