Highline Ballroom Aims ... High

The food at Highline Ballroom, the big music venue on West 16th Street set to open on the 30th, looks like it might be a step up from the usual club grub. Though a chef hasnt been hired yet, the menu is basically in place, were told by management, and it seems pretty ambitious: There will be a small-plates menu starting at $3, which will include truffle-butter popcorn, spicy candied whole almonds, and eggplant caviar; appetizers such as chicken-wing lollipops with chile-lime-peanut glaze, in the $8 range; and entres, starting at $16 and topping off at around $26, including Columbia river salmon with crushed potato cake, pan-roasted chicken with smoked peppers and rice with coconut-curry broth, and bone-on filet mignon. The menu isnt official yet, and the chef, when he is hired (sometime in the next week or so), will no doubt tweak it, but were looking forward to sampling it. Anything is better than the chicken fingers we used to choke down at Maxwells.

Highline Ballroom, 431 W 16th St., nr. Tenth Ave.; 212-414-5994.