Sakaya, a shop specializing in sake, will be a welcome addition to the East Village. From their blog: "...Sakaya, will focus on acquainting, educating,
and familiarizing patrons with the pleasures of drinking sake, and
pairing them with food. We hope to offer a learning experience that not
only creates an appreciation for sake but also for the Japanese culture
from which it originates."
The first time I ever tasted the sweet, sweet nectar of soup dumplings was at the Chelsea branch of Grand Sichuan, three or more years ago with Alaina. Grand Sichuan St Mark's has been open for over a year now and while I was slightly disappointed with them during their first few months, I'm happy to report that the food has gotten better and better every time I've visited. In fact, after my most recent meal there this past week, I can finally say that Grand Sichuan St Mark's has now replaced New Green Bo as my number one Chinese spot—the only way I could love it more is if the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory opened up a branch on St Mark's too!
Soup dumplings aside, my current favorite items on the menu are the Sichuan Wontons in red oil, the Sichuan Dan Dan noodles, and the cold cucumber in scallion sauce. Thank you to Donny for making me try the latter dish despite my anti-cucumber bias, it's so delicious and refreshing that I now order them with every meal, and so should you.
My roommate enjoyed her pierogies and the Ukrainian meatballs I ordered were delicious, but I have to admit I was given pause by their having arrived at my doorstep in a plastic bag labelled St Mark's Veterinary Hospital. Please, for the love of tasty meats and familiar beasts, never ever do that again.
6th St Curry Row not so Curry anymore. Used to be 6th St between 1st & 2nd Avenues was the place to go for Indian food in the East Village (at least, if you weren't Indian); WhatISee has photos and even a diagram showing how there aren't very many Indian restaurants on the 6th anymore. Hey, there's still the brightly lit Panna II, just around the corner on 1st Ave between 5th & 6th, super cheap takeout place Punjabi Deli on 1st St between 1st Ave and Avenue A, or just go uptown a mile to Curry Hill. [via Eater]
NYC While we're discussing negative reviews, I might as well say that the latest establishment to make itself dead to me is the bar HiFi, on Avenue A. Went there with friends recently during Happy Hour and the charmless bartender served me the absolute worst pint of Guinness ever—so flat and nasty that it made people wince to taste it, so awful that it made the most disgusting beer I'd had previous (a Rheingold) seem drinkable in comparison. It was so bad it put me off of drinking for the night. A friend took it back to the bar to swap it for a Coke and the bartender didn't taste it to check what was wrong or even try to apologize. Nice booths, a pool table, and the best jukebox in the East Village? Whatever. HiFi, you are dead to me.
update: Kathryn tells us that HiFi's regular Happy Hour bartender is a) probably away on tour and b) a total doll. I will give him the benefit of the doubt—but stay clear of the bar till he get back!
NYCPeace in the Middle East (Village). Curbed reports that Plump Dumpling has changed their logo, it's no longer the blatant Dumpling Man ripoff it was before. Great, but what I really want to know is if Plump Dumpling's offerings are going to be any better than Dumpling Man's, or if the status quo (of having to trek to Mandoo in the West Village if I want good dumplings) will be maintained.