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Jun 12, 2008 10:29 AM

Moving to the East Village

Hi everyone! My bf is moving to the East Village and I was wondering if you have any recs around the area. He will be pretty much working all the time and I want to provide him a list of places he can go to to get something to eat - fast/substantial/and of course tasty =). He's an incoming first yr resident and I am sure that he will have NO TIME for anything. Any recs will be greatly appreciated!

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  1. What Avenue will he be on ? Closer to 14th or Houston? That makes a big difference on how quick he can get to spots -- I live on Bowery by St Marks so I don't really venture too far part Avenue A a lot of the time. But I also walk down to the LES a whole lot.

    Grocery stores in the EV

    Bites in the East Village:
    - Momofuku Ssam Bar for tasty, fresh, inventive Asian fusion small plates, but it's not all that cheesy or "fusion"-y -- very hard to describe, very celebrated, very tasty, just skip the ssams (wraps) your first few times around. My favorite restaurant in NYC right now.
    - Momofuku Noodle Bar - probably my 2nd favorite. Skip the noodles (I know, it's counter-intuitive). They have great duck breast, raw bar, steak, pork belly buns, etc.
    - WD-50 for Alex Stupak's fabulous desserts. Similar cooking style to Alinea, Fat Duck, etc. so it depends if you're into that wacky molecular gastronomy scene. Actually on LES. Great, but pricey.
    - Black Hound, Abraco, or Birdbath (Build a Green Bakery) for baked goods. Black Hound is more expensive but also far prettier and also does cakes, chocolates, etc. Birdbath is good for a quick pastry breakfast, pie, scones, or post-dinner cookies. Abraco has a smaller selection but really unique goods. Note that it closes on the early side while Birdbath and Black Hound are open later. Oh, and Birdbath has good coffee and lemonade.
    - Cecil Crepe Cafe for French-inspired Japanese crepes. Delicate, delicious, on the pricey side for crepes.
    - Chikalicious for nouveau, upscale desserts. Not as inventive as WD-50, more "girly," I'd say, but very cute and popular. The pudding shop across the street is only OK.
    - Gem Spa, or the hole-in-the-wall deli (called Ray's but you'd think it was a french fry place from the signs) on Ave A for egg creams
    - Cafe Zaiya for Japanese savory pastries, bento lunch boxes, good croissants, and Japanized items.
    - Beard Papa on Astor Place for cream puffs!
    - Chocolate Bar will be opening on on 7th and A very soon, from their West Village location! I'm excited. STAY AWAY from MAX BRENNER. Ugh.
    - Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery for wonderful cupcakes that blow Magnolia Bakery's out of the water. I've heard good things about Pinisi's cupcakes, too. Haven't tried. On the Lower East Side.
    - For burgers, it's a little tougher. Blue 9 is alright, terrible service. Paul's was really dry. Cozy does a decent one for a diner. So does Veselka. I've heard good things about Seymour Burton and Royale, haven't tried it yet.
    - Donut Plant for unique yeast donuts. On the LES. They also have cake donuts. Some love them, some hate them. Unique flavors like Valrhona chocolate, mango, etc.
    - 'wichcraft for upscale sandwiches, Tiny's on the LES is also very good.
    - BBQ Chicken/TKettle. Same space. The former does Korean Fried Chicken, the latter does pearl milk tea, and occasionally, carries dumplings from a dumpling master in Queens.
    - Caffe Emilia or Affetati for Italian sandwiches. I think you can even just buy the cured meats from Affetati.
    - Terroir (owned by the people who do Hearth) is a pretty new wine bar with a good selection and tasty small plates.
    - Jimmy's No. 43 is the gastropub of choice for me. Order from the small dishes, though. Lots of beers.
    - David's Bagels off 14th Street and 1st for bagels.
    - Luzzo's (pies only I think), Vinny Vincenz, Artichoke, or Una Pizza Napoletana (whole pies only) for pizza (the first three are much cheaper and not in the same style as UPN).
    - Russ & Daughters for smoked salmon (LES). A bagel sandwich to go can get expensive ($10), but it is of very very good quality.
    - Grand Sichuan for mostly Sichuan chinese food (soup dumplings - which aren't Sichuan, I know, as well as twice cooked pork, cumin beef, scallion pancakes, gui zhou spicy chicken, cold cucumber appetizers, wontons in hot oil). I like Congee Bowery but I've only ever had the congee there. The squid with ginger hits the spot if it's cold.
