The Rusty Knot is a bar no one would have noticed, if it didn’t have Ken Friedman (The Spotted Pig, The John Dory) and Taavo Somer (Freemans) as co-owners. It is carefully gussied up to look like a dive bar, which is exactly the point. You would think, “this has been here forever,” unless you knew that it opened last year.
The still-evolving menu isn’t long, but what they serve is cheap, and mostly successful. Restaurant industry types show up here, as they do at the Pig, Momofuku, etc., because pretty damned good comfort food is served without much pretense.
The location isn’t ideal: cold, inhospitable West Street, a very long walk from mass transit. But if you manage to get there early enough, there are priceless views of sunset over the Hudson River, and you avoid the crowds. If you prefer dining late, the kitchen is open till 3:00 a.m.
Oddly enough, there are three Michelin-starred restaurants less than five minutes away: Perry St., Wallsé, and the Spotted Pig. Which just goes to show that West Street is a lot more hospitable than it used to be.
The Pretzel Dog ($4; above left) comes freshly baked. It’s not noticeably better than Auntie Anne’s, except for Gray Poupon on the side and handi-wipes to wash your hands afterwards. Potato Wedges ($8; above right) are dipped in thyme, oregono, rosemary, paprika and chives, with a house made sour cream on the side. For bar food, it’s a pretty memorable dish.
To go with that, I had a couple of beers I’d never heard of: Red Stripe and Abita Light, both in bottles, and both $6.
It’s not your average dive bar.
The Rusty Knot (425 West Street at W. 11th Street, West Village)