Tag Archives: village

Piece of Velvet

My wife was invited to this little joint as an influencer to help promote their business.


We were able to sample four different slices of “Piece of Velvet” cake, and in the future, there will be ice cream and waffles offered on the menu as well.




Some cakes even have booze infused in them, like rum, bourbon, vodka and whiskey.


Red Velvet: this is their signature cake. It was rich and flavorful.


Pina Colada: This was my favorite of the four we tried. The pineapple and coconut flavors were very natural and tasty.


Ciroc Coconut: They’ve soaked real coconut shavings in “Ciroc” vodka for three days.


Blueberry Vanilla Bourbon: Self explanatory, and really delicious.


Here’s a shot of my two favorites side by side:


101 MacDougal St
New York, NY 10012

Village Prime

Village Prime overall score: 82


My wife picked up a Living Social deal for this steakhouse that gave us $60 to spend on dinner. I think she may have paid something like $20, after applying some promo codes and other nonsense. I had never heard about this little joint until the deal, so the campaign is a success in terms of getting the word out about this place.


Let’s get into the “meat” of the review here:

UPDATE 4/20/16: I came in again for a press review. I’ve updated this review with italics on the newer-reviewed items. Since my first review, a new chef (Chef Charles) has taken the helm, and many new items grace the menu. The score, in total, has increased from 73 to 82. That’s a seriously great improvement!

Flavor: 8
I had the 18oz bone-in rib eye.


It wasn’t as tender or flavorful as some of the steaks I’ve been eating lately, although it was certainly cooked to a perfect medium rare. No question about it.


It was well rested, and had no bleed out. The texture was a little rubbery in parts, but the fat cap was good, and I ate everything except for a few bits of gristle.

The steak sauce went nicely with the few pieces of the seafood tower that were worth eating (see review below). It was less tomato and more hearty and brown, like an A1. I kinda liked it.


On a second visit for a press meal, the rib eye was listed at $58 and 22oz. I gave it a try. It was much more tender and juicy. It had some bleed out that wasn’t present last time, since this is grilled rather than seared in a pan (as you can see by the grill marks), but the flavors were a lot more robust and enjoyable. I bumped the score up a point from 7/10 to 8/10.



Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8
You’ve got porterhouse, filet, strip, rib eye and skirt on the menu here. Not a bad showing for a small joint.


This hit all the basics and added one or two flourishes for good measure. While the selection is there, however, the quality fell just a bit due to the flavor review. Kind of a bummer considering that this is apparently all prime beef.

On my second visit, the quality of the rib eye was improved. The cap was larger, and the meat was more tender and juicy. I increased the score here from a 7/10 to an 8/10.

Portion Size & Plating: 8
Portions are pretty good for the price, with the exception of the seafood tower (discussed below, but now removed from the menu). The plating is nice and has a modern yet classic, and modestly elegant presentation.

On the press visit, I noticed that the plating was markedly improved. Everything is beautiful to look at.

Price: 7
At $46, the rib eye seemed to be priced right for a smaller mom and pop type steakhouse, but I was a little bummed when it didn’t deliver the flavor I had hoped for. But that wasn’t really the issue in terms of price. For the steak, I didn’t feel ripped off. But the seafood tower “for two” was a complete waste of money at $62. The four shrimp were great, as well as the four oysters and four mussels. We ate those first. By time we got to the mushy, weird-flavored small lobster tail and mushy, shell-ridden crab  meat, we figured it was sort of too late to send it back or complain on the spot. Had we tasted that stuff first, maybe we would have sent it back. The lobster and crab were both mushy and grainy, as if the texture of the meat had broken down somehow. Maybe it was old or not properly cleaned. Also, mussels are cheap – a few cents each at the most to purchase fresh. Seeing mussels in place of something nice like littleneck clams on a seafood tower like this is pretty much bullshit. FOUR???!? If this had a dozen mussels it would still be a fucking rip off. At $62 we felt completely taken when the “market price” bill came to the table. Not only was this the skimpiest seafood tower we have ever ordered, but it was probably the most expensive as well. A third complaint on price has to do with the cost of a glass of amaro. A full bottle of Amaro Nonino costs about $40, depending on where you purchase it. I noticed that the menu listed a glass of this average, common, easy to find amaro at $34. What the FUCK is going on here? It was priced higher than all of the scotches on the menu. Unbelievable. Either that’s a really bad typo, or someone has no idea of the actual value of this digestif. Fuckin’ $34… Anyway, I didn’t even order that but I felt compelled to discuss it. The overall take away for price here is that we felt like we overpaid even WITH the $60 off Living Social deal. Here’s the bill, before the $60 came off:


On the press visit, I noticed that the Amaro Nonino pricing was fixed, and the seafood tower had been pulled from the menu. WOW! I suddenly feel that all of my work here on the website actually matters. The people here at Village Prime must have actually read my review. I bumped the price score up from a 5/10 to a 7/10. The rib eye is still a bit overpriced at $58, but with a flavor score of 8/10 it isn’t criminal.

