Category Archives: East Village

Yokox

First, check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

This joint serves up a 15-course omakase for just $89! It’s really close by, so we had to give it a try.

My favorite items were the crab handroll, the stripekack, and the scallop with uni.

Great spot! No liquor license yet, and they don’t let you BYOB, but they said the license is in the works and they should have beer and wine soon.

I can’t wait to go back to try it again. The chef said the fish can change on a daily basis, and he likes to use a lot of unique and different fish than you normally see.

YOKOX
41 Avenue B
New York, NY

The Commodore II

First, check out my Ride & Review HERE:

A second location of the popular Williamsburg bar “The Commodore” just opened in the lower east side at Avenue C and Houston Street. My wife and I have been eagerly awaiting the open since we saw renovations going on there last year. The interior is really cool, almost like you’re aboard a yacht. They even have life fish in a tank along the right side wall, with circular portals for viewing.

We started with two frozen drinks and both were great. The winner between the Orange Julio and the frozen mojito was the mojito, however. They also serve $4 cans of Schaefer, which is a steal. During happy hour, you can get a beer and a shot for $7, which is a price that’s on par with the cheapest dives in town.

Speaking of happy hour, they offer their burger with fries for $14 (normally just the burger costs $14, but at happy hour the fries come with). The burger is a nice crumbly patty that’s well seasoned and dressed with all the fixings.

We also tried their fried chicken, which, despite saying three thighs on the menu, actually came with four. Also great biscuits, two hot sauces and a sweet honey butter. At $22 this is a great deal, especially considering how crispy outside and juicy inside the chicken was. Delicious.

We also tried their fried green tomato sandwich with slaw. I enjoyed this, and the baguette was a really nice surprice here on this sandwich. I expected it to be too hard and rough, but it was warm, soft and really nicely butter-toasted.

Definitely can’t wait to go back and try their fish items, grilled cheese and nachos.

THE COMMODORE II
14 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009

The Lions

First, check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

This place has been popping up all over Instagram, and once I saw the images of their burger and mortadella sandwich, I knew I had to get in ASAP to try.

We went right when they opened at 5pm on a Saturday, and the place was jammed by 5:30. Apparently everyone had the same idea!

We started with the fried mozzarella and Lions baked potato (with sour cream and an egg yolk).

The baked potato was a game changer. It was so freaking flavorful. We both loved it. As for the mozzarella…

Perfect temperature for stretching! And surprisingly light. Very flavorful.

The burger was 100% perfection. A nice thick aged patty, topped with two slices of American cheese, atop a slice of grilled onion, which helps to protect the beautiful sesame seed bottom bun. Four slices of pickle came on the plate as well. We obviously put them on top.

My pictures sucked, but the interior was a perfect medium rare / medium, which is ideal for this ind of “steakhouse” style burger. This was a killer. On par with Luger or Red Hook Tavern for just $18. For $4 you can get fries with it, and the fries were excellent. Nice and crispy, not too salty. The only down was that they charged us for the side order of fries ($8) rather than the “accompanying” fried ($4). I was wondering why this was such a huge order.

The mortadella sandwich was excellent too. While it ate a bit salty due to the Calabrian chili tapenade, the flavor was out of this world. The pistachio studded mortadella had a ton of porky character, and the blue cheese on this was more like a spread than a crumble or a saucy mess. It worked, though I questioned whether it would when I saw it on the menu.

As you can see, this came with chips. So we had three types of potato with this meal: chips, fries and a baked potato.

Side note: They also make a great martini.

This place is also going to be offering a steak night on Wednesdays for something like $35, and monthly “Beefsteak” meals which will be an all-inclusive price that covers drinks, starters, steak and dessert. I really can’t want to try those!

THE LIONS
132 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10009

Bad Hombre

First, check out my Ride & Review HERE:

Amigo is now Bad Hombre! Ruben transformed the space and made it absolutely gorgeous inside.

What an amazing bar, matched by amazing cocktails.

We basically tried the entire menu, except for a few items here and there. As is common with Ruben’s restaurants, everything was off the charts delicious. These were some of the best, most delicious oysters I’ve ever had.

This scallop crudo was a great balance of natural sweetness with some seasoned heat.

Shrimp and octopus aguachile? HELL YES! The octopus here was cooked perfectly.

This corn gratin dip was a nice combo of sweet and heat too. It may not look like much, but it packed a wallop of flavor.

We tried three different tortilla based items: shrimp tacos, a fish tostada, and a mushroom quesadilla. I am hard pressed to choose a favorite among these, but I think the mushroom was a real standout to me. Much like the mushroom carpaccio at Nai and Emelia. A true winner.

The grilled octopus here was absolutely gorgeous, and the black bean puree sauce hits you with some Indian and middle eastern spices that will blow you away.

I could not resist the chimichurri skirt steak. Delicious!

