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Apr 11, 2010 05:40 PM

Guests in the E Village/LES: Help Please?

My uncle, his partner, and their good friends, another couple, are coming into Manhattan for a long weekend (4/25) to celebrate a birthday. I'm joining them for the day on Saturday, and we have a reservation at Milk and Honey (Delancey and Eldridge) at 8 p.m. We want to have dinner afterward somewhere nearby, preferably in walking distance (up to 20 min. walk or so). They tried and failed to get a reservation at Momofuku Ko, and asked me for other suggestions. I love food, but I live in Brooklyn, so I'm not super-familiar with the neighborhood. They also have a bigger budget than I'm used to having (hooray for that -- I love trying new places when they're in town.), so I'm looking for help.

I'm looking for something special and comfortable, though not necessarily expensive. Any cuisine that's not American or New American. They're eating at BLT Prime the night before. They travel a lot,and love deliciousness, so they're fairly adventurous, and I really want to find something new for them that they'll love.

I would like to try Degustation sometime, but figure that five people is too many for the space.

Should we try Ssam Bar or MF Noodle Bar, or will they be impossible at 10 p.m. on a Saturday?
We're not going to want to wait a long time to get in somewhere.

I'd love to hear your ideas.

BLT Prime
111 East 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010

Momofuku Ko
163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

Milk and Honey
134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

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  1. You should try Kuma Inn on the LES. BYOB and Filipino/Thai Fusion. I really love the food there.

    The Stanton Social is in the area you're going to be in as well as Schiller's Liquor Bar.

    Stanton Social
    99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

    Kuma Inn
    113 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

    Schiller's Liquor Bar
    131 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

    1 Reply
    1. re: CMG920

      I also love Kuma Inn. But five might be a bit of a wait around 10ish on a Saturday night, so I'd make a reservation if you were interested. And I don't know if it's special occasion enough for out of town guests if you were originally considering Degustation.

      I don't think Stanton Social or Schiller's is anywhere near the level Degustation is.

    2. A party of 5 is going to be a bit of a wait no matter where you are, unless you've got a reservation since you guys will probably need a 6-top, no? And you're right, a party of five is going to be a bit awkward at Degustation, unless you get just the right part of the counter where the corner is.

      There will probably be a bit Noodle or Ssam, especially since the larger tables at Ssam are typically used for the Bo Ssam meal, which is served right around 10/10:30pm.

      Additionally, dinner reservations for Ko are only take 6 days in advance so I'm not sure how your friends tried and failed to get a reservation. Did you mean the Bo Ssam meal at Ssam Bar? Or the fried chicken dinner at Noodle Bar? The good thing about both of these is that turnover is relatively quick.

      But if you're willing to walk up to 20 minutes away you have a ton of options. Prune, Peasant, Cafe Katja, Sorella, The Monday Room, DBGB, Pulino's, any other specifics except special, delicious, adventurous? What exactly is the budget they have in mind, including tax, tip, drinks/wine?

      Cafe Katja
      79 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

      The Monday Room
      210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

      95 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

      299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

      282 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

      1. Thanks, Kathryn and CMG920.
        I consulted with my gang and got some further info: I was mistaken about Ko. They tried to get the fried chicken reservation at MF Noodle. And we decided that we are looking for something more casual than Ko or Degustation. Maximum $50pp including tax, tip, drinks.
        They want a cuisine that anything other than American: Any Asian, Latin, Middle Eastern, or anything else.

        - What should we expect for a wait time at MF Noodle on a Saturday night around 10?
        - What would be your recommendation for a nearby Ramen/Noodle spot, if we wanted to concentrate on noodles? (I understand that noodles aren't necessarily the recommended thing to order at MF.) Any place that also has nice drinks?
        - Thanks for the Kuma Inn recommendation -- it's now on my list, though, ironically, the byob, which would usually be a huge plus for me is a slight drawback for this night -- not sure we want to be carrying wine in a bag into Milk and Honey, though I'm sure there's a wine store nearby we could stop at. I'm happy to try to get reservations there or anywhere, if that will help cut down on waits.
        - Anything else we should be looking at?

        Thanks so much!

