Friday was a glorious Spring day, made even more glorious by my early departure from work. We all finished our work fast enough to leave at 5:00, which meant I had over two and a half hours to kill before babysitting. Since my babysitting job was on the UWS, it made most sense not to go home so I strolled Columbus Ave and checked out the neighborhood while looking for a place to eat.
The area was full of cute restaurants, but I needed to find just the right place where it wouldn’t be weird to eat alone. I didn’t feel the right chemistry until I circled back to nearly where I started. I had heard good things about Ed’s Chowder House in the Empire Hotel (and for those Gossip Girl watchers out there, yes, it’s the same Empire Hotel), but I was reluctant to pay those hotel restaurant prices for easy-going seafood.
The food is the beach food you love and expect from summer on the East Coast but served on real plates. I walked in without a reservation, which would have posed a problem had I not been dining alone, amenable to eating at the bar. So I saddled up at to the bar and started scanning the menu. Everyone was sipping on some sort of cocktail, so I figured I would do the same. The $15 cocktail is what drove up my bill, but the pineapple ginger mojito was very good (and thankfully downed with enough time to metabolize before I had to care for an infant). I knew I couldn’t go to a chowder house without sampling the chowder, so I was happy to see that I could get a little taste with my main course for only $3. It was a small, teacup-sized portion, but it was just enough. It was not the chunky, ocean flavored chowder I was expecting, but it was still tasty enough. For my entree, I ordered the crab cake sandwich and was pleased with the result, especially the bowl of spicy pickled veggies on the side.
Everything was very good, but I wasn’t all too happy to be spending $36 (pre-tip) for what I usually find being sold out of a pile of boards on the beach. True, a large portion of that bill was due to my cocktail, but still, not fun to shell out that kinda money for simple food. However, that’s why I babysit. If I wasn’t making a little extra mad money, I would have stuck with a sure thing – but that’s not any fun!