Review: Penn Station’s New Moynihan Food Hall Is Too Fancy, Too Expensive

The $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Corridor, a new, pure gentle-crammed transit hub for commuters from Prolonged Island, Boston, Washington D.C., and somewhere else, shares one particular essential feature with the windowless, subterranean Penn Station following doorway: It serves a damn fantastic slice.

Sauce, the formal pizzeria of the sprawling West Aspect terminal’s 3-month-outdated food stuff hall, sells what are undoubtedly some of the city’s superior slender crust pies. They activity cracker-like crusts with a light chew — arguably a nod to a specific Staten Island fashion. A regular slice exhibits that common equilibrium of milky mozzarella and faintly tart tomatoes, although the vodka slice deploys just more than enough cream to soften the blow of the purple sauce. Amazing, ideal?

Not so fast. For more than two decades, I’d grab low cost midnight slices from the now-shut Rose’s at Penn Station and then hop on a teach just steps absent. Items are unique in these new digs, alas. Slices are 5 bucks each individual — well earlier mentioned the metropolis average — and they are so ethereal that a person can polish off two of them in 3 minutes flat. That’s an highly-priced snack at $11 immediately after tax, a steep value for these who depend on pizza as a filling nightly food. Sauce also dares to omit the basic New York cheese slice in favor of anything closer to a margherita. And the vendor, like most other people, sits far more than the length of a soccer discipline absent from most Lengthy Island Rail Street tracks, and it closes properly before 8 p.m.

In a city that’s more and more inaccessible and unaffordable to commuters — approximately a third of the Long Islanders traveling in generate considerably less than $50,000 annually — matters are a bit more sophisticated than basically serving damn good food stuff.

Review: Penn Station’s New Moynihan Food Hall Is Too Fancy, Too Expensive

A panzerotti from Vesuvio.

Moynihan Hall is the sort of disaster that transpires when developers construct a coach hall that doubles as a culinary place fairly than a person that serves as a purposeful spot for individuals who invest a huge aspect of their lives on trains. It will shock no one particular that the shiny new hub is positioned in the very same building — the landmark Farley Put up Business office — exactly where Facebook not too long ago inked a deal for 750K-sq.-toes of office environment house.

Connect with it general public transit gentrification, which most likely explains the subsequent: s’mores cookies organized “a la minute,” piping scorching bowls of ramen (have pleasurable consuming individuals on a moving practice), a nighttime DJ who spins clubby remixes out of Fleetwood Mac, a mini-gourmet mart hawking vacuum sealed offers of goose ‘nduja, and a stylish sandwich store that sells most sandwiches for $15 — together with bottles of gold foil-wrapped olive oil for $25.

Moynihan’s web page states everything apart from the bar shutters at 10 p.m., but in fact most vendors closes by 8:30 p.m. In truth some of concessionaires, which includes Jacob’s Pickles, the Burger Joint, and E.A.K. Ramen, continue to haven’t opened three months right after the food items hall’s debut. And for individuals on a restricted plan, poor information: there is not a solitary flatscreen showing coach departures close by. The many televisions and digital billboards as a substitute show Yankees online games and commercials for athletics betting.

It is truly sufficient to make just one pass up the fluorescent-lit and sometimes fetid corridors of Penn Station’s outdated LIRR concourse. I’ve long had a idea about that prepare corridor: no one really appreciated it, but it was difficult not to love. It was no Grand Central Terminal, with its spectacular arches and famed oyster bar, but the underground station housed a unique put known as Tracks, the place the bartenders would set beverages in a “to-go” cup if you necessary a thing for the highway. And who could ignore the neighborhood outposts of Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s, two chains that produced the walkways smell sweetly of sugar, spice, and, a incredibly sensual variety of butter. Sellers, for the most portion, centered on the variety of affordable, mouth watering fare you could take in with one hand while riding the coach back again to Very long Seashore.

Red cushioned stools with backs, some of them occupied by patrons, surround the bar at the new Moynihan nhall. A Chopt sign is visible in the background

The Bar at Moynihan Corridor.

If the outdated Penn Station experienced a signature dish, it was a cheese slice and two tallboys in a bag filled with ice. The new Moynihan Corridor, by distinction, is a fine spot for personal quiche lorraines.

The expensive sandwiches are great as well. Alidoro, a neighborhood Italian chain, levels meaty porchetta ($17) or funky sopressata ($16) on to crusty baguettes with heat mozzarella and spicy pepper unfold.

H&H, in transform, serves the sort of moderately chewy (and at times stale) bagels you’d expect wherever in New York. Experience like pastries? Vesuvio despatched me off with a pain au chocolat that was at the same time underbaked nonetheless stale it looked and tasted like it was established by a mustachioed Disney villain who hates things that style great. That shop’s panzerotti, commonly a crispy fried pocket of dough loaded with cheese and tomatoes, flaunted the spongy texture of a microwaved zeppole. The Penn Station outpost of Naya, in turn, functions as a pricier and considerably less delicious analogue to halal avenue vendors. This is wherever patrons will experience bland hen shawarma that preferences as if it were cooked in a massive business oven as an alternative of in excess of a succulent spit or a blazing hot griddle.

As for the previous McDonald’s, it has been successfully replaced, at minimum temporarily, by the Burger joint, an offshoot of the Midtown establishment. A cheeseburger, fries, and soda will operate around $20.

The Bar — owned by the folks driving the famed Lifeless Rabbit and open until finally midnight — occupies the middle of the food items hall. Its cocktail menu advertises, amid other beverages, brunch-y Aperol spritzes ($15), although most folks get what you’d be expecting commuters to purchase: draft beers (typically $9) or martinis. The Bar presents no composed dishes you simply just deliver whatsoever food you decide on up nearby. Though this picnic solution to eating would seem democratic, it smacks up towards the fact that any individual swinging by in the late evening to dampen the inebriating outcomes of booze — there is no scarcity of individuals individuals immediately after Rangers games — will only come upon much more alcoholic beverages.

A red and white margherita-style pizza slice and a pink vodka slice sit in a box at the new Moynihan Hall

A margherita-type and vodka slice from Sauce.

Regular commuters know, of course, that some of the finest places to try to eat when traveling are not lasting concessionaires, but fairly tamale stands underneath an elevated practice or a churro cart on the subway platform. New York’s avenue distributors are normally the most effective and delicious conduits for nourishing folks in a small period of time, and portion of me wonders whether or not the new Penn Station would be a extra thrilling position to consume if they ended up invited in to established up shop from the giant atrium — in particular when there are thousands of individuals passing as a result of just after the food stuff stands shutter for the evening.

There is something disheartening about seeing all the plywooded concessionaires in the new station, the closed suppliers in the old one, and being aware of that so many of the city’s independent meals company personnel would probably soar at the chance to quickly market their in-desire pupusas or yogurt-slathered kofta below — and it’s possible by doing so escape the fines and police harassment they regularly face. Instead, what the MTA has supplied us is yet another company shopping mall under regular design, a area exactly where one particular of the only selections for a publish-rush hour food is an egg chunk from Starbucks.

Free current market capitalism is meant to address for inefficiencies by competitors and by responding to purchaser desire. But in this article at Moynihan, the builders, like so a lot of some others all around town, appear to consider that upscale branding and gastronomic curation trump feeding people who want a fast, reasonably priced lunch or supper. Until that state of mind variations, commuters must know that the station’s ageing NJ Transit wing — a circuitous five-minute wander from Moynihan — continue to has bodegas promoting $5 tallboys. And a block away, just one can decide up a slice for $3.49 right after midnight.