        Kuma Inn
        113 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

        Milk and Honey
        134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

        2 Replies
        1. re: abijah

          Never done Momofuku Noodle on a Saturday night with that many, so I can't help you there.

          Ramen and noodle places tend to be quite a bit more casual and not have a fancy cocktail list. If you're into cocktails, moreso than the food angle, I might try to get a late reservation at PDT. Or try to walk into Mayahuel. There's also Death & Co nearby but a party of 5 on a Saturday night might be really tough as it's not that big. PDT, Mayahuel, and D&C all have food, too.

          Also, Yerba Buena has a GREAT drinks list done by a former Pegu Club bartender. If you're into spicy drinks and/or sour drinks, that would be my recommendation. It's a bit loud, though, and they only take cash or Amex. Not sure about reservations, I believe they only take them on non-weekend nights.

          Momofuku Noodle Bar
          171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

          Pegu Club
          77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

          Yerba Buena
          23 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

          304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

          1. re: abijah

            You can do quite well at Peasant for $50pp and they have a cocktail list as well as some more interesting, adventurous items.

          2. One more question: How about Caracas Arepa Bar? Recommend for party of 5? Will the wait be likely to be over 20 minutes at 10 on a Saturday?


            Caracas Arepa Bar
            93 1/2 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

            6 Replies
            1. re: abijah

              Caracas always has a hellacious wait. Plus, imho, the food there isn't that amazing. I'm probably in the minority here though. I recently went to Back Forty on Avenue B. It's New American & very darn good. I'm also a fan of Apiary & Northern Spy Food Co. (tiny though, not sure if they take reservations). Good luck & happy eating!!!

              Back Forty
              190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

              Northern Spy Food Co.
              511 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

              1. re: EV_Eats

                Didn't abijah say a cuisine that anything other than American?

                1. re: kathryn

                  Whoops, so he did!!! I retract my recs! So try; Buenos Aires (Argentine Steakhouse), Belcourt (French) or Kafana (Serbian).

                  Buenos Aires
                  513 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

                  84 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003

                  116 Ave C, New York, NY 10009

              2. re: abijah

                I recently saw something on Caracas Arepa Bar and was also curious. Had to look up what "Arepa" was, looks really good! So if Caracas is not the place to go for this, wonder where -- we don't even have these in my neck of the woods. Anyone?

                Caracas Arepa Bar
                93 1/2 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                1. re: kessdarln

                  Caracas is good but really popular and a little overpriced.

                  I've been meaning to try this place out:

                  1. re: kathryn

                    I would be interested in what you think. I only heard of arepas yesterday while reading posts and I'm curious where to try them when I get there (still a few months out). We don't have anything like that in my neck of the woods.

              3. w d~50, Freemans, ápizz
                "Wylie Dufresne (the WD in WD-50) is that rare thing on the New York cooking scene—a home-grown talent. In his industrious culinary atelier down on Clinton Street, he produces some of the most cutting-edge cooking in New York or anywhere else." NY Magazine

                50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                3 Replies
                1. re: Rmis32

                  Maximum $50pp including tax, tip, drinks means that WD-50 is probably out.

                  Freemans is American cuisine, which the original requestor said they didn't want.

                  50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                  1. re: kathryn

                    not, strictly speaking, LES, but what about falai?...innovative italian in a stylish setting...and not far from m&h...
                    or, for soba/udon/small dishes, soba koh or soba ya (both reservable, i think...koh is smaller and more tranquil)...

                    1. re: theimpatientcook

                      Falai (which is, strictly speaking, LES) could break the $50 pp limit, though they might have a prix-fixe with scaled-down dishes - worth checking into, certainly. You could probably do a la carte with a couple of shared desserts, also.

                      Prune (East Village) you might be able to do as well.

                      Either Momofuku: 10 PM, 5 people, Saturday night? Be prepared to w-a-i-t...

                      There's also a really good new fancy-taco/mexican place that opened on Ludlow - Los Feliz. Julieta Ballesteros, the chef from Crema, is running it. Had a great meal there the other night, just by sampling half the tacos on the menu. All excellent.

                      68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                      54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

                      Los Feliz
                      109 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002