Music Pairing: “I Have To Praise You” (Fatboy Slim)
Opposites attract, don’t they? At least they do at SkinnyFATS, a new fast-casual restaurant in the West Village that rolled in from Las Vegas last month.
SkinnyFATS is the invention of Reed Slobusky, a Big Lebowski Dude-looking dude with a talent for developing a stand-out concept and an eye for design. Reed gathered ideas and input from others that helped create SkinnyFATS. He says it’s not meant to be one person’s idea of food.
Reed’s irreverence is on full display throughout the menu, with item names like “Stuff On Curry,” “Thai Knee Dancer,” and “More Cow Bowl” and in the décor, with the word MALONE written on an imposing structural post near the beverage bay. (If you don’t know what that reference means, ask your teen).
Have you ever seen someone order a triple cheeseburger, large fries, and a Diet Coke? Makes sense, right? Splurge on some things and go easy on others. SkinnyFATS gives you essentially the same choice – go healthy or go happy but with delicious, innovative options on each side of the menu.
The menu is divided into sections featuring sharables, soups, bowls, tacos, sandwiches, burgers, and sides. Breakfast is served all day and has sweet and savory items that sound complicated, such as Chickawaffadopolis (chicken and waffles), and Chiamisu, coffee-flavored chia pudding with banana and cocoa nibs. Not so complicated.
On the Healthy Side, each menu item is 600 calories or less and everything I’ve tried, which is a lot, is packed with flavor, hardy and sizeable.
You don’t just get a clover and a nut on your plate to make it come across healthy and low-cal here. SkinnyFATS loads you up.
The Healthy dishes, including the Caulifire, Tu-Nuts, and Brussel Crowe shareables, are robust in flavor and size and each well below the 600-calorie threshold.
The Happy Fried Pickles and Pimp Shrimp are guilty pleasures, but they don’t feel fattening or heavy. The calorie counts are not on the happy side so I assume Reed’s position is “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”
Bowls, burgers, and sandwiches are compelling on both sides of the aisle. All bowls offer optional protein or vegetable supplements including filet mignon, portobello mushroom, ahi tuna, tofu, and chicken. Different bowls have different greens or grains and, in the case of the Happy Buff Chix bowl, you get truffle fries, which are crisp with not too much truffle. Really good.
Burges and sandwiches are enormous, and each order includes one side, making the price range of $9.95 to $13.95, depending on the item – excellent value for the high quality.
The side dishes also are interesting. The aforementioned truffle fries on the Happy side are in good company with the Healthy sides, for instance, the Cauliflower Rice is loaded with add-ons like capers, golden raisins, and almonds that really help the cauliflower not taste like cauliflower.
The House Salad is vegan, as are many of the menu items and is sprinkled with hemp seasoning (don’t worry mama, it won’t get you high, and it’s totally legal in this state).
Gluten-free and vegetarian items also grace the menu.
The restaurant is spacious and well appointed, and the bar is really cool and inviting, with an expansive window making the space indoor-outdoor. And, yes, it will be hot in the summer. SkinnyFATS is familiar with heat, it originated in Nevada, remember?
The lucky number seventh store, the first outside of Nevada, is located on the corner of McKinney Avenue and Noble Avenue and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and a full bar.
The patio is pet-friendly and waiting for you, with giant TVs in your sight-line so you can watch the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The wine list is a pleasant surprise considering the cheekiness of the menu. With the help of some of the Las Vegas team members, the wine list features wonderful and still not well-known wines, both red and white, from Sardinia and Sicily as well as cabs and cab blends from California and French and California Chardonnays.
All are available by the glass or bottle.
The beers are all crafty and thoughtfully sourced by Reed’s brother who is a beer nerd.
The cocktail menu includes classics like the Noble St. Old Fashioned (my favorite, I’m a whiskey girl, BTW), and the witty “99 Problems, But a Spritz Ain’t One” riff on an Aperol Spritz.
SkinnyFATS, I have to praise you like I should. Y’all go there.