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Moving to stuy-town

I just moved to stuy-town (e 20th and 1st) from out of state and I'm looking for the best places to go regularly within walking distance. So far I've been to ess-a-bagel which was great and kambi which was pretty good. Any suggestions? I like all foods.

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  1. Posto Thin Crust Pizza on 18th/2nd does a great whole grain pizza -- esp good with fresh garlic and mushrooms.

    1. Bait & Hook is a decent seafood restaurant with happy hour specials. You're also pretty near Motorino (pizza) and S'mac (Mac & Cheese), both very good. And Murray's Falafel.


      1. Molly's Shebeen at 22nd and 3rd has great burgers and fish and chips.

        1. You're relatively close to Lamarca (22nd and 3rd) -- really good inexpensive pasta.

          1. Momofuku Ssam Bar is excellent. It's also a really good value, though more expensive than many people can pay regularly.

            1. Have fun investigating the area...my son lives around there and we and he loves the neighborhood feel and the many great eclectic eating places.

              1. Ees a bagel is one of my favorites!
                A few blocks south towards the e village will have a better selection than the immediate area of 20th and 1st ave
                This previous post has some good info:

                On 2nd ave and 21st st is Pushcart coffee which is very good

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  Go to Ess a Bagel on a weekend morning, ask for what the last thing out of the oven was. Eat that with no accoutrements, good as it gets.

                2. Grill 21 ( 21st and 1st ) for Filipino food
                  Cafecito for Cuban food on Ave. C and 13th or 12th

                  1. Thanks everyone for all of the recommendations! I'm definitely not above a little walking to get something good so all EV recs are greatly appreciated as well. I also end up around Madison Square Park a lot (work and gym) so if there's something great in that neighborhood I'd love to hear about it. So far I've been to Momofuku Ssam, Maialino, Rai Rai Ken, Lamarca, Gena's Grill, Veselka, and Grill 21. My experience at Grill 21 wasn't great but I feel like possibly I ordered poorly. Anyone have advice on what to get there?

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: Indispensable

                      If you want East Village recommendations, I'll add stuff that's quite a bit further below 14th St. These suggestions are really just in a stream-of-consciousness order:

                      I like Supper Restaurant on 2nd St. just east of A for good Italian food that's a good value. Their roast chicken is one of the few that's really worth ordering in a restaurant - even the white meat is unfailingly moist, and the skin is nicely crispy. It comes with good mashed potatoes, but I prefer to substitute their zucchini "tagliatelle" (not pasta, but just strips of zucchini) with toasted almond slivers at a supplement. Fish is always reliable, too, and they have good salads. Good, fair-priced wine list, too.

                      Yakitori Taisho on St. Marks Place near 3rd Av. can have a crazy drunk scene, but the food is good and quite inexpensive, and they also have good, inexpensive sakes. Some yakitori that I've liked there so far is the chicken wings (1 per skewer/order), chicken skin, scallions, shishito peppers, and meatballs, but really, get whatever seems interesting to you; it's so inexpensive. Some of their larger dishes are good, too, like their duck with balsamic vinegar.

                      You've been to Veselka, now go to Ukrainian East Village at the Ukrainian National Home. It's better and just a bit further south. And there's also Stage Restaurant, which is a somewhat cheaper Polish lunch counter.

                      Mighty Quinn's barbecue on the corner of 6th and 2nd is very good. This is another place that has really fine chicken wings - spicy, but not Buffalo chicken wings and much better than that. They're marinated in a good sweet and sour sauce. There can be a long line for food and seating, though, and there are no reservations, so always have a Plan B.

                      I also normally like Soba Koh, on 5th St. just east of 2nd, for soba and also good desserts. I found the last soba that I had there, with wasabi, to overwhelmingly taste of wasabi to the exclusion of almost any other taste, so I don't recommend that (it was a special), but get whatever else strikes your fancy. I've particularly liked the soba with ground duck, and their tempura soba is pleasant. Also, their mushroom soba is very soothing and has been especially appreciated by my mushroom-loving girlfriend. I don't recommend the appetizers (too small a portion for the prices) or the sake (the servers in my experience have been unknowledgeable about it, and it has been undistinguished).

                      For Isaan food, I have my problems with Zabb Elee (last time I went, a few days ago, the chicken in the Toam Zabb Kai Baan was undercooked to the extent I tasted blood and was slightly concerned for my health, and that's neither the first nor the worst time, but I've never gotten sick from eating there so far). However, I'm still glad it's there. Go there for larb, som tom, toam, and then try some of the yum. Be advised that they have a 1-5 spiciness scale. When I'm by myself I get 3 to 3 1/2. I find 4 quite challenging though doable. When I'm with my girlfriend I usually get 2 1/2, which is moderately spicy. The levels are not always consistent but are still worth using with the servers.