These St. Louis ribs fell apart when I picked them up. So friggin’ tender! They were cooked confit style and glazed with soy and sesame.

But honestly, I was caught off guard by how insanely tasty these crispy habanero aioli Brussels sprouts were. I could eat them every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of them.

Dessert was also a home run. The chocolate mousse with sea salt flakes was rich without being heavy. It was fluffy and extremely well balanced – not too sweet.

This semi-frozen panna cotta with pineapple granita was so creamy and delicious too. What an understated and gentle but powerful flavor bomb!

I can not wait to go back here for more meals. Everything Ruben touches is incredible.

BAD HOMBRE
29 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10003

Crazy Burger

First, check out my Ride & Review HERE:

Crazy Burger is a brand new smash burger joint on Avenue C at 12th Street. Their double cheeseburger is just $9.50 and it tastes like a cross between a White Castle slider and a Big Mac.

The fries are the batter-fried style, with that great crisp on the outside of each log.

Great food at a great price. I will definitely be back.

CRAZY BURGER
193 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009

Monsieur Vo

First, check out my Ride & Review HERE:

I finally got over to Jimmy & Yen’s husband restaurant to Madame Vo, aptly named Monsieur Vo. All I can say is… WOW!

We started with this incredible beef tartare made from rib eye!

Fried soft shell crab egg drop soup? Hell yes! I absolutely loved this. it also had corn and asparagus in it. really tasty! Big thanks to The Cake Dealer for snapping some of these pics that I’m using here…

These prawns served over steamed rice cake crepe type thingies were also delicious, and perfectly cooked, I might add. Tons of flavor.

We also tried their dry chicken pho dish, which is made with juicy chicken thigh, crispy chicken skin, and lots of herbs and spices. It will hit you with both sweet and savory together in perfect harmony. I loved it!

The star of the show for me was the beef shank in bun bo hue (spicy lemongrass) sauce.

This thing is enormous. We got the sice that’s meant for 4-6 people, just so you know.

It was fall-apart tender, juicy and crazy flavorful.

This is definitely up there with some of my favorite “beast feasts.” You need to try it!

For dessert, their toasted rice ice cream over flan with boba was the perfect ending to an incredible meal.

I was really excited to learn that Golden Packing supplies most of their meat proteins too! Love those guys! Best in the biz.

I can’t wait to go back and try more stuff.

MONSIEUR VO
104 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Sushi Lab

First, check out my Ride & Review HERE:

 

This joint was offering a 12-piece omakase for just $60 during restaurant week, so my wife and I jumped on it!

I would definitely come back here again for the 15-course $100 omakase. We noticed that they really bump up the quality when you go for that.

That’s not to say that the 12-piece wasn’t worth it. To the contrary! It was a sweet deal.

SUSHI LAB
320 E 11th St.
New York, NY 10003

Paradise Lost

I didn’t really take pics at this place, so you should watch my episode of Around the Hood HERE:

This place is an awesome tiki bar in the east village that serves up some great food in addition to their awesome selection of tiki drinks.

We tried the Holy Ground ribs, chicken thigh skewers, pastrami musubi and shrimp skewers. All were good, but the ribs stood out as the best, with the shrimp being the last in the lineup.

I will definitely be back here again to try more tiki drinks!

PARADISE LOST
100 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Ama Raw Bar

First, check out my awesome Ride & Review video for this joint HERE:

Ama Raw Bar has two locations. I met my wife here for happy hour at the alphabet city location to try some of their cocktails and discounted bites. Everything was good. We started with oysters ($1.25ea).

Then we moved on to this nice batter-fried shrimp.

This rice paper chicken quesadilla was unique, but I think it would be excellent if they fried the rice paper wrapper.

The cod cake was nice, a different sort of take on a crab cake using salt cod.

The Szechuan dry rub wings needed a hit of salt and some of that mala numbing spice to really make them perfect. Otherwise, good cook and crunch on them.

“Luscious Mussels” come with a broiled lobster tail and nori fries. These were probably our favorite dish of the night.

Definitely would go back to try the lobster ramen, and also perhaps to try their other west village location.

AMA RAW BAR
190 Avenue B
New York, NY 10009

Thirteen Water

First, check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

This 13-course omakase joint is a pretty great deal for just $75. It starts off with a few really awesome pieces like the medium fatty tuna, the shima aji and the tuna with truffle.

Then in the middle you have some really unique stuff like the salmon with tomato, and a real banger with the ebi (shrimp).

And toward the end, you get the otoro fatty tuna with caviar, hand rolls, and the delicious Hokkaido uni on toast. Those were definitely some really great pieces.

I would go back here again, for sure. I just wish they allowed you to bring your own bottle of wine. A corkage fee is totally fine – we just have a lot of wine to get through here! That said, they have a great selection of sake and Japanese imported beer.

THIRTEEN WATER
208 E 7th St.
New York, NY 10009