Bar: 8
There’s a small bar up by the street, with seating for about six people. There’s also some tables up there that are oriented to be somewhat part of the bar area. The wine list is extensive, there’s a good selection of beer, both in bottles and on tap, and they make some interesting cocktails. These were the “Meet Me Here” (lowball) and the “Fig Blossom” (martini glass) cocktails.


They also offer happy hour specials and dollar oysters until 7pm.


Specials and Other Meats: 8
In the back, There was a chalk board listing a bunch of specials. Some of the items on the board overlapped with the menu, or contained different information than what was on the menu, but the specials were mostly in the realm of apps, sides, drinks and non-steak entrees. For other meats, they offer veal and lamb in chop form.


This chalkboard is no longer featuring specials and cocktails. It now features a nice image of a cow with the various beef cuts outlined. As the old board contents were a source of confusion, I think this was a great change. Once the new menu is fully implemented, they can always go back to featured specials and menu items here. The score here increased from 7/10 to 8/10.

My wife tried the “duck two ways” this time around. The breast was a bit overcooked and under-seasoned for her liking, but the confit leg was very good. The slight dryness that was present in the leg was not taking away from the flavor or enjoyment.


Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
This fire roasted octopus app was delicious. It was charred crispy on the outside, cleaned of all skin and suckers, and tender on the inside. This was probably the highlight of the meal. It was served on a bed of Mediterranean-spiced bean puree or a hummus-type of thing, with some pepper relish and micro greens. Very tasty.


We also tried the tartare trio, which came with small portions of beef, salmon and tuna tartares. The beef was elegantly served with a raw quail egg on top, ready to rock:



The flavor had a hint of mustard, but it wasn’t as successful as other beef tartare dishes I’ve had. Perhaps it needed a bit of cracked black pepper or salt.

The salmon was fresh, but didn’t jump out in terms of flavor.


The best of the three, surprisingly (for me, anyway), was the tuna tartare. It had a good texture and fresh flavor, expertly dressed.


Along with our steaks we had the creamed spinach. This was heavier on the cream than some recent steak joints I’ve been to, but it wasn’t overpowering. It also had a nice bread crumb topping to crisp it up a bit. That was a nice touch.


This banana bread pudding that we had for dessert was another highlight of the meal. It was nice and warm, with a scoop of ice cream on top and a drizzle of caramel.


On the second visit, the score increased here from a 7/10 to a 9/10. This time we tried some of the new items and apps that Chef Charles has improved upon. First was this crab cake:


It had a nice crisp all around, and was chock-full of crab meat. While not the lump style of meat (it was shredded), this cake had a ton of great flavor.

Next was this incredible beef tartare. This was a huge improvement over the beef tartare I tasted last time. It was dressed and chopped perfectly, and the quail egg added a great smooth and velvety fatness into the meat. This has to go down as one of the best tartares in the city.



We also tried this eggplant stack as an appetizer. It is currently on the entree menu, but it will be moving over to the small plates menu, which I think is a great fit for it. The eggplant is sliced super thin and crisped up like a potato chip. It is then layered and stacked with goat cheese and a fig marmalade. Absolutely awesome. My wife HATES eggplant and even she liked this dish. It was nicely balanced with that hit of sweetness from the marmalade and goat cheese. Wonderful.


The desserts were improved on the second time around too. While I tended to like the older banana bread pudding better, the new ginger bread and lemon curd pudding was super unique and offered a great and balanced contrast of flavors. 


In addition, these tiny biegnets were a fun addition to the menu. They were filled with a caramel sauce and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Their size was the real display of skill here. They are smaller, so the crisp on the outside is in a more pleasing and balanced ratio to the soft dough inside. These were our favorite dessert between the two.


Seafood Selection: 8
There’s a lot of nice looking seafood items on the menu here: cuts of fish, nice apps, etc. Now, the octopus was great, but the seafood tower was pitiful. Recall from above all the nasty bits. And this was a whopping $62:






That shows inconsistency to me. So buyer beware if you dive any further into the sea at this joint. Maybe the fish entrees and pasta items featuring fish would be better? You decide.

