New York’s Best Café: The Grey Dog Café

Grey Dog Café is an oasis among oases; in my opinion, the best food in New York City. Not the best as in the most fancy, but if you’re like me, and you like gigantic sandwiches on great artisan bread followed by perfect coffee and grandma-style desserts (Peach cobbler! Cookies of all kinds! Pie! Incredible pie!), look no further than 33 Carmine Street in the West Village, unless of course you’re nearer their second location at 90 University Place off of Union Square. In that case, look there—it’s the same food, same atmosphere, and the same (I swear) beautiful people behind the counter. Not that it matters, but everyone I’ve ever seen working the counter at this NY comfort food Mecca has a sweet smile and great bone structure; go see for yourself, I don’t lie.

Grey Dog’s Coffee is certainly something to write home about. They have a full coffee bar with all the usual espresso and coffee drinks, and you can even order from their website if you want to bring the brew back home. Apart from that, they have great teas, smoothies, and other drinks, as well as beer on tap and an affordable wine selection. HELPFUL HINT: After 9pm, happy hour kicks in and you can get decent draft beer (which rotates, but I’ve had Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn Lager) for the by-New-York-standards-cheap-as-hell 3 bucks a pint—real beer at PBR prices. That said, for the hipster purist, cans of PBR are available for, I think, the same price.

Look at their menu to find your own favorites. You can’t really go wrong. I love the Chicken and the Tuna Melt, the Turkey-Apple-Brie, and the Grey Dog Club as far as sandwiches go, but the Country Salad has the best homemade salad dressing I’ve ever had. Oh and try the Baja Fish Tacos—a little on the small side for the price ($11.95) but completely worth it. Their breakfast outdoes any New York Diner in comfort food satisfaction; try the Grey Dog Breakfast which has all the usual fixings—eggs any style, french toast or pancakes, & bacon or sausage, or ham. I recently had the Baked Oatmeal, which really is a cube of baked oatmeal made with cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins and is served sitting in a bath of hot steamed milk, perfect for those mornings where you just miss your mom.

By: Ben Britz, Photos By: Elizabeth Seward

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Cafe Moto: Brooklyn, New York

Nestled beneath the Hews stop on the J train in Brooklyn, is an odd and misshaped corner building with a brown, rusted bicycle hanging from the flagpole outside. The doors, poised at the slenderest point of the structure, seem dilapidated and off-putting. Moto wouldn’t command a second look from most passersby in the industrial atmosphere of South Williamsburg, but once you get through the door; it’s definitely a hidden gem.

With 1930s era dark wood meets wrought iron fixtures and distressed brick walls, Moto feels like stepping back in time. Its atmosphere is clever yet casual. Sultry jazz plays in the background and glass canisters seen mostly now in retro apothecary companies litter shelves behind the bar.

The menu begins with inventive small platters and salads–from eggs stuffed with tuna and anchovy to marinated beets soaked with herring and sour cream. There’s a selection of five or six gourmet paninis, and more serious entrees of meats and seafood–even a Swiss Alps mac and cheese made with bundnerkase.

The cold asparagus with boiled egg shaved on top and a hint of lemon was simple yet delightful. The steamed mussels in a garlic cream sauce with dill had a delicate flavor. Not the best mussels I’ve ever had, but all were eaten happily.

Overall, the ambiance is a winner and makes this place worth adding to any “neat cafes I must go to in NYC” list. The food is creative, but not unheard of, and the pricing is at or just above what you’d expect to pay for a typical downtown meal – $5-$8 appetizers, $9.50 paninis and $12-$20 entrees. Cash Only. They sometimes host live music so check the website. 394 Broadway in Brooklyn, NY.

By: Kellyn Slone