Note: Gansevoort 69 closed in August 2010. (As often happens, a “temporary closure” for renovations turned out to be permanent.) The owners told the Times that “the diner thing has to go,” apparently oblivious to the fact that the previous restaurant in the space, Florent, had a long and successful run as a diner and would still be in business, but for an economically unsustainable rent hike.
The new place seeks to fill the gap left by Florent’s demise—essentially, a cafeteria to sop up the alcohol after a long night of boozing. It’s open to 6:00 a.m. Thursdays to Saturdays, midnight the rest of the week.
I never dined at Florent, which perhaps says more about my drinking habits than anything else. From all I can tell, Florent was basically a diner serving French and American bistro standards, but it had a cult following. The cult was none too please when the chef, Florent Morellet, was forced out by a rent hike.
The décor has been smartly updated, while retaining the feel of a diner. The old “R & L” signage remains outside—a reminder of what the place was four tenants ago. Reservations are taken on OpenTable, but I’d be surprised if they get much traffic that way. The whole point of Florent was that you could just drop in if you happened to be nearby.
The menu, described as American comfort food, has appetizers and soups ($6–10), salads ($7–16), sandwiches ($12–15), entrées ($8–26), and side dishes ($3–5). In the true diner spirit, breakfast is served anytime. So are cocktails.
There’s an amuse-bouche of tater tots (above right), served with three dipping sauces, to munch on while you wait for your food.
My son and I both had the burger ($12 plus $2 for cheese). I liked the thickness and juiciness, medium rare as we had requested. The beef had a slightly metallic tang, which will keep it out of the pantheon. The fries were just fine.
Gansevoort 69 (69 Gansevoort Street btwn. Greenwich & Washington Streets, Meatpacking District)