All too often I look in the frig and lament over the pathetic lack of victuals within. On the other hand, this is New York and I can always make reservations. Consequently, when the opportunity arose to have a bite with a friend at Good Enough To Eat, I jumped at the chance at the restaurant that scores high on modern American fare. Whether sweet or savory there are plenty of choices to satisfy the taste buds at this Upper West Side restaurant.
Good Enough To Eat has a daily special menu with items that suggest appetizers, soups, pastas, sandwiches, fish and an entrée of the month paired with wines. Rather than select from the menu of the day, my friend and I started off by sharing a Guacamole and chips appetizer – the flavors of spices, tomato and green pepper mingling with avocado were light and refreshing.
A fresh baby spinach salad mixed with slices of Granny Smith apples, Cajun-spiced walnuts, peas and sliced red onion followed. Normally it’s served with a light crumbly bleu cheese vinaigrette, which would have been divine, but both my guest and I are lactose intolerant (boohoo!) and chef Michele Weber accommodated us with a light oil and vinegar dressing. Sweet and crisp with a little hint of spice, the salad was full-bodied and satisfying. Homemade focaccia accompanied the salad.
I ordered the Argentinian Portilla Savignon Blanc, however it wasn’t available and the Barton & Guestier Chardonnay was substituted (without my knowledge) with a 2012 Ozwell Australian white, I found it satisfactory. I then had an Italian Pinot Grigio, which was clean, pleasant and just barely borderline sweet. Later, Theron our waiter presented me with an updated wine and beer list, which accounted for the switch. Beers on tap are available as are the bottled variety, such as gluten-free Ommision and Angry Orchard Apple Cider. I wasn’t brave enough to try the Cucumber Kamikaze martini or the Maple Bourbon Smash on the rocks. I’d reserve those cocktails for another visit.
The beer-battered fish & chips are equally visually enticing and delicious. Malt vinegar adds the right amount of zest to the crisp, golden fries that accompanied this popular favorite.
At a nearby table a patron ordered the cornmeal crusted catfish and spicy remoulade with fries. She admitted the savory southern flavors of the mustard, garlic, paprika and Cajun seasonings were an excellent accompaniment with the fish and fries. No ketchup was necessary for the fries. Her associate ordered the steak and mash, and reported that the steak was was flavorful and juicy.
The half free-range roasted chicken is as good on the tongue as it looks on the plate. In recent years tender, juicy chicken has made a comeback as the ultimate in comfort food. Served with roasted seasonal vegetables and baked potato — a substitute for mashed potato – the dish maintains a dedication to healthy eating.
While some restaurants offer smaller or “mini” dessert portions, Chef Weber offers desserts that almost derail healthy eating efforts. Still, the lemon meringue pie brings desserts to new heights (literally and figuratively). It’s big enough to share between two, even three people. The sweet meringue is well balanced against the tangy, firm lemon filling.
Tantalizing raspberry squares, strawberry pies, gluten-free coffee cake and peanut butter cookies make sweet lovers’ mouths water.
Founded by Carrie Levin who partnered with Ann Nickinson in 1981, Good Enough To Eat was known for traditional American food. The partnership dissolved ultimately in 2013, with Carrie selling her interest to The Restaurant Group, which moved the restaurant to a larger location at the corner of Columbus and 85th Street and kept Carrie and Ann’s generous portions.
The layout is well appointed and comfortable, and is reminiscent of railroad flats – long and narrow — typical of the 19th century architecture in New York. Family homes, now apartments, classic sevens and five-to six-floor apartment buildings remain the signatures of this gentrified upscale neighborhood. A string of eateries can be found on avenues and side streets from Central Park to 110th Street. Good Enough To Eat embraces locals — young adults mostly who meet for dinner, although a family of five can have a good meal there as well.
Good Enough To Eat is located at 420 Columbus Avenue in Manhattan and is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, bar, snacks and bakery seven days a week. As the restaurant fills up after 8 reservations are recommended. Call 212-496-0163 or on line at goodenoughtoeat.com.