Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: Gotham West Market

Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: Gotham West Market

Article excerpt

Open daily, 7A.M.-11P.M.

TABLES FOR TWO

GOTHAM WEST MARKET

600 11th Ave. (212-582-7940)

We live in the golden age of chalkboard wit, but the sign outside Gotham West Market on a recent evening was especially apt: "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" For many of the diners walking out, the answer could have been, Tonight, when I cobbled together a remarkably good meal on Eleventh Avenue, in midtown, at a food court.

The odds are stacked against Gotham West Market, and that's even without considering that it's on the ground floor of one of the glass-box developments that have come to dominate the city's in-between areas. Cards on the market's communal tables advertised apartments in the building (they didn't mention prices, but the average rental is five thousand dollars). As the sun set over the glowing-orange Manhattan Mini Storage on the other side of the street, a cheerful young woman in a branded T-shirt pulled down a projector screen to show episodes of "Star Trek," while two ten-year-olds brawled in the corner. The concrete floors made this all seem even louder than it actually was.

That's what's wrong with the place, but here's what's right: just about all of the eight venders are at the peak of food-world buzziness, and, most of the time, their outposts live up to the hype. Ivan Orkin, born in Syosset, with the chutzpah to sell ramen in Tokyo, has opened Slurp Shop, a New York branch of his noodles empire. That night's special, a chilled-lemon shio, was refreshing and hearty at the same time--Orkin's signature rye-flecked noodles seemed extra-glutinous and chewy, and they swam in a lemon-dashi broth that tasted like a summer's day. …

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