Mon-Fri, noon-midnight; Sat, 11am-12:30am; Sun, 11am-10:30pm
1 at 23rd St.; C, E at 23rd St.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
17th St. to 30th St., Broadway to West Side Hwy.
A short saunter from the Chelsea Hotel, East of Eighth may fly its rainbow flag high, but it welcomes all kinds. Black and white photos of drag queens and Pride-revelers adorn the walls inside the semi-subterranean bar and upstairs dining room. Eighties gold and modern/retro lite dance (New Order, Bee Gees, Lover Boy, Gloria Gainer) plays at background-music volume both indoors and on the sizable back patio, which features a Vegas-style aqua garden, complete with fountain and colored lights. Eclectic and affordable, the menu, a mix of grilled chicken, seafood, and vegetable dishes, sandwiches and pastas, and homey meatloafs and potpies, and inexpensive wines by the bottle or glass make this a popular spot for group-gatherings and casual last-minute dining. Whether there's a link between the eroticizing art and the food, who knows, but waist-conscious fare such as salads and fish fail miserably. Rice and vegetable sides taste as though they came from a Boil-n-Bag. Comfort foods, on the other hand, like cheese-draped pizzas and rich French onion soup are satisfying and delicious. If it's spice you crave, look to those beefy screen prints or the occasional drag performance in the bar.Extra
If more is more, then East of Eighth's gastromaniacal $14.95 prix-fixe weekend brunch (jumbo muffin with your Red Flannel Hash?) is the most. Ordinary cocktails become glittering affairs at East of Eighth when, on occasional weeknights, they're backed by drag divas such as chanteuse-comedienne Hedda Lettuce.Recommended Dishes
Pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil, $12; warm pecan brownie sundae, $4.50