Category Archives: East Village

Emilia by Nai

Once again my friend Ruben absolutely nails it with his third restaurant, Emilia. Check out this quick video of some of the dishes we tried:

I can’t wait to go back and try more stuff. He is still in the process of perfecting the burger (he’s working on the bun), so I’ll definitely try that again.

Favorite items so far: artichoke with soy cured egg and crispy sunchokes, red snapper, and monkfish liver mousse.

EMILIA BY NAI
174 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10009

Two Hands

Two Hands is one of the deep-fried Korean style corndog joints that popped up all over the city in the last couple of years. This was the first time I ever tried one of them. I didn’t like it. Too sweet and too doughy, despite the beef dog inside being good quality.

TWO HANDS
147 Avenue A
SSTO
New York, NY 10009

Village Square Pizza

AWESOME square pepperoni slices at this joint. That’s really all there is to say!

VILLAGE SQUARE PIZZA
147 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009

Gemma

I finally got to try some of the food at Gemma in the Bowery Hotel. Started with a delicious orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe pesto and sweet Italian sausage.

Next up: beautiful burger with broiled cheddar on top.

My favorite dish was the Cornish hen. So flavorful!

And a really nicely cooked center cut New York strip steak.

We finished off with some pistachio cream cannoli.

Really great meal!

GEMMA
335 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

Great Jones Distilling

After trying their bourbon a few times and really enjoying it, I finally got over to Great Jones Distillery for some food and drinks.

My wife and I tried a flight of their spirits as well as their fancy burger.

The burger is topped with a bacon and bourbon jam, blue or cheddar cheese (we chose blue based on the waitress’ recommendation) and potato chips.

It was cooked perfectly, and the fries were good. However, we wish we picked cheddar since the blue sort of overpowered that bacon and bourbon jam. But otherwise it was good.

I’m a fan of their bourbon too, so we picked up a bottle on the way out. I’m looking forward to going back for a tour and a steak.

GREAT JONES DISTILLING CO
686 Broadway
New York, NY 10012

Bastard Burger at Bronx Brewery

My wife and I just tried Bastard Burger over at the new Bronx Brewery location in the east village.

The beer selection is great – a little something for everyone, as opposed to just non-stop shitty IPAs. We tried a cardamom ale, and a saison. Both were tasty.

The burger is quality as well. I’m not a huge fan of the stringy cheddar, but the patty, toppings, bun and sauce were all good.

The “Ziggy” fries are awesome. Crispy and well seasoned. I’d definitely eat here again.

BASTARD BURGER
64 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Kissaki

I took my wife to Kissaki for her birthday since she likes omakase restaurants. This place did a great job. We went with their 13-course tasting menu, swapping out sashimi for nigiri on the sushi pieces, and we also shared a sake pairing (four generous pours that progressed through the meal).

My favorite items were the Santa Barbara uni, the thin sliced squid, the Japanese barracuda, and the Spanish mackerel.

I’m no omakase expert, but this place seemed to deliver very good quality at a great starting price point of $120 (for the nigiri – add $60 for the sashimi).

My only gripe: they should offer a combo of both nigiri and sashimi, since some of the nigiri sushi looked really interesting with wild toppings and flavors, while the sashimi pieces were more traditional and plain. A mixed piece menu would be a great way to get a taste of both modern and traditional.

KISSAKI BOWERY
319 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

Amigo

Amigo is a casual but high quality tapas joint that’s owned and operated by Chef Ruben Rodriguez from Nai Tapas Bar (one of the best Spanish joints around).

My buddy Mike, my wife and I tried almost the entire menu, so I’ll just get right into it. But this was easily one of the best meals I’ve had this year.

First up: cocktails. The espresso martini and wasabi infused scotch cocktails were awesome.

Octopus and shrimp ceviche:

45-day dry aged rib eye steak tartare – this was one of the top bites of the night.

Shrimp tacos:

Bacalao – fried cod tacos. These were also a top bite of the night.

Mango salad:

Eggplant:

Braised pork cheek. This was insane. So tender:

Watch how easily it gets pulled apart (about 17 seconds into the slide show):

This savory corn pudding was delicious:

Pork belly taco:

The oxtail tacos de birria were another top bite.

I drank that entire cup of dipping broth.

The lime ice cream granita was off the charts – another top item:

And these chocolate filled churros were perfectly paired with that espresso martini I mentioned earlier.

I can’t wait to go here again. So damn good!

AMIGO
29 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Esora Omakase

I was recently invited to try a new Wagyu and tempura Omakase restaurant connected to J-Spec in the East Village, called Esora.

This was one of the most incredible Omakase experiences I’ve had. We started with a trio of appetizers: wagyu tartare + uni, scallop + caviar, and tofu.

All were excellent, but the wagyu tartare and uni was possibly the best bite of the night!

Next up was sashimi. More wagyu strip, as well as sea bream and blue fin tuna.

Wagyu sushi? YUP! We got a taste of both Hida and Ozaki strip here. Torched (Ozaki), and raw (Hida).

The tempura portion of the meal was so much fun, and the bites seemed to just keep coming!

Prawn heads (and bodies):

Okra:

Magochi fish:

Maitake mushroom!

Tenderloin wrapped in shiso leaf. Awesome!

Corn:

Scallop:

Squash blossom and Japanese pumpkin:

Sea Eel:

And finally, sweet potato:

We washed that down with a really tasty seafood and mushroom soup, served in a nice tea kettle with citrus (dobinmushi).

Next, we had STEAK! Wagyu strip from Hida:

…and from the Ozaki family brand:

Check this out!

I liked the Ozaki a bit better:

There was also sea bream rice with ikura:

And finally, dessert: earl grey tea panna cotta, roasted green tea, and peach compote.

I highly recommend this place. Make sure to call ahead at least 24hrs before booking. There are only seven seats at the bar with the chef, and there are a limited number of seatings each day.

ESORA OMAKASE
239 E 5th St
New York, NY 10003

7th Street Burger

SMASH BURGER MADNESS!

The city has become inundated with smash burger joints, and I love it. They’re so fucking tasty – especially the ones here at 7th Street Burger.

I tried a double, and I really loved it. Greasy, messy, and delicious. I’ll be back for more, for sure.

7TH STREET BURGER
91 E 7th St
New York, NY 10009