Park Avenue Tavern: It’s a Good Thing

Call me crazy, but Grand Central Station’s surrounding environs aren’t exactly where I go when I want a great meal. Known for office buildings and quick-service delis, this neighborhood is anything but destination-dining worthy. 
Until now. 
Park Avenue Tavern is a new restaurant that is serving some pretty awesome food in a pretty awesome setting. What makes it awesome?
Oh, just this:
The fact hat you have your own private taps at the downstairs tables. Call ahead and you can even get your favorite beer put on tap for you.
Just for you. Now you can support your alcohol habit from the privacy of your own booth! Seriously, I don’t know what it is, but something about cooking your own food/pouring your own beer is thrilling, right? 
As for the food:
 Margherita Flatbread with Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella
This is wisely called a flatbread, because, while it would be a terrible pizza, it is a fantastic flatbread. Slightly pillowy, stretchy crust underneath a thin swath of crispy, mild mozzarella cheese, juicy diced tomatoes and punchy, garlicky pesto. The pesto really brought the pizza to life, making it lighter and brighter after the heaviness of the cheese and the dough. 
 It would be a bad pizza because of the crust, but that is why it is a GOOD flatbread. The bread is really bread here – substantial, with varying textures of pliant and crispy, serving as the main attraction of the dish. I like a thin, coal-fired crust, but for a flatbread, this char-grilled dough was fantastic.
 Crab Cake with Peekeytoe Cragb, Arugula, Pickled Onions and Red Pepper Conserve
This crab cake satisfied all my crab cake necessities.
Soft, not mushy texture? Check
Sweet lump crab with no shells or stringy bits? Check
Mostly crab with only a bit of filler and sauteed vegetables? Check
Moist, gently hinting of seafood but with absolutely no fishiness, its richness was nicely cut by the vinegary pickled onions and the surprisingly spicy conserve. I would absolutely order this crabcake again  -it is as good as any I have had. 
Mussels and Fries
Warning: This dish is NOT for people afraid of garlic or butter. It is garlicky in the fullest sense: pungent, spicy, aromatic, not bitter but totally full bodied. It is also buttery, but then…if you are afraid of that, just find another blog to read. The mussels were all open and free of grit – creamy, mild, but somehow light next to the rich butter and the strong garlic. For some reason, the garlic all works here – perhaps it is the butter’s richness tempering it or the mussels’ gentle seafood note adding another layer to the flavor, but somehow it just works. The firs, fresh cut and crispy, were a bit too salty for my taste, but also incredibly delicious dunked in the mussels broth.
 Park Avenue Tavern is totally destination worthy dining! The prices are very reasonable, the service is excellent, and the food is just delicious. Moreover, you get to support your alcohol habit in the privacy of your own booth. As Martha Stewart might say “that’s a good thing.”
*Note: My meal was paid for by the restaurant.  I was not paid or required to write a review, and my opinions are my own and, I feel, impartial.*

Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    The self-pour taps are a must for a date night, bachelor (or a chill bachelorette) party, or just to get tipsy to pay-by-the-ounce with your best girlfriends. FUN!

  2. Sippity Sup says:

    I " heart" New York, so I wonder why it has been so long since I have been. GREG

  3. Hungry says:

    That tap is MINE!

  4. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Sarah-SO fun!!
    @Sippity-I don't know! I would love to sit down at Katz's for a pastrami sandwich with you!!
    @Hungry-Done and DONE!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I love your blog – so NY; I'm enjoying all the great food & living vicariously.

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