fighting the lack of good ideas

charley o’s

I’ve now been to 1611 Broadway twice. Once last December when I was interviewing at FogCreek, and then again Tuesday this week after hitting the Museum Mile Festival in Manhattan. As a side note,walking down the middle of 5th Avenue is a blast – what’s normally a bustling, jam-packed 20 blocks was cordoned-off by the NYPD, and open to pedestrians wanting to see the various museums on the mile-long stretch. I went into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and though several areas were closed-off to the throngs massing through the giant block party outside, it was still kind of interesting.

They advertise themselves as offering lunch, dinner, and pre/post theater drinks.

Both times I have been impressed. And both times I got nearly the same thing: portobello mushroom sticks. Last night I ordered a bowl of vegetable beef soup, too.

Mushroom sticks sound pretty weird first-off, but were awesome (both times!). They take strips of portobello mushroom, wrap them in cheese, coat them in batter, and deep-fry them – they’re like mozzarella sticks, but with no mozzarella and they add mushrooms.

I must say that I wasn’t as impressed by their vegetable beef soup, though, as I was the mushroom sticks. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t spectacular.

For you beer folks, they only have a couple on tap. Last night it was Guinness, Stella Artois, Bass, and Bud Light. (Not that the last one is “beer”, but it was there.)

I have no idea how their entrees are, as I’ve only sampled their appetizer menu, but the dishes I saw being brought out looked good.

When I eat out by myself (which happens a lot when I’m traveling), I like to sit at the bar because it’s not weird to just start chatting with the bar tender, other patrons, or passers-by. Whereas if you sit at a table, it’s kinda weird to just start chatting with someone a table or two over. As a little bit of “it’s a small world”, the bar tender grew up about 2 miles from where I did in upstate NY – he’s from Waterford, and I grew up across the bridge in Cohoes.


Continuing my new theme of including restaurant reviews of places I have been, I must praise Virage in Manhattan. On the corner of 2d Avenue and E 7th Street, is a self-proclaimed “mediterranean-style” restaurant.

I ordered their Monday special, which on that visit was lamb chops with roasted gnochhi and a charred tomato and pepper hot salad. For dessert, I went with their house sorbet – they had raspberry and lemon to choose from, so I got both: and the side-by-side presentation and flavor was delightful.

If you’re a fan of drinks, they have $5 margarita Mondays, and every one that went by on a tray looked really good.

As with most cities, there are hundreds or thousands of places to eat in New York. I can’t say I intend to try every one, but Virage was well worth my 45 block walk.