Photo courtesy of Westin Hotels

Can you actually enjoy lodging and dining in the tourist trap known as Times Square? New Yorkers worth their salt are likely to say “fuggedaboutit!” I too was a skeptic until I found myself at the Foundry Bar and Kitchen, located within the Westin Hotel on 43rd and 8th.  This unique oasis of calm is a much welcome find in a neighborhood rife with chain restaurants and loud pubs.

Chef Gregory Martin is a recent addition to the staff. Martin’s ebullient personality matches his passion for reliable food. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, the upstate New York native has been crafting food for hotels and resorts throughout his entire career.

During a recent visit to the bar, I indulged on several items from their assorted menu, beginning with the parmesan cheese battered calamari w pepperone. The rings were hot, crispy, and lightly coated. They paired well with the yellow banana peppers, adding color and extra flavor to an otherwise common appetizer.   It was a good start to what would follow– the Iron Grilled Kobe beef sliders. The quality meat was nestled between soft brioche rolls with rich, gooey cheddar cheese smothering the patties.

Photo courtesy of Westin Hotels

Chicken Pot Pie, a comfort food favorite, did not disappoint. Served in an iron cast skillet, the piping hot, American favorite was packed with plenty of chicken breast meat, carrots, and peas–all floating in a rich, creamy white sauce. Flaky pastry topped the dish,  creating an inviting presentation.

Pan seared Branzino was equally excellent. A generous piece, smothered with capers, tomatoes in a thin brown sauce accompanied but did not overpower the fresh fish dish, served on top of creamy mashed potatoes. 

Dessert included a newer take on traditional bread pudding: roasted apples were baked into the dense dish, topped with a  caramel bourbon sauce, and served with ice cream. Pistachio butter cake, topped with a pear compote ended the meal. Each offered stylish presentations but its clear that dessert is not the strongest suit at the Foundry. Both were a bit on the dry side and seemed to lack the same care as everything that had gone before.

Chef Martin has plans to make some changes to the menu. Given his culinary background, it will be exciting to see them implemented. For now, this is an ideal place to meet pre or post-Broadway show.  With a decent list of wine and beer and a specialty cocktail menu, it provides reasonably priced, quiet alternative to the din of Times Square.

Large groups can also be accommodated in the Foundry Kitchen, located one floor below the bar area. Here, an assortment of breakfast food awaits hotel guests and visitors alike. Plus, the modern space can transform into a private dining area for parties and gathering.

Do away with your Times Square disdain and mingle with classy transients at this cozy gem.

For more information, visit Foundry Bar & Kitchen, 270 West 43rd at 8th Avenue.