The Weekend Shortlist October 10 to 12
Friday October 10
Take indie pop and add some performance art along with songs that get crowds pumped and that is just the tip of the iceberg called Of Montreal. Live they are a vaudevillian act with great melodies and sing along choruses. The owner of Go!Go! Curry! is openly obsessed with Yankee player Hideki Matsui and his Jersey (55). The menu’s theme is baseball and katsu (a fried meat, chicken or shrimp cutlet), served in a curry sauce is the specialty here. Portion sizes are Walk (small), Single (Med.), Double (L), and Triple (XL) and are inexpensive. The mascot, a gorilla for some reason, is plastered everywhere, making this place even quirkier. In the heart of the garment district, Stitch, a cozy after-work bar/lounge, stocks a cocktail menu with a design theme. If you’ve still got energy and are in the mood to bowl, check out Leisure Time Bowl. Located in the Port Authority, this place is stylish and fun.
Friday October 10
One half of MSTRKRFT, Jesse Keeler blew up as part of Death From Above 1979, making inventive dance music with bass and drums. With MSTRKRFT, along with partner Al-P, they continue exploring dance in unorthodox ways, this time behind the turntables. Close by is the ramen noodle bar called Minca. After recently trying this place, I’d highly recommend it. The ramen noodles are made fresh and way better than those you’d buy and boil. What makes the soups here great is the broth. Take the Minca Ramen, a mild broth with pork, chicken and dried seafood ($8.50), it has impeccable flavor that hits the spot. Plus its way less expensive than other ramen specialty restaurants and just as good. Right across the street from Minca is the Ace Bar. Sort of divey, it’s also where you’ll find people playing skeeball and shooting pool, while drinking some decent beers on tap. For dessert and coffee, Le Gamin Café is the place for crepes.
Saturday October 11
Part of 10 for the 10th, meaning 10 FREE shows as part of Joe’s Pub 10th Anniversary, several music luminaries will be taking part including The Budos Band, one of the best afrobeat and old school soul bands around. Also on the bill is Jill Sobule with John Wesley Harding, Roy Nathanson and friends with Debbie Harry and more. To get tickets, you must register HERE. With sushi that’s 50 percent off all the time, you might think, “Something’s wrong with that?” but the fish is good and the rolls are inventive, making this one of the best low-priced sushi joints in the city. Though St. Marks all of a sudden lost its charm, Grassroots Tavern hasn’t. This large dive bar has cheap drinks, darts in the back, and old men behind the bar, things a good dive bar should have. Excellent coffee served in a big mug and a healthy menu of food coupled with a year round enclosed outdoor backyard patio make this place a great little coffee shop in the area.
Saturday October 11
A collective of musicians, the Elephant 6 has a roster of indie bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Apples in Stereo, Olivia Tremor Control, and Of Montreal. Tonight, several musicians from these bands and more including Julian Koster, William Cullen Hart, Scott Spillane, Laura Carter, Eric Harris, Nesey Gallons perform as a traveling variety show performing music by The Music Tapes, Circulatory System, Gerbils, Elf Power, Olivia Tremor Control, Nana Grizol, and more. Nearby, Pakistan Tea House is a buffet style Indian restaurant where you can choose between chicken, meat, fish and vegetables. It’s affordable and very good. For drinks, check out Mocca Lounge. With a funky interior and a menu of Italian inspired fare, it’s also a bar with a large list of coffees with or without alcohol, beers, and frozen shots. Smack dab in the heart of Chinatown, the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory makes gourmet ice cream flavors like Black Sesame, Ginger, Durian, and more exotic flavors like Taro and Wasabi. Don’t worry, they have the go-to’s like Vanilla, fruits, and chocolate flavors too.
Sunday October 12
She’s been around for what seems like forever and she doesn’t seem to stop re-inventing herself either. The “material girl” Madonna stops by Madison Square Garden to let the world know that she can still put on a great show. If French cuisine is what you’re after, Pastis a French bistro run by Keith McNally offers some of the best classic French food and bistro fare in the city. Usually crowded, it’s not known for its intimacy. Also not known for being quiet, Red Rock West Saloon is a biker and blue collar bar where you can throw back a beer and listen to some Southern rock. What’s a night in NYC without a great cup of coffee in a low-key café? Ninth Street Espresso offers that kind of setting on top of a well-chosen and executed selection of coffees.