The Coffee Shop is that corner restaurant in Union Square that is always packed during lunch or brunch and has amazing and unavoidable outdoor seating ideal for people watching- especially for the eclectic and bustling Union Square crowd. It’s a spot that I have avoided since I transplanted here because it’s so obvious and the menu is like a bar menu: full of typical calamari, burgers, fajitas and fish ‘n chips and random Brazilian specialties like a Moqueca Stew. However, I was “forced” to go and never have I EVER been proven so wrong about a restaurant or so shocked in a positive way. The food was all great. Salads are clean and fresh, the calamari and quesadilla appetizers are pleasing to all and standard options. For entrees, low and behold my fish of the day special was cooked just right, flaky and not too heavy in sauce over a bed of firm green beans. The golden ticket, however, is the side of Baked Macaroni & Cheese (which by the way you can substitute with one of the sides that comes with an entree). It is sprinkled with crunchy bread crumbs giving the creamy dish texture and a crisp with each bite. They don’t overdo it with a combination of 35 fancy cheeses or truffle oil like a lot of restaurants are showcasing these days. It just has that classic and nostalgic mac ‘n cheese taste that isn’t overly gourmet. I have to say it’s my favorite mac ‘n cheese in the city and prepared just the way I’d request. There is also a juice bar out front and it’s an easy brunch spot when in need.
Coffee Shop is a good place for big groups, centrally located, offers an uncomplicated menu that isn’t too expensive so this is a top choice if you have a lot of obstacles when trying to plan a meeting spot. While it doesn’t offer that quaint New York charm like you can find in the village, it’s an iconic New York spot. Not to mention the restaurant is open 23 hours a day so you can get your French Toast grub on at 2 a.m. if you are desperate.