Grub/Spirits Restaurant Reviews — 06 October 2010
CLOSED: A Restaurant Review: Choice

CLOSED: Choice
380 Third Avenue, between 27th and 28th Street, Murray Hill, (212) 779-1380
Getting There: 6 to 28th Street


(This restaurant has since CLOSED)

Some bars have the distinction of serving good food and although it resembles “just another bar” from the outside, Choice is a restaurant first, that also happens to have a bar.  Located in the heart of Murray Hill just south of “Frat Row,” Choice serves up some tasty, eclectic American fare that classes up the neighborhood just a bit.  Lined with sidewalk seating on the outside or some dimly lit booths and exposed brick inside, the restaurant is accommodating, depending upon your purpose.

Because the weather in Manhattan has been so fantastic, we opted for a sidewalk table for an early evening dinner.  Third Avenue was relatively quiet, which allowed us to really enjoy Choice’s ambiance, as the glowing light from the inside, coordinated with the glare of the plasma screen televisions hanging on the wall reflected upon the tables outside.  As big time fans of Uptown (Choice’s sister restaurant), on Third Avenue and 89th Street, we admit we were a little biased, but the food here similar to Uptown, just refused to let us down.

Since we fortunately ate here as the restaurant was celebrating their Third Anniversary (Sundays & Mondays, for a Limited Time), we were treated to a $15 bottle of Pinot Grigio, not surprising for a place that caters to diners on any budget.  Their $6 Martini nights on Thursday and Friday are also exceptional.  Choice’s list of appetizers is both vast and mouth-watering- from Maryland Spiced Crab Cakes ($12) to the Mediterranean Delight ($9), fresh chickpea hummus with pico de gallo and guacamole, to our personal favorite, the Goat Cheese Tapas ($9), a creamy goat cheese spread on crispy Panini and topped with tomatoes and marinated artichokes- and on Wednesdays, two appetizers and a bottle of wine for $35 is relatively unbeatable.

The dinner options were also excellent.  From the Crabmeat Stuffed Flounder ($23) to the Lobster & Crab Stuffed Ravioli ($17), to a more basic Mozzarella, Tomato, & Basil sandwich ($12.95, with French fries or a salad), we certainly had a heck of a time deciding on only two of them.  We wound up opting for the heaping portion of Mussels & Fries ($17), a huge bowl of shallot white wine doused mussels and a large basket of crispy, sea-salted French fries, and the Rosemary & Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken ($19), a terrific combination of silky smooth goat cheese and fresh spices rolled inside of some tender, glazed chicken breasts, coupled with a side of savory potatoes au gratin and a mixture of broccoli & green beans.

What’s excellent about Choice is it’s flexibility- both in the menu itself and in the way you want to spend your time there.  A nice sitdown dinner or a couple of beers after work- they offer it.  If you want a delicious burger and fries and a pint?  They have it.  Tremendous drink specials?  They have it.  An affordable dinner for two?  They have it.  Celebrity sightings?  They have it.  (Side note- as we were eating on the sidewalk, actor/comedian Jeff Garlin passed by our table, while talking on his phone, and waived back in response of our tip of our wine glass)  From salads to burgers, to pasta dishes, and delicious entrees, Choice offers them all.  It’s often said that you can be an expert of everything, but a master of none.  Choice seems to put that old adage to bed, and reinforce that we made the right….decision….in tasting the food at Choice.

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