    - Le Miu for more fancy sushi, Kanoyama for mid-range ($31 omakase sushi set with 8 pieces of nigiri + 1 roll), although Le Miu does a great Nobu-ish tasting menu for $55. I also like Nori, the guy used to work at a serious sushi place in Tribeca whose name escapes me. They have good specials but you gotta ask. Kanoyama has an amazingly diverse daily specials but is popular.
    - For cooked seafood, I like Mermaid Inn, especially their lobster roll. Not sure about the other dishes as I usually get the lobster roll.
    - Sundaes & Cones for ice cream. Skip Ben and Jerry's! If you want something fruity, hit up Australian Homemade for sorbet (skip the chocolates). EV Ice Cream on Ave B is hit or miss. I liked their chocolate chocolate hip. For gelato, go to the Il Laboratorio counter inside Whole Foods on Bowery/Houston.
    - Pinkberry on St Marks. Yup. Oko also just opened up on 1st between 8th and 9th. Haven't tried it yet.
    - Hakata Ippudo or Setagaya for ramen. I also like Rai Rai Ken for ramen (especially with corn and butter) but I'm not really a ramen expert. I've tried Minca and didn't like it, but I'm not quite so well-versed in ramen. Sobaya for soba. Otafuku for octopus fritters while you're at it.
    - Crif Dogs for Jersey-style, deep-fried hot dogs. Get 'em wrapped in bacon! So good. Also available at PDT, the "secret" cocktail lounge through the phone booth.
    - Pommes Frites for, well, frites and sauces. I'm not a huge fan of their double-fried fries, as I prefer crispy shoestring.
    - Clinton St. Baking Company for brunch (great pancakes, long lines, weekdays are less packed). LES.
    - Prune and Five Points also for weekend brunch (long lines). RIP 9th St Market. I like dinner at Prune and Five Points as well. Prune is EV, Five Points is technically Noho. The Smith is also pretty good for brunch. Really, though I've been hanging out on the LES for brunch more lately: Shopsin's, Clinton St, Stanton Social, Alias.
    - Chinatown Brasserie for inventive but expensive dim sum. I'd avoid dinner here, though.
    - The Angel's Share for a tranquil Japanese cocktail if you're into very good cocktails. Alternatively, Death & Co. and PDT. If you can get in.
    - Veniero's for a bustling, italian style dessert place. Although you can probably find a better cannoli in the West Village. It's still really fun. Mediocre service at times.
    - Village Yokocho for Japanese pub food. So-so service, but good food. Oh! Taisho for the scene + good yakitori. EV doesn't have the best yakitori or japanese pub food in town, but there's a BUNCH of places that offer it, so it's popular.
    - Paprika for solid, unfussy Italian. The menu's small but what they do is very good, and quite affordable.
    - Nicky's Vietnamese sandwiches for banh mi, although I like Ssam Bar's admittedly unauthentic versions better.
    - Katz' Deli for the classic NYC deli experience. Worth the price. Bring the leftover pastrami home.
    - Caracas Arepas bar for caracas! Deliciousness awaits. Gets classified as cheap eats but isn't really that cheap.
    - Ukranian National Home for pierogies (I get a kick out of the atmosphere), or Veselka if they're closed.
    - The Mermaid Inn for seafood. It's supposedly done up like a New England fish shack, and they have a backyard, too.
    - I like East Village Thai for thai food in the area, as opposed to some of the trendier places. That said, EVT has absolutely no ambiance, and is a hole in the wall. But, hey, your takeout ticket is written Thai.
    - Try Downtown Bakery for cheap Mexican.
    - Best coffee in neighborhood might be Abraco. There's also 9th St Espresso. Everyman Espresso. You could also walk to Jack's Stir Brewed or Gimme Coffee in Nolita (just opened). Think Coffee for iced coffee (they cold brew theirs).
    - Best beer store might be Dual Specialty on 1st between 4th and 5th. Because most of the Curry Row restaurants at BYOB, this store carries a lot of stuff. And Indian groceries. FWIW, the Curry Row restaurants are skippable.

    28 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Fantastic work, Kathryn! I'd like to add the following to an otherwise spot-on and exhaustive list.

      Thai: Zabb City, Rhong Tiam Express (brand new so haven't yet been, but the GV location is solid)
      Indian: Banjara
      Espresso: Mercury Dime
      Soup: B+H Dairy
      Okonomoyaki/Squid Balls: Otafuku
      Pizza: Artichoke (slice), Gruppo (pie)
      Sushi: Takahachi
      Cajun: Mara's Homemade

      1. re: D...DF

        went to zabb city last night for the first time...totally chill, friendly service and quite delicious food. i had the crispy catfish over mango but good.

