By Alison Brown
Located on Amsterdam Ave between 103rd and 104th St, Buster’s is a perfect choice for Columbia students wanting a healthy and environmentally friendly bite to eat. Make sure you don’t blink while walking down the street, because this quaint restaurant is easy to miss aside from the artistically attractive fish mural adorning the storefront during non-business hours. When entering Buster’s, you feel more like you have entered a café in Spain or Cuba, instead of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, as you are greeted by the uncanny and welcoming “un-New York” smiles of owners, Fidel Hernandez and Glenn Trickel. Become a regular, and you just might unexpectedly be greeted by your first name!
Buster’s prides itself on serving its signature Spatinental cuisine, based on the concept of treating yourself to the health benefits of farm-fresh, locally grown, and wholesome ingredients. Using simple ingredients, Buster’s fuses different cultural techniques and foods, finishing them off with delicate sauces, chutneys, and herbs. The protein sources of each meal are prepared with only pure cooking techniques, such as grilling and oven-roasting, and they are paired with healthy greens, fruits, nuts, cheeses, and vegetables.
Buster’s makes eating healthy and consciously while on a budget too easy. I usually start off with a bowl of their soup of the day ($3.95), which ranges from a salmon corn chowder in the winter, to an unusually delicious watermelon bisque on a warm summer day. Although each patron is served with lemon infused water, fresh fruit and vegetable juices are also offered ($3.50 large/$2.50 small). Buster’s specializes in tasty sandwiches, wraps, and salads ranging in price from $6.95 to $11.95. My personal favorite is the salmon spa salad, in which an Asian-seasoned marinated filet of salmon is served over a bed of greens. If you are craving a heartier meal, check out their entrée choices, which are served with a starch and vegetable of the day and range from $9.95 to $13.50. At its most expensive, a meal consisting of appetizer and entrée at Buster’s runs a student-friendly total of $17.45. In addition to the warm atmosphere of this diamond in the rough, the meal is topped off with a complimentary dessert and when eating on a budget who can top that!
Given the café’s increasing popularity, Buster’s is due to extend its hours in the near future. Check out their website for further details:
http://www.bustersnyc.com/, or give them a call at 212.665.5045.
Hours: Mon-Fri: 11 am – 7 pm Sat: 11 am – 5 pm Closed Sunday