In a city where you can pretty much find any type of food, at almost any given time of day, it’s hard to stand out in a sea of fancy restaurants and authentic hole-in-the-walls. But when you have deciphered the ingredients needed to become one of those go-to places, you’ve set yourself up for quite the success. One neighborhood, known as a mecca for diverse cuisine, would be the East Village. With lines out the doors of many places no bigger than your living room, you are always in for a treat when exploring this part of town.
So after not eating anything prior, and spending a little more one on one time with the elliptical, we were ready to take over the East Village. First stop: Artichoke Basille Pizza.
Artichoke Basille (328 E. 14th St.) is an incredibly tiny pizza place, owned by two cousins, Francis Garcia and Sal Basille. With no seating at this location (there are two more, with this one being the original), there is a line of people licking their lips, ready to dive into their famous Artichoke Pizza. With a choice of Artichoke, Crab, Sicilian, or Margherita, we opted for the Artichoke and Crab. The Artichoke was creamy and delicious, and the Crab had a wonderful flavor, with pieces of crab in each bite.
We walked further down 14th, made a right on 1st Avenue, and a Left on St. Marks. Our next stop was Crifs Dogs (113 St. Marks Pl.)
I was immediately drawn to Crifs Dogs when I heard that they serve bacon wrapped hot dogs. This combination sounded too good to be true, so I was determined to give one of those a try. I went with the Chihuahua, which has the goodness of a bacon-wrapped hot dog, avocado, and sour cream. It was so good. I seriously could have eaten the hot dog with bacon by itself, and it would have been worth the visit. Also, a small place, with limited seating, but totally worth it.
Continue on St. Marks until you hit Avenue A. Right on Avenue A, and another right on to East 7th St. Right before the next intersection you’ll run into Luke’s Lobster (93 E. 7th St.)
This place was my absolute favorite of the day, and that is saying a lot with all the delicious food I tried. This place has less than 10 seats, and the line was completely out the door. As far as I am concerned, that’s a definite sign of good things to come. I decided to go with their original Lobster Roll. I had never had a lobster roll before, and being that I am a complete fan of anything that has lobster in it, my mouth was watering as we waited for the line to move. When our roll was finally ready, we realized how large it really was (good, since it wasn’t really cheap). It truly was like I was biting into a little slice of heaven. Large pieces of fresh tasting lobster (the owner grew up in Cape Elizabeth in Maine, so has connections to the freshest lobster), with a buttery, herb sauce on top, wrapped in a buttery, toasted roll. So, So Good! I highly recommend!
Walk along East 7th St. until you get to 2nd Ave. Cross over 2nd Ave., turn right, and you’ll be at Pommes Frites.
Pommes Frites (123 2nd Ave.) is the place for the ultimate fries lover. Large Belgium fries, with an assortment of sauces that can please anyone who comes in there. With choices like rosemary garlic mayo, sweet mango chutney mayo, wasabi mayo, and cheddar cheese, you really have all your taste bud bases covered. I was a fan of the sweet chili sauce. You’re lucky if you come in at just the right time to get one of their four tables, but if luck isn’t on your side, at least their unique paper cones that the fries are served it make them easy to eat. And with those tasty suckers, who cares where you eat them, as long as you do!
Next we walked north on 2nd Ave. until we reached East 9th St. Go left on E. 9th and you’ll come across Otafuku (236 E. 9th St.)
If you are familiar with Japanese street food, or just want to try something new, then Otafuku is the place for you. Known for their Takoyaki and okonomiyaki, which are both popular street food from the Kansai region of Japan, ,this is literally the smallest place I have ever been. You can fit two to three people inside, and that is it. You wait outside for your number to be called, all the while listening to the cooks blaring rap or metal music. I had never had takoyaki before, and I was pleasantly surprised. These squid filled balls, fried, with fish flakes on top, was nothing like I had tried before, and that’s a good thing. Truly authentic, very delicious, and super affordable. Now this is a hole in the wall gem if I ever saw one!
After trying a nice array of a variety of foods, it was time for dessert. We continued on East 9th, and went right on 3rd Ave. Walked a few blocks down 3rd Ave., and turned right on East 13th St. Thus, we arrived at our final destination – Momofuku Milk Bar.
Momofuku Milk Bar (251 E. 13th St.), one of David Chang’s famous joints, is a haven for unique, sugary goodness. I had their Cereal Milk Soft Serve Ice Cream with frosted flakes. Tasting just like the milk at the bottle of a bowl that just had cereal in it, I’m a fan! I suggest adding the frosted flakes to it. It adds a nice texture if that’s your thing (I like anything with crunch). Many people say to stick with your C’s there – Cereal Milk Soft Serve, Crack Pie, or the Compost or Corn Cookies, but seriously, I’m sure you’ll be pleased with anything you order. This place is everything your sweet tooth could ever ask for.
This is just the beginning of many explorations to come in the East Village. Maybe next time you can join us!