Rock My Block

On the Street Where You Live is a pretty fantastic place if you live in New York City.    New Yorkers have access to food from every culture and region imaginable.  But with 18,696 eating establishments at our disposal, how do we begin to explore dishes ranging from the mundane to the exotic?  Try walking out the front door.

Every block in New York is unique, and Tenth Avenue between 44th and 45th Street is no exception.   On the southeast corner you’ll find “A Little Bit of Heaven in Hell’s Kitchen,” the motto of 44&X (44th and 10th) restaurant.  This first gleam of glamour arrived in the hood in 2000, a time before Tenth Avenue was trendy and Hell’s Kitchen was commonly christened Clinton.  With its modern yet warm design and reimagined classic American dishes, 44&X quickly became a pre- and post-theatre staple for those pioneers brave enough to explore the West(side).  Start your meal with the Maine Lobster Taco and its charred tomato salsa, cilantro, and herb salad ($15) — a light and refreshing beginning to a hardy downhome meal.  Hopefully, you are dining with a group who likes to share because it ain’t easy choosing between the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Collard Greens ($23), Vermont Cheddar Mac & Cheese ($16), or the Pan Seared Filet Mignon ($32).

Just a few feet up the block is 44&X’s slightly less expensive younger sister, 44 ½.  Blessed with a private garden, it’s a perfect spot for summer dining (though the garden is enclosed and available for private events in the winter).  On the weekends, enjoy traditional brunch fare with added American favorites such as grits and applewood-smoked bacon.  Unless you are on your way to church – or, perhaps, especially if you are – enjoy a devilish Bloody Mary.  Have one, have two, and don’t forget to pee.  The restaurant is impeccably designed…down to the mirrored bathrooms.

If you are in the mood for something grittier and greasier, literally sandwiched between these two biscuits of restaurants, is an award winning German sausage.   At Hallo Berlin you can decide which wurst is best by choosing from a selection of eight different sausages, while enjoying an imported German draft beer. The indoor beer garden is open year round, while the sidewalk café is seasonal. (Most lunch and dinner platters are under $20.)

Unable to move after your eating extravaganza?  Not to worry.  Across the street is a Hess gas station, buzzing with refueling cabs just waiting to take you up the block.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Rock My Block

  1. Bad Myrtle Bad

    44&X has been one of my favorite places to go for pre/post-show dining for years. You don’t feel like your eating in a tourist trap amonst heafty Palin-lovers. The food is generally good and waiters are fun to flirt with. My only complaint is that they need to change the menu every now and then. Every time I go, I end up getting the same things over and over… Yes, they are good, but options are nice.

  2. PBman

    Never been to 44×10 though I live a block away..but that Maine taco sounds like reason to go…So next you must review the local coffee houses..there’s one on 47st (Cafe` Biscotti) and of course the Cupcake cafe`..they are great places to hang and meet the locals..
    Love the blog..keep blogging.

  3. PBman

    Hey…you forgot to mention the little Cuban, PR, Dominican place on the corner across from the Hess station..where a cafe con leche will keep you up for days.

  4. Susan

    This is a neighborhood I don’t know well but will certainly consider visiting now. You’ve made it sound very rewarding. Thanks – I like the idea of getting to know new neighborhoods with an eating agenda. Also I’d love to hear your favorites in my neighborhood – Hudson and Christopher…? Cheers!

  5. IQ

    Thanks for the comments!
    Susan, I’ll make sure to explore your hood.
    PB, yes, Lali is the Dominican restaurant on this block and, yes, they have great cafe con leche.
    Myrtle, I know what you mean. But at the same time there’s something comforting about knowing what you like and having your expectations met.

  6. Darren

    neato! what’s the inspiration? wanna check out the paella place sometime in Chelsea on 20th?

  7. valerie gladstone

    A fresh, entertaining look at a neighborhood. Helpful too. What’s best is the cheerful, open attitude. We need more of that in the city.

  8. Pingback: Traveling IQ turns 2! | Traveling IQ

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