The 10 Best Restaurants in Hell's Kitchen
A far, gentrified cry from the neighborhood it once was, the Hell's Kitchen of today is a glossy labyrinth of condominiums and an ever-waning number of low-slung buildings and affordable dining options. Still, the area is teeming with great restaurants catering to all demographics, and with the recent addition of the Gotham West Market -- which imports several white-hot chefs and restaurateurs to the far reaches of the neighborhood -- migratory trust-funders looking to "explore the possibilities of The West" may soon begin popping up like mustachioed groundhogs with a penchant for Gigondas. For now, let's celebrate the Hell's Kitchen we have. Here are our 10 Best.
10. Saigon 9 West, 348 West 47th Street, 212-757-9813
Saigon 9 West
The wild banh mi craze of the late 00's may have died down, but we can all be thankful for the proliferation of Vietnam's famous sandwich throughout this city. Every neighborhood deserves a good banh mi shop, and Saigon 9 West does an admirable job filling that niche in Hell's Kitchen. The abbreviated menu is limited to four kinds of banh mi, including a ham and egg version that makes for one of the better breakfast sandwiches in town. When the weather's nice, it's hard to argue with plump summer rolls and smoothies in flavors like jackfruit and avocado.
9. Tulcingo del Valle, 665 Tenth Avenue, 212-262-5510
You'll find mole done the right way at this restaurant with roots as a humble neighborhood grocery. The kitchen makes several kinds, but the poblano is worth the trip alone; it's full-bodied and a deep chestnut brown. At lunch, towering cemitas and tortas reign supreme, and fresh juices help quell varying degrees of chili heat. Both dining rooms are sparse, but with daily specials that feature southern Mexican home cooking, there's not a bad seat in the house.
While not technically a restaurant, this grand food hall plugged into the ground floor of a monstrous Hell's Kitchen development houses a bunch of heavy hitting operations. And it's already received a good deal of praise despite the fact that it's been open for less than a week. Such buzz is no doubt due to the roster of big name chefs and Brooklyn notables the operators were able to entice; Seamus Mullen, The Cannibal, and Court Street Grocers have all set up shop. Ramen fanatics can even get a taste of Ivan Orkin's noodles before his spot debuts on Clinton Street. The traditional broths and mazemen are all in top form.