Shorty's .32 sounds like a bar on the rough side of town. And indeed there is a bar, with country music playing, but one look at the elegantly clad and expensively coiffed ladies sipping mixed drinks will disabuse you of any notion that you're in a rough neighborhood joint. Yet there is a mix of high and low -- a winning mix, I should add. What you'd expect from a place whose motto is "Your place around the corner"
I ordered roast chicken with green beans and mashed potatoes -- sounded like good diner fare. Tap water came in what looked like an old whisky bottle, but the service is so good that whenever my glass was empty, a busboy or waitress rushed over to fill it. And so I waited. It's a pleasant place to linger, walls soft brown with inlays of red damask. It's been a while since I've eaten in a restaurant where English is spoken, so I could understand the conversations around me. Next to me, a young couple on a date. They were discussing what everyone in New York is discussing this weekend. The young man totally defended the Governor. I hope it's not their first date, I thought.
And then came the chicken. Certainly a diner portion, one which would satisfy the burliest trucker. But the chicken had been cooked the way it would be at a top restaurant -- a lot like Jean-Georges, for example, where the head chef, Shorty himself, once worked. Crispy skin, succulent meat. One piece was boneless breast with the meaty part of the wing at the tip. Another was the leg. The third was a boneless, flattened thigh. All enlivened by a thin broth redolent of garlic and pepper. The mashed potatoes too were very haute. The beans, firm and garlicky. All for $19, and big enough to be my whole meal.
A lot of the other entrees were more like haute cuisine. Fish with French sauces. Big portions too. I'll be back to try them.
199 Prince St
199 Prince St, New York, NY 10012