                      Lau, whose opinions I've found very reliable, also likes Somtum Der at 85 Av. A between 5th and 6th Sts. I haven't been there yet but look forward to it. It's worth looking at his review on lauhound.com before you go.

                      For Sichuan food, Grand Sichuan St Marks is much better for eating in than for takeout and delivery. Just avoid all American-Chinese items there. I recently tried Sesame Chicken there, and it came super-breaded, with a horribly sweet and weird-tasting artificial red sauce. Stick with Sichuan items there, always.

                      There's also Hot Kitchen on 2nd between 6th and 7th, which is more expensive and serves humongous portions. Explore their menu, preferably with a dining partner or two. Their lunch specials are an excellent value, too.

                      A real gem in the neighborhood is Malai Marke, an Indian restaurant on 6th St. between 1st and 2nd which in my experience so far in several visits makes everything delicious. Even their salty lassi is really a masala lassi with a wonderful mix of spices. They may be a bit heavy on the oil (watch it if your stomach is sensitive), but they really pack a lot of taste, and they're also not shy about the hot pepper, but not to any kind of crazy excess. I highly recommend them.

                      For another kind of experience, go to 5th St. and Av. B for Georgian cuisine at Oda House.

                      I also have enjoyed Cacio e Vino, 80 2 Av. between 4th and 5th for schiacciata (I hope I spelled that right; I'm not seeing it in their online menu), which is two slices of very flat bread cooked in a wood fire with pizza-style "topping" in between, appetizers, and fair-priced wine (when I've gone, they've had some bottle on half-price special, and it's always been good). Good pizza, too. I haven't been in a while now, but it's always fun for me and my girlfriend, and the staff are genuine Italians who have a love of food and wine and give excellent, warm service.

                      Their sister restaurant, Cacio e Pepe, further uptown (between 11th and 12th, if I remember correctly) serves good pasta by that name, though I prefer the cacio e pepe at Lupa.

                      A really excellent Italian restaurant, actually superior to those I've already mentioned (except for Lupa) is Lavagna, on 5th St. just west of Av. B. It's less expensive if you get there before 7:30 for the Early Bird Special, as I recall. I've been really impressed the last couple of times I went. It's not cheap, but it is very good and has a good wine list, too. If you reserve a table inside the restaurant, ask for one that faces the garden.

                      Another restaurant I've had mostly good experiences in is Hanjoo Korean, on St. Marks Place between 2nd and 3rd, and it's fairly inexpensive for Manhattan Korean food. My one complaint was the couple of times - after they knew me - that I asked for the food to be very spicy and they gave me very mildly spicy food. However, in general, their food is good, with a good banchan. It won't blow you away in comparison to the very best Korean food in Koreatown (e.g., Madangsui, Don's Bogam), but their jigae, etc., is good, and their bbq really is not bad. I had my birthday meal there this February and everyone had a good time.

                      For everyday brunch/lunch (better than on weekends, when there are a few more dishes but you'll have to wait an hour or more to get in) and dinner, Mogador at 101 St. Marks Place, between A and B is not that cheap but is a worthwhile place. I have mixed feelings about the place because for years, they've had chronic problems with their mesclun, which has been out of a bag and not quality-controlled, so it is sometimes rotten, but otherwise, the place is really good. Their soups (usually tomato/ginger or carrot/ginger and lamb), egg dishes (Moroccan eggs, Middle Eastern eggs, haloumi eggs, etc.), tagines, couscous, bastilla, and pretty much all their mezes (I particularly like their spicy carrots) are worthwhile, as, oddly enough, are their meal-sized composed salads (which are quality-controlled), and their harissa sauce is truly magnificent. Their more French-style food is fine, too.

                      Oh, before I forget: I really need to go back to Casa Adela. I went some time ago, but I was really impressed with their pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken) as one of the best in Manhattan, and my girlfriend and I also really enjoyed a bacalao dish. Their beans were also delicious, very garlicky. It's not super-cheap but gave a fair value when we went.

                      I'll post more if I think of more places in the neighborhood, but between me and the others, you should have enough to get you started.

                      1. re: Pan

                        Another direction you should go in is to Curry Hill. A personal favorite is Anjappar, a Chettinad restaurant at 116 Lexington Av. between 27th and 28th Sts. The usual caveats about Indian restaurant food tending to be rich (lots of oil and ghee) apply, but otherwise, delicious food. The place is not particularly cheap, but most everything I've had there has been really tasty. Service isn't necessarily warm, but they do have pride in the product they put out, so go and try it.

                        Also, if you haven't already gone to the 2nd floor of Kalustyan's for mujadara, do. It's great for takeout but even better to eat fresh right there. Some of their other stuff is good (I like the gigantes), but the mujadara is the best thing I've had there.

                        1. re: Pan

                          Thank you for all of this! I just checked out somtum der tonight and really really enjoyed it. Some of the food was over-salted and a few of the dishes were incredibly spicy but overall it was a great experience and I'm excited to go back and expose some friends to it as well. I'm looking forward to making my way through your list!