        1. re: D...DF

          yay for squid balls!! oh my gosh, i may have to move sooner!! thanks everyone!!

        2. re: kathryn

          ohmygosh, thanks so much Kathryn! Your list is perfect! I believe he will be closer to 14th Ave.
          I cannot stress enough how perfect your list is! Thank you very very much!

          1. re: b3ngs

            14th Street, I assume, you mean, as there is no 14th Avenue in Manhattan, much less the EV. :) What cross-street?

            If he does get a break from work, there are some nice finer dining destinations in the EV, notably Momofuku Ko, Degustation, Hearth, Kyo Ya, Pylos to name a few.

            1. re: kathryn

              yes 14th Street! I also wanted to tell you that we went to Oh! Taisho, Pinkberry (like 3x last weekend), Katz's and Beard Papa from your recs. I really wanted to go to Momofuku Ko but we also had to squeeze in some places in Chinatown that we wanted to go to. But, thanks for your recs. I totally enjoyed Oh! Taisho's ambiance and yakitori. I'm sure that he'll be enjoying your list! Thanks so much again!

          2. re: kathryn

            great job!
            I would add the sushi place on the corner of 10th and 1st ...Sapporo East. no many people speak of this place but it is really good. great toro when they have it.
            also the dumpling man...although it has been hit or miss lately. the dude at the counter is always eating. it grosses me out. plus he messes my order up all the time. it is my fault for not checing. but the beef dumpling when they have em' are awesome as are the shrimp dumplings.

            1. re: jb44

              I think the dumplings at TKettle (esp. the special house variety with sea cucumber) are definitely better than the Dumpling Man ones. My friend swears by Plump Dumpling over Dumpling Man.

              And for soup dumplings, Grand Sichuan, of course.

              1. re: kathryn

                Your friend is nuts. Plump Dump is greasy and generally not-so-fresh.

                But Chinatown is close by, so even Dumpling Man, while good, has limited utility.

                1. re: Mazzer

                  Sometimes you just want good dumplings close to home, though. :)

            2. re: kathryn

              Amazing List! Thank you Kathryn!!!

              RIP 9th St. indeed - it will be greatly missed.

              1. re: kathryn

                Can we get a more precise location on this Gem Spa hole in the wall place? Is it good for anything other than egg creams?

                1. re: zEli173

                  Gem Spa is on 121 2nd ave. It's just south of St. Marks on the west side of the street. It's a store that sell magazines that happen to make egg creams.

                2. re: kathryn

                  If 6th St is a washout (you won't get much of an argument there), where do you go for curry over there?

                  1. re: sing me a bar

                    Curry Hill, up in the 20s by Lexington, actually, since my office is right by there. :) That probably doesn't help the OP, though.

                  2. re: kathryn

                    I'm upgrading my Blue 9 feelings after stopping in this evening. It was mostly prompted by getting off the L at 3rd Avenue and my fiance pointing out that had just given it a positive review. Service was way better than previous visits (apparently it's under new management). Anyway, it is still very In'n'Out/fast food burger, with an OK quality bun, watery beefsteak tomato, and iceberg lettuce. But the price is right ($3.15 for a hamburger) and the beef quality is quite nice. I wish it was a little more seasoned but it's pretty flavorful for a fast food burger. Personally, I thought the Thousand Island dressing *hid* the nice quality of the beef. So, Blue 9, I forgive you and concede that you must be doing something right with that fresh-never-frozen beef (but I'm still not getting delivery from you).

                    1. re: kathryn

                      For soba, I enjoy both the food and ambience at Soba-koh quite a bit more than Soba-ya. Not sure why they aren't mentioned more often.

                      I have just a few more additions kathryn's pretty much exhaustive list:

                      - Tet, very good (and bizarrely overlooked) Vietnamese, try the crab noodles and Vietnamese crepes
                      - Porchetta, newly opened purveyor of porky delight
                      - Rhong Tiam (GV location will deliver to EV), better than Zabb City
                      - 9th St Coffee, new location on north side of Tompkins Sq Park

                      1. re: kayu

                        Thanks for the Tet recommendation.

                        As for the other three -- none of them had opened back when I typed out my list, and somewhere, there is a giant Rhong Tiam thread where myself and other hounds were trying to figure out where the heck the "East Village" location of Rhong Tiam was (turns out it was using the Kurve kitchen months before Kurve opened).

                        1. re: kbrower

                          You're welcome.

