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Schapiro's, new(ish) on Rivington St.

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Except for their website, which doesn't exist, this place has it pretty well together. You can't get a $6.50 shrimp burrito anymore, as you could when Festival Mexicano occupied the space, but you can get a nice disk of smoked whitefish mixed with Russian potato salad (aka salad olivier - I learned something from the menu). We were greatly outnumbered by staff for the first hour or so, which was great when we needed something and less great when we wanted a little more personal space. Service continued to be excellent even after the place filled up. This is a very professional team, personable without being idiotic about it, and just damn good at their jobs, generally.

My companion had the mac & cheese side, which was fine, taste-wise, but too watery. And in addition to the whitefish, I had 2 each of the 3 types of oysters on offer ($1/each 'til 7). One variety - I remember only that it was Canadian - was excellent, the other two were decent. And the shucking was a hot mess, shell bits everywhere.

The cocktail list is like what you'll find at similar establishments around town, the kind with Edison bulbs (check) and reclaimed wood (check). I had a Bargain District, which involved vodka and calamata olive brine and some sort of liqueur - I liked it, but it was a little weird, sweet and salty at the same time, but light, thankfully. Then I had a gin and absinthe concoction, possibly called a West End something or other. This reminded me that I should stop ordering absinthe drinks, even though they're terribly fashionable, because I don't like absinthe.

I want to come back for the gefilte fish & the noodles with salmon balls. Prices are quite reasonable: the cocktails are $11, you can get a 9 oz beer for $5 or a pint for $7, and the entrees are mostly in the low twenties or below. Anyone else been?

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