Category Archives: East Village

Luke’s Lobster


Location: 93 E 7th St (btw 1st and Ave. A)   &   242 E 81st St (near 2nd ave)

Price: $6-$17

It all started with a little dinner in the West Village I don’t even remember who I was having dinner with but I remember seeing that one item that piqued my interest.  The crustacean that was market priced and came on a roll with a side of shoestring fries and coleslaw.  Yes, the humble lobster roll at Pearl oyster bar which was impeccable but not humbly priced at $25.  After the economy took a downturn in ‘08 I remember seeing a surge of street food in general everywhere in NYC and even saw lobster rolls at the Brooklyn Flea market at the Red Hook lobster stand.  Lobster rolls as street food for $12-$15?? CRAZY!  This might’ve been a norm in the New England area but I think for NYC this was a new trend taking off.  As 5 start restaurants were shuttering their doors everywhere in the city these midrange priced food spots were taking off.

So with that preface… here is one of the better lobster roll spots in the city:  Luke’s Lobster.

The owner who was laid off during the recession started this spot with connections to the Lobster market in the Northeast and hence was able to bring down lobster at cheaper than normal prices to bring your Luke’s lobster rolls.  Currently two spots, one in the East village and one in UES very much a quick bite standish kind of place.  Although you could do a $40 meal for two mega-feast.  For $15/roll, They give you big chunks of lobster with a bit of mayo and spices for a little extra flavor.  The roll is buttery soft and doesn’t get in the way of the lobster and very much there as a supporting cast.

It’s really perfect for a quick lunch and I always associate lobster roll with the summer so great for weekend summer lunch.

Next stop in my lobster roll journey is this guy (underground lobster pound)…





Filed under East Village, Seafood, Upper East Side



Location: 211 1st Avenue (btw 12th & 13th St.)

Price: $12 – $24

After my endless failed attempts at finding a good pizza place in Manhattan, one of friends suggested I check out Luzzo’s in the East Village.  He claims that this is “the best” pizza in New York, which obviously is a huge claim.  So, I took a break from all those $1 pizza places for once and had a sit down with some friends at this First Ave. restaurant.  This is not one of those new school pizza joints popping up everywhere in the village but, this place has been around for quite a while serving up not only coal oven pizzas but, a whole Italian menu consisting of pasta and antipasti.

First impressions of the interior of the restaurant were good and we didn’t have to wait at all to get a table for five people.  Service was prompt and they were ready to take our order right away.  We came here for the pizza so decided to with the following pizzas:

Diavola – tomato sauce , bufala mozzarella, spicy salame, basil

Salsiccia – tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, sausage, basil

(no longer on menu?) –bufala mozzarella, broccoli Rabe, sausage

All of the tomato sauce pizza have the same baseline ingredients of tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, & basil which, by the way aren’t the normal kind of sauce and cheese.  The sauce has a pretty special complexity and sweetness you don’t find in normal Neapolitan pizzas and the bufala mozzarella gives a nice different flavor to the pizza.  This all topped with basil was a nice touch because in my opinion, basil is the most amazing green ingredient in the world.  We figured we couldn’t hurt the pizza by adding some tasty meaty ingredients to the pizza so we went with the sausage & spicy salame.  I didn’t have much thoughts on the pizza with the Broccoli rabe other than the fact that it was our “healthy” option and lacked flavor without the tomato sauce and basil.  That’s probably the reason it’s no longer on the menu.

My biggest gripe about our experience was that when we got our pizzas we tasted a sandy substance in the basil and asked if we can get some fresh basil on our pizzas.  The waitress was trying to argue that there shouldn’t be any sandiness and that it should be clean, basically five guys against one.  After some back and forth they finally brought us some fresh basil and recovered our pizzas with the greenie goodness and we were happy.

So my final conclusion is that YES it is a good pizza on par with Patsy’s or Lombardi’s but, better than Totonno’s, Motorino, Co., or any of those other places.  I disagree on the opinion that is the best pizza in NYC and still hold my belief that Brooklyn has the best pizza in all of NYC.  Still lots of pizza places to try and my pizza journey will continue at Keste? Pulinos?…we’ll see.



Filed under East Village, Italian, pizza



Location: 349 East 12th Street (btw 1st & 2nd ave)

Price: Margherita Pizza $14

This is one of those moments where I have to say…DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE.  For some reason I’m getting all hot and bothered by the fact that Motorino is getting so much hype from the media.  None of my friends that have tried Motorino in Williamsburg or the new East Village location have said anything that great about it.  Me and a friend tried the staple Margherita pizza and wasn’t wowed by the pizza and we started thinking about a few other place that do a much better pizza.  The crust had great consistency and sauce was fairly standard I felt and with the few basil leaves it made a solid pizza but NOT amazing.

