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Jan 9, 2014 07:05 PM

Three Nights in the East Village

Coming to NYC for three nights at the end of January (from Toronto). Staying at the Standard East Village.

Looking for recommendations for dinner - obviously food is key but also hoping to find small neighbourhood spots with warm and buzzy atmosphere.

Love small plates and open to any cuisines but would especially love suggestions for Asian, Mexican, Italian and any nice cocktail spots.

Thoughts on Degustation?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. Momofuku Ssam is one of my favorite restaurants. I know you're from Toronto, but it's really, really good. Good cocktails at the restaurant and also next door at Booker & Dax. Buzzy but not especially warm.

    You might be interested in Empellon Cocina. Ambitious, creative cooking from a former Alinea pastry chef. Good cocktails too. Buzzy but also not especially cozy.

    For something more neighborhood-y and cozy, Prune, Pylos, maybe the bar or the pass at Hearth (best gnocchi I've ever had).

    Motorino is also one of the best pizza places in town and in the East Village.

    You might also want to hit up Luke's for a lobster roll or Mighty Quinn's for BBQ. Perhaps lunch? I'm guessing you don't have those easily accessible at home. Maybe also fried chicken at the Redhead.

    PDT, Mayahuel, Death & Co., Pouring Ribbons, Golden Cadillac, and Amor y Amargo are all in the EV. Depends what you're looking for. See my post here:

    1. I haven't been to Degustation in awhile. It used to be great but they changed chefs many times. I am thinking of trying it again soon. I think it's worth a shot. Also their other restaurant Jack's Oyster Bar, a few blocks away is good.
      Lavagna for Italian
      Bugs for Japanese Home Cooking
      Misoya- for ramen
      Zaab Elee for Thai
      Blue Ribbon Chicken- fried chicken
      Mighty Quinn's for BBQ
      Cafecita: for Cuban food
      Kyo Ya: Japanese Kaiseki
      Yokocho: yakitori, Japanese
      Kanoyama: sushi
      Luke's Lobster - lobster roll
      Porchetta- pork sandwich, or crispy pork bits and potatoes

      8 Replies
      1. re: foodwhisperer

        Jack's luxury oyster bar has been closed for months. Alas. One of their former chefs was at degustation a couple of months ago.

        1. re: Polisax

          Wow, The place used to be real good. Also, when their restaurant in Ct. closed , Jack's wife was supposed to run JLOB. I thought that was in the summer, but apparently it was before that. Is it possible that they opened a new restaurant in that location?

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            jack told me that it was a problem with the lease... I think it would only be renewed at a much higher price. I miss the place -- it was a great location through several different chefs. Jack is really talented at finding really good young chefs and keeping them for a while.

            1. re: foodwhisperer

              incidently, for the OP, I would agree with Ssam (though it is loud and very variable in quality), and Empillon cocina (which is really very original as a mexican place) but would suggest looking at some Izakawa places which can be fun and interesting (and also pretty variable). I like Wasan and Bohemian (what would you call that?), and Hakata tonton (which is a pork restaurant with lots of other things).. not sure if these things are found in toronto but they are interesting. then there are the neo scandinavian places like Skal and Luskus and Aska which are not in the EV but are a happening in NYC and, if I were visiting the city, would want to know about.
              And, if I were visiting, I would want someone to tell me about the roast chicken at NoMad.

          2. re: foodwhisperer

            If you are willing to venture a little out of the EV to the LES, I'd suggest Rayuela:


            Lavagna is one of our favorites. They also have a good wine list.

            Haven't been to Kyo Ya (thanks, Kathryn) in awhile.

            We've been to Degustation many times. Not recently, so I defer to others.

            Also, like Pylos (Greek). We used to go more often when it was easier to get a reservation.

            SO has been to Hearth several times. It's not really a destination place. Nearby Terroir (small space and younger crowd) is good for a glass of wine and some apps:


            SO really liked Apiary. I have not been yet:


            I've been to Perbacco (Italian) a few times recently. I like their dessert, chocolate slider. It's a brioche filled with chocolate mousse. There are dipping sauces and julienned apple sticks (a take on french fries). I'd go to Lavagna over Perbacco.

            Dirt Candy (vegetarian):


            I haven't been in awhile and defer to others who've been recently.

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                Cafecito's food is not good at all. It is next to my house, so i'd like it to be good but i find it very bad (even Rinconito, the dominican cafetín) is better. Is there a specific dish you like there?

                1. re: LRS

                  I wasn't impressed the times I went, either. I didn't even like the mojito they made for me - way too sweet. So I've been surprised to see them repeatedly recommended on this board, but since it's been a few years since I last went, I haven't said anything.

              2. Foodwhisperer and Kathryn have you covered, but Ill add:
                Hecho En Dumbo
                Le Philosophe
                Pig and Khao
                Uncle Boons

                all close to the EV, and easy from The Standard.
                And Northern Spy Food CO, actually in the EV.

                1. Jeepney
                  Hot Kitchen

                  1. Went to Degustation recently and was very impressed, especially for the price. I'd highly recommend.

                    Went to Malai Marke (Indian) the other night for Indian and it was phenomenal! However, the atmosphere might not be what you're looking for.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: liza8402

                      Good call on Malai Marke. I've been there several times, and every single thing I've ordered there has been really tasty.