Midtown is the center for most hotels and visitors in NYC. It's also the nation's largest business/commercial district. Unfortunately for most visitors staying in Midtown, the confluence of hotels and offices means that there aren't many of the casual, reliable, and affordable eateries nearby their hotels. So every now and then, I'll highlight a casual midtown eatery I enjoy. Today, Kashkaval on 9th Ave.
Kashkaval is a mainstay on the North side of Hell's Kitchen on 9th Ave between 55th and 56th streets. It's a combination of deli and cheese store at the front and wine bar/restaurant in the back. They focus on Mediterranean foods and cheeses and the food tends to be ordered mezze style, which are small plates of appetizers and scrumptious snacks. As you walk in, you'll see the deli counter with cheeses, olives, charcuterie, and all other kinds of supplies for a picnic in Central Park or a snack back in your hotel.
The lunch and dinner menu features the goodies from the deli counter and more. Standouts include spreads like the hummus, tzatziki, and spicy walnut pepper spread. Plus salads and cheeses are excellent. The menu features so many great meatless options that vegetarians flock here. But the star of the show is the fondues. Fondue may not be as trendy as it was in the days of turtleneck sweaters, but on a cold day sometimes you just want fresh bread and melty cheese. The namesake cheese of the restaurant is a white Bulgarian cheese but all the fondue options are solid. The prices for food and wine lay between reasonable and cheap for the area so the tables get very crowded with young professionals and theater workers from Hell's Kitchen. Don't be surprised if there's a wait for a table. It's worth a short wait though for great food at affordable prices.
NOTE: There is now a sister restaurant two doors down called Kashkaval Garden with a smaller version of the same menu, the same prices, a liquor license, and a more traditional restaurant feel minus the deli counter.