                          It's a little out of date now. I believe Cecil Crepe Cafe, Caffe Emilia, Affetati, Oko, Le Miu, and have all closed. Chocolate Bar has moved back to the West Village.

                          Baoguette is a new banh mi option in the neighborhood. So is Mayahuel, for inventive tequila cocktails with fresh juices, homemade bitters, etc.

                          New dessert and chocolate options are Butter Lane, Bespoke Chocolates, Bond St Chocolates, and Momofuku Milk Bar. The Chikalicious Pudding Shop was replaced by the Chikalicious Dessert Club (bakery).

                        2. re: kathryn

                          Kathryn: It's amazing how many places you get to! What updates would you give to this thread, other than places closing?

                          1. re: Pan

                            Hmmm, what else?

                            I'm a big fan of Redhead for Southern/comfort food. Great fried chicken. Tasty peanuts with bacon (they call it bacon brittle but it's not really brittle). And they give you a cookie with your check!

                            Pinisi's cupcakes are definitely good. I think the EV dessert scene has truly exploded with the introduction of Pinisi, Butter Lane, Chikalicious Dessert Club, Momofuku Milk Bar, Bespoke Chocolates, Bond St Chocolates, and a zillion frozen yogurt spots.

                            I think I also neglected to mention Zabb City in my original list. And Rhong Tiam delivers to the EV now, too.

                            I'm not sure Artichoke had opened yet (square slice is my favorite, round is too bready/sweet). Tonda has opened in the EV too but I think UPN is way better.

                            I don't think Seymour Burton has a burger anymore but then Black Iron Burger opened.

                            Oh, for coffee, there's now two locations of 9th Street Espresso and Mercury Dime and Simon Sips in addition to Abraco, Everyman, Think Coffee, Mudspot, Mud Truck.

                            1. re: kathryn

                              I had something like a blueberry square at Pinisi last week which was good and worth the $3. You still like all the places you mentioned in the earlier, longer post?

                              1. re: Pan

                                Yes, pretty much. Although I haven't compared Boka's Bon Chon chicken with BBQ's chicken. Oh, there's also Porchetta! Forgot about that one...and Hearth and Degustation although OP's original request was for lower end places..

                                Forgot to mention that David's Bagels closed. :(

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  The shuttering of David's left a giant hole in EV bagelry. When I'm feeling ambitious I hike up to Essa-Bagel. On that walk I pass the remaining David's outpost, but I'm close enough to Essa at that point that I just go for the gold standard.

                                  Boka's BonChon is phenomenal.

                                  1. re: D...DF

                                    where is the other david's location? i know it's heresy around these parts, but i've always liked david's more than essa. a giant hole in EV bagelry...hysterical, and so well said!

                              2. re: kathryn

                                How's Stanton Social these days? I try to go once a year (down from Boston) and it's always too jammed. Is there a good time to try it Memorial Day weekend? Or what other fun spot in the area would you suggest where the wait wouldn't be too crazy? Thanks.

                          2. Don't worry about residency--he'll have time! At least some months during the year...And the EV is the perfect neighborhood for a resident, because there are loads of great takeout options. Kathryn has a great list. Will add the following places, which (along with Caracas and Nicky's, already mentioned) got me through my residency:

                            Bagel Zone, for incredible milky oatmeal topped with lovely fruit.
                            Pizza Gruppo for thin crust pizza and beer.
                            Zaragoza grocery for takeout tacos and tamales.
                            Russ and Daughters for bagels with fantastic stuff on top (even if you don't get smoked fish, the cream cheese options are great).
                            The Indian taxi stand place at 1st st btwn Houston and A--samosas, topped with chick peas and tamarind sauce for next to no money.
                            Bereket for their lentil soup only. Everything else is unremarkable.
                            Moustache for super fresh tabouleh, super creamy hummous, super garlicky chicken kabobs over lentil puree, and delicious rice pudding.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: rose water

                              The Indian taxi stand is called Punjabi. Very, very cheap.

                              1. re: kathryn

                                Yes, exactly. Thanks.

                                Not earth shatteringly delicious by any means, but accessibility, both in terms of hours and price, can't be beat. (Beyond the samosas I mentioned, they also have a number of prepared foods in a refrigerated case, which they nuke and serve up over bread or rice).

                              2. re: rose water

                                Thanks so much! I'm glad to hear that he'll have some free time! The milky oatmeal, samosas and tabouleh is right up my alley! Thanks for your recs!

