New Kids on the Block: Au Cheval, Sawada Coffee and Peep Show

Ok, so it’s awesome.

This place is rock solid: it’s one of those spots where they only do a few things but they do it well. It’s reliable. It’s friendly. It’s comfortable AND beautiful. And everyone you know is going to want you to take them there. I think it’s a neighborhood game-changer, especially for that neck of the woods.

You’ve heard about the burger: two thin patties piled with an egg sunny-side up, thin-sliced pickles, toasted bun. It does not disappoint. I got the fried bologna sandwich, which took me right back to the slices my Aunt Eleanor’s butcher used to hand over the counter to me. (Yes, sawdust.) There’s also root beer on tap (!) as well as 20+ beers, but really, not a whole lot else (see menu). The fries come with homemade mayo flavored with garlic aioli.

The staff is clearly well trained, and pretty stoked to be in the right place at the right time. The hostess moved out from Chicago permanently; the line chef was brought it from there to get things going. (They can have up to 30 burgers on the line at once, ready to move. And all this is on display: the only kitchen is right there in the dining room.)

We went for lunch at 11; by noon it was buzzing but not packed and they turned the music up a smidge. Dinner is a different story – the lines are not going away any time soon. Our waitress told us the Chicago outlet always has such a long wait there’s no preferred shift among the waitstaff. There’s lots of room at the counter if you like to eat alone.

What I didn’t notice last time I popped in is a small restaurant downstairs on the way to the bathrooms called Peep Show. It looks and feels like a tiny speakeasy – but with reggae and shaved ice cocktails. The menu here is all chicken, but again, only three things. So far it’s open Thursdays through Saturdays, as they figure things out, the manager there told me. Guessing they will figure it out.

For now, hours are still 10 to 3, then 5 to 11 weekdays, midnight on weekends. Sawada from 8 to 5. Show up at 3 and they will still seat you. No reservations – not even for rock stars.
Au Cheval
Sawada Coffee
Peep Show
33 Cortlandt Alley



  1. Now you got the hang of it. Just in time for me to read this mouth watering description. Thanks for fixing the problem I am going to look up where Courtland Alley is located.

    • Great! But watch spelling: like the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park (a personal fave) we are dealing with a historic Dutch settler name, with its requisite extra consonants…