29 Union Square West
New York NY, 10003
Dining Experience: ★★★½
Thursday was the day I decided that I was done simply looking at the “COFFEE SHOP” sign that blatantly stares at me when I exit my building every morning. After my friends texted me asking if I wanted to join them for dinner, I knew it was time to finally eat there.
At about 6:30 PM, I walk across Union Square to find my two friends sitting at a table in the section for the outdoor seating. For those of you who do not know where Coffee Shop is, it is right on Union Square West with a great view of the park and the W Hotel. The outdoor seating is comfortable; you finally have the opportunity to be on the outskirts of all the chaos. As I sat in my chair facing the park, I watched everyone walking by me and saw that each person was walking with a purpose. Watching the busyness around me made me grateful that I actually had this time in my day to put my purpose aside and that I could just sit down to enjoy a meal with my friends.
My little moment of reflection was short-lived when the waitress came to take our orders. We ordered the Guacamole and Corn Tortilla Chips to start and about 10 minutes later they were on the table.
The chips were very warm, which tasted great with the cool guacamole. The guacamole had chopped pieces of onions scattered throughout and the avocado was fully whipped; there were no chunks. We decided to squeeze some lime into the guacamole, which gave it a reviving flavor and tasted delightful with the chips. The one downside of the guacamole and corn tortilla chips was that we ran out of guacamole before we finished the chips (a guacamole lover’s worst nightmare).
The waitress collected our collectively shared appetizer, and we got our entrées about 20 minutes later. I ordered the Lump Crab Salad with arugula, mango tomato and avocado in lemon vinaigrette (unfortunately this is not on the menu on the website, but I swear they have it!!). The ingredients mixed perfectly. The avocado gave the salad a “creamy” texture and meshed very well with the crabmeat. The arugula and tomato gave the dish a bit of Italian flare while the mango slices gave the dish some Mediterranean flare. This was a very light, rejuvenating, and eclectic salad that I recommend for any salad eater (unless you’re a vegetarian). The one thing I would change would be the ripeness of the mango slices; they were a bit harder than I expected, but luckily they were tremendously flavorful! But otherwise, this dish made me feel as though I was just hanging out on a summer evening, even though the brisk fall breeze was hitting my cheeks as I stuffed them with lump crabmeat.
My friend ordered the grilled chicken skewers with a spicy peanut sauce for her entrée even though it is an appetizer. With four skewers, it was the perfect amount of chicken to make a customer satisfied. The sauce was very intense. It tasted like a sweet peanut butter with a hint of curry. If you do not like peanuts, this dish is not for you. I would not recommend this dish for an entrée simply because the sauce may be too rich to keep eating. It is a great appetizer choice though!
My other friend ordered the basket of Plantain Chips with black bean dip & grilled corn salsa with a bowl of tomato soup. The chips were very hard and crunchy with a subtly sweet taste. The black bean dip was a great contrast to the sweet chips and gave the dish some more Mexican flare. The tomato soup had no additional flare; it was a classic tomato soup. So if you’re a fan of tomato soup, don’t hesitate to order it! The plantain chips also tasted good in the soup as well.
Finally, my last friend (I just have so many friends) ordered the Grilled Shrimp romaine salad with avocado, tomatoes, corn & black beans. I did not get a chance to taste the salad because he ate it so quickly, but I was told that it was a Southwestern salad with a twist. The shrimp is coated in intense spices to enhance its flavor, but apparently you only get four shrimp, which is a pretty big let down. I would recommend cutting them up into pieces so you can get some shrimp in each bite!
Thursday night was the perfect night to eat at Coffee Shop. The weather was cool and we got to watch the sun set right on Union Square. When it’s cold, don’t fret because the inside of the restaurant is just as nice and feels like an elegant diner. Coffee Shop is categorized as a Brazilian restaurant, but the selection of dishes is diverse ranging from a typical American cheeseburger to baked macaroni and cheese (you can add black truffles) to the popular Cuban dish, ropa vieja. Don’t worry they also have an abundance of Brazilian specials if you came for the Brazilian food. And, they are open until 2 AM on Sundays and Mondays, 4 AM on Tuesday and from Wednesday-Saturday, they are open until 5:30 AM. So if you happen to have a couple cocktails around Union Square and are in the mood for an upgraded diner experience, go to Coffee Shop! Or just go any time of the day for a nice light meal.
Dining Experience: ★★★½