NYCReview

photo credit: Noah Devereaux

Motel Morris image
7.4

Motel Morris

American

Chelsea

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightDinner with the Parents

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If Motel Morris were a person, it would dress in well-tailored jeans, occasionally listen to a top-50 playlist, and spend at least one weekend every summer sitting around a pool in the Catskills.

In other words, this place isn't the most exciting, but it's a little bit cool, and it's a useful spot to know about for a last-minute meal in Chelsea. You could take your grandparents here, or you could bring a date who insists on eating at "super cute" restaurants. The space is nice and attractive without feeling stuffy, and the menu mostly adheres to the basic steak-pasta-and-seasonal-vegetables formula.

The food is exactly what you think you'd find at a New American-inspired place that worked with an interior designer. They serve octopus and grilled asparagus, as well as salmon tartare, steak with fingerlings, and some crispy, golden-brown roast chicken. None of these things will change your life, but the dishes are well-executed, and they're better than you'd expect from a place with wide-open reservations.

Motel Morris image

photo credit: Noah Devereaux

Settle in and enjoy your predictable-yet-pleasant meal in a dining room that looks like the the lobby of a hotel for young business travelers who’ve seen a Wes Anderson film or two. The room is dark blue with brass accents, the furniture is plausibly Swedish, and the Pepto Bismol-pink bathrooms bring the whole old-school-motel theme together.

Motel Morris is a safe choice, and your reaction to it will range from lukewarm to enthusiastic, depending on your needs. If you’re looking for a place to get rowdy with friends, this isn’t it. And if you’re looking for a dish so good you’ll need to order seconds, you probably won’t find it here. But if you want a cute spot that's easy to get into and serves reliable food that works for a number of dietary restrictions, Motel Morris fits the bill.

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