The Grey Dog's Coffee on University Place
You've been here before, if you've ever had lunch in a New England college town or beach community (think Middlebury, or Martha's Vineyard): the staff all wearing bandannas; huge hand-written chalkboard menu above the counter where you order; planked wooden floors; hand-painted tables; homey, rural knick-knacks; and, because this really is still Manhattan, in lieu of a big ol' golden retriever lying around (also in bandanna), tons of dog photographs on the walls.
If that sort of atmosphere appeals, then you'll certainly enjoy the serviceable sandwiches and salads, the baked goods and beverages, at the new Grey Dog's Coffee on what I guess is the NYC version of the college town, University Place. And if a pang of nostalgia hasn't been provoked... well, then there are plenty of other (often better) places around to get this type of food.
Anyway, last week my mom took me and my hungry daughters to Grey Dog's for lunch. Co had the Grilled Cheese on sourdough with lots of thick, crispy bacon. Like Ted Allen said on Top Chef recently, "If you want to make people happy, two words: ba - con," and, though I thought the sandwich too bready, and the cheese bland, the sweet swiney meat worked its magic yet again on my younger daughter. Bo went the greener route, with an (overly garlicky) Caesar Salad with (overly dry) Chicken Breast. She thought it was just OK.
My mom got the Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato, extra mayo, and was very happy, both with the place itself and with her lunch. (If you're a real BLT aficionado, however, I suggest you try the version at Marquet Café, just around the corner on 12th Street.) I wolfed a Prosciutto Press on sourdough with mozzarella and, despite the menu promise, not-roasted tomatoes. It filled me up. It was fine.
Everything was reasonably priced—lunch, including beverage, will run you less than $15—freshly made and perfectly mediocre, up to and including the jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie (go to City Bakery or Birdbath, or even Whole Foods, instead) and iced coffee (go to Joe's).
The Grey Dog's Coffee is located on University Place between 11th and 12th Streets. This is the restaurant's second location; the original is on Carmine Street between Bedford and Bleecker. They are open from early morning (6:30 on weekdays, 7:30 on weekends) to late at night (11:30 and 12:30, respectively).