Your New Pre-Theater Spot: 9 Restaurant in Hells Kitchen

I have found for you — or rather, Irene has found for you — your new pre-theater restaurant. It’s just a tiny bit north of a lot of the theaters, but no matter. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is fabulous and the price is right. I’m telling you, you’re going to love it. The only thing you’re not going to love is the name: 9. Yes, it’s just a number. That’s it. But overlook this one flaw in favor of an excellent meal, pre-theater or otherwise.

We were out for Carol’s birthday — dinner and a show.

Carol and Irene:

Greg and Liz:

All right. Let the food begin. When you sit down, they bring you this delightful basket of airy pretzel bread and mustard seed butter:

It is utterly addictive.

We started with French fries. Because Irene had heard they were made with duck fat. They were. And they were great.

Duck and foie gras “meatloaf” dumplings ($9):

Our only problem with these was that they weren’t warm enough. Flavor great. Temperature not.

Lobster pigs in a blanket with lobster may and mustard seed relish ($9):

Terrific. Look at the little relish on top.

Butternut squash chowder with poached egg and candied bacon ($10).




Burrata ravioli with baby beets, basil seed and candied pistachio ($11):

Gorgeous. Rich and creamy, but not too.

Housemade cavatelli with lobster, oven-dried tomatoes and arugula ($23):

Heavenly. Very, very filling, though.

Skate “schnitzel” with caperberries, cauliflower, meyer lemon and brown butter ($19):

I’m telling you. Very well executed. Not at all buttery and greasy. Just crisp and nice.

I don’t know if it was the camera, but the chef sent out a couple of dishes for us to try.

Roasted corn on the cob with chorizo butter ($6):

Nobody cared that it was out of season. It was great.

Glazed Brussels sprouts, apple and bacon ($7):

Astonishingly good. There was a tamarind glaze on them, too.

Spanish octopus carpaccio with pineapple, piquillo pepper and pickled mushrooms ($13):

Also very good.

We were, in fact, blown away by how delicious everything was. So please, put 9 on your list. And don’t worry too much about the name. It should help you remember the address, anyway: 9th and 53d.

The 411 on 9: 800 9th Ave., Manhattan. 212-956-3333.

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