April 18, 2008
NYC Food Guy loves nothing more than ending a night on the town with a delicious meal. Everyone has their late night pizza spot or diner, but sometimes you need to think bigger and better. I’m here to make that very easy for you by shedding light on places that stay open past bedtime or way past last call.
Taco Time All Over Manhattan
Open until 2:30am ($2.00/taco)96th St & Broadway (SW Corner) New York, NY 10025 (917)-837-0866
This truck is parked on the corner of 96th and Broadway. I recommend the Al Pastor tacos (photos). Freshly grilled sliced pork, spiced up and mixed with grilled onion and pineapple and sprinkled with lettuce and cilantro and a slice of tomato. Delicious with some of the spicy green tomatillo sauce. No where else on the UWS can you get this caliber Mexican at this hour. A lot of Latin American people ordered Tortas (mexican sandwiches) while I was there, so I take that as a good sign, though I haven’t tried it myself.
Open until 4AM Friday and Saturday ($2.00/taco)215 Ave A b/t 13th & 14th St. New York, NY 10016 (212) 780-9204
This unassuming hole in the wall Mexican grocery serves up some awesome homemade tacos that vary depending on what was most recently cooked. The advantage is you always know you’re eating something fresh, the disadvantage is that you don’t know if your favorite taco will be present. If the chipotle chicken (pictured) is there, absolutely go for it. I’ve read good things about the lamb taco but can’t vouch. I saw them making a burrito when I was there and it was massive and cheap. Wash it all down with a watermelon Jarritos (a candy-like and delicious Mexican soda).
Open until 4AM weekdays and 5AM weekendsAlphabet City/East Village, Lower East Side, and Brooklyn (check website for exact locations)
What this place lacks in quality they make up for with the biggest menu of all four of these places. Prices are a little higher than the trucks but having your pick of the litter makes up for it. Unfortunately, nothing is really great. The chipotle chicken is better than the regular, it’s spicy and moist, although it’s of the stewed variety, not grilled or shredded. The ground beef is standard and boring (taco pictured). Good guacamole and chips, however. The hot sauces and salsa are ordinary, go with some pico de gallo. I recommend a Queso Loco taco (pictured with chipotle chicken), a warm tortilla with melted cheese wrapped around a hard shell taco, with filling of your choice ($3.70 with chicken, price varies according to filling).
Open from 9:30PM to 5:30AM (No taco more than $2.50)14th Street at 8th Ave New York, NY 10011
I’ve only eaten at this taco truck once but from what I remember, it was seriously delicious. I’m a pork man so I recommend the al pastor (pictured in 1st 2 photos). It was piping hot, spicy, and sprinkled with cilantro and lettuce. I don’t recall pineapple though it’s a bit hazy. It’s not as flavorful as Super Taco’s al pastor but its damn good when you add some of the fiery red hot sauce. The bistec taco (3rd photo, left taco) was nothing special so I’d pass on that. Same with the standard pork taco (3rd photo, right taco), which was equally mundane. When you’re ready for dessert walk up to 7th avenue and hit the Donut Pub.
24-Hour Donuts The Way They’re Meant to Be Done
The Donut Pub (More Delicious Desserts Here)
Open 24 Hours!!! (donuts $1.10, eclairs $1.20, coffee rolls $1.85)203 West 14th Street at 7th Ave. New York, NY 10011 (212) 929-0126
Forget Dunkin Donuts, this 24 hour spot is an old school New York relic. It defines what a Donut Shop should be. Cheap homemade donuts, a big long counter lined with stools, and cheap coffee in styrofoam cups. I recommend the Glazed Chocolate Donut with Coconut. It’s sweet, slightly crisp on the outside, airy on the inside, and absolutely delicious. This place is so great even their crullers look appetizing and I hate crullers.
UWS Chinese/Thai/Japanese All in One Place
Empire (Menu Pages menu)
Open until 2AM 7 days a week2642 Broadway at 100th Street New York, NY 10025 (212) 663-6004
I haven’t eaten at this restaurant on 100th and Broadway but all I know is they’re open until 2AM seven days a week and they offer Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food. It’s a nice looking restaurant not a divey takeout spot and IT’S OPEN UNTIL 2AM EVERY NIGHT. Where else are you getting this on the UWS? It’s simple, you’re not. Check it out and let me know how it goes.
Diners on Steroids
24 Hours/7 Days A Week2175 Broadway at 77th Street New York, NY 10024 (212) 724-2010
When I say “Diners on Steroids”, Big Nick’s defines the term. This place has what seems like a 50-page menu with everything you could possibly imagine served at every hour of the day. If that’s not enough, they also make pizza and it’s not diner pizza, its good pizza, not just at 5AM. The Big Nick’s on Columbus and 71st Street is unrelated and not as good.
While I wouldn’t recommend the Beef Stroganoff, you’re pretty safe going with anything greasy or fried from burgers, to grilled cheeses, to cheesesteaks, to chicken parm heroes. My standard order is a Large Cheese pie ($15.00) (sprinkled with fresh basil) and an order of spicy waffle fries ($3.75). The burgers are big and flame-grilled. I like getting a grilled chicken, bacon, and cheddar sandwich on a toasted hero. Deluxe-ing a sandwich isn’t really worth it because you only get about 10 steak fries and one or two spicy waffle, just go regular sandwich and order an extra side of fries. Delivery is efficient but takes at least 45 minutes. Be ready to order when you call because these guys have no time for BS.
