24 hours in LES, East Village
I'll be staying in the LES/East Village area for 24 hours ... thurs afternoon to friday afternoon.
I'm looking for best options in walking distance for:
-- dim sum (serving on a friday)
-- wine bar
-- any other bests/can't miss you might recommend!
I prefer inexpensive, especially when it comes to breakfast & lunch options ($20 or less p.p.)
Reporting on the trip:
Shopsin's: totally worth it on spectacle alone. How do they offer so many items out of such a small space? I had the Ova (two poached eggs over bacon cheese grits), served in a skillet. This actually sounds much better than it was; it was pretty bland. On the other had, my friend had a cuban sandwich which was porky and delicious.
Formaggio Essex: being that I am from Boston I couldn't resist visiting the NYC outpost of the cheese shop. The NYC location is much smaller than the Cambridge MA location but also has the same enthusiasm and knowledge for cheese.
Doughnut Plant: This was the highlight. The doughnuts were so outrageously delicious I was just beside myself. Went there twice in 24 hours, and also bought 1/2 dozen to take home. The Creme Brulee donut with the carmelized sugar on top and creamy custard in the middle -- oh my! Also the black out and tres leches donuts were fabulous ... both had pudding in the middle of cake style donut.
'Inoteca -- didn't get to eat here but had a mid afternoon drink. Great atmosphere, loved that they let me test several wines before committing. Friends that ate here the night before enjoyed in quite a bit.
Dim Sum Go Go -- this was good, but didn't blow me away. And honestly I missed the not having carts pushed around -- part of the thrill is seeing what is going to be on the next cart. That said, there were some dumplings I haven't had before: snow pea leaf was especially memorable. Their roast pork buns were better than most since they were fresh (OK, an advantage of the non-cart system). All in all even though it was good this isn't a place I would recommend going out of the way for.
Not enough time to go to the other places ... will have to make another trip!
Thanks for the advice.
12 replies and no Shopsin's mention? And the original request is even for a weekday recommendation.
I have to concur with Katz's, Hoomoos Asli (better/closer than Taim imo), and Momofuku, at least for dessert. Bereket and Sobaya are great too, but miss my cut due to your time constraint.
re: chet steadman
chef steadman, I'm with you. If you're in the LES, you HAVE to hit Shopsin's. We had the mac and cheese pancakes, the slutty cakes and the cheeseburger sliders on our last visit. And every dish was EXCELLENT. The mac and cheese cakes were my favorite. I didn't think I'd love them, but I did.
You have to go to Clinton Street Baking Co. off Houston for breakfast. Get there early so you won't have to wait for a table. I love their banana walnut pancakes with warm maple butter, but I usually get the southern breakfast, eggs, fried green tomatoes, heavenly cheese grits, and what breakfast would be complete without sugar-cured bacon? It really is an experience and a staple of the Lower East Side.
Cheap sushi - Nori has $1 ala carte sushi for dinner on 2nd btw saint marks and 7th. The thing is it actually tastes like solid sushi. It can get just a tad busy, but never too bad from my experience.
Mexican - Mole is my favorite mexican joint of the area. Particularly their Burrito Enchilado with Carnitas, downright amazing and unlike anything i've had in that area.
wine bar - Terroir and SavoyNY are great choices. Both have excellent small dishes and managed by people who are truly passionate about wine.
falafel - If you're willing to go to the west village, the best downtown falafel is at Taim. If you're particularly craving for a fantastic, real deal falafel, I suggest you go there. Mamouns, Tahini, etc. are fine to solid, but Taim is just fantastic. It's not too bad to walk to, I'd say 15-20 mins from astor place, and hey! you get to see a little of the west village =).
Ramen - It's become quite a big deal in the East Village. My favorite is Ippudo, like many others here. Particularly their dish "Akumaru Modern" which is loaded with deep, amazing flavor. Check recently threads about here, for there are some times where the wait is reaally long, and other times when it isn't. I usually have no problem with an afternoon lunch.
One of my very favorite down home, downscale, relaxing places with great food is Caffe Emilia on 1st Ave btw. St. Mark's & 9th St. Totally, authentically Italian -- owned and run by two charming brothers from Modena -- it has great choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (from great Italian sandwiches and salads to pastas and entrees and homemade desserts. A real hole-in-the-wall find and the best coffee I've had in NYC!
