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Best Mouthfuls: East Village


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#436 Daisy

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 06:48 PM

It is sloppy. And while the other day everyone working there was very pleasant I have encountered a couple of staff who I've wanted to seve a knuckle sandwich. But it's dirt cheap, almost always open, offers good bread. Salads and cheese and salumi are usually reliable. They do tend to oversauce the good pastas (sloppy). trust me, the zucchini soup is delicious.
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#437 Chambolle

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 08:31 PM

they've comped us our entire meal (and wine) and some of the food was delicious.

That popped a thought into my pretty little head.

Off topic alert.

I was just recently comped an entire Carte Blanche meal (and wine) at L'Agapé in the 17th. After each plate, they would ask "How was it?" and I would smile and nod. By the way, I never smile and nod when I'm happy. After the last salé course, the young (ie not old) maitre d' / wine guy, with whom I have chatted a tiny bit, asks me a question: "How is the meal going?" In return, I respond with a question: "Do you really want to know?" And the conversation proceeds from there. It would be a fun story to "fully" recount but I am hyper-short on time. After he performs his expected and obligatory defense of the restaurant for a few rounds, Chambo's cumulative blows begin take their toll and seem to take the wind out of his sails. In a soft voice, he proceeds to agree with me and says that I have not seen the (mostly full) restaurant perform at an appropriate high-level today. He refuses to charge me for this meal and he tells me to reserve again and ask for him and he will ensure that I will experience the "real" Agapé next time. I was quite surprised by how generously he handled some straight-forward, legitimate but not brutal feedback. (There's slightly more to the story that I just can't get into right now.) But here's the problem. I know that he will pull all the strings and ingredient me up the wazoo if I return, but I very well may not. My time is limited and I didn't see enough interesting cooking to convince me that I'll really enjoy another meal there. I do appreciate their gesture but I don't want to return and have them jump through hoops and then kind of feel obligated to say that I'm loving pretty decent food (which it better be given their price point) in a not-really-my-cup-of-tea ambience when I'd rather be eating elsewhere. I very well may be a love at first sight sort. Decisions, decisions ...

I am burying this post here because I don't want Laurent* to know that I'm trashing his restaurant after they treated me so gosh darn nicely :blush: Please understand that the food wasn't bad, but it wasn't really all that good either. My most serious issues had to do with what I considered an unacceptable progression of plates for their Carte Blanche offering.


* Laurent was not present - he seems to often be at L'Agapé Substance, best I can tell. Or he's found at Burgundy wine tastings at Les Caves Augé. So I'm at this wine tasting and I'm chatting with my buddy Philippe Pacalet and we're having a good ole time. The problem is that there are another hundred people who want to chat with Philippe also. Very annoying, other people. Anyway, I ask Philippe where he's eating tonight? Chateaubriand is the answer. (Do you think that Philippe gets the royal treatment when he eats there?) Then two folks who work at Sola come up and say hi to Chambo. Considering that this was the second set of restaurant folks who greeted me, Philippe says: "I didn't think you live in Paris?" I tell him that I don't. Then David from Vivant comes up to me and says that he knew that he'd find me here. I turn to Philippe and just smile. Then I see some familiar-looking guy over there talking to the Volnay producer Roblet Monnot. That guy catches Philippe's eye and they nod at each other. I'm drawing a big blank and I ask Philippe: "I know that guy. C'est qui?" He tells me that it's Laurent Lap.... Before he can finish Lapaire, I interject: "Ah oui, monsieur l'Agapé Substance." And it goes on and on like this. I swear, Paris is a Moveable Feast © Chambo. By the way, l'Agapé's wine list had Pacalet's village Chassagne-Montrachet for 180 euros (it could have been the Puligny). A simple village wine, my friends. Yikes. Then again, I flipped another page or two and a non-grand cru O. Bernstein was bidding 350. Double yikes. For the mere proletariats, they had trois millésimes des Morgan de Marcel Lapierre pour quarante-quelque chose. Marcel, who passed away recently, was Philippe's uncle. Lapierre, Lapaire ... I mean, is it just me or is it just one crazy incestuous world out there. Yikes! Gotta really run now - dinner time.

#438 Wilfrid

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 08:44 PM

Serious suggestion: If you were to post that in one of the Paris threads, people who are interested in Agape would be more likely to come across it in future. To pick up the post by Orik in this thread which prompted your story, just left click on the #number, top right of Orik's post and copy the direct link.

If you knew all that but preferred to put a story about Agape in the East Village thread, please ignore.

#439 Nancy S.

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 01:18 AM

they've comped us our entire meal (and wine) and some of the food was delicious.

That popped a thought into my pretty little head.

Off topic alert.

I was just recently comped an entire Carte Blanche meal (and wine) at L'Agapé in the 17th. After each plate, they would ask "How was it?" and I would smile and nod. By the way, I never smile and nod when I'm happy. After the last salé course, the young (ie not old) maitre d' / wine guy, with whom I have chatted a tiny bit, asks me a question: "How is the meal going?" In return, I respond with a question: "Do you really want to know?" And the conversation proceeds from there. It would be a fun story to "fully" recount but I am hyper-short on time. After he performs his expected and obligatory defense of the restaurant for a few rounds, Chambo's cumulative blows begin take their toll and seem to take the wind out of his sails. In a soft voice, he proceeds to agree with me and says that I have not seen the (mostly full) restaurant perform at an appropriate high-level today. He refuses to charge me for this meal and he tells me to reserve again and ask for him and he will ensure that I will experience the "real" Agapé next time. I was quite surprised by how generously he handled some straight-forward, legitimate but not brutal feedback. (There's slightly more to the story that I just can't get into right now.) But here's the problem. I know that he will pull all the strings and ingredient me up the wazoo if I return, but I very well may not. My time is limited and I didn't see enough interesting cooking to convince me that I'll really enjoy another meal there. I do appreciate their gesture but I don't want to return and have them jump through hoops and then kind of feel obligated to say that I'm loving pretty decent food (which it better be given their price point) in a not-really-my-cup-of-tea ambience when I'd rather be eating elsewhere. I very well may be a love at first sight sort. Decisions, decisions ...

