As Lower Manhattan continues to experience rapid growth and development, the once business-centric neighborhood has also welcomed single New Yorkers and families who have been a driving force in creating a thriving residential community. For the culinary aficionados, Lower Manhattan’s transformation offers a refreshing change of scenery for dining out. Perhaps one the most anticipated arrivals has been the reopening of neighborhood favorite, SouthWest NY.
Abraham Merchant, president of Merchants Hospitality (Merchants River House, Neely’s Barbecue Parlor, Pound and Pence) has brought back the popular eatery, showcasing its contemporary southwestern cuisine with a bit of gourmet flair. Inspired by the flavors of his hometown, Oaxaca, Mexico, Executive Chef Antelmo Ambrosio brings together the Tex-Mex staples from SouthWest NY’s original location with some creative twists using the bold ingredients of Latin America.
Previously located on the waterfront, SouthWest NY is now located in a residential enclave in Battery Park City. The décor is modern rustic chic with slatted mushroom walls, glossed cement floors, and reclaimed mushroom wood and zinc ceilings. The restaurant features a two-way metal clad fireplace and a zinc top bar. SouthWest NY offers a relaxing backdrop to grab a quick lunch, mingle with coworkers for drinks after work, or meet up with friends and family for dinner.
In addition to a new location and an appetizing revamped menu, SouthWest NY has taken several steps to meet the needs of today’s evolving consumer at a reasonable price point. This includes introducing its “Simply Grilled” approach to any dish, allowing diners to indulge in upscale Tex-Mex fare without feeling guilty not to mention offering several healthier options. Along with catering to the area’s corporate clients with timely lunch service, SouthWest NY is also making strides in accommodating families with its all-encompassing children’s menu that will satisfy even the pickiest eater.
With an extensive list of drink options, it might be tough to make a decision on what to order. Consider starting off with one of Southwest NY’s signature margaritas, such as el Gigante ($14)—a double shot of Sauza Golf tequila mixed with Triple Sec and fresh lime juice—or one of the quenching mojitos, including black cherry mojito ($12)—a blend of Cruzan black cherry rum, sugar fresh lime, and muddled mint. For something fruitier, choose from several frozen margaritas ($10) options, such as passion fruit, blood orange, and mango all made with whole fruit purée.
If you’re looking to grab a few beers, SouthWest NY’s list has you covered with a number of unique choices on draft (16 ounces)—Pacífico Clara lager ($7.50), Modelo Especial Pilsner ($7.50), and Estrella Damm Blonde Lager ($7)—and bottled—Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale ($7.50), Grolsch Lager ($8), and Lindemans Framboise Lambic ($10.50) to name a few.
An outing with friends or coworkers at SouthWest NY can also include pitchers of beer (4 pints of your choice of draft beer, $26) and margaritas (6 servings, $45; add premium tequila blanco for $60), as well as red or white sangria ($30). Tequila connoisseurs will appreciate SouthWest NY’s extensive list of tequila, including Cazadores (blanco or reposado, $9.50; anejo, $11.50) and Casa Noble (silver, $10; reposado, $12; anejo, $13).
A meal at SouthWest NY is far from ordinary. With an extensive menu of appetizers, consider ordering a bunch for the table tapas style. Start off with the SWNY nachos ($9.50) featuring crispy tortilla chips smothered with meaty chili con carne goodness, creamy guacamole, cheese, crema, pico de gallo, and tangy jalapeños. For something light, consider the ceviche pacífico ($16), a tangy seafood blend of chile-citrus marinated shrimp, dorado fish, squid, and mussels complemented by shaved red onion, cilantro, diced mango, and avocado.
The show stealer is definitely the queso fundido ($11), SouthWest NY’s take on the Mexican fondue consisting of house made chorizo diced up in a ridiculous blend of Asadero, Chihuahua, and cheddar cheeses served in a cast-iron skillet with soft flour tortillas and a zesty salsa verde. The chorizo and cheese combination is exquisite. In fact, it’s likely that you and your dining companions will try scraping the cheese remnants off the sides of the skillet to savor the taste a little longer.
For the main course, there are several options to consider depending on how hungry you find yourself. SouthWest NY’s entrées showcase the popular Tex-Mex cuisine with pizzazz. If you are craving fish, take a look at the pan seared striped bass Veracruzana ($23) served with Mexican oregano scented couscous and a tomato-olive-caper sauce with a slight spice kick.
Steak lovers will appreciate the mojo marinated skirt steak ($24.50)—a 10-oz slab of beef with the perfect blend of seasonings, served with chipotle whipped potatoes and palatable chimichurri sauce. Chef Ambrosio certainly upgrades the typical steak-and-potatoes entrée with some bold flavors.
If you prefer to go with something lighter for the main course, take a look at SouthWest NY’s taco selection, featuring pulled chicken ($14)—roasted chile braised chicken topped with Monterey jack cheese, roasted tomatillo salsa, and avocado crema all served in a soft corn tortilla—and the grilled Baja style fish ($14.50)—marinated mahi mahi topped with shredded cabbage, spiced papaya salsa, and citrus-cilantro crema all served in a soft flour tortilla.
If you are craving a salad, SouthWest NY serves up the hearty Rio Grande salad ($16)—grilled chicken served over mixed greens and complemented by black beans, grilled corn, red grape tomatoes, tobacco onions, slice avocados, and Vermont cheddar cheese, all tossed in a ranch dressing.
Regardless of what you go with for the main course, be sure to complement your dish with an order of crispy seasoned fries ($4) or sweet maduros (fried plantains, $4.50). For something a little bolder, consider ordering the Mexican creamed corn ($5). The foundation of Chef Ambrosio’s unique take on a familiar dish is roasted corn which produces an inviting smokey flavor melded together with diced onions, shallots, and queso fresco.
No meal is complete without satisfying your sweet tooth. SouthWest NY’s culinary adventure concludes with a number of enticing finales including sugar-cinnamon dusted churros with a scrumptious caramel sauce ($7) and strawberry cotton candy ($4) all perfect for sharing.
SouthWest NY’s location and menu may have changed, but the staff’s warm hospitality remains a pillar of the restaurant’s foundation. The staff is attentive throughout the meal and makes every effort to accommodate and offer suggestions when ordering. Come Spring, diners will want to take advantage of the outdoor terrace, but for now the fireplace certainly makes for a cozy escape from the cold. SouthWest NY is back and better than ever.
301 South End Avenue
New York, New York 10280