If you broke through the New York Times website’s pay wall in July of last year and found a familiar sounding street featured prominently atop Fashion/Style, you may have felt nervous while reading “All Roads Lead to Wythe.” From Bowl Train to the Brewery, the Times had blown up the block. My summer haunt was a style trend, and “The Next Big Thing”. I mourned the loss for a few days, before joining the hordes of locals in “predictable ripped Acne denim and thrift-store T-shirts.”
Cut to almost eight months later, and the Times was definitely on to something. With the late January opening of Output, the warehouse-style dance club with a $30 cover charge and the newest tourist trap to hit the strip, Wythe has officially usurped the crown of the most popular Billyburg avenue from Bedford. But rather than wait in line at the much-hyped Reynard or Aska, I’m happy to continue my patronage of Wythe. Here are the spots to fuel up for a fun night out on the avenue. Whether that means finding a seat at the latest Kinfolk restaurant installation or grinding to Output’s endless stream of house music for hours on end, who are we to judge? Just get a good meal in first!
Café de la Esquina, newest occupant of the old Wythe Diner space, is retro on the outside, gothic-chic on the inside, and serving up a full jar of salsa with your order of chips, it’s the perfect place to stop in with a group. The taqueria menu has affordable favorites like the pepito torta ($8) and tacos from pescado a las brasas to carnitas, all for less than $5. Visit on a weekday before 7 pm or all day Tuesday to take advantage of Happy Hour.
Café de la Esquina
225 Wythe Avenue
Whether beginning or ending the night, Nita Nita’s gouda mac and cheese, shredded pork pita, brisket sliders and more are here to do damage control and sop up the alcohol you already have or are about to consume. The cozy, quaint bar/lounge serves up comfort food as well as brunch seven days a week, and is a great option to spend a few hours catching up with friends on a Friday night. Try one of the perfectly crafted artisan cocktails like the honey and pear-flavored Pear Shaped, or the Fig Gin Fizz, complete with egg white.
146 Wythe Avenue
Fat Goose is the predecessor to the newer fine dining options like Aska on the avenue, and the standby is worth a visit to indulge in a serious meal before your night drops off into frowning and sipping a drink in the VIP section of Output. The New American restaurant prominently features rosewood and wraught iron throughout, giving it a very welcoming feel. A one page menu keeps it simple, and offers equally enticing surf and turf-focused dishes, as well as great small plates. The fried shishito peppers are not to be missed.
125 Wythe Avenue
We would be doing a disservice to our readers to ignore the beloved Rosarito Fish Shack, and it’s notorious kitschy design and South American dishes. The assortment of tacos, particularly the aforementioned fish, are affordable and chock full of rib-sticking ingredients like braised beef short rib, pork confit, and marinated chicken. If you’re looking for a full meal before your night of debauchery, any of the entrees, from the entrana asada to the whole market fish are sure to counterbalance whatever lethal shot and beer combos your night involves.
Rosarito Fish Shack
168 Wythe Avenue
Another choice is Cafe Mogador. This tasty Moroccan cafe is already a staple in the East Village and now has an outpost on Wythe. The mezze platters are fantastic and you can’t go wrong with the lamb dishes. A welcome addition to the neighborhood.
133 Wythe Avenue