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East Village cool spots??

Im headed to NYC in a few days and am looking for some cool restaurants to check out. I have been to Kenka on St. Marks for some interesting eats and Banjara on 6th and 1st, I believe it is, and I am curious to know what else is out there that's really cool with great food. Anything outside of the East Village is ok with me too if its really great. Thanks
Stephan
PS. Check out the Knitting Factory on Tuesday the 5th for some good live music.

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  1. Kuma Inn is a fun/interesting place to go to - they have asian tapas. Also, Cube 63 is a fun BYOB sushi place to go in that area.

    1. Not sure your definition of "cool", so I picked a few places that have a similar vibe to Kenka or Banjara (and places that you can sit down and chill out with some alcohol). Right off my head I can think of:

      - Degustation for incredibly delicious tapas in an initmate seating (cool in the sense that you sit in front of the "working kitchen" and watch the chef cooks your food)
      - Momofuku Noodle / Ssam Bar (I like the latter one better)
      - Caracas Arepa Bar for a wide selection of arepas and drinks
      - Kasadela for sake tasting and simple umami
      - Gama has a cool bar and the Korean food there is quite delicious
      - Alta for some Spanish tapas (cheap!) and drinks
      - ChikaLicious for dessert tasting

      Not a big fan of Yakitori Taisho, but some hounds like it for yakitori.

      If I can think of more I will add to the list.

      1. Steve!! It's Jane! Fancy meeting you here!!!

        Momofuku Ssam Bar is the place I showed you last time you were here that I wanted to go to. Another place that looks really interesting (but may not be) is the Ukrainian National Home restaurant. It's pretty easy to miss. Not sure how exciting Ukrainian food is but hey. Otherwise, maybe Senegalese/African up in Harlem.

        5 Replies
        1. re: janethepain

          Definitely second Momofuku Ssam, Kasadela, & Caracas. Degustation is a great rec too, but not as laid back as the others, IMHO.

          Along the lines of Ukranian food there's Veselka, open 24 hrs. Also recommend Otafuku on 9th btw. 2 & 3. Not a sit down place but definitely cool and interesting. Decibel, also on 9th btw 2nd & 3rd is great, but I've only gone for the sake.

          1. re: janethepain

            I go to Ukrainian National Home all the time. It's not cool. Very ethnic, good comfort food (pierogi, hand grated potato pancakes, etc.). Value priced. Like Babci used to make. Just went to Degustation and loved it! Do a search to read recent threads. Thanks again, to all the chowhounders who gave us great advice re: Degustation.

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              UKN could be cool in an ironic kinda way. Good place to take your hipster friends. :)

              1. re: piccola

                Interesting point of view. . . I avoid "cool" and trendy like the plague. :)

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  I avoid expensive and mediocre, which trendy places can be (but aren't always).

          2. If you like soba, there are two soba houses I know of in the East Village: Soba-Ya and Soba Koh. I've been going to Soba Koh lately, but I also went to Soba-Ya a few years ago and liked them, as well. The problem with Soba-Ya is that there can be a line, whereas I've never had to wait for a table at Soba Koh. I'd call them "cool," but I may be older than you and have a different feeling of what "cool" is. I'd describe both of them, I guess, as fairly sedate, civilized, pleasant places.

            1. not sure about cool, kano yano on 2nd ave for sushi,, go sushi on st marks for inexpensive sushi or fried japanese crepes or squid balls. chocolate by the baldman, and momofuko on 1st for pork buns and ramen

              1 Reply
              1. re: burp

                I guess the word cool is pretty vague so its hard to give suggestions. I kinda like that though because now I have so many places from the board that I really want to check out. For me, cool just means unique and authentic without a pompus attitude. It could be any type of food but just nothing bland and ordinary. That's why I thought Kenka was so cool. You can find things you probably cant find a lot of other places in the city, along with get some standard Japanese options, and only spend $10. Plus drinks are cheap and its a fun atmosphere.
                I did get to go to Soba-Ya last night which was pretty good. I got there at the end of the night too so there was no wait and the food came quickly.
                Thanks for all the suggestions.