Eat like a local on Columbus Avenue: NY’s eclectic westside

Alex Garcia opened AG Kitchen in 2012.

Eat like a local on Columbus Avenue: NY’s eclectic westside

Alex Garcia opened AG Kitchen in 2012. As a noted restaurateur his credits include Erizo Latino, Calle Ocho and Babalu, hosting the TV “Melting Pot” on the Food Network and “Nuestra Cocina” on Vme, the Spanish language affiliate of PBS.

Family Friendly and Expansive

This neighborhood eatery is spacious and offers guests a 120-seat dining room and a 30-seat lounge AKA Cabanas. The restaurant boasts open outdoor patio space that fronts Columbus Avenue and is perfect for locals who bring their children and for people watching. This family friendly restaurant permits children to totally relax and be themselves as they work their way through burgers and tacos.

The staff is incredibly obliging and there is a temptation to add them to your BFF list on Facebook. Take special note of Chris and ask to sit at his tables if there is one open (or wait at the bar until one becomes available).

Sips, Bits and Bites

The eclectic menu reflects the diversity of the West 72nd Street neighborhood and the owners Cuban / New York heritage. Options range from Burgers to Tacos and from Cubano (pork loin, ham, melted Swiss, mustard and pickle on Cuban bread), to Pan Seared Tuna Steak and Braised Short Ribs Arepa with portions that are huge and can easily be shared.

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Make sure to order the AG fries (ask for hot and crispy); they are a delicious mix of fries dosed with olive oil, parsley, garlic and Parmesan cheese (also good without the cheese). Another MUST ORDER is the Guacamole. At the AG Kitchen it comes to the table fresh and delicious as a mix of avocado, lime juice, cilantro, jalapenos (or not) and tomato. If you want it hot or mild – just let the waiter know your preference.

The dining spot is very popular during cocktail time where bar and bite bargains bring high-powered executives the kind of comfort food they need after a day running after the Bulls and Bears on Wall Street. Happy Hour offers delicious Guacamole & Chips or Crispy Calamari ($6) as well as the AG Classic Burger, Pork Tacos or Seafood Ceviche ($11). Beers and wine are really bargains ($6) with AG Cocktails value priced at $9.

Deserts Exclusively for Grown-Ups

While there are traditional dessert options – Apple Pie and Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Whipped Cream, the unique (and clever) options are Adult Milk Shakes ($11) (I already mentioned the restaurant is family friendly). Gone Bananas includes Bananas, Vanilla Ice Cream, Butterscotch sauce and dark Rum, while The Aztec adds heat to the palate with a mix of Vanilla Ice Cream, Cinnamon, CAYENNE, Chocolate sauce with Tia Maria & Tequila. Bourbon drinkers will find the Salted Caramel a viable option with Vanilla Ice Cream, Malted powder, Caramel Sauce and Jim Beam.

Even more “adult beverages” options include Café Royal with Coffee, Patron X and Whipped Cream with cocoa powder ($13), or the Chocolate Oaxaca Mexicano with Chocolate powder, Milagro Tequila, Agave Nectar, Whipped Cream and hot milk – will definitely be a memorable night cap ($15).

For the kid in all of us, desert menus are accompanied by a red plastic toy View-Master. Do not look for a slide show of Niagara Falls or a picture of Eiffel Tower, View Master delivers photos of Apple Pie a La Mode, and Flan.

Open for weekend brunch and lunch/dinner throughout the week. For more information, click here.

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