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Jul 21, 1998 02:42 PM

What is the best food in the east village?

  • c

I'm looking for a really good FOOD resturant in the
East Village/St. Marks Place area for this Friday
evening. Checking Zagats doesn't give me many
suggestions for top quality food. Any suggestions?

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  1. My favorite spot in the East Village is 85 Down, at 85
    Ave. A, between 5th and 6th. Great fish, great pork
    chops, terrific meatloaf. The chef is very innovative
    and keeps a top-rate wine and beer list.

    22 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      Ditto on 85 Down--the chef is super-attentive and

      Also new and quite fantastic is Astor, on the Bowery at
      Bleecker Street. It's a true new-American bistro with
      some fantastic dishes, especially the calamari
      appetizer, coriander-crusted ruby tuna steaks, and
      mango mousse to die for. A beautiful, restful setting,
      great drinks, and super-nice staff. AND the prices
      couldn't be friendlier. It's only a matter of time
      before this place catches on big-time. Enjoy it NOW,
      before the autumn crowd-crush.

      1. re: Gourmet Guy
        Frank Language

        Well, my favorite restaurant in the former Lower East
        Side is Roetelle A.G. on 7th street between 1st and A,
        right next to Stooz Records. They're Swiss, and since
        the only really Swiss cuisine is fondue (which they
        serve), their really stellar dishes are of the
        countries bordering Switzerland - Italy, France, and
        Germany. They do sauerbraten and risotto equally well,
        and their garden this time of year is one of the best
        in the neighborhood, with a trellis of green overhead.
        Summer desserts are a little disappointing, because the
        only fruit dessert you might find is a pear tart, but
        everything is extremely good and well-prepared.

        1. re: Frank Language

          It depends on what exactly you are looking for, but there are a lot of great places in the East Village.

          Le Tableau is a great little french/meditteranean bistro on 5th between A and B. It is BYOB, which helps to keep the cost down, if that is a concern.

          Dok Suni - Very cool, dark Korean restaurant. Some people say it isn't real Korean, but so what, the food is excellent and the price is right. Great spareribs, spicy octopus, Bibimbop, and stick rice cake appetizer. They also have a delicious chilled rice wine with cucumbers. 1st Ave off 7th Street

          Il Bagatto - great italian, but it may not be worth putting up with the rude staff.

          O.G. - pan-asian, very good food and service. 6th between A and B.

          Miracle Grill - Southwestern. Pretty good food, but go there primarily for one of the best garden dining spots in the city.

          Col Legno - very tasty and affordable Italian, although the room is a bit sparse. 9th Street off 3rd.

          First - very loungy. Serious food. Pricey for the area.
          1st Ave and 5th Street.

          Frank's - new hole-in-the wall. Good, basic Italian.
          Second Ave and 5th.

          Holy Basil - great thai. Very quite place, good for a date, but if you are in the mood for a more lively setting. 3rd Ave between 8th and 9th

          The Oven - Very tasty individual sized pizzas with a meditteranean influence. Also good salads and spreads (i.e., hummus).

          Hasaki - excellent sushi, and a few other Japanese items. But if your party doesn't all eat sushi, I wouldn't bother.

          1. re: Alex

            Hi Alex -- did you really like the food at OG ? I
            went last winter, and I thought the menu read and
            sounded better than the food that came out. Everyone
            in my group thought that it's just fusion done very
            poorly. Guess I'm out-voted 'cos the place is always

            The owner of OG also owns Raga on East 6th. You know
            how I feel about that place when we bumped into each
            other there. Eric Asimov is quite right on the money
            when he panned most of the food there in his review.

            Catch ya later.

            1. re: Gary Cheong

              I have only been to O.G. once, and I did think the food was quite good - not great, but good.

              I agree with you about Raga - don't believe the hype. And I do see some commonalities between the two places: both try a bit to hard, and both seem to place equal emphasis on being cool as in dishing out good food. I just think that O.G. scores higher in the latter category.

              1. re: Alex

                I always think of eating in the East Village when it's the day before payday and I'm tapped for funds.

                I like the little Polish counter-only place next to STOMP for pirogi's.

                Kiev (open 24 hours) for their fluffy challah bread and a bowl of homemade soup and Matzo Brei.

                A place called La Casalinga which is a simple pasta place that has really innovative stuff -- like a pasta dish with sliced cooked carrots and shrimps, haven't been there in awhile but that dish was something I'd always enjoyed. They also did a red potato, string bean, red onion salad which is a great summer treat.

                There's also a modern glass-enclosed sushi place on Styvesant Oval (where 9th St. meets the triangle island by 3rd Avenue). I went there when Tomoe was closed for vacation and I was really surprised at the freshness and quality of their sushi. The place gets busy, though,

                Oh, and I like anyplace that Gary Cheong reccomends, his taste buds are right on the money, honey!

                1. re: amy tarshis

                  Amy, Do you have an approximate address for the pierogi
                  place for an out-of-towner? My sister loves them and I
                  could treat her to an out-of-hand lunch when I visit in
                  the fall.

                  I second your motion about Gary Cheong's
                  recommendations. He knows where of he speaks! pat

                  1. re: pat hammond

                    It's on Second Avenue between 7th and 8th Sts (st. Mark's). East side of the street. Be forewared, they're not open 'til late. They close early evening. Hey, and if you order the pirogi, ask for the sauteed onions on top!

                    1. re: amy tarshis

                      Amy, thanks. My daughter, (another Amy!) used to live
                      opposite Tompkins Park. I love prowling around down
                      there. pat

                      1. re: pat hammond

                        elephant walk, thai food 1st btwn 1 and 2 ave. garys pix are very good, We love Il bagatto, it really is in full swing @midnights!!