Despite these opinions, this Neapolitan style wood burning brick oven pizza joint has been named on a new list by Rachel Ray’s magazine as the best pizza on the east coast.  I REALLY have to go try Great Lake Pizza in Chicago which is another final 4 pizza in Rachel’s list.  Actually, I think I’m just craving just a simple Chicago style spinach deep dish pizza from Lou Malnatis…forget all this pizza HYPE!



Filed under East Village, pizza

Momofuku Fried Chicken

Momofuku Fried Chicken (Noodle Bar)


Location:  171 1st Ave (bw 10th & 11th St)

A friend expressed the desire to try any of the momofuku restaurants; and having tried noodle bar and ssam before, I wanted to try something “new.”  I didn’t want to pay  for the bo ssam dinner because my mama makes a killer home-made bo ssam and there’s a key ingredient to hers that momo lacks:  motherly loooove.

I guess I got lucky with reservations because I got a Friday night reservation (11:55pm) on my 2nd try.  The reservation process was meticulous (sign-up, cc, confirmation print out) and warnings were plenty (you will get charged the full $100 if you cancel within 24 hours).  They wound up not checking the printed confirmation.

Prior to the chicken we were presented with 4 sauces, (bibim, soy, hoisen, and scallion), vegetables (lettuce, carrots, radish, mint), and mu shu wrap.  Nothing really to comment about here.

The chicken itself.  I preferred the korean style while a couple of the guys preferred the southern.  I always hated old bay, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I wasn’t a huge fan of the southern style.  I thought it tasted burnt and way too salty.  The lettuce and wrap did make it a bit better though.  The sauces, vegetables, and wrap does make the whole experience a bit more different and unique but it was A LOT of food for 4 diners.  I would highly recommend a party larger than 6, even if the 4 diners have been famished for days. 

I wasn’t crazy about the whole fried chicken experience; the chicken didn’t change my world nor expose my palate to a whole new level.  It was decent fried chicken and honestly, it’s way too hyped for my taste buds.

maybe next time momo


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Filed under East Village, Korean, Late night food

Blue 9 Burger


Location: 92 3 Avenue New York, NY (btw 12th & 13th)

Price: Blue 9 burger $4.75 (Combo incl. fries & drink $8.30)

I think I’m on a roll to post a burger review about once every five reviews or so.  Also, since I haven’t really reviewed any crappy places in a while, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.  So, comes the burger from Blue 9 burger which really is the perfectly ordinary burger with nothing to make it stand out.  In a  land where the celebrities are the Shake Shacks and Bill’s, the mere citizens of this land are the burgers from Blue 9.

The burger was just pretty bland and the patty was quite dry nestles on an ordinary bun.  The fries were decent but, nothing to rave about.  I heard the quality of the burgers at this place was quite high in the past but, seems like its really sinked low.

So, if you’re in the area probably much better to go to 99 miles to philly or just take a walk to go eat a celebrity burger.



Filed under Burgers, East Village


Dinner Rating:

3.5 spork

Location:  33 Avenue B (3rd St, SE corner)

Price:  $8 – $12 for small plates, $20-$24 entries

When it comes to group dinners, I immediately think tapas; it’s the best way to interact and share conversation with that person on the other end of the table by requesting and/or sharing a dish.  We took several visiting Chicagoans to POCO and even before we arrived at the restaurant the service was great.  We had last minute changes with reservations but they gladly accommodated, on a Friday night! The food was solid but there were only a couple dishes that really stood out, which were the Lobster Mac & Cheese and Seafood Paella (the Valencia); we had to get an extra order of both.  Also, if a slightly sweeter red sangria is your thing, a pitcher for $35 is well worth it.

Brunch Rating:

4 spork

Price:  $22 (includes unlimited mimosa/bloody mary/sangria and coffee/tea)

Again, they did not disappoint when it came to service.  It was prime time for Sunday brunch but the staff stayed calm and relaxed and we were seated in about 10 minutes.  Even when a crowd started to wait outside for a table, servers still went around asking if brunchers wanted a refill on their cocktails and coffees.  I loved it that we never felt rushed to finish our meals.  Brunch at Poco is pretty damn good.  Get it:  the Lobster Benedict (see a pattern here?).  The lobster is plentiful and it’s placed on an arepa rather than an english muffin or biscuit.  All brunch dishes come with a side of salad and potatoes.  The BEST part of brunch though (at least this time of year), is that they start you off with mini spiced muffins and bread that’s made in-house.  They are GLORIOUS.


