Have you ever heard the phrase "A mile wide, an inch deep?" I have, mostly in all of those startup articles I don't read. I think the concept basically boils down to the belief that, in business, it's better to do one thing and do it very well, rather than to take on many things and execute them all rather poorly. That, or it's the formula for building an ideal-sized pond for remote control boats. Either way, I'm about to work it into this restaurant review.
Here are just a few of the things that High Street on Hudson makes on a daily basis: bread, bagels, bialys, beet-cured salmon, granola, donuts, cookies, breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, salads, soups, and stroopwafels. And that's all before dinner, which consists of things like grilled tripe, eel toast, cauliflower-stuffed pasta, sunflower seed risotto, crispy broccoli, and, of course, a chicken for two. If that's not the definition of going a mile wide, nothing is. But somehow, High Street on Hudson manages to go deep on every single thing on that list.
This West village establishment comes to us via Philadelphia, where it's been known as one of the city's best restaurants basically since the day they opened in late 2013. Now that the chefs behind High Street have decided to bring a near exact replica to NYC, the question becomes, how will this do in a place with a whole lot more restaurants and plenty of bakeries too? The answer so far seems to be: very well. High Street on Hudson draws crowds at most hours of the day, some for their excellent breakfast, many for the amazing sandwiches they offer during lunch, and dinner is usually bumping too, when the menu turns more advanced and adventurous. We've been various times for various meals, and we like High Street a lot. They certainly do a lot of things, and they do a lot of them well.
The tricky thing with this restaurant is figuring out how best to incorporate it into your life. If you live in or near the West Village, it's a fantastic place to grab a mid day meal or pick up a loaf of bread, assuming you're the kind of person that occasionally picks up loaves of bread. We can and have traveled for a lunchtime pastrami sandwich, and you should too. High Street during the day is laid back and full of delicious things to eat. But dinner is the part we have a hard time with. Not because the food isn't as good - nearly everything we've had at Hight Street at night been excellent. It's the use case.
Dinner is when it becomes apparent that this is a restaurant run by very serious food people. The menu is full of things you won't see at most other places around town (see, tripe) and they offer a prix fixe that will take you on quite a ride. It's also serious enough that High Street would be a tough destination for a date or a casual dinner in the 'hood. If you're looking for a serious food experience, you're in business. If you're looking for a salad and a piece of halibut, you are not.
So maybe High Street isn't going a mile wide after all. Maybe they're going a mile deep on serious food for serious food people. Sandwiches included.
You know how real hardcore "foodies" will sometimes pretend to like guts and organs because Anthony Bourdain eats them? Well, they won't even have to pretend with this tripe dish. It's spicy and sweet and perfectly textured and you need to eat it.
An absolutely delicious cauliflower-filled pasta. We'd imagine this dish changes with the seasons, but then again we have no idea when cauliflower is in season. Order it if you see it.
One hell of a pastrami sandwich. It's everything you want it to be, assuming you wanted something rich, salty, and delicious for lunch today. Thought so.
Great name, great sandwich. Even if it is just a classic Italian hero.
Some pork, some slightly funky fermented broccoli rabe, and some excellent bread. Don't get greedy.
High Street on Hudson makes some next-level breakfast sandwiches. The bodega is like if an Egg McMuffin was made on a farm instead of a weird microwave, and it's delicious. Do it.
This mushroomy breakfast sandwich is worth a trip to High Street in itself. Scrambled eggs and cheese sit atop a grilled king oyster mushroom, and are topped with a mushroom mayo. It's earthy and tasty and a great way to start your day.