Westville Chelsea: New York’s Farmer’s Market Mecca
Westville Chelsea is not really anything exceptional – it’s not unique, and it’s not a novelty in New York; yet, somehow, despite being a rather run-of-the-mill neighborhood spot, it charms endlessly with it’s bright environment, fresh and simple American fare, and laidback table service. In fact, it’s an ideal place for convening with friends, whether for a leisurely breakfast, quick lunch, or fuss-free dinner.
The space is a substantial size improvement on Westville’s original Bleecker Street location. The boxy dining room is sparse with bright white walls, a chalkboard scrawled with the day’s specials, and a simple bar with seats on two sides, a line-up of artisan beers, and a very hipster cute bartender. Seats for no more than 50 line the walls and are pushed up against the large floor-to-ceiling windows. The look is clean and simple, without over-the-top flourishes (or really any at all) and distracting frills. With so few guided atmosphere cues, put a few picnic tables and benches in here and you could almost imagine noshing on the lawn outside a white clapboard farmhouse, chickens around and a vegetable garden down the slope.
The food is described as what the owners love to eat, “prepared simply and tastefully.” This translates to hearty and recognizable American fare, cooked better than you could probably cook it yourself. The ingredients are market-fresh, seasonal, and uncomplicated; there are no unknown and indecipherable vegetables, legumes, nuts, fruits, or roots. Vegetarian options abound, yet the comfort food menu will appeal to pretty much any fan of classic American cuisine.
Westville serves one of the better brunches in the Chelsea/West Village area. There’s nothing like finding a place that serves all your favorites: a sweet and chunky granola & yogurt parfait topped with in-season fresh fruit; a thick and fluffy bagel topped with the regulars, cream cheese, lox, capers, and onions; eggs served anyway with salty and bold potato hash, flecked with bits of onion; towering and decadent challah french toast with fluffy cream, cinnamon sprinkles and cut strawberries, all sweetened with authentic maple syrup. On any given weekend, over half the options offered are market-driven specials, including a plethora of vegetable-packed fritattas and omelettes; the choice is close to dizzying.
Westville’s shtick is simplicity and perhaps it’s originality is found in such a stark yet somehow incredibly welcoming dining experience. The lack of decor isn’t cold or contemporary; instead, it’s a blank slate upon which you can build your own idea of what Westville is or should be; it’s surprisingly warm and comforting – no need to stare numbly at gilt-edged mirrors or to put on a show to waistcoat-clad staff. A certain slamdunk for brunch, Westville is fit for just about anyone, except those insistent on wearing stiletto booties and faux-fur shrugs to breakfast.
Perfect For: friendly brunching, hot dog fanatics, relaxed breakfast, farmer’s market foodies