                              3. Fantastic list!
                                I would add the following:
                                Hummus Place on Saint Marks btwn 1st and A - cheap, fresh, delicious, privately owned.
                                If he's keeping weird hours, Kebab Garden on 1st Avenue. Their spicy lamb kebabs and lamb chops are good, and they are open 24 hours.
                                The pierogi deli (I'm not sure what it's called) on 1st ave. just below saint marks has very good Polish food to go - pierogis, stuffed cabbage, soup, etc.
                                Late breakfast at Mogador or Cafe Orlin (both on saint marks btwn Ave A/1st ave) great coffee too.
                                And there's always Trader Joe's for grocery/frozen food.
                                This time of year the Hiyashi Chuka (cold sour noodle) at Rai Rai Ken is great.
                                And as for plump dumpling, it's kind of a guilty pleasure, but I swear the owner ALWAYS gets my order wrong, and it's always in his favor as far as food costs are concerned (he leaves out the chicken, uses lousy prefab noodles instead of fresh rice noodles, etc). But I do recommend asking for his food "Malaysian style" since he is Malaysian, and it does set it apart from other cheap Chinese joints.
                                Lastly, the green market at Saint Marks Church (10th st/2nd ave) has gotten underway every Tuesday, and has good vegetables, fruit, and top-notch bread alone bakery products.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: hungrycomposer

                                  Thanks so much! I think the list that you all have provided will last him through 5 yrs of residency (and more!) I appreciate your recommendations and I cannot wait to provide him with this list!

                                  1. re: b3ngs

                                    So sad, no time and so much food:

                                    -Second Ukrainian National Home for pierogi or potato pancakes (still hand grated)
                                    -Second Pylos (EV).
                                    -Second Degustation (EV)*
                                    -Elyssa Dido on Orchard (LES)
                                    -Bacaro at the end of Orchard on Division (LES)
                                    -Falai on Clinton (LES)*
                                    -The Dessert Truck on St. Mark's and 3rd Ave. (EV)
                                    -LaVagna (EV)
                                    -Danal (brunch - closer to 14th & 5th Avenue)
                                    -Casa Adela

                                    The Greenmarket at Union Square/near 14th (M-W-F-Sat) or Avenue B and Tompkins Square Park/EV (Sun) - both are year round


                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                      The Dessert Truck is a great addition and they weren't parking around here when I wrote up my list. For Casa Adela...I think you meant to say Kasadela?

                                      647 E 11th St, New York, NY 10009

                                      1. re: kathryn

                                        Casa Adela is on C between 4th & 5th and is a no-nonsense, no frills Puerto Rican restaurant. The Arros con Pollo is to die for & the Cafe Con Leche is amazing... As for Kasadela , try the chicken wings, they're amazing.

                                        Peep Kafana (Ave. C btwn. 7th & 8th)if you get a chance. Great Serbian fare.
                                        My Foodie Blog:

                                        1. re: thursdayclubjason

                                          thanks, thursdayclubjason. I meant Casa Adela. I have only had the bacalau. They even gave me the recipe. I need to get back to Casa Adela and try their arroz con pollo and roast chicken (smells and looks amazing!).

                                        2. re: kathryn

                                          We went to the Dessert Truck in their new location Thursday night. Yum . . .

                                          1. re: kathryn

                                            Ah, gotcha. Kind of confusing, the names are so similar!

                                            1. re: kathryn

                                              kathryn, sounds like a new place for me to try :)

                                    2. Stage Diner (a tiny hole in the wall place) and Ukrainian National Home (both on 2nd Avenue) have the best pierogis (varenyky) Make sure to get lots of onions and sour cream. Stick with the potato ones...they are the best. Stage also has great chicken noodle soup.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ukitali

                                        I don't think I saw Puebla, on 1st at 3rd, on this thread. Its a fantastic hole-in-the-wall genuine Mexican place...super cheap. And Kasadela on 11th at C (not to be confused with Casa Adela), serves Japanese tapas with some Korean influence. The grilled beef with apples is exquisite.

                                        1. re: douglas525

                                          Puebla is worthwhile. I wouldn't say it's great, but for New York, it's good, honest, and well-priced food. Ukitali: It's Stage Restaurant, not Stage Diner. And I usually get sauerkraut or/and cheese pierogies there and at Ukrainian East Village (in the Ukrainian National Home).

                                      2. Pretty sure Ashkara (on Houston) will deliver to you....salads, chicken, falafel so delicious fresh and healthy and open super-late! Plus you can choose tons of little salads (eggplant, israeli salad, carrots, etc) and sauces!