A disclaimer: we're not saying that good-for-you cuisine is a bad thing. In fact, it's wonderful that quinoa has an upper hand on classic white rice, salad chains seem to appear at every corner and gluten-free pasta is on menus at even the most old school of Italian eateries. But there's a need for the antithesis.
Thankfully, sleek and chic restaurants offering modern, well-executed versions of classic gastropub fare are popping up all over the Manhattan dining scene, giving us hope that not everything has to be focused on nutrients (or waistlines), but that food can be appreciated just for delectable, enjoyable and carefree food's sake.
These plates run the gamut of culinary Americana, from chicken wings to onion rings and mac and cheese to fancy schmancy burgers. TriBeCa newcomer Distilled offers an oversized "Distilled Wing" that packs a sweet, crispy punch served with micro celery and Point Reyes blue, while Meatpacking hotspot The Chester offers a nod to those Southerners-turned-Yankee with classic, Buttermilk fried chicken served with a black pepper biscuit and creamy ham hock gravy.
Even buzzed-about Betony is getting on board, with a new-fangled take on a tuna melt, and tons of other new restaurants like Picnic, Grace (traditional hot fudge sundae, accompanied by artisinal cocktails? Yes please) and many more are continuing the trend, and offer great promise that it won't fade out anytime soon.
And in even better news, here's a secret: taste can evoke nostalgia like no other sense, so let yourself be taken back. These childhood throwbacks reminiscent of your grammar school glory days (raise your hand if you died for Velveeta!) combine new-age, upscale flavors with sweet, sweet memories, for a taste that is doubly as delicious.