September 7, 2009

Cafeteria - A classic Chelsea no muss no fuss spot

short rib tacos at Cafeteria
On a nice night, few spots beat the sidewalk dining at Cafeteria in Chelsea.

A Chelsea standby, Cafeteria is pretty dependable for good old fashioned spruced up diner food.

Servings are abundant, atmosphere is sufficiently hip (even years after its heyday) and the wait is usually very doable.

Even at primetime on a Friday night, I didn't have to wait for a perfect twospot right on the sidewalk.

What I love is that the restaurant is always crowded enough to make you feel like you are somewhere hip, but never too crowded where the wait becomes unbearable.

fried chicken salad at Cafeteria
I went with the Fried Chicken Salad - an abundant heaping of fried chicken, beans, haricot verts (green beans), tomatoes and chipotle dressing.  The dressing was spicy!

I usually never believe that these types of places mean spicy when they say spicy - but Cafeteria does.

My mouth was burning a couple bites in.  But it was worth it - the salad is no salad for models - this is the real deal.  Definitely filling enough and at $12 bucks - it's one of the great deals in town!

The Braised Short Rib Tacos were also huge portions - 3 heaping tacos overflowing with braised short ribs.  Served with a sweet potato puree, the short ribs were very rich and juicy.

Almost too heavy to eat in a taco, you soon have to resort to fork and knife for this one.  The corn and apple salsa is a perfect way to finish off the dish with a light and refreshing twist.

Other great standbys are the macaroni and cheese trio and of course the burger!

Cafeteria is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.  The ultimate diner.  And after so many years I think we can safely say it's now a Chelsea institution that hopefully is not going anywhere anytime soon.

119 7th Ave (at 17th Street)

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