Since the bad items have been removed from the menu, I have increased the score here from a 7/10 to an 8/10. I’m very happy to see that the restaurant is making good changes based on constructive criticism.

Service: 9
The service here is good. The wait staff all wear nice formal white shirts and ties, and they all seemed pleasant and helpful. The meal was nicely paced as well – not too fast, not too slow. Table bread was offered and even replenished when finished. It was warm and soft inside, and crusty outside. Very nice.


The new bread basket is similarly warm and tasty, but it now contains a mix of both savory and sweet bread, served with a light herb and veggie butter.


Ambiance: 9
Village Prime has done an amazing job with the decor and look of this place for a small West Village spot. The music was old fashioned, classic jazz and good dinner music. There’s a faux-beamed ceiling made from high quality wood and paneling, a dark wood floor, nice booth seating and a few tables up the center. Dim filament bulb lighting casts a warm glow across the dining space. There are nice wall sconces and accent wall panels that change up the decor from becoming too monotonous. The bathroom is really nice too, aside from the urinal that didn’t seem to flush properly.



302 Bleecker St.
New York, NY 10014

Han Dynasty

My wife and I stopped by “Handy Nasty” for a quick bite before a concert at Webster Hall. I’d heard good things about this place, so was eager to try it out.


We started with an order of pork belly with chili oil. This was served cold. The texture of the fat on each slice was noodle-like, and the meat was likely boiled and then sliced thin. It had good flavor, and I suppose all that oil is meant to be mixed into the big bowl of rice that comes with it. Honestly we could have been full just from that alone. Portion sizes are massive here.


We also tried the dry pepper chicken wings. These were a little greasy from the puffed up batter on the wings, but the addition of chili paste, fried ginger, fried garlic and dry peppers give it a great flavor. The meat itself was very juicy.


My wife had the dan dan noodles. The mildly spicy peanut sauce is mixed into the noodles table-side for this massive portion of starch.


I went with an old stand-by: chicken lo mein. I figured I would test the mettle of this joint by ordering something so insanely common just to see how they executed. It was great – probably close to my favorite of the night, right alongside the pork belly. Quality ingredients and correct proportions of each, along with a hit of spice and low grease content, all make this a winner:


90 3rd Ave.
New York, NY 10003

The Happiest Hour

This place has been getting some traction with the foodies, burger lovers and bar-goers of NYC lately. The joint is somewhat set up like a tiki bar or a surf bar, only rather than a wooden shack, it has fancy wallpaper and some skylights. In the back there is a dining area, but the bar is the more fun place to drop your ass for a drink or a quick burger.


First let me start with the bar and drinks. The cocktails are a mix of exotic fruit flavors and old-fashioned, stiff, speakeasy drinks. Some of them are even served in tiki mugs, like this frozen slushee of the day, which was called Bad Medicine or Painkiller or something of that sort.


I’m not sure if “The Happiest Hour” even has a happy hour special, but they certainly fucking should with a name like that.


My wife and a friend of ours met there at 7:30, which is usually at the back end of, or just after, the typical happy hour times of NYC, but I didn’t see any signage or menu items listed for specials. The cheapest item to drink that contains alcohol is this 12oz can of Narragansett for $4.


Draft beers are on the small and expensive side, at $8 for what looks like a 10oz glass, maybe 12oz if filled to the absolute top. Fuck that bullshit. I stuck with the cans of Narragansett, because I’m not a wasteful asshole, and I actually happen to enjoy piss beer from time to time.


In any event, if you’re here after dark and are looking for an even greater selection of interesting and expensive cocktails (averaging $16 per drink), then go down into the basement to S&S (Slowly Shirley), which is owned and operated by the same crew, serves up some of the same bar snacks (some of which are slightly more expensive down there, too), but sports a massive cocktail list of some of the most awesome concoctions you will ever come across.



This place is Mad Men/Magic City meets The Brady Bunch in Hawaii. The menu is similarly styled as upstairs, but there’s a lot more to choose from, and some really incredible mixes of things you’d never expect to play nice together, like mezcal and beets, or scotch and cucumber.

Okay so now that all of that bullshit is out of the way, let’s get down to the meat of this review: the food.

I ordered The Happiest Burger, which consisted of two 4oz patties, American cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles, confit onions and special sauce, all between a nice potato bun.


I must say that the hype is well-placed. The burger is excellent, and easily slides into my top ten in the city. I didn’t quite taste the onion or special sauce, but that was only because they were generous with the cheese, which I like. The bun was fantastic – nice and simple, soft and strong. The lettuce gave it a good crunch, and the tomato supplied some juice, but without anything dripping all over the plate or my shirt. It was cooked a little bit too much, as you can see from the cut below, but not unacceptable:


The fries were equally awesome. These were shoestring style, very crisp and nicely seasoned.


