Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cafeteria

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New York City, NY. Sure, it can get crowded. Sure the prices can seem a bit on the moderate to high side depending on the entree, but here's the twist: 24 hour dining.  For some reason when I consider 24 hour dining, I immediately think of the franchise favorites I grew up going to after high school or on extended road trips. As a result, there's a soft spot in my belly for diner food. To find a place that serves up the down-home favorites at any hour of the night without leaving the restaurant feeling like "oh...geez...I can't believe I ate all of that" is difficult, but Cafeteria can offer you that experience. 

This place has always depended on the time of night and later seems to be a bit better. The crowd is livelier but not rowdy. I have met up with friends to eat here and I have become friends with people at the restaurant itself - comfort food brings people together. The vibe is 'alive' to put it mildly - alive enough to where you need to have a voice to hear people at your own table. In my case in my last visit, my voice was absent, but friends seem to be really good at reading my lips anyway, haha. The wait time at about 11pm was less than 10 minutes, and with such incredible weather, outside eating seemed necessary.

The food can spark some memories (Biscuits and Gravy, Mac 'n Cheese, Wedge Salad) but as if a tradition, my order consisted of the Mac Attack Sampler, a triplet serving of their three Macs: cheddar and fontina, smoked gouda and bacon, and truffle oil.  Now, I don't like the dish because it's absolutely delicious, I like it because of what it invokes. I grew up with boxed macs as most kids, but my grandparents always spoiled me with a cheesy noodle goodness that could only come in a casserole dish, not stove-top. This dish serves up three baked mini-variations from the traditional type, to a little added flare, and the ever popular truffle oil infusion. I'm all about traditional taste and I tend to enjoy the simplest of the three. It seems to have something for everyone - I've ordered this as an entree and as an appetizer to share, and leave pretty happy either way.

If you want to change your late-night diner experience to a simple metro aesthetic, it's worth it for the sake of aversion to that feeling of regret, and...you never know just 'who' you may see.

Cafeteria
119 7th Ave
New York, NY 10021
(212) 414-1717
www.cafeteriagroup.com

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