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Filed under Brunch, East Village, Tapas/Small Plates

Fat Tour 2009: Fall Edition*

Unlike the Spring Fat Tour, this one was down to 9 spots, started an hour later and it was FUH-reeezing outside.  The forecast asked for rain, but the food gods saved us from it.  Because there were more people this time around, we decided to start the funds pot with $5 from each person and replenish with $5/person when the funds got low. Despite the weather, friends still came out (thank you friends!) and we were off to our first stop:

1.  Caracas Arepa Bar

These Venezuelan sandwiches are still one of my favorite eats in Manhattan and I don’t think I could ever get enough of their “crack” sauce.  However much I could write about this, it would never do it any justice; just go and try everything.  Get it: La Mulata  

5 Sporks – 93 E 7th St

2. Café Habana

We came here for the grilled corn and only the grilled corn.  Eating corn, covered in mayo, cheese, and chili powder, outside on a cold fall day may seem uncomforting, but it was a glorious moment for all.  Get it: on a plate, otherwise a good chunk of the mayo, cheese, and chili powder (all the good stuff) will get stuck on the foil.

4 Sporks – 17 Prince St

3.  Kati Roll

I feel like this place changed a lot since last year, and not for the better.  Some of the guys were saying they’ve had better kati rolls.  Get it: from the Biryani Cart3

2 Sporks – 99 Macdougal St

4. Joe’s Pizza

We made a pit stop at John’s because our next stop barely had any vegetarian options.  The participants for John’s said it was delicious.  From what I remember, when I had it last year, I wasn’t a fan of the crust; thought it was too flimsy.  Get it: when there isn’t a line.

3 Sporks – 7 Carmine St

5.  New York HotDog and Coffee

Who would’ve thunk kimchi would taste so good with hotdogs.  But I guess the concept isn’t new; growing up, I’ve seen my dad eat kimchi with pancakes, pizza, steak, and anything that wasn’t Korean.  The Dak Kalbi wasn’t anything special; the boys raved about the Kimchi & Bulgogi hotdog.  Fattie Pete wanted another one all to himself.  Personally, I thought it was too much; kimchi and bulgogi alone is amazing, why add in the unnecessary hotdog and processed bun?  Get it: without the coffee; you’d think, “Coffee” being in the name would offer decent coffee…boy was I wrong.

3 Sporks – 245 Bleecker St

6.  Taim

The choices are endless when it comes to falafel in the city: Mamouns, Maoz, Crisp, Hummus Place, and oh the trucks!  But we just had to try Taim for the 3 different flavor falafel balls.  We got the platter to sample all the falafel balls, toubali, Israeli salad, hummus, and the pita breads (whole and white).  The balls are crisp, the salads are fresh, the hummus is under-seasoned, and the pitas are slightly toasted with olive oil.  It’s solid but I wasn’t blown away.  Get it: the falafel sandwich with the original falafels for $5.  You might even have some left over for lunch the next day, though I don’t know who’d want soggy balls. 

3 Sporks – 222 Waverly Pl.

7.  Levain

It costs $66 for a dozen cookies and another $25 for ground shipping when you order from their website.  People ask if there’s crack in them; obviously not, but it’s close for these cookies are dangerously addicting.  When you go to the actual bakery, each cookie is $3.75 and it doesn’t require shipping to any address, but only straight to your mouth.  They melt in your mouth and you know they’re good because the boys even appreciated them.  Get it: chocolate chip with walnuts and/or dark chocolate peanut butter but not via online.

4 Sporks – 167 w 74th St /

8.  Baoguette

Pickled anything is a plus in my book; add pork to it and that becomes a plus + plus.  Baoguette’s classic bahn mi is consistent in flavor, size, and price.  Traditional Vietnamese flavors on a fresh French baguette is one “asian fusion” dish I can appreciate.  The Chicagoans didn’t seem to love it but fellow New Yorkers chowed it down without a problem.  Get it: and eat it right away or the strong pickled vegetables will pickle and stank up anything that surrounds it.      

3 Sporks – 37 St Marks Pl

9.  Pomme Frites

What better way to end a fat tour than what else? Oil drenched FRIES with mayo based dipping sauces!!  The 3 dipping sauces were: Mango Chutney, Curry Ketchup, and Vietnamese Pineapple (how appropriate, we just had Vietnamese sandwiches).  After eating and walking for over 6 hours in 40 degree weather, friends didn’t seem too psyched about fries and its glorified dipping sauces.  The fact that we were done with the fat tour over-consumed our minds that we forgot to truly enjoy Pomme Frites.  Get it: a ton of napkins for your fingers will get oily.

2 Sporks – 123 2nd Ave 

For this Fat Tour, the average comes out a little shy of 3.25 Sporks.

*will be updated with pictures once I learn how to “blog”


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Filed under East Village, Food Tour, Greenwich Village, Nolita, Upper West Side, West Village