Pre-theatre meals in NYC run the gamut from gourmet meals at Michelin-starred establishments to a quick hot dog at Papaya King. Usually, though, the food is overpriced and under-seasoned. The restaurants in that area have the advantage of location, and rarely serve food that is better than it absolutely has to be. West Bank Café claims to be the exception to that rule.
The restaurant has an elegant atmosphere, with a full bar and relaxed service paired with a small but eclectic menu. There is also a theatre prix fixe.
Bread and hummus is a unique and delicious way to start the meal. The hummus is smooth with a bright lemony kick and a touch of roasted garlic. The fresh roasted turkey sandwich with rocket, oven-roasted tomatoes, and rosemary aioli is a great example of how fresh ingredients make for a satisfying meal. The turkey is juicy and hearty, pairing well with the bitter rocket and the rosemary scented aioli. The oven-roasted tomatoes are sweet, juicy, and tender. Lobster Spaghetti is another option, made with al dente pasta and a balanced tomato sauce, slightly spicy from red pepper flakes. The lobster arrives out of its shell, cooked until tender but not mushy, tasting sweet and pleasantly salty. The burger with freshly cut fries is also a winner—it arrives to the table huge and juicy, topped with piquant cheddar cheese if you so desire. The fries are salty, crispy, and totally delicious.
West Bank Cafe, while not a destination restaurant, is far beyond the standard pre-theater meal. It is well-priced with an elegant atmosphere and a varied, delicious menu. The service is always efficient and knowledgeable, and the wine list is small but well curated. Whether before the theatre or just a weeknight meal out, this is a solid choice for theatre district dining.
West Bank Café
407 W. 42nd St.
New York, NY 10036