It appears that the food at Frieze New York is going to be absolutely superb. Among the restaurants on offer are the Upper East Side mainstay Sant Ambroeus, Orchard Street’s fast-rising Fat Radish and omnipresent Bushwick pizza purveyors Roberta’s. But if you’re going to make the trip to Randall’s Island, why not also dine at some of the restaurants in the surrounding neighborhoods? Below, six picks that are a short car ride from the fair, accompanied by hackneyed analogies to contemporary art.
Time in car: 4 minutes
2287 1st Avenue, between East 117th and 118th Street, New York
Patsy’s is the Jasper Johns of New York pizza. Started just three years after Mr. Johns’s birth, the shop’s coal-oven pizzas are paragons of admirable consistency: defined by a thin crust, superb and subtle tomato sauce and smooth, smart hits of mozzarella. Unchanged for decades.
Time in car: 6 minutes
455 East 114th Street, between 1st Avenue and Pleasant Avenue, New York
It’s hard to score a table here, but certainly you have faced greater challenges before. Like Gerhard Richter (this conceit is getting old, I know), it harbors great, rich secrets—classic Italian food in this case—if you put in a little bit of effort to gain entry. That’s what they say. Truthfully, we’ve never been. There’s one in Las Vegas too.
Fishers of Men II
Time in car: 7 minutes
121 West 125th Street, between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevards, New York
This is the Christoph Büchel of fast-food restaurants. The offerings are almost impossibly ambitious and the portions are insane and unwieldy. The fish sandwich alone comes with enough fried whiting to feed a family of four. A feast of fried oysters, shrimp and other seafood specialties could provides a week’s worth of sustenance. Happily, the prices are quite cheap, unlike Mr. Büchel’s. That fish sandwich will run you only $6 at lunchtime. There are hot dogs too, and it’s only a few blocks from Gavin Brown’s temporary Harlem space, over at 229 Lenox Avenue.
19-06 Ditmars Boulevard, Queens
Time in car: 14 minutes
VIP cars are only providing rides into Manhattan so you’ll have to take a taxi or walk to this Greek redoubt a stone’s throw from the East River, in Astoria. It’s worth the trip for the trapan soup, described by New York magazine as a “tomato-based vegetable broth, then garnished with shredded kasseri, a stringy sheep’s-milk cheese.” Oh, and you usually get a large tray of assorted Greek cookies at dessert.
Zero Otto Nove
2357 Arthur Avenue, near East 186th Street, Bronx
Time in car: 13 minutes
If Patsy’s is Johns, Zero Otto Nove is Rauschenberg: a great deal more inventive—the highs are a great deal higher—but not quite as dependable. The highlight of this mainstay of Bronx’s Little Italy is, in our humble opinion, the hearty patate salsicca e provola pizza, which is pictured—a perfectly balanced combination of sliced potatoes, sausage and smoked mozzarella.
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill
610 Exterior Street, Bronx
Time in car: 4 minutes
“There’s no place like the neighborhood,” this American chain boasts. A whole section of the menu is devoted to items under 550 calories. There’s another outpost across from the northern tip of Manhattan in Marble Hill, perfect for a stop on your way to or from Riverdale’s marvelous Wave Hill garden and contemporary art center. (Thank you to our colleague who recommended this.)