SoHo Park: Great place to chill, don’t count on the grill

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Mother Nature has been a little zany of late, bringing us 60 degree days in January. This past weekend brought typically chilly winter weather and SoHo Park was the perfect spot to reignite the summer vibe. Purveyors of affordable food, tasty beer, and a pretty tasty chocolate milkshake, the laidback atmosphere of the airy restored garage is a more worthwhile reason to attend than the ordinary cheeseburger and Belgian frites.

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NYC Food Guy loves him some burgers, so it was with a practiced air of normalcy when I approached the counter to order my Classic Park Cheeseburger ($6.75 + $2.75 for fries), an obviously pre-formed Certified Angus burger topped with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and some delicious thinly sliced pickles, quite possibly the most redeeming ingredient sandwiched in an untoasted potato roll:

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I requested the burger cooked medium rare and judging by the indifference of the cashier, I’m not sure if this was taken into account. After ordering at the register, a runner brought our food to the table, each sandwich resting on sheets of butcher paper in metal baskets.There’s something primitively satisfying about eating fried food off of a piece of butcher paper or out of a brown bag. Unfortunately, these fries, while well salted and tasty, didn’t impress me. Traditionally, Belgian frites are thicker than diner fries and double fried, resulting in a crisp shell surrounding pillowy potatoes. SoHo Park’s fries could have been a little crispier but I give them credit for not being too greasy. By no means do the fries alone warrant a visit, nor does the burger.

For my favorite fries in the city, especially late night, check out my Ziggiz review.

The burger was definitely tasty, a quality accompaniment to a Six Points Ale, Stella, or a Hoegaarden, 3 of the 6 beers on tap. Despite the disappointment of a pre-formed patty, the Angus beef wasn’t too hard on the heart or the stomach. The accoutrements were fresh though I did receive a lousy end slice of tomato, always a disappointing discovery. Overall, SoHo Park, serving until midnight Monday through Saturday, is a solid option for a post or mid-bar night burger and fries in an atmosphere that actually enhances the experience.

In the spring, summer, and fall SoHo Park assumes a new identity: Bier Garten. The windows surrounding the dining room are swung open, a DJ spins in the back corner, the beer flows like wine, and the actual Garten ditches its roof and walls while serving food until 8:30PM Monday through Saturday. I would recommend SoHo Park as a laidback and affordable date spot in the midst of SoHo’s expensive and trendy scene.

Here’s the Lafayette St. view of SoHo Park:

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The DJ will be situated on the far left, right before the brick edifice starts. The green entranceway will disappear as the weather heats up and the windows will swing open as well. The interior photo at the top of this article was taken at the far left of the restaurant, facing the Prince St. side of the restaurant:

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A patron enters through the Bier Garten, enclosed through winter. Here’s a head on view:

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The roof and the green walls will disappear come spring as the face of the entire restaurant gleams a welcoming smile. Eating al fresco on a cool evening, especially when you’re down a couple of Six Points, is always better than eating indoors.

The meal didn’t end with my Cheeseburger, however. My lovely younger sister ordered the SoHo Charred Chicken Sandwich ($9.50), a charred spiced paillard of chicken with fried red onions, sliced tomato, lettuce, and a red pepper aioli served with chips.

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Notice the herbed-buttermilk fried red onion ($5.50/order w/ 2 dipping sauces) peeking out from under the top of the Kaiser roll. Great in concept, poor in execution; the onions became soggy from the tomato and the red pepper aioli. I had a few bites and while it was tasty, the aioli dominated while I remained unimpressed.

With the notoriety of Pommes Frites on 2nd Ave and their 26 dipping sauces, SoHo park does justice to the frites frenzy by offering 7 sauce choices ($0.75 each): Basil Mayo, Roasted Red Pepper Aioli, Garlic Aioli, Black Olive Mayo, Curried Mayo, Spicy Sambal Ketchup, and Smoked Paprika Aioli. NYC Food Guy didn’t try any of these sauces, nor did I particularly enjoy any of the sauces at Pommes Frites. Why? Because I’m a simple guy and in all honesty, what is better than some fresh Heinz 57?

Perhaps the pick of the day was made by my sister: The Chocolate Shake ($5.50)

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Embarrassingly enough, NYC Food Guy failed to notice the shake on the menu, something I would have considered. Amen for having a sister who knows her food. As if it wasn’t enough to see an alluring swirl of chocolate syrup dancing atop the shake, the drink itself was sufficiently thick (opt for the wider straws) and overly delicious; chocolaty without being too sweet.

This might be the best dessert drink I’ve had since my transcendent Katz’s vanilla egg cream experience.

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NYC Food Guy really likes SoHo Park. After just one visit, I can confidently say it’s a really chill spot to grab a quick beer, a bite to eat, or to have a casual date, all without breaking the bank. And in this city, what more can we ask for?

SoHo Park

62 Prince St. at Lafayette

New York, NY 10012

(212) 219-2129

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One Response to “SoHo Park: Great place to chill, don’t count on the grill”

  1. Gotham City Eats Says:

    Nice review, I will have to check this place out sometime. It must get mobbed in the summertime though, I would guess.

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