That bowl size is the $6 side order, as opposed to the $4 smaller size that you can get with your burger. Since there were three of us, we shared the one bowl instead of each getting our own fries. That freed up our bellies to try a couple of other items.

We tried the buffalo cucumbers, with watermelon, poppy seeds and mint, as well as the smoked fish dip.


The first thing I will say about these items is that they are incredibly overpriced and tiny. These small cups of approximately 3oz of food are $6 and $10 each, respectively, for the cucumber and fish dip. That’s fucking dumb. The cucumber thing was good; spicy and refreshing, though very watery. But the fish dip was a fail. First, there wasn’t much fish in it, and what was there tasted a bit too canned, even with the addition of fresh fennel and celery. For $10 I’d rather just get one of their other burgers, or go buy a cheese grater and take it to my erect cock. Fucking rip off.

My wife got the Grilled Cheese Bikini, which contained both fontina and American cheeses, and came with a side of tomato “soup.” I say “soup” in quotes because it was more like shitty marinara tomato “sauce,” served in the same small cup as the apps/snacks. That was a big bummer, but at least the grilled cheese was tasty as fuck. It was buttery, crunchy and had lots of gooey cheese. Nice execution. One thing I noticed was the flake salt that they used to finish it once it came off the grill. That added an awesome flavor pop and crunch to the bread.


I think that about covers it. So we have an interesting review here: Some really great highs (burger, grilled cheese, cocktails), but some incredibly deep lows (pricing, tomato soup, sides). Oddly enough, the burger is fairly priced at $12, considering it is far and away the best menu item that I tried. I would like to try the fried chicken sandwich next time if I go back. Anyway, now you can go there armed with the knowledge necessary to ensure a pleasant and satisfying dining experience. You’re fucking welcome.

121 W. 10th St.
New York, NY 10011

La Frite

La Frite is a little french fry joint on Macdougal just above Bleecker. They have a great $8 special that gets you two sliders and an order of fries. Not too bad.




But my wife and I actually liked the veggie slider (the actual veggie one, not the black bean one) better than the beef slider! Go figure.


For the fries, you can cheese regular or thin cut, and you can also get them “signature” style, with bacon crisps on top, or truffle fries (sprinkled with parmesan cheese and fried with truffle oil involved in the process). We tried thin truffle fries, and regular classic cut fries. We liked the thin cut truffle fries better, though we didn’t try any of the special dipping sauces (just mayo and ketchup).



I don’t know that I’d go out of my way for these fries. There are better around the city, but I like the idea of a french fries only type of place.

99 Macdougal St.
New York, NY 10014

Wicked Willy’s

I snagged a groupon for this place that got me two burgers with fries, and two beers for $20. Not a bad snag. Unfortunately the day my buddy and I came here, there was some sort of fire going on underground in the sewers that made the entire block smell like burning diarrhea. Fucking obnoxious. Occasionally the smell would waft into the pirate-themed bar, which really sucked. You can see the scene below. Apparently the fire was raging, with that God-aweful stench, for about four days without response from the fire department. I guess no one thought to call, or no one realized that it was actually a fire as opposed to just a lingering bum smell.

wicked willy street smell

In any case, the burger I tried was called “Black Beard.” The meat was a blend of chorizo and beef, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and cheddar cheese.


It was seasoned well, and dressed with a garlic aioli that made the flavors pop. The only down side here was the bun. It was a little crumbly and dry.


Fries were solid. Crispy, golden, and seasoned properly:


Decent burger, fun bar, and I kinda liked the pirate theme. They play live music and even have peer pong tables set up, with a massive projector screen in the back room as well. Here’s a photo of some broad who was measuring dicks in the men’s bathroom:

bathroom art wicked willy

149 Bleecker St.
New York, NY 10012


I strolled by this little category 3 dollar pizza joint while I was on my way to grab a burger with a friend. It turns out this was one of the best dollar slices I’ve tried to date. The crust was nice and crispy, and the cheese was of good quality. I only wish there was a bit more sauce on this baby. But I have to say: this place is a much better buy than some of the standard category 2 joints charging upwards of $2.50 for a slice.


They do offer some topping slices for a dollar more.

190 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012

Mamoun’s Falafel

Here’s a throw-back few pics from one of the great falafel joints in Manhattan, Mamoun’s. This place is a must-do for late night food binging. Get on this shit and put it down without looking back. Awesome.