                          1. re: Indispensable

                            "Incredibly spicy" sounds real to me, though I don't like oversalting.

                            I'm very glad to help.

                            If you want bar recommendations, I can suggest some, too, though you might want to start another thread to keep things more organized.

                            1. re: Pan

                              I might be a little salt sensitive in general. I'm definitely not spice-sensitive as I'm Indian and grew up eating raw chilis with most of my dinners. Some of the dishes here were really face-melting.

                              1. re: Indispensable

                                Wow! I take that seriously! I used to live in Malaysia and have a relatively high spice tolerance, but I do have my limits.

                          2. re: Pan

                            If you see this in the next two hours, what should I order at Oda House tonight?

                            1. re: Indispensable

                              Well, it's 2 days later. Did you go already?

                              1. re: Pan

                                We did go, and had a great experience. Tolma, Adjaruli, Satsivi, the "house special," and Chanakhi. I pointed out that a wine that they served us was corked and they appeared to never have heard of that before (brought the glass up to his face to look for cork and then was super offended that I was implying that they had allowed a wine to spoil) but drank lots of cool Georgian wines as well. I'd say the Adjaruli was the standout best dish.

                                1. re: Indispensable

                                  My girlfriend and I had dinner there a couple of weeks ago, and it was by far the best we've had there, and not far from the quality of Genazvale in Berlin. Too bad they don't understand what corked wine is, though, or that it isn't their fault that some bottles get corked.

                          3. re: Indispensable

                            The sizzling sisig is a good dish to order at Grill 21. The pancit bihon is good too. They have 2 chefs, one is better than the other , so it is a matter of timing. The food is more authentic than Maharlika or Jeepney.

                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                              That's the place with steam tables that's owned by the same woman who owns the restaurant around the corner from there? When I visited (I had already had dinner and didn't eat anything), they seemed to have only a few identifiably Filipino items. Sisig was one of them, plus a couple of desserts and possibly, maybe one more savory item (but I don't remember that).

                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                I went back today for breakfast and again as before all of the meat was incredibly tough, underseasoned, and overcooked. I looked through the menu for sisig and didn't see it, maybe it's on a separate dinner menu? I do appreciate their delicious garlic rice and they seem like very nice people.

                              2. re: Indispensable

                                Midtown lunch has an weekly "flatiron lunch" posting you may want to check out for ideas, nothing fancy- they keep it $10 and under

                              3. Motorino Pizza, 349 East 12th St. just west of First Ave. Lunch deal, salad and small pizza for $12.

                                1. Some more East Village places worth mentioning:

                                  Pylos, for mid-priced Greek food, on 7th St. near Av. A. They make very good Greek comfort food like moussaka and pastitsio, plus the usual grilled items and so forth. Nice decor, too (amphorae hang from the ceiling, etc.). Like most other restaurants in this neighborhood, they can be totally slammed on weekends, so go on a week night.

                                  Anyway Cafe, a nice, informal Russian restaurant with good Russian comfort food and flavored vodkas, sometimes with live music. 2nd St. just west of 2nd Av.

                                  1. Defonte's on 21st & 3rd serves some of the best sandwiches you'll find in New York.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: coasts

                                      And they are huge!!
                                      For the OP note they close at 8pm and are closed all day sunday

                                      1. re: coasts

                                        I went to Defonte's on Wednesday on this recommendation.

                                        The sandwich was good (and yes, huge--two of us had plenty to eat by sharing one), but I wouldn't call it "one of the best." Still, just fine for having a sandwich in the neighborhood.

                                        Lulu's, the Vietnamese sandwich place on 26th and Lex would have been a better choice, IMO.

                                        1. re: Elisa515

                                          sorry you didn't enjoy it more. what did you order? i love the hot roast beef, the steak pizzaiola and a frequent special of sausage, broccoli rabe, and ricotta.

                                          never been to Lulu's but i doubt they serve a better meatball sub.

                                          1. re: coasts

                                            Right, Lulu's has Vietnamese sandwiches--no meatball subs.

                                            We had roast pork with a bunch of things including "hot salad" (spicy pickled vegetables). The sandwich was fine, and I'd be glad to go again if in the neighborhood and I'm interested in trying some of the other sandwiches. The special you described sounds great to me.

                                            Just didn't think it was "some of the best," that's all. Was fine.

                                            1. re: Elisa515

                                              You may not get the chance to go again as Defonte's is closing for good in about a week.

                                              1. re: Humbucker

                                                Really? There was no indication of this imminent closing when I went on Wednesday. How do you know?

                                                  1. re: squid kun

                                                    Now I feel like I said something less than positive about the deceased at a wake.

                                      2. There's a small Thai place on 1st Ave. right across from PC around 20th/21st Street. Really good and authentic.