Billed as a "modern take on an old-fashioned restaurant", it might just be New York's weirdest eatery -- and I mean that as a compliment. On the evening I dined there, just after Valentine's Day, the surreal space (which features a gilded bird cage large enough to hold a table for six, hot pink tufted banquettes, and mirrors on just about every available surface) was relatively full, despite the fact that it was a Wednesday and pouring rain. While the menu was at first perplexing -- Do I want tomato soup and a hot dog or gravlax with toast points and a $40 steak? -- the food was good enough to inspire midnight cravings. (I finally decided on a fancy club sandwich, which comes with the crusts cut off, and the aforementioned tater tots.)
The highlight is the dessert menu, featuring, in addition to standards like banana splits, such bizzaro treats as teeny tiny tiered chocolate cakes, hardly larger than a quarter in diameter, and the "sweetiepig," a $75 ice cream sundae meant to feed six. On the evening I visited, Luke, an enormously tall literary agent once voted "hottest straight man in book publishing" by Gawker readers, was holding down the fort, chatting with guests and periodically popping out to visit his motorcycle, parked right in front. Later in the evening, Jessica Joffe, the writer/model/benefit ball fixture he's rumored to be dating now, also made an appearance. It might be argued that such a silly establishment is not exactly in keeping with these serious times, but I disagree. With the state of the world, we all need some ice cream and absinthe.
Sweetiepie, 19 Greenwich Avenue (212) 337-3333
Photo of the Janklows via Vanityfair.com