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Discovering the Best (or Not) of East Village, NYC

Lower East Side, NYC

East Village is one of those neighborhoods with character. Sometimes high end, sometimes gritty. There is an air of mystery and familiarity at the same time. I can probably walk along Saint Marks Pl and never get what I want out of it. There is just something that needs to be discovered or identified in East Village. Perhaps, it’s the last bit of Manhattan during the 1970’s or wondering where the history went.

Take for example, Bob White. It’s quite a trek to Avenue C just to get their famous fried chicken at happy hour. You can get fried chicken biscuits for only $5 during happy hour while guzzling your beer. During winter, the snow can be pretty annoying and disgusting but you just had to get a taste of their mac and cheese. For a neighborhood that was once known to have the highest crime rate in NYC, this was the biggest change of the century. Fried Chicken gentrification.

Bob White East Village NYC

It also didn’t matter if the line was just so long, you had to wait outside for an hour just to sit in their tiny restaurant.

If you don’t veer too far, you’ll find a nice cozy restaurant called Wafels and Dinges. Yep, it’s that waffle cart you’ll find in 42nd and 6th. I dislike their Belgian waffles. I only like one thing – their hot chocolate topped with whip cream and marshmallow.

But why is this even here? You’ll find yourself wishing you weren’t a saint on a Friday night as you walk towards Angels Share, one of those discrete bars that serve expensive cocktails. Buena Vista at $16 mixes ginger and lime and Burdock-infused Montelabas with thyme and tonic water. But I’d rather get The Moonlight because I’m feeling sentimental. Milk and honey-infused Burr Hill gin, egg white, orange, lemon and soda, only from one of Japan’s hailed bartenders.

The nuttiness doesn’t satisfy me so much. $20 later, I pass by HI Collar at 10th Street for Omurice. Possibly, the only restaurant in NYC to serve this kind of Omurice. Their “fluffy” omelette didn’t satisfy me that much, because it was nothing like Kichi Kichi back in Kyoto, but this was the best I can muster. There were no tossing and flipping eggs at midnight, nor a smiling chef entertaining you with his mad skills.

I was feeling rather empty when I remembered Meet Fresh, Taiwan’s famous dessert place that recently closed down because of way too high maintenance costs and decided to test NYC with the same strategy. Big store, little menu. Sorry, that was harsh. But you just can’t help but wonder why there was such a line near Cooper Union.

It was disappointing for $10.

One can just burn bucks in East Village. Of course, there’s always Veselka, that Ukrainian 24/7 brunch restaurant that serves mad borscht, and if you’re into eggs. Very important. Or Sly Fox one block away if you want to get wasted for cheap $4 PBR and shot combo. You’ll find more of that in my NYC bar rundown.

This one’s for East Village.