It is with good reason that most serious eaters stay away from the Meatpacking District. Simply put, the place is a hotbed of floozies, greaseballs, and eurotrash, and the excellence of the kitchens seems at odds with some of their flashier traffic. Not that you can't great a great meal at The Standard or Catch. But if you are looking to avoid a major "douchetination" here are some fine choices.
It's hard to remember that you're in the Meatopacking at this old truck stop, still beloved by hearty eaters for their mighty roast beef sandwich.
Beef is the theme at this Italian steakhouse, which features meat hooks on the walls. But the best thing is the superb Tuscan pastas, especially the supple, rich lasagna.
Jonathan Waxman, though not a name to conjure with anymore, is still a true chef's chef and a giant in New York cooking history. His current restaurant, Barbuto, features superb simple American food (particularly a famous roast chicken) in a former garage on a beautiful corner.
Intense, spicy flavors, loud music, and a rocking young crowd mark Zak Pelaccio's enormously successful Malaysian joint, whose cooking is much sharper than it may seem.
How can you get such extraordinary pasta from a kitchen so small it could function as an oubliette? And at such a reasonable cost? And with such a good wine list? I don't know.
The cool thing about Scarpetta is that it seems hipper than it is. I mean by that that there are a lot of meatpacking types there, and it's very big and buzz-y, but the food is really very refined and elevated. It's closer in spirit to the old San Domenico than to the other club-like restaurants in that area.
It's elegant, cool, sexy, slightly out of the way, and has a hell of a selection of Italian wines and cured meats. A perfect first-date spot.
The burgers and hot dogs at this trendy meatpacking joint are all pretty good, but look out for the Fat Cat, a specialty burger served nowhere else in time. With two small crisp patties of LaFrieda beef, two slices of cheese, caramalized onions, and butter on a crisp english muffin, it's really something special.
A timelessly elegant take on Austrian food, minus the butter and blandness, Wallse is one of New York's most understated great restaurants.