Zibetto Espresso Bar
1385 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY
Manhattan Gourmet 56
1377 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY
A sunny 86F day in NYC with nothing to do in the morning. A perfect setup for a casual walk in Manhattan and to grab a simple breakfast to enjoy on the benches of Central Park. As a die-hard addict in need of a stiff cup of coffee in the morning, my first stop after bypassing those dreadful Starbucks outlets was Zibetto. Essentially a long narrow space that couldn’t be more than eight feet wide and anchored by a sleek looking, white tiled and similarly colored marble counter-top bar accented with some metallic touches, it fit with my mental image of an Italian espresso bar.
Staffed with some slick looking, white shirted gents efficiently buzzing around behind the bar, there was already a strong lineup in place, as well as some other customers enjoying their cups of hot liquid at the tiny armrest like shelves jutting out from the walls. Clearly, its a place to have your drink in a jiffy, no lounging around here sucking up free wi-fi or anything and generally disrupting the business need of turnover on the part of the proprietors.
With a short, matter of fact menu of drinks, I liked how straight to the point they were with their offerings. I grabbed my caffe to go and passed on the available panino, and headed down the same street in search of something to balance out my breakfast.
How does one describe Manhattan 56, with its American breakfast and classic sandwich offerings, but also spaces inside that sold Japanese noodles as well as sushi? This bizarre hybrid distracted me for a moment as I wondered who would want to eat sushi in a place like this. Then the hunger growl kicked in and I focused my attention to their 6am-11am breakfast menu.
As a child, my mother would often make me BLT’s on weekend mornings. Perhaps partly because I would wake up later than on school days, my day starter meals morphed into something more substantial than cereal, hence the two and sometimes three sandwiches that I could wolf down as a high metabolism child. For $4.25 I thought it was a touch high for a single sandwich but as this was NYC, I figured there was nothing I could do. At least what I got was a delicious and completely freshly made, ingredient rich package. Perfectly toasted just to my liking – on the lighter side – it worked well with the crispness of the lettuce layer, the juicy tomatoes and of course, the crispy bacon.
Parking my rear end on a bench near the tourist-chumming horse carriages, I settled down for my people watching and morning meal, and even got entertained by a pair of horse owners/drivers getting into an actual fist fight at 10 o’clock in the morning. Clearly, people don’t hold back in the Big Apple. Love this town!