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Manon 1 American Meatpacking District West Village

With the hope of opening in early May 2013, we were invited for a sneak preview to what promises to be an amazing new fashionable venue in the Meatpacking District. The expectations are high for the Russian group who is behind the 20,000 square feet of space at Manon. The mirrored baroque interior interlaced with exposed brick, rustic barnwood floors, crystal chandeliers, and large comfy couches all come together to create a very appealing atmosphere. The intention is to attract a crowd that is looking for an evening filled with fine dining, excellent cocktails, and good music spread out over three floors. Despite their Russian background, the group behind Manon was eager to focus on local talent when deciding on their staff, and we had the pleasure of meeting several of them. Beginning with chef Tae Strain, we learned that he has been in training for this moment for many years, working in restaurants across the country and traveling throughout Asia to hone his skills and develop the perfect menu. When we asked what he felt would become his signature dish, he immediately replied the Dorade. It is a whole fish, similar to Branzino, that will be soaked in herbs over night, grilled, and served with jicama, shallots, and a palm sugar vinegarette. Something else that we are eager to try, after hearing his description, is the Jerusalem Artichoke and Shitake Mushroom Soup that is cooked with a bit of cardamom and kaffir lime. We enjoyed our conversation with Chef Strain, and it was equally interesting to then meet Aaron Polsky. He is a top New York mixologist who plans to use his years of expertise from behind several East Side bars, including Amor Y Amargo, to create fantastic cocktails for patrons on the West Side of Manhattan. Aaron's basic concept is to create a cocktail program that is not only delicious and interesting, but that also gives a nod to the vast space of this bar...and the need to produce quality drinks in a matter of thirty seconds. "It will be all about the timing" at Manon, Aaron explained, "not necessarily showcasing the making of the drink." There are basic descriptions offered on the cocktail menu, but unlike other bars, there will not be a complete listing of all of the components - just the flavors. "We don't want people to focus on what is in the drink, but rather on how it actually tastes." After spending quality time at Manon, we have no doubt that they will provide a high-quality, warm and inviting venue for guests to eat, drink and socialize. We look forward to our return and finding out for ourselves.

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Corner Bistro

The Corner Bistro is a beloved neighborhood bar in New York City's West Village that has endured for over 60 years. Though lacking the storied literary pedigree of other downtown haunts, it has cultivated a loyal following thanks to its unpretentious charm, congenial atmosphere and its signature flame-broiled burgers — declared among the city's best by New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton in 1978. We certainly enjoyed ours (with a side of tater tots) when we visited. We got chatting to Jim, who was managing and bartending on the Wednesday lunchtime we popped by — he shared his longtime love of the fabled bar. "We're open late. So even when I was living uptown in my young twenties, I would come downtown, drink with my friends and then stumble in here to have a burger at two in the morning, " he said. His enthusiasm and memories are matched by the customers too. Jim recalls: "Every day people come in saying 'I used to come here in the seventies' or "I met my wife here'. So every day we have people coming back to New York and say this is a memory of their past. "Longtime Corner Bistro owner Bill O'Donnell, who turned the unassuming West Village burger joint into an iconic New York City destination during his 45 year tenure, died in 2016 at age 80 after a battle with cancer. ""The owner passed away before the pandemic. And his daughter just seamlessly took over, " said Jim. Corner Bistro retains its consummate neighborhood bar character, giving locals and visitors alike a taste of an ever-rarer old New York — and it's the western gateway to 4th Street!