I've finished classes for the spring, and though summer classes are imminent, I'm working on catching up on 3 months worth of restaurant reviews. Just 23 to go! We are finding lots of new places in our new neighborhood, but we're also working to keep a budget and eat healthy - ideally, from now on two restaurants a week and sharing an appetizer and main dish to keep a healthy portion. So look forward to more posts to come! There's just a few thousand more restaurants in the city to try, and it seems like about 75 percent of them are at our doorstep.

99 Miles to Philly

99 Miles to Philly is a cheese steak place a few blocks from our new apartment. Occasionally I get a deep urge for a good cheese steak, which is exactly what happened today. So I walked over and ordered a steak with provolone and onions. The special includes waffle fries and a can of soda for $10, which wasn't a bad deal. My sandwich wasn't as gooey as I would have liked: I guess I should have gone with the more "authentic" Philly steak, that comes with cheese whiz. It took at least 5 minutes to get my order, which I suppose means it was fresh made, but the wait was definitely a complaint, when I've been to places like Pat's and Gino's in Philadelphia where you can get your sandwich in as much time as it takes to order a "whiz with." I took V back a few hours later, because she was jealous I went without her. Her steak had American cheese, which was definitely more the style I was hoping for. 99 miles to Philly is good, but I think I've had better.

The Crooked Tree

The Crooked Tree is a creperie a few blocks from our new apartment on St. Marks Place between First Ave and Ave A. Since we've moved, we've been looking for a place to replace one of our Astoria favorites, Euro Delights, where we regularly went for crepes.

We each ordered a crepe, me the sopressatta and mozzarella, with red onions, and V the mushroom and goat cheese. Both were (in our opinion) more authentically French - thin and modestly filled. The flavors were unique, I liked the mushroom crepe better, but the salami in mine was good and the cheese was fresh. Were were also served a little salad on the side which was nice.

The restaurant is small (like pretty much everything in the East Village) with a casual and comfortable decor. There are bottles of wine decorating one wall, and random things from a Spider-Man figurine to a giant jar of Nutella decorating the other. You can see the kitchen in back and an angled mirror on the wall enables you to see each crepe being prepared. Really the best thing about the atmosphere is the smell: butter. I don't think The crooked Tree quite matched Euro delights, but it certainly deserves a place on my culinary radar.

Cafe Deville

Cafe Deville is a great looking French bistro on 3rd Avenue. I've walked by it a number of times coming home from work. The street-side tables and the bar seemed rather enticing. Unfortunately it didn't meet our expectations.

V and I dropped in to try it out on a cool Saturday afternoon. Maybe it was the wrong time of day or something because the service was spotty and slow, but the place was fairly crowded, at least around the front windows. Our server honestly could have been high on something; he was twitching and skittery, and only came to our table twice; once to take the drink order and once to take the food order. At the end of the meal we had to flag him down after waiting for quite a while to get our check. We spent that time debating how low to tip.

The food was good, but not great. I ordered the hangar steak, which came with onions (they seemed like they came straight out of a pot of French onion soup) and mashed potatoes. The steak was fairly tender but its flavor was a little off. V had a cheeseburger which was very thick though a little over cooked, it also came with fries. Sadly, perhaps, the best deal of the meal was the $1 oysters we started with. That's one thing I'd go back for. Otherwise, it wasn't that good, and as I mentioned, the service was poor. I think the only other thing I'd attempt if we went back is brunch, which I've read pretty good reviews of.

Cafe Mogador

A good friend introduced us to Cafe Mogador, "Considered a pioneer of Moroccan restaurants in NYC." It's location on St. Mark's adds it to a growing list of restaurants on this street that we have really enjoyed.

The atmosphere was friendly and cozy, and wasn't overdone in Moroccan themes. We began with a bottle of wine recommended by the server, as well as roasted eggplant and tahini with pita bread. The flavor of the eggplant stood out and reminded us of our time spent in China, where eggplant was served more frequently than in the U.S. I also tried the tomato ginger soup, which was creamy and flavorful.

For dinner, I couldn't resist the whole wheat goat cheese ravioli, with butternut squash and sage cream sauce. I had never thought of pasta as Moroccan, but they do it very well! Clark had the bastilla, best described as a dinner pastry. It included filo dough, chicken, almonds, and herbs and spices. It was a unique dish, but could have benefited from some kind of a sauce. Maybe that's the worst thing to be said about a prominent Moroccan dish - what does he know?!

We probably should have followed suit when our friend, who had been there numerous times, ordered the chicken grill, which included skewered chicken with grilled vegetables and basmati rice. It looked and smelled delicious.

We truly enjoyed our entire meal here and will be sure to go back when we are looking for a Moroccan flare!

Written by V!


At goodburger freshness is everything. That’s why in a world where food is often chemically processed, prepackaged and frozen, each and every goodburger is made the old fashioned way.

There are so many different hamburger places in the city, each trying to come at this simple food from a different angle. goodburger's attempt is, in my opinion, high class McDonald's. And I really don't think that even with the hand-made burgers and all-natural ingredients, that it is quite worth the price.

V and I paid about $30 for two burgers with fries and milkshakes. The burgers were good, but I've definitely had better. Same goes for the rest of the food. They also offer beer and wine, which we passed on. The atmosphere is rather fast-food like and there are a few flat-panel TVs showing sports, with music blaring through the restaurant a notch too loud. I'm not sure what else I missed, but it just didn't seem worth it to me. I don't think we'll go back.

Pommes Frites

Upon moving to the East Village, we have noticed a number of restaurants that are able to specialize in one particular item. Pommes Frites is probably the most addicting of these places. I guess it sounds better to call french fries pommes frites, because the line is always out the door at this small restaurant. Even better than the fries are the variety of sauces that they serve to go along with the fries. You can choose from about 20 different flavors to enhance the taste of the already delicious, big, salty fries. We prefer to order our standard sweet mango chutney mayo (sweet AND spicy!), in addition to trying a new sauce. Some other favorites include: parmesan peppercorn, pomegranate teriyaki mayo, peanut satay. Anyone who visits us should be prepared to stop by here at least once.

The Smith

In the heart of the East Village, The Smith serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner every day in a casual upbeat environment.

I really liked this place. I'd compare it to Schiller's Liquor Bar, just on a bigger scale. It even has a funky bathroom and old-school glass bottles for tap water a lá Schiller's. The Smith is a few blocks uptown from our place, on Third Avenue. The restaurant has a lot of street frontage and in warm weather the windows all open up to the street. We took some friends visiting from D.C. there for brunch.

I found the food to be quite good, for what it is. The hit of the meal was the croaker with smoked ham, gruyere cheese, over sourdough rye, with fried eggs drooping over the whole mess. It was a huge portion served in a skillet. I'd say it could easily be shared. Plus, it tasted good - the egg yolk dripping through all the other ingredients made for a good sauce. I had the steak and eggs which came with home fries. It was good, though I felt the meat was a little tough.

As I mentioned before there are a few funky touches at the restaurant. The bathroom is one large room with a bunch of individual stalls, rather than a men's room and a ladies room. Then, oddly, there is a photo booth in the bathroom too. We'll have to go try that out. We were served both flat and sparkling water at no charge, in clear and green glass bottles, respectively.

Unfortunately, I felt the service could have been a little better and more attentive. We were waiting for a while to get some ketchup and to get a replacement fork after one dropped on the floor. But I suppose that's a consequence of their success - the place was busy! And every time I walk by, weekday, weekend, lunch, dinner, it is crowded. I'd definitely go back. Plus I hear they have free food on Wednesdays!


My dining experience at Ippudo was definitely one of the most unique in recent memory. Perhaps too, it was one of the most ridiculously priced meals as it was ramen, which I gained great expertise in during college. Instead of a 25¢ pack of noodles, it was a $12 bowl. It was definitely better than the old block of noodles and little packet of seasoning. And Ippudo is definitely authentic. Our server barely spoke English, and I'm pretty sure ours was the only table without at least one Japanese diner. After the hour-plus wait, as we were walking in to the restaurant, at least a dozen servers and other staff members stopped to greet us in Japanese.

Ordering was a bit of a struggle but we managed to each try a different ramen and a few appetizers. Each dish came in a unique bowl with noodles, of course, vegetables, and some slices of pork tenderloin (with a fatty rind). We also tried a few dishes of pickled vegetables. With some Japanese beer and sake cocktails, it proved to be a very authentic Japanese meal. I think that the restaurant is probably a popular chain in Japan so maybe we're thinking it's amazing when there it is like TGI Friday's or something. But regardless, it was a great experience.

Village Pour House

The Village Pour House is a causal bar a few blocks up from our apartment. There's nothing too unique about it - lots of TVs, a young college-esque crowd and typical bar food. There is a back room that's a little quieter than the main bar area, though when I was there a group of girls from NYU were playing beer pong back there! The best part of the place is the impressive beer selection with something like 80 beers on tap and in bottles. If I need a place to watch the World Series or something, I think this would be a great choice.


Chop't is a great salad place V and I came upon while walking around midtown. Essentially this is the Coldstone ice cream equivalent of salad: you choose your ingredients and dressing (or choose from their menu of predesigned salads) and they dump everything out on a cutting board and chop it all, mixing it together. You can then have it served as a traditional salad or a "salad sandwich" where everything is put in a wrap making it easy to eat on the go. We ordered the cobb salad which came with iceberg and romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, avocado, smoked bacon, crumbled egg, crumbled blue cheese, tomato and dijon vinaigrette dressing. This one salad, for $9.45 definitely was enough to serve the two of us. It was delicious, and the fact that it was chopped I think added to that - no big chunks of lettuce sticking out of your mouth, and a nice melding of all the flavors. I'd definitely come back here, but probably not for a meal on my own, as the portion was more than enough for one, and the price is a little high for a weekday lunch.

Around the Clock

Around the Clock is a simple restaurant with a simple idea: bar food and breakfast 24-hours a day. The restaurant is across the street from our apartment. I walk by just about every day and usually don't have much reason to stop in, but this weekend with its blazing heat and humidity seemed like a good time to drop in for a cheap pitcher of beer and a snack. We ordered the chicken wings, which were unremarkable and a bit small, but fit the bill especially for $5. The nachos were better and equally cheap. They come with lots of cheese, black beans, sour cream and guacamole. The service is a little slow, but it doesn't cause much of a problem. The decor isn't much either, kind of grungy looking and mismatched. I wouldn't call Around the Clock a bar (though it has a full bar), I'd say it is a great before- or after-bar place. Great for preventing a hangover, or curing one, I'd guess too.


Mercat means market in Catalan, the language spoken in the Spanish region that inspired this restaurant and tapas lounge in Noho. The 90-seat space is equipped with an open kitchen, a ham-and-cheese station, and a basement tapas lounge, and the wine list is all-Spanish, with a selection of cavas, sherries, and seasonal sangrí­as. - New York Magazine

I was really impressed by this restaurant - it has a trendy-yet-undiscovered feel and a great atmosphere, with the open kitchen and racks of wine stored overhead. We were seated near the kitchen, with a good view of the restaurant and bar. I was a little jealous of the poeple sitting behind me at the kitchen's bar seating, but it was still a good table.

We ordered a few starters including Patates Bravas, potatoes with garlic and spicy sauce, and Carxofes artichokes, with fennel alioli. I had seen the potatoes on the bar and thouht they were like peanuts - free for any patron - I guess it is a good thing I didn't try to grab one then - as they were very good and lots of tables had ordered them, I'm sure they are a top seller. The artichokes were basically fried artichoke leaves and were crunchy and salty.

From there, the menu looks amazing. I wish I could remember what I ate, but I have waited too long to write this review. I would definitely go back though, as there are so many good looking dishes to try.


Pinkberry is the new 'hot' frozen yogurt place in New York City. There are a number of locations, with (perhaps unfortunately) one near our new apartment, and one near my office. The menu is pretty simple: frozen yogurt in either original, green tea or coffee flavors. All three are fairly citrusy - more like real yogurt in flavor than most frozen yogurt. Once you order the yogurt you can get any number of different toppings from fruits like strawberry, raspberry and kiwi, to granola and toppings like chocolate chips and sprinkles. I like green tea with raspberries and strawberries. The place has a cool atmosphere with floors made of small stones spread out (I think it was originally a non-slip poolside pavement) and $500 Philippe Starck Victoria Ghost chairs. Really the atmosphere is more of what the place is about. I think I could get pretty much the same thing elsewhere for less than the $5+ I've paid for a cup of frozen yogurt. But it is definitely taking off and promises to be a lot of fun!


S'mac is another restaurant that specializes in just one item: Macaroni & Cheese. Far from your standard homemade Kraft version, this restaurant offers gourmet flavors, and they even deliver! The space is small and you have to use good 'hovering' skills to grab a table when it opens up. The atmosphere is very casual, very easy going, and very yellow. Food comes in three sizes: nosh, major munch, and mongo, fast food style.

I couldn't resist the Parisienne, which includes creamy brie, roasted figs, roasted shiitake mushrooms, and rosemary. I could have personally done without the figs, but otherwise I enjoyed the rich and creamy flavors. Of course, I like anything with mushroom... Clark enjoyed the Alpine, which features Gruyere and slab bacon. We were pleased with our experience there, and plan to take any true Mac & Cheese lovers in the future.

Another post written by V!


After working in some of NYC's finest restaurants, including Jean Georges and Compass, chef Jehangir Mehta has recently opened a humble, 18-seat savory/sweet eatery of his own. Located in the East Village, Graffiti is a visual scrapbook of his life; the menu a culinary scrapbook of both his Mumbai upbringing and expansive training. His unique cuisine subtly marries contemporary Asian cuisine with Indian seasonings. - restaurantgirl

Graffiti is a tiny restaurant that to me epitomizes the East Village life: trendy, cool and tiny (jam packed with people, providing no personal space). I'd read about it online and was intrigued. It was a bit of a surprise when I walked in with V for dinner one evening: the restaurant has three tables.

Even more confusing is that though there were two open tables, we were seated at the one table with guests already dining and the server asked them to get up to put us back the the far corner of the table. We definitely weren't ready for that. But after a bit, it began to make sense: the other tables were reserved for larger parties, and the communal style is part of the experience. It was a little tight to fit together on one side of the table, but it wasn't too bad overall.

The food is served tapas style with simple pricing: each dish is either $7, $12 or $15. The wine is all $8 by the glass or $25 for bottle. The prices are reasonable but they definitely can add up. Our total for the meal was about $100 (including a bottle of wine)

We ordered a handful of different small plates including the cheese flat-bread, chili pork dumplings with grapefruit confit, pickled ginger scallops, and the braised pork bun which was probably our favorite dish. It had a puffy and soft little "shell" with the braised pork inside. For dessert we had the Hazelnut chocolate caviar cupcake after seeing our neighbors try it, and it definitely didn't disappoint.

By the time we were at dessert, the restaurant was packed. I needed to get up to go to the bathroom, so I had to have the people next to me get up, and then make my way through the kitchen (which is smaller than the kitchen in my apartment. Edging behind the two cooks, I got to the bathroom, which itself it about the size of a toilet (in fact the sink is mounted above the toilet to save space). It made me feel at last like I have a large apartment! Hooray.

I'm not sure who else I'd bring to Graffiti, it's a place that definitely caters to a certain type of customer - one that fits well here in the Village. In fact one group of older people came in on a reservation but decided it wasn't quite right for them and left. It worked for me, and I think by the time we finished the dinner V had been turned too.

Cafe Centosette

Following our big move into Manhattan, we felt we deserved a big meal after all of our hard work. Cafe Centosette, an Italian cafe was recommended by two friends, and was the closest in proximity to our apartment. It is a small, cozy place with tables very close together. Our server had issues with getting our meals ordered and served properly, but was nice enough about it. We each ordered pasta, and the dishes were all quite delicious. The side of spinach was perfectly cooked and seasoned well. The most bizarre part of the meal was getting a carafe of white wine with ice cubes in it. I've never seen that at a restaurant before... We have heard since that this restaurant is even better for brunch, so we'll have to head back there to try it.