NYCReview

photo credit: Katie Previte

Cecchi's image
7.7

Cecchi’s

American

West Village

$$$$Perfect For:Date Night
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

No one’s ordered a Harvey Wallbanger since Prince was charting with the Batman soundtrack. But, if you want, you can get one at Cecchi’s. You’ll see the essential ingredient, Galliano, sitting behind the mahogany bar in an impractically tall bottle that’ll remain untouched for the next decade or so.

Cecchi’s isn’t trendy, in the sense that it isn’t chasing recent trends. If you plopped the West Village restaurant into 1980s Midtown, it would raise, at most, an eyebrow or two. With its finicky service, Art Deco murals, and food that’s arguably just a formality, it feels like a post-theater hang from an era when dining out was mainly a social function, and it’s a nice place to feel glamorous while you drink a martini.

Under rows of glowing light fixtures that provide the perfect ambiance for vodka-soaked memories, lint-rolled clientele lounge in leather booths and pick at fries in a way that feels performative. Up front, folks on chrome stools chat with a bartender who, if you’re lucky, will remember your name, like a little league coach who thinks you have potential. There’s no martini on the menu, but most people drink one. That’s the main activity at Cecchi’s. Eating is a semi-distant second.

Cecchi's image

photo credit: Kate Previte

The food here is competent and utilitarian, and in the tradition of other apostrophed clubhouses like Sardi’s and Elaine’s, the menu seems to have been made with partial disregard for what a menu should look like. Alongside chicken à la king—last observed at the Yale Club circa 1979—it features onion rings, mushroom toast, and flaky pigs in a blanket stuffed with Italian sausage. Ribs and coleslaw also make an appearance, and it’s kind of charming how mediocre they are. Don’t get cute. Stick to the basics, like the juicy steak frites.

Cecchi's image

photo credit: Kate Previte

Cecchi's image

photo credit: Kate Previte

Atmosphere will always take precedence over food at Cecchi’s, and you could say the same about a thousand other restaurants. But here, the experience doesn’t feel hollow. You’ll see Cecchi himself (first name Michael) working the room alongside several enthusiastic hosts who watch the front door as if they’re expecting Liza Minelli to arrive any minute. There aren’t any gimmicks, just stiff white tablecloths, properly stirred drinks, and old-school hospitality that isn’t as trendy as it used to be.

Food Rundown

Cecchi's image

photo credit: Kate Previte

Steak and Fries

For their steak and fries, Cecchi’s uses the deeply flavorful cut known as bavette. It’s tender and juicy, with a salty crust, and you get some bearnaise on the side in case you’d like to do some dipping. You’ll never be disappointed with this.
Cecchi's image

photo credit: Kate Previte

Chicken à la King

Chicken à la King isn’t as popular as it was a century ago, and this version probably won't change that. It’s a pleasant enough dish, but it tastes like something you could easily whip up at home with some diced chicken and heavy cream.
Cecchi's image

photo credit: Kate Previte

San Gennaro in a Blanket

American Bar (the anti-Cecchi’s) also serves pigs in a blanket. But we prefer the version here. Crisp sleeves of puff pastry, still a little gooey inside, are stuffed with rounds of Italian sausage and given a sprinkle of parm. Could you serve this in a sports bar? Sure. But that’s not a bad thing.
Cecchi's image

photo credit: Kate Previte

Not A Wedge

It’s not a wedge. At least it’s not shaped like one. This salad has all the elements of a classic wedge, but it’s chopped for your convenience. And, honestly, it’s kind of nice not having to hack into a hunk of lettuce with a steak knife. Think of this as an above average side salad, enhanced with chewy bacon and bits of blue cheese.

FOOD RUNDOWN

Suggested Reading

The Best Restaurants In The West Village image

The Best Restaurants In The West Village

All the spots you’ll want to know about the next time you wind up in this neighborhood full of brownstones and celebrities walking their dogs.

The Best Bars In The West Village image

Whether you're looking for a divey piano bar or bartenders in lab coats, use this guide to find a good place to drink in the West Village.

The Best NYC Restaurants For Date Night image

Where to eat with someone who likes you back.

Infatuation Logo

Cities

2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.

FIND PLACES ON OUR APP

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store