Union Square location 24 hours on Friday and Saturday239 Park Ave. South b/t 19 & 20th St. New York, NY 10003 (212) 477-1500
UES location open until 12AM Friday and Saturday1596 2nd Ave. at 83rd Street New York, NY 10028 (212) 717-2020
This place is all kitsch but they serve tater tots, which are cool, and they embody the “steroids” label. The “What about Bob?” ($8.92) is an egg sandwich with bacon, melted jalapeno jack cheese, and home fries all on the sandwich (pictured left). “Daddy’s Famous Bake’n Cakes” ($9.96) are hot buttered pancakes with strips of bacon mixed in. The Coffee Shop Grilled Three Cheese ($7.96) contains Cheddar, American, and Jalapeno Jack on the bread of your choice (pictured). It’s grease done right and it’s 24 hours. The only drawback is the intensely kitschy environment, loud music, and cheesy decorations. It’s sensory overload, so if you’re teetering on the border of hangover-ville and you need something stabilizing, this place may send you over the edge.
No Frills Grilled Bacon Cheeseburger Done Right
Open 24 Hours/7 Days a Week144 2nd Ave. at 9th Street New York, NY 10003 (212) 228-9682
If you’re looking for a delicious flame-grilled burger, cooked to order, with a great bun, tasty bacon, and well-melted American cheese, then go to Veselka. It’s a Ukrainian diner with awesome pierogies and blintzes which also make great, albeit filling, appetizers. You’re here for the burger though, it’s simple and it saves you the trouble of thinking at 4AM because you know you’re getting something delicious.
The One Worthy Exception: A Carnivore’s dream
Open Until 2AM Friday & Saturday205 Houston Street at Ludlow Street New York, NY 10002 (212) 254-2246
With that information in hand, look at that ridiculous photo (it’s two sandwiches) and read my review and you’ll understand why you must go there now, especially if you haven’t been yet. It’s a NY institution and it’s a carnivore’s dream.
Open 24 hours/7 Days a week548 3rd Ave. b/t 36th and 37th St. New York, NY 10016 (212) 679-0442
Kosher style deli on a larger and less expensive menu than Katz’s. Thick, crinkle cut fries, overstuffed turkey and pastrami sandwiches, breakfast all day, and a plethora of diner-style desserts. You can have it all here and you can have it any time of the day.
Cheap Beer, Free Hot Dogs, and an Outdoor Patio… Enough Said
Rudy’s Bar and Grill – Open 8am to 4am everyday
You’ve all seen this place on 9th Ave but never gone in. They’ve got the big plastic pig outside and the old school neon marquee. Rudy’s is the definition of old school dive bar: Torn red leather banquettes patched up with duct tape, an all black paint job, and only one beer with a cost higher than $4.00. If you’re smart you’ll stick with Rudy’s own brand of Red and Blonde beer ($3.00/$2.50 for pints, $9/$7 for pitchers). You can hang out back on the smoking patio when it’s nice out, but beware if you’re anti-cigarettes because this patio really lives up to its namesake.
The most hi-tech objects in the whole joint are the big screen TV up front, the jukebox on the back wall, and the hot dog machine which rolls Stahl-Meyer all beef hot dogs all night long. You can have as many dogs as you want for free! Need I say more? Places like this are what makes drinking fun.
53rd & 6th Halal Cart
Open from 7:30pm until 4AM
To answer your question, yes, this is the famous Halal Cart that has skyrocketed in popularity since Oprah supposedly mentioned eating there (cue requisite wise crack). And to answer your 2nd question, no, it’s not a transcendent experience. It’s good when you’re starving and probably even better when you’re drunk, but I’ve never really enjoyed “street meat”. The white sauce is tasty but rich, don’t use too much or you’ll feel sick and the hot sauce, served in containers no thicker than three stacked quarters, is ridiculously hot, so beware. My photo is of the $6 lamb/chicken platter. If you want a platter, skip the chicken it’s ordinary and tasteless. The lamb is where it’s at. Go for a sandwich if you’re looking for something less involved, but be careful, it’s a mess. Peel a tiny bit of the foil back everytime your ready for another bite. MOST IMPORTANTLY don’t be a fool and wait in the 3 hour line next to the Hilton, if you look right across the street from the cart, the same guys have another cart going and there’s rarely a long line. Check out the fan site here.
NYC Food Guy’s Amazing Creation – PIZZA BAGELS!!!
I told you you’d be kicking yourself for not thinking of this on your own. This is what you eat when nothing else is open and you can’t walk further than the corner bodega.
All you need is a bagel, some mozzarella cheese, and some tomato sauce. You can get a bagel at pretty much any bodega anywhere in the city, and no matter how far from morning-fresh they might be, they’ll be crisp and delicious after you’re done cooking. You can do this with English Muffins, rolls, and white bread if there’s no bagels around or if you’re really desperate. I got through my first two years of college on these bad boys so I stand behind them completely.
Here’s all you need to know:
- Pre-heat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees
- Spread any kind of tomato sauce on two halves of a bagel, sprinkle with spices as desired
- Place Mozzarella (or any other kind of cheese you can get your hands on) on top of sauce
- Put uncooked pizza bagels on foil-lined baking sheet and place into oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is burnt on top
- Wait a few minutes before you bite in, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned off the roof of my mouth with molten sauce since I couldn’t wait 5 minutes for the bagels to cool