Sunday, May 16, 2010

Westside Market: NYC's Greatest Foodshop?

Prepared To Be Blown Away.... Westside Is The Real Deal

It’s almost embarrassing to write this blog post about Westside Market…. what I now consider to be the best gourmet food shop in Manhattan.


Well, I had heard about Westside some time ago… and ignored the hype. With stores like Fairway, Citerella, Balducci’s, Dean and Deluca, Murray’s and Faicco’s (all spectacular mind you)…. well, I just didn’t need yet another grocery store that just did the same old thing.

And then I went.

My first trip was really nearly by mistake. I was headed to Williams-Sonoma in Chelsea for a list of goodies when the 1 train dropped me at 14th Street. Needing to walk a quick 2 block to the store, I passed in front of Westside Market and thought… why not?

I wasn’t ready for what was waiting for me inside.

To call this place the Disneyland of prepared foods would be a gross understatement.

What Westside has done is really hard to put into words. It is the quintessential neighborhood market… but really much much more….it’s a tourist destination.

The main difference with this market compared to others is the quality and care put into each and every item they sell. They are simply no mediocre choices.

Hungry for hummus? Thinking of choosing from a few varieties? Try 50. Garlic hummus, lemon hummus, asparagus hummus, hot olive hummus… the list goes on. All freshly made. Wow.

Salads? 100 varieties. Tuna and caperberry. Salmon. Egg. Endless. Each flavor more appealing than the last.

They have a cheese counter with hundreds of choices… that rivals Murray’s Cheese Shop in the Village. A hot deli with fresh lasagna, roasted chickens and turkey, and 30 other fresh dishes.

A small but extraordinary coffee section with fresh roasted blends as well as the finest Illy and Lavazza brands in the world.

A sandwich counter that makes handmade artisan sandwiches to go. I watched a chef pull a fresh roasted turkey breast from the oven and begin to slice it for a customer on fresh bread. Shut up.

An affordable produce section that carries the finest organic and local produce in the city.

A special seafood counter with fresh fresh fish and gulf wild white shrimp (the only kind I will buy... and you for that matter).

And groceries? The Italian isle carried San Marzano tomato brands I had never seen (this is saying something)… specialty pastas, spreads and pesto to make you want to cry. Sea salts. European cookies. Teas. Quality frozen selections. Every special soda known to man.

As a food lover, my feeling is this.

If you are going to run a store of this quality, with a commitment to your products this great, I am going to give you my business. Period.

So here I am, now professing my love for Westside Market… what I consider the most exciting and well rounded food store in New York City… and one of my new favorite haunts. 3 locations in Manhattan to serve you.

Did I mention the Upper West Side store is open 24 hours?