The next time you are in the NYU area and crave a great hamburger, a glass of beer and other American munchies (chicken wings, onion rings, etc.), stop by The Malt House. You won’t be disappointed.
The Malt House Exterior
The Malt House Interior
Opened by two Irishmen four years ago –and so successful that a two-floor second branch opened in the Financial District eight months ago — The Malt House serves the kind of American comfort food that goes with sports nights, meeting friends after work or over the weekend for brunch. Chef Armando Avila hails from STK and 5 Napkin Burger, and he’s put together an enticing menu.
At a recent press tasting the outstanding appetizers were the Battered Onion Rings with a wonderful bacon flavor ($11). It was hard to stop scarfing them down. The only reason I stopped was to try the amazing Panko fried Cheddar Cheese Curds ($11). Instead of landing with a thud, as some cheese curds often due, they were light and airy and went down like butter. Only my fear of cholesterol overload kept me from mainlining them. The ample portion of spicy BFG Wings (Baked Fried and Grilled) with Roquefort Sauce was tasty, although I prefer my wings a bit more crisp ($12).
Malt House Burger
Mahi Mahi Tacos
A huge pot of steamed mussels was served to us as an appetizer, but portion was meal sized. The excellent mussels were steamed in a sophisticated and satisfying sauce – a mix of roasted tomatoes, garlic, chorizo, herbs and white wine ($19). For anyone watching calories, this would be the entrée to choose.
But my absolute favorite main course was the Malt House Burger – a juicy, tasty mix of chuck, brisket and short rib topped with onion marmalade, pickles, smoked bacon, lettuce, red onion and Queso cheese ($16). Amazing! And I’m not really a burger person. But this one was irresistible. I also liked the accompanying chunky cut fries with sea salt.
The Mahi Mahi tacos were also excellent – soft tortillas layered with black beans, cilantro, tomatillo relish and sour cream over a good-sized portion of fish ($15). In the past, I’ve found fish tacos a bit of a disappointment, but these hit the spot. Definitely try them.
Mac & Cheese with Barbecued Chicken
Steak Sandwich and Salad
Malt House Salad with Grilled Chicken
Unfortunately, the Mac & Cheese ($12) with BBQ Chicken didn’t work ($+4)). The barbecue tasted like it came out of a bottle and overwhelmed the Mac & Cheese below. The menu offers different Mac & Cheese toppings, including Bacon, Lobster and Truffle Oil. I would go with the Truffle Oil. Sometimes simple is best.
Similarly, the open-faced Steak Sandwich, with Gruyere Cheese on top, was a big disappointment ($16). The steak was tough. And the Gruyere didn’t add much in the way of taste satisfaction. Others liked it better than I did.
But I did like the restaurant’s Malt House Salad ($12), a mix of tiny greens with a good balsamic dressing. You can add grilled chicken, steak or lobster. While our grilled chicken was okay, it was nothing special. If I had my choice, I’d order it plain as a side dish to go with the Malt Burger.
Blackboard with Beers of the Day
As you may have gathered, food at The Malt House is highly spiced and extremely rich, which is why it goes so well with beer, whether it’s your favorite craft beer (mostly $7 a bottle and a few much higher) or a Beer Flight ($10). There are also Whiskey Flights ($28), and a reasonable selection of moderately priced wines ($9 –11 a glass) plus cocktails.
Happy Hour (Monday –Friday, 4 – 7 PM) is a great after work option, with $4 – $5 draft beers, and Oysters $1 a piece, among other food choices at bargain prices. So is the Malt House’s “Bottomless Brunch.”
Crème Brule & Cheese Cake
The desserts ($9 each) were adequate, with Cheese Cake a bit better than the Crème Brule. But who really needs dessert with this kind of menu?
Bottom line: The Malt House is a surprisingly good American tavern at prices you can afford. My only caveat is that as the night progresses, it gets noisier. But it’s an exposed-brick, cavernous bar and large side room, so noise pretty much goes with the territory. If this is your type of scene, you’ll love it. If you prefer less noise, arrive early.
Hours: Lunch/Dinner 12 Noon – Midnight, Mon.- Fri.
Dinner 4 PM – Midnight, Sat. – Sun.
Brunch 11 AM – 4 PM, Sat. – Sun.
Happy Hour 4PM – 7 PM, Mon. – Fri
Wine Nights 7 PM – Midnight, Sun.- Mon. (1/2 price on bottles of wine)
Photos by Eleanor Foa Dienstag