local eats: back forty west, new york city

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People who ask me for restaurant recommendations give me vertigo on the level of cringe-inducing, nail-biting terror. Make no mistake — I want to prattle on endlessly about the places I patron, but I tend to be a creature of habit. While there are so many extraordinary places to dine in New York, there are as equally many horrible, overpriced establishments. And it’s more often than not that I find myself tossing my napkin on the table, seething.

I SPENT $40 FOR THAT?????

I work in industry that values the power of word-of-mouth, so I rarely, if ever, visit a place that hasn’t been vetted by a swat team of friends and honest strangers on Yelp and Chowhound. And you better believe that I walked back Back Forty West at least forty times before I stepped in. On one particular occasion I made it in for a total of ten seconds only to scurry out and flee to the comfort that is Delicatessen. Call me strange, most do, but a mediocre meal is an experience rivaling the Saw movies.

However, one day I cracked and found myself settling into a seat and ordering a pile of food. Suspicious, I expected that my well-done burger {don’t lecture me about eating medium-well meat} would be a hockey puck and my biscuit to be its bedfellow. But to my shock, pleasure and unexpected delight, the food was DELICIOUS. My burger was moist, yielding and the bacon was thick, salty and perfectly peppered. I hoovered that meal, plate and all, in 3 minutes flat. The biscuit, and its jam accoutrements, were sheer, flaky joy, and I got delirious and ordered a fluffy cheesecake.

Suffice it to say, I’ve been back multiple times since and the local-minded, simple and flavorful menu is nothing short of extraordinary. From seasonal salads to grilled vegetables and tasty sandwiches, you will savor your meal at this corner eatery in the frightening bowels of SoHo. Manga.

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