                    2. re: pat hammond

                      Man, I just noticed the dates on these posts! If anyone still cares, the pierogi place next to Stomp is called the Stage Deli. I used to go there for soups and such regularly while Teresa's was closed; now I go to Teresa's instead.


                      1. re: Michael

                        Michael, don't sweat the dates...most of us are still around! Any of these threads are fair game for response (in fact, people are missing lots of great stuff by not scrolling down through the older messages).


                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          Thanks for caring enough to post a friendly reply, Jim. I'll take it to heart.



                          1. re: Jim Leff

                            Any updates to these recommendations??? The most recent seems to be from a least a year ago.


                            1. re: azureone

                              "Any updates to these recommendations??? "

                              The message you've replied to contains no recommendations at all, so it's hard to figure out what specific updates you're looking for.

                              Rather than have everyone fish through this old (and somewhat lengthy) thread to figure out what the heck we were recommending, it'd be more practical if you'd simply start a new thread (ideally on the Manhattan message board) saying exactly what you're looking for info about. Perhaps do a quick search (on that board index and with the search engine on the home page) first to see if maybe we've recently addressed what you're looking for.

                              Of course, if anyone else wants to pore over this thread and reply here, that's certainly fine by me!


                      2. re: amy tarshis
                        Frank Language

                        Amy Tarshis writes: "I like the little Polish counter-
                        only place next to STOMP for pirogi's."

                        Also for killer challah-bread french toast.

                        1. re: amy tarshis

                          Hey, thanks for the vote of confidence , Amy.

                          Funny you mentioned La Casalinga. I liked it too when
                          I tried it almost 4 years ago. Very simple and

                        2. re: Alex

                          Alex - check out The Elephant, on East 1st Street
                          (bet. 1st & 2nd Ave.) a few doors away from Chez Es

                          The chef is a French guy cooking sort of Thai
                          influenced dishes. I liked the sticky rice wrapped in
                          lotus leaf (reminds me of stuff in Chinatown), and a
                          squid and ground pork dish. There are also a few
                          forgettable dishes too. The chef also likes to paint
                          his plates with chili sauces (too cutesy).

                          I'm curious to hear what you think of the food now.
                          It's a small place, and it's packed most of the time
                          with people from the nabe and others who read Gael
                          Greene's review of it recently.

                        3. re: Gary Cheong

                          I totally agree that OG is overrated--I've eaten there
                          twicw and was disappointed both times--it's good for
                          smokers who want to eat out--which adds to the
                          unpleasantness--for me.

                        4. re: Alex
                          Frank Language

                          "Hasaki - excellent sushi, and a few other Japanese
                          items. But if your party doesn't all eat sushi, I
                          wouldn't bother."

                          Hasaki, incidentally, is (or was) owned by the "Shoe",
                          or Shugi Yagi, who was the owner of 103 2nd Avenue when
                          it was an all-night coffee shop (prior to 1990). Anyone
                          remember that place? He also has a Japanese place on

                      3. re: Gourmet Guy

                        Thanks for all of the great restaurant ideas! We
                        ended up going to Astor, corner of Bowery and Bleeker.
                        Very nice atmosphere, nice staff (but a little
                        unorganized). We told 2 different waiters 6 times that
                        we had to leave by 7:15 or &:20 to catch a show, but
                        the food service was very very slow (even though it
                        was empty when we got there), so we had to rush our
                        dinner, and ate the dessert in 3 to 4 minutes. Had a
                        nice diver sea scallop appetizer, a good sliced duck
                        breast with a soggy duck confit streudel (skippable),
                        and a wonderful bitter (not too sweet)chocolate cake
                        with a molten center, topped with shortbread cookie and
                        ice cream, well worth returning for again. Sad to say,
                        we didn't particularly care for the (above recommended)
                        cumin crusted tuna steak. Otherwise, Astor is worth a
                        repeat visit.

                      4. re: Josh
                        Carrie Schadle

                        Alas, 85 Down closed a few months ago.

                      5. I really like Savoy, though it's a bit of a walk from
                        St. Marks Place. (It's at Prince and Crosby.) I haven't
                        been there for 2 years -- does anyone know how it has
                        held up?

                        1. s
                          Susie modiano

                          Frank on 2nd Ave. at 5th St. is the best, purest,
                          tastiest italian food iv'e had in a while.
                          tiny place, great service, byob or also has great wine

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Susie modiano

                            Re: Franks:

                            I went there twice. The first time I liked it. Nice home-style cooking. I got the zucchini puree soup and I think the pasta I got was amatriciana. The 2nd time I didn't like it. I got the zucchini puree soup again, and this time it tasted sour like too-old zucchini.I sent it back and I was not given another bowl of it; take that for what it's worth (it suggested to me that they didn't think the next bowl would be any better). The rest of that meal was just OK, nothing special (I got some kind of meat, maybe chicken roasted with mushrooms). People are always lined up waiting to get in, but I'm not in a rush to go back. Frutti di Mare is cheaper and has seemed more dependable to me. OK, string me up for heresy. :-)

                          2. The suggesstion is to go to O.G. - a delicious "fusion" style restaurant on E 6th off Ave B. Small, dim lighting and terrific food. If you are not there relatively early there is usuallya long wait for a table. Enjoy

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Stew

                              Sorry, Stew. Have to disagree with you on this one. I can't understand why OG is so popular. I think the menu reads well, but the food is a fusion nightmare.
                              I would never try it again unless I hear from a chowhound I trust that it's safe to go back.