I am burying this post here because I don't want Laurent* to know that I'm trashing his restaurant after they treated me so gosh darn nicely :blush: Please understand that the food wasn't bad, but it wasn't really all that good either. My most serious issues had to do with what I considered an unacceptable progression of plates for their Carte Blanche offering.


* Laurent was not present - he seems to often be at L'Agapé Substance, best I can tell. Or he's found at Burgundy wine tastings at Les Caves Augé. So I'm at this wine tasting and I'm chatting with my buddy Philippe Pacalet and we're having a good ole time. The problem is that there are another hundred people who want to chat with Philippe also. Very annoying, other people. Anyway, I ask Philippe where he's eating tonight? Chateaubriand is the answer. (Do you think that Philippe gets the royal treatment when he eats there?) Then two folks who work at Sola come up and say hi to Chambo. Considering that this was the second set of restaurant folks who greeted me, Philippe says: "I didn't think you live in Paris?" I tell him that I don't. Then David from Vivant comes up to me and says that he knew that he'd find me here. I turn to Philippe and just smile. Then I see some familiar-looking guy over there talking to the Volnay producer Roblet Monnot. That guy catches Philippe's eye and they nod at each other. I'm drawing a big blank and I ask Philippe: "I know that guy. C'est qui?" He tells me that it's Laurent Lap.... Before he can finish Lapaire, I interject: "Ah oui, monsieur l'Agapé Substance." And it goes on and on like this. I swear, Paris is a Moveable Feast © Chambo. By the way, l'Agapé's wine list had Pacalet's village Chassagne-Montrachet for 180 euros (it could have been the Puligny). A simple village wine, my friends. Yikes. Then again, I flipped another page or two and a non-grand cru O. Bernstein was bidding 350. Double yikes. For the mere proletariats, they had trois millésimes des Morgan de Marcel Lapierre pour quarante-quelque chose. Marcel, who passed away recently, was Philippe's uncle. Lapierre, Lapaire ... I mean, is it just me or is it just one crazy incestuous world out there. Yikes! Gotta really run now - dinner time.

Another good read. Thanks for the details, especially the asterisk bit.

#440 Wilfrid

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 11:07 PM

Mary O's on Avenue A looks like a cozy spot, and it's certainly cheap (shepherd's pie, fish and chips around $12-$13). And it might have been enjoyable had it not been for the grimly unsmiling bartender, a half hour wait - without apology - for salad (fifty minutes for hot food) and a troop of drunk regulars being encouraged, apparently by the owner or manager, to sing "Rhinestone Cowboy" at the top of their shot voices.

#441 oakapple

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 02:25 PM

Robert Sietsema has posted his annual list of the 10 best East Village restaurants:

10. Downtown Bakery
9. Dirt Candy
8. Back Forty
7. Zaab Elee
6. Vandaag
5. South Brooklyn Pizza
4. Il Buco A&V
3. Ramen Misoya
2. Momofuku Ssam Bar
1. Prune
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#442 Wilfrid

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 03:47 PM

Oh, we don't have to pull this apart every year, do we?

Vandaag better than Hearth?

#443 Lex

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:00 PM

I've had 2 pretty bad meals in Zaab Elee.

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#444 Wilfrid

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:04 PM

I like it that he says that all the restaurants in the neighborhood were "considered." I wonder if considering Apiary, for example, included going to eat there?

#445 oakapple

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:13 PM

I doubt that even Sietsema himself thinks that South Brooklyn Pizza is better than, say, Hearth. It's a Chinese menu type of list, i.e., one from column A, one from column B, and so forth.
Marc Shepherd
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#446 Wilfrid

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:31 PM

Of course, but that's why I picked the comparison with Vandaag.

#447 irnscrabblechf52

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

I don't know whether anyone has written about Streecha Ukrainian Kitchen on this forum, though it was covered by NYT i think in 2007. Anyway, it merits a mention for its simplicity. The menu is very short, just varenyky, stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut+sausage, borscht, maybe one other item. "Homestyle" to the max. I heard it was slammed right after the times piece, but now the place seems to have returned to equilibrium--mostly locals and members of the St. George church occupy the folding tables.

http://www.columbias...colonial-fetish

(the column does some dodgy comparative work with the breslin. with only 600 words, probably too ambitious. whatevs)
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#448 Wilfrid

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:56 PM

Worth noting: ABC Beer Co on Avenue C, between Bobwhite and Alphabet Wine Co. I assume it's connected with the latter, but I haven't asked so I may be wrong.

Front: several refrigerators containing a very good, but by no means encyclopedic, selection of domestic and imported bottles and cans - take-out only. Behind that, a tasting bar serving from the taps. Cheese and salamis for sale. Nice addition to the strip.

I am sure Dowel Products on First Avenue has a much bigger selection of beer.

#449 joethefoodie

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:34 PM

Isn't there a new-ish beer joint somewhere on Ludlow or Orchard?

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#450 Orik

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:42 PM

Isn't there a new-ish beer joint somewhere on Ludlow or Orchard?


Yes, Great Beer, haven't tried it

sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns