I never know what to call this sliver between the east and west villages, below Union Square. I think some call it Greenwich Village, but Ive always thought that was a bit more west. I do know its kind of unexciting for dinner options, maybe its the NYU proximity. I worked on Fifth Ave. and 13th St. for a few years, and it was fine for lunch, but evening meals in a three-block radius were baffling. Fourteenth Street is lined with fast food, including Manhattans only Little Caesars. There are also plenty of mediocre Asian chains: Café Spice, Lemongrass Grill, LAnnan (Indian, Thai and Vietnamese).
I wanted to eat something inexpensive and non-bad before seeing Thumbsucker at the nearby Quad Cinema. (In the ‘90s, the façade was completely mustard yellow ‘70s and then once 2000 hit they finally gave it a remodel, which amusingly bumped it up a decade. Now its shiny, glass and metal ‘80s.) Cedar Tavern was it. Burgers, fries and beer. The cheeseburger was a prime specimen, though the limp greasy fries werent up to the same level. Of course, that didnt stop me from eating all my soggy starch strips anyway. I have the worst time turning down food.
I just remembered that I had been to Cedar Tavern once before, but I didn't eat. I went for drinks with a writing class after our last session. I was put off by how our instructor (who is clearly good at self-promotion–I see her face and byline all over the place) spent the evening sucking up to one of the young students whose father was a high powered editor. Unsurprisingly, this girl had just gotten a book deal. I've kind of soured on writing classes, if that isn't obvious enough from my stunted writing style.
Cedar Tavern * University Pl., New York, NY