A new transgender accounting firm in East Village? Not exactly. Besides I’m pretty sure the name is already taken. EV Bites is a new monthly feature, showcasing 5 places in or around East Village you should know about. I will occasionally extend the border to Nolita and LES, and maybe even mention a name more than once. East Village in case you are not aware is an incubator of top industry talent, and a goldmine of world cuisines. A little taste of the outer boroughs in the city
Le Sia – A new Beijing style seafood and skewer destination next to tourist mecca McSorleys on East 7th. Didnt think much of it at first after passing by so many times with my groups, but today word of mouth is spreading like wild fire. And fire is what you can get when ordering their seafood boils. I will have more on Le Sia soon but if you cant wait, get the Crawfish, Mung Bean Jelly, chicken wings skewers, garlic eggplant and send me a thank you note. But wash your hands first, it can get messy here
Ginger & Lemongrass (top)- Another newish spot, this one on Rivington in Lower East Side, dishing out Vietnamese and Thai inspired soups, salads and sandwiches. Owner/chef Petra Rickman, is a Czech native who fell in love with Vietnamese food in Prague and spent significant time in Vietnam learning the craft. This is her and Fiance Michal second location after finding success in Whitestone, Queens (Hanjan, Danji’s Hooni Kim is a fan). In three cold weather visits so far, I had nothing but the outstanding deeply flavored soups, with the Coconut Lemongrass being my favorite so far. You have your choice of chicken, beef and shrimp. I’m partial to the chicken.
Mile End – Montreal’s Mile End neighborhood’s Jewish history is similar to that of Lower East Village. Schwartz’s is Montreal’s answer to Katz’s, and Smoked Meat is their answer to Pastrami. You can find Montreal style bagels, Smoked Meat, Matzoh ball soups and much more at Mile End in the Bowery. But lately I’ve been enjoying their Poutine which is better than any I’ve had in Montreal in fact. They have rotating Poutine specials like the one with Nashville hot chicken last month (pictured, should be a regular on the menu), and Duck Confit with Foie Gras this month. But you cant go wrong with the regular Poutine with that wonderful salty Smoked Meat. Good craft beer menu as well
Mama Fina – Filipino food is one of the examples I use when I mention the wealth of Ethnic foods in East Village and nearby Lower East Side compared to any other Manhattan neighborhood. Add Alphabet City newcomer Mama Fina to the local Sisig war. Though unlike Pig & Khao, Maharlika and co, this Mama is not playing exactly fair. Its a full onslaught of a dozen Sisig variations featured on the menu, from Pork belly to Salmon, to Pusit (squid). Interesting that they dont offer third generation Sisigs like the pig’s face parts offered at the other joints, and you have to request for the egg yolk. I only had the pork belly so far which I liked so much I forget to take a picture. That nice looking, smelly Pusit is next!
Chikalicious Dessert Bar – Chika Tillman is one of the most respected pastry chefs in the city. Ok make it the country. How many other pastry chefs out there are also famous in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Dubai and more. There are 13 other Chikalicious outposts around the worls. But the East Village institution will always be the original. It is as packed as ever, and Chika’s smile is as infectious as its been since they opened 15 years ago. This is where you sit at the bar, watch Chika and crew work and go “I’ll have what she’s having”, which is usually one of the most famous “Cheese Cakes” in the city” – the Fromage Blanc Island.