Patsy’s Italian Restaurant
236 W. 56th Street
New York City, NY
By Jane Feehan
Located off Broadway at the center of the theater district, Patsy’s does a booming business with theater goers and tourists and a smattering of locals who venture in for the characters rather than the food. This was one of Frank Sinatra’s hangouts during the day where he held court upstairs. The same family has run Patsy’s for decades; their graciousness is one reason why so many return here—in spite of hum drum food.
On my first visit I supped on Shrimp Scampi looking for a garlic fix. I didn’t taste any garlic and the pasta was overcooked. A Caesar salad earned the same dismal assessment. The couple sitting next to me, frequent visitors to the place, said the food isn’t great but they come back to see who’s there.
Singer Michael Bublé and wife came in on one of my visits but did not stay to eat. He had to know that role model Sinatra frequented the restaurant. Characters still flock here but not so much the high-profile type. I couldn’t help but notice that some dining could have been “made guys” or wanted to be. Most of all they wanted to see or be seen, providing aware guests some entertainment with their bear hugs of old and new associates.
On another visit with a friend, we dined on seafood and pasta, and gnocchi and had to discretely extricate shrimp shells from mouthfuls of pasta. Not a pleasant experience for those who tend to get embarrassed by such things.
Service is excellent and they expertly move customers in and out of the crowded spot. A small full-service bar offers a few seats but this is not the place for a leisurely drink before dinner. Move ‘em on, head ‘em out.
Tags: New York City restaurants, restaurants near CBS David Letterman Theater, Italian restaurants in NYC, restaurants near Broadway, Pre-fix pre-theater menus in NYC