6th Avenue at 29th St, Chelsea
A few months ago I wrote up 4Food as the future of fast food, and while it had its perks, FoodParc is the winner of this Post-Modern duel. It is natural to compare this east side/west side pair. While they are not related in any way, they did open up around the same time, both offer sleek decor with lots of glass, Formica, and screens, so many screens, and both offer cutting-edge ways to order, with faster food and quality ingredients. But FoodParc just offers more, in almost every way.
The place – not sure I can call it a restaurant – is 4 separate food counters with not only different items but different cuisines. There is Press with coffee and pastries, 3B’s: Burger, BBQ and Beer, Fornetti (Italian), and RedFarm Stand (Asian). You order with touch screens, swipe your credit card, look for your order on screens, go pick it up – and that’s up to 4 different stops, and then sit and eat. I’ve never said this about anywhere, but the seating is my favorite aspect of the whole place. FoodParc is part of the Eleni Hotel and there is a HUGE outdoor patio the whole length of the block. It is between two buildings, open on each end and offers a giant screen showing movies? Images?, not quite sure. Plus, they have a ton of indoor seating, and it’s tiered, so it’s pretty private. In fact, I’m writing this review from my table at FoodParc (with their excellent free wifi)!! That’s a first for WeCouldEat.
So yeah, yeah, yeah, how’s the food?? It was kind of hit and miss. From RedFarm we had pan fried vegetable dumplings ($4.25/4) which had a nice sear and sauce, and were tasty. Also, the Duck Bun ($5.95) was excellent. It’s large slider/smaller burger size with a great squishy bun, a quality piece of duck, not too fatty, and great acid on the shredded cucumber. On the downside, the tomato and basil pasta served on pita ($9.95) from Fornetti was a bummer. It was partially our fault for going whole wheat on both, but there aren’t too many healthier items here. Any of the other options, like a la vodka, carbonara, or bolognese, would have no doubt been more exciting, but I’m not sure any pasta on flatbread is a winner. It leads to incomplete versions of pasta and pizza. When I come back, I will probably stick with just FarmStand, although it would be fair to try 3B’s.
The other negatives were that while I was here at an off-time, it must be a nightmare to navigate during lunch rush, especially since the wait for food isn’t quick – although they will text you when your order is ready. The location is pretty obscure, no man’s land between Herald Square and Chelsea, but I like that, because if this was Union Square, it would be mad packed. The future may be healthier fast food, in a post-modern stadium seat, but we will see if FoodParc takes off with its huge overhead – literary – there’s a giant hotel on top of it.