My favorite felafel is at Hummus Place. (St. Mark's and Ave. A). They don't sell it in a pita, but as a side dish, and it is always fresh and delicious. You can also get their hummus fava with pine nuts, their delicious eggplant, and a side of felafel, and stay well below the $20 mark. Their white pita is great, puffy and homemade tasting, so you can make a sandwich yourself. Mogador and Cafe Orlin are both faves for breakfast and lunch. Try Abracao on 7th street for the best coffee and nice baked goods. Ippudo Ramen is wonderful if you can go on off hours and avoid the wait. Soba-Ya has good specials for early dinner and lunch (about $15). Porchetta has great porchetta sandwiches. I would also recommend trying Momofuku - the noodle bar is the cheapest but it does creep up in price. Grand Sichuan is a great asset to the neighborhood too, as long as you also avoid the "American menu".
Falafel - Walk to Hummus Asli (or perhaps Taim, but I still haven't gone there, so I can't personally vouch for it).
Dim Sum - Walk to Dim Sum Go Go in Chinatown, or if you don't mind paying a lot more, go to Chinatown Brasserie, which by some definitions is in the East Village (it's on the East Side, at any rate).
Wine bar - Inoteca.
Bests - Totally agree on Katz's. Cafe Mogador has very good tagines, egg dishes for breakfast/brunch, sandwiches, etc. I want to recommend Japanese restaurants, but it's hard to stay under $20 for most of them. Soba Koh will run you around $30/person for dinner, and I suppose Soba-Ya would be about the same. Ditto or a bit more for Kamui Den, which is an excellent all-around Japanese restaurant. I'll say this, though: Grand Sichuan St Mark's is a worthy Sichuan-style restaurant, and within your budget. Just stick to Sichuan and Hunan items ONLY, no lunch specials, and avoid the "mini-menu."
Pan where is Hummus Asli ? I m not a huge fan of Mamoun;s I used to be many years ago,,but its fine for someone coming from out of town,, Mamoun also uses smaller pitas , giving less of a sandwich,, When Mamoun himself was there it was excellent. The rice balls are great at Inoteca. St. Alps iI like better than chinatown Brasserie,,its kind of a hidden spot in a neighborhood with few dim sum places. ,because St. Alps doesnt sound Chinese,,but they have stores in HK too.
Saint's Alp is headquartered in Taipei, isn't it? I seldom have anything but drinks there, but a friend once got some kind of pork on rice, and it was pretty good and very cheap. It's really an entirely different kind of place than dedicated dim sum halls. Have you had any dumplings there?
After some checking, I'm embarrassed to say that Hummus Asli seems to be out of business (no menupages.com listing; no Superpages listing). Oh well. It WAS on 100 Kenmare St.
As for Mamoun's, their falafel is decent for something cheap after midnight, but I'd like to know why you think it's "fine for someone coming from out of town"? This visitor is asking for "bests/can't miss," and you're presuming that s/he's some easy-to-please person because s/he's _only_ a tourist? Is that it? Perhaps that didn't come out right; if so, please clarify. Anyway, I think that Mogador's falafel is better than Mamoun's.
dim sum- St. Alp Tea house on 3rd ave ( try the taiwanese porkchop)
falafel- Mamoun, on st marks
wine bar : Wine Bar ( 2nd ave and 4th st.)
Open 24 hrs - Veselka for everything from blintzes to grilled cheese
breakfast: cafe Orlin on st. marks
cheap sushi: Go sushi on st. marks
Ramen: Setagaya on 1st ave or st marks
Soba: Soba Koh on E 5th
French: Lucien at 1st and 1st
Deli: Katz's of course
Tabouleh ,kababs etc : Bereket ( e. houston near katzs)
Chocolate: Max Brenner Baldman on 2nd ave.
Saint's Alp is a tea house. They do not serve dim sum. I do not consider a Taiwanese pork chop (delicious as it may be) to be dim sum. Dim sum to me is har gow, sui mai, cheung fun, etc.
Max Brenner is disgusting. I would go to Black Hound, Bespoke Chocolates, or Bond St Chocolates instead.