Times Scare NYC - The Crypt Cafe
669 8th Avenue
(Between 42nd Street & 43rd Street)
Manhattan, NY 10036
Category: American (New)
Horror fans... Brimstone here with a brand new spot just for you in the center of Times Scare! Yes, you read correctly... scare! This big bad mamba-jamba is set right dab in the middle of Times Square and buried deep within the year round Haunted Attraction, Times Scare NYC. The location itself - believe it or not, is considered the twelfth most legitimately haunted structure in Manhattan, which lends to the overall mystique of the establishment. Remembering this spot when it was a comedy club years ago, it was surreal to see all the hard work and effort that went into making this place a killer haunt. The decor is intense and sends shivers down the spine. There are two separate bar/lounges, a nice-sized room that they hold 'Scaryoke' on Friday nights, a full theatre - with the current attraction being Dan Sperry, an illusionist seen on America's Got Talent (his show was AWESOME), the Haunt itself - and of course what the Food Hounds came for... The Crypt Cafe!!! The Cafe is set-up as a morgue where you feel the cold chill and are sat at metal slabs to dine. The oversized candelabra offered an additional effect on the overall ambiance of the experience. As we arrived prior to the actual opening, we had the opportunity to enjoy a few of their signature drinks while the kitchen staff settled in. So, from what they say... these drinks are SO good, they can revive the dead! It was pretty much the truth too - We started with the Absinthe - yep, the stuff that is unavailable at 95% of the establishments in NYC! The bartender poured the 138 proof hallucination inducing spirit into a snifter glass over a cube of sugar that was laid delicately upon a strainer. He then proceeded to light the alcohol infused sugar, let it burn until he poured a small amount of water over it all to top it off. I must admit that this stuff was strong and knocked all three of us through a loop! Next we tried the Embryoelectroplasm which was pretty peachy (Peach Schnapps... get it?). The 'Shut Up and Swallow' also known as Liquid Cocaine; is a blend of 151 Proof Rum, Goldschlager, Jagermeister and Rumpleminze - simply fantastic, loved the glass rimmed with crushed mints. Etan and Lush knocked back a few Monster Bomb's - a drop and go take on the JagerBomb but with Monster Energy Drink. Other favorites were the Black Death, a $5 special that was fruity and the Kickass Kir Royale - a mixture of Raspberry Pucker and Champagne.
The FOOD!!! We started with picks from the Spider Bites (Appetizers). The Graveyard Nachos were awesome, fun and tasty - spicy jalapenos with a refreshing burst of cool flavor from the pink sour cream and guacamole. The Guac itself actually makes it into the top ten in Food Hound history. The Bat Wings were incredible... they taste like chicken (wink) - large wings coated with Asian teriyaki style marinade, colored with a little something special to get the dark coloring and then baked! The Monster Mozzarella was a WIN for me... hand cut, fresh mozzarella wedges battered and lightly fried to obtain a slight crispy texture. It came with what they call Devil's Blood, a special spicy marinara sauce made on premises... actually, you won't find much of anything from a can here -everything is done fresh daily! Moving right along to the Bat Bites selection on the menu, we started with the Mummy in a Blanket - a chicken habanera tequila sausage dressed up like a mummy, and stuffed into a puff pastry coffin! The sausage itself was unique offering a slight spice with an even Tequila infused flavor. The pastry was light, flaky and when dipped into the special spicy mustard sauce that accompanied the dish, was off the hook! The Devil's Bridge was a WIN for the record books! Named after a bridge in Tuscany in which has inspired many legends and scary stories; this sandwich in theory seemed very generic. It offered mozzarella, oven roasted tomatoes, fresh basil and a black olive spread on a country bread. It was OUTSTANDING! The old fashioned country bread was crispy and tasty which complimented the uber soft mozz (SO soft, like a pillow in my mouth) and the tomatoes. The basil love was perfect - not too much; just the right amount to not overwhelm the entire taste of the sandwich as a whole. Extra kudos as it also came along with a ridiculously spicy pickle!
Next up was the incomparable Buzzard’s Nest – this is a salad meant for a ghoulish scream queen! Bursting with taste bud appeasing flavor exuding from the spicy pineapple ginger vinaigrette, this overwhelming salad was stacked with greens, red onions and peanuts (for texture) carefully placed in a ginormous nest of edible cellophane noodles! A favorite of mine was the Poultrygeist (LoL), a crispy Panko crusted cutlet of chicken that was delicious and moist, set aside a trio of Wasabi mashed potato ghosts with peppercorn eyes! To top it off, something that looked like a little egg was placed gently and strategically on top of the chicken… red pepper butter… BOSS! Great take on a classic dish – really appreciated the presentation on ALL the food; however this baby took the cake! The Fire and Brimstone (which we’ll say for sake of argument was named after yours truly) was red and black crab and lobster ravioli drizzled with a white wine butter sauce that tasted otherworldly – a nice even blend of flavor, complimented by a soft texture and black truffle mushrooms. The ravioli was absolutely interesting to look at on the platter as it had presence and demanded attention. I actually found myself coming back to the dish over and over again for additional helpings! The true test came with the Day of the Dead, their grilled and marinated skirt steak – a lightly salted, seasoned and perfectly grilled piece of meat. The sides included a fantastic blend of sweet pineapple salsa which was like a fiesta on my taste buds – crisp and refreshing, black beans and that terrific guacamole; fresh creamy with tiny chunks. I was very pleased.
Finally, we were challenged to slay THE BEAST!!! Ok people… they brought the thing out in a cage and unleashed it on us… a HALF-POUND Black Angus burger, drowning in a sea of cheddar, Swiss and pepper jack cheese – a slab of bacon strips, lettuce, tomato, and their special spicy FRIED pickles (cold pickles battered and deep fried). But wait, there’s more! All this lays in-between TWO grilled cheese sandwiches made with what seemed like a whole loaf of bread; but was actually thick cut brioche dripping with even more of the three cheese blend. Served with a stock-pile of shoestring fries, your challenged to eat EVERYTHING and if you do – you are rewarded with an “I Slayed the Beast,” T-shirt that you should proudly wear! This thing was huge and after sampling a good portion of the menu… we weren’t going to put enough of a dent into this bad boy! However, it was a valiant effort as we slowly grazed away at the mound of deliciousness in front of us. The burger was fantastic and the grilled cheese sandwiches were BOSS – I wish I was able to finish it off! All in all, we were impressed with everything to do with The Crypt Café and Times Scare. The entire staff was warm, friendly and extremely enjoyable to be around making this a pleasurable and memorable experience. I’m DYING to come back again! Heh, dying… get it? I crack myself up…