Joe Allen in NYC is a notorious restaurant for theatergoers and the Broadway stars they adore. It was listed in my guide “The Best Things to Do in New York” and of course as well in the New York City Frommer’s Guide. It is considered to be one of the most important eateries on “Restaurant Row”, the nickname for 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. It is a street lined with great things to see and eat. Joe Allen should be at the top of this list.
The restaurant is unassuming in the lower lever of the brownstone building it calls home. If it weren’t for the bright green sign above I would have continued to walk on by. I was eager as ever to get in and see what this place was all about. Once inside, the restaurant embodies casual elegance.
I went on a Saturday afternoon. This was not ideal for star gazing, as most performers do not go to a sit down meal in between shows. That was okay with me; I had planned on that. I was there instead to enjoy the atmosphere and sample the menu. As usual I had some company on hand, so I got to taste everything and still had room to try the desserts.
Here is the stuff that will make your mouth water:
The food here was excellent. There is a mix of sandwiches, salads, and entrees that you won’t find just anywhere. The quality of the food stood out. The entrees like organic chicken breast and salmon was delectable. Even an ordinary cheeseburger tasted like something you wish you could make at home. The desserts were even better. They were creative and richly divine.
If you are only interested in a pre-theater drink, there is a separate bar area.
So was it worth all the hype? I would say so. I think it’s a great alternative for pre or post theater dining. The service was friendly and didn’t rush you out. But I did like that they asked if you were seeing a show so they knew how to time your courses.
If you are planning to go, be sure to make a reservation especially on the weekends because this place books up fast. However, they will only take reservations exactly one week before you plan to go, so it is important to keep that in mind.
To get the most out of your trip to Joe Allen go right after an evening performance for the best chance to see an actor or actress up close without a barricade dividing you.
In case you are traveling and want to compare, there are also locations in London and Paris.
Joe Allen in NYC