Add another good restaurant to the list of reasons that this part of Flatiron along Broadway might finally be turning the corner. Ever since the Ace Hotel opened a few years ago, we’ve been waiting for this area to become something more than a place for weirdos to sell cheap luggage on the street. And it just might finally be happening. Between the new businesses and the New York startup community deciding to settle around here, this neighborhood seems to be benefiting from some fresh investment. That’s exciting news for everyone – except the guys looking to sell you a suitcase/maybe stab you.
This one block of West 26th Street is a particularly good example of our food-focused optimism for Flatiron, as it’s home to not only Hill Country and our new favorite Korean spot Hanjan, but also now Maysville, the new restaurant from the folks behind Char No. 4 in Brooklyn. Much like Char No. 4, this new spot is all about brown liquor, and they serve an excellent menu of things that have been “smoked and charred” to go along with a massive selection of bourbon and whiskey. But this is definitely not a BBQ restaurant. This is an American restaurant with Southern influences. You’ll find far more smoked fish here than you will slow cooked meat, and there are also lots of vegetable and seafood focused dishes that are both interesting and delicious. We made two trips for dinner to Maysville, and on both visits were totally impressed with the quality and creativity of the food. Not that we had low expectations – but I think we’re just a little bored with restaurants that are somehow paying homage to the American South. Fortunately, Maysville is anything but boring.
There are, however, two small grievances that we feel need to be mentioned along with our very high rating of this place. First of all, at both of our dinners, our server seemed a little bit lost. Ok, not lost – clueless. To the point that when we asked about one of the bourbon drinks on the menu, she speculated that it might be rum. Yikes. Also, Maysville is a really loud restaurant. The main bar/dining area is big and sparse, and lots of people hang out here for drinks after work. The end result is a room that amplifies the conversations of many buzzed people into one load bourbon-fueled roar. It’s hard to hear yourself think, let alone hold a discussion. If you’re looking to have a proper meal, we recommend making a reservation for a table in the smaller, more intimate dining room in the back. You’ll be much happier. We also recommend doing a little research before you come, so that you don’t have to depend on the expertise of the staff to guide you through the menu. At least not until they’ve had a few more months on the job.
This is one of our favorite dishes at Maysville. I don’t know why the smoke from hay tastes so good on these guys, but it does. Order em up.
Another of the good seafood options here. It’s a nicely seasoned crab salad on toast with aioli. Not quite as good as ABC Kitchen’s version, but we liked it a lot.
Smoked White Fish Mousse
A jar of light and airy white fish mousse, topped off with some trout roe. Get it for the table and eat on it throughout your meal.
How do you one-up all these restaurants putting things like bacon in their brussels sprouts? Put a f*cking pig ear in there. And a quail egg. Now what’s up?
Winter Vegetable Salad
A big pile of quinoa with goat cheese and peanut brittle mixed in for good measure. That’s right, peanut brittle. Crunchy and sweet goes nicely with soft and grainy.
Braised Pork Shoulder & Belly
What would a New York restaurant menu be without at least one pork belly item on it? This is exactly what you want it to be, assuming you want to eat some pig.
A whole smoked fish, served with some pickled mushrooms and charred red onion. It’s light but also incredibly flavorful and really awesome. Get it.
Crispy Chicken Leg & Roulade
This plate of chicken is really good, especially the leg which is tender and perfectly cooked with a nice crispy skin. It’ll go nicely with your glass or three of whiskey.
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Char No. 4 is essentially our New York City dream house - a warm, inviting space with a wall of bourbon and a smoker. This is Southern influenced food in New York City, and it's damn good.
Love getting dirty on some BBQ? You'll love Hill Country. This is downtown Manhattan's biggest and baddest Texas style meat market.
The Cardinal is a great spot to hang if you live in the area – the people are cool, and they play good music – but this isn’t Southern cooking that will have you reaching for the MetroCard.
Fools gold, that’s what Brooklyn Star is. The menu reads like an Infatuation wet dream, but leaves us with painfully average dishes.
Harding's has a pretty solid menu. Even so, the space is so massive that heading to the bathroom from your table is like packing up and heading west on the Oregon Trail. We'd rather head somewhere a little more intimate than a giant Americana version of Planet Hollywood.