Five Leaves

On our first Greenpoint restaurant venture, we headed to 5 Leaves, which we’ve been meaning to try for a while.  I ordered the baked beans, which was a lot of baked beans over a big piece of bread and (of course) the end result was a huge piece of soggy bread.  Chris, however, ordered the “Big Breakkie” and was delighted with his meal and, when he finished licking his plate clean, ventured over to try some soggy bread and agreed that his had been much better.  I really want to like this place because it’s really very charming, but maybe I’m not easily impressed by brunch food.  I’ll need to go back for oysters.

Greenpoint, at Lorimer and Nassau

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Cercle Rouge

Last weekend, using my $25 gift certificate I bought from restaurant.com, we went to try Cercle Rouge: an adorable French place that’s normally a little out of our price range for a non-special occasion dinner.  Not wanting to fall into the trap of ordering an extra $50 of food just because I have $25 off, we played it cheap and just ordered the Truite Amandine (trout) and Moules.  The mussels were definitely some of the better mussels I’ve had – dipped in tomato and garlic sauce and lacking that super fishy taste that they have sometimes.  Though, I’m starting to realize I don’t like mussels as much as I think I do and was jealous of Chris’s trout, which was completely delicious.  That was also not fishy at all, and was a great combination of flavors with the potatoes.  My only issue was that it just wasn’t that much food.  If you come here, I’d recommend getting some appetizers or be aware it’s going to be a pretty light meal, and definitely on the pricey side.

West Broadway at Walker

Restaurant.com

So this website that I just discovered (that I’m sure everyone else already knows about since that’s how it usually goes), restaurant.com, sells $25 gift certificates to restaurants for $10. Until May 17, if you enter discount code ‘indulge‘ you get 2 gift certificates for $4. I’m slightly skeptical because it sounds a little too good to be true but maybe give it a try, it’s only $4.

Sui Ren

photo via http://www.suirennyc.com

In the heart of Williamsburg, it was a bit unexpected how empty Sui Ren was at dinner time on a Saturday night, however we pushed aside our normal reservations towards empty restaurants and found ourselves a very comfortable neighborhood japanese spot. The service was pleasant and the prices were reasonable; most entrees ran between $8-15. I have to admit, I don’t know that I would necessarily make this a destination were I not in the neighborhood, but the food was pretty solid. The Kamo Ramen was a little bland, I would suggest the Miso Ramen.

Kesté

Kesté ranked #1 in 2009 by New York Magazine so Tim and I took our quest to find the best pizza here, to the east village. Of the two pizza places that have made up our quest, I’ve ranked this as the best pizza. We ordered the Margherita and the Keste Pizza, of the two my favorite being the Margherita. The dough and the sauces were more flavorful than Motorino’s, and over it was just delicious pizza. Unfortunately, like Motorino’s, the atmosphere left something to be desired, it felt a little too generic (some store somewhere is making a killing from all these pizza places buying black and white photos of chefs making pizza dough). It was nice that you could hear Italian spoken everywhere from both waiters and guests, which would have made it feel more authentically Italian if not for the terrible easy-listening station playing over the crowd. However, pizza was great, the waiters were nice and there wasn’t a wait (at 6:30 on a Tuesday) so it was overall a very enjoyable experience.

271 Bleeker Street, between Jones St. and Cornelia

Inatteso Pizzabar Casano

I was completely taken off guard by this restaurant that we only went to because it was in the bottom of my friends building.  It looked like it was trying too hard to be hip for me to believe it had good food, but I was happily proven wrong.  I ordered the best gnocchi I’ve had, probably ever, and I’m a big gnocchi fan.  It was a little on the expensive side, so I ordered the ‘half portion’ (because who can ever finish a bowl of pasta anyway?) and that was a mistake- it was the size of a side dish.  Aside from that, 4 out of 6 people at the table were very impressed with their dishes; they seem to excel at fancier dishes – swordfish, veal and specials (gnocchi was the special of the day).  Surprisingly, none of us ordered pizza, despite “pizzabar” being in the name, so I really can only vouch for their pasta but if you’re ever hungry and in Battery Park City, I’d give this place a try.

28 West Street at 2nd place

Pies ‘n’ Thighs

photo from piesnthighs.com

If you love fried chicken (which I’m assuming everyone does) or southern food, eat here now. Probably the best fried chicken I’ve had. We ordered the chicken and waffles, the biscuits and gravy and a sweet tea, all of which was gone in less than 10 minutes. The waffles were just the right amount of sweet and the chicken the right amount of juicy. Aside from this being the favorite hipster hangout of the moment, the whole experience was enjoyable. The prices were very reasonable, our waiter was great, and we even left with a cinnamon roll on the house as an apology for being out of donuts (which claimed to be the best in New York). Sadly, the cinnamon roll was not great; don’t accept that as a donut substitute. I’m looking forward to returning and trying some pies, which I’m really hoping are as delicious as their chicken.

Really though, just look how cute the owners are in this picture. This picture alone makes me want to eat there.

North 4th and Driggs, Williamsburg

Rye

I’m hesitant to write about Rye because it seems like the type of place that people guard jealously from people that aren’t hip enough to know it’s there. It sits on a mostly residential block behind unmarked doors and if not for the address matching the address we were given, we could have spent the rest of the evening walking past it looking for it. The food, though served in disappointingly small portions, was absolutely delicious. The eight people at our table ordered 7 different entrees, and everyone was pretty happy with what they ordered. I was particularly fond of my steak served on top of spinach (shown above) – so juicy and flavorful. Chris ordered the pork belly sandwich which, though it was the smallest sandwich ever served as an entree, was pretty amazing as well.

One of our friends ordered the meatloaf sandwich and, for some reason, it was the exception to the rule – it looked to be a regular sized sandwich- but on the whole though, I would recommend getting some appetizers and/or sides because it’s unlikely you’ll be satisfied from the entrée alone.

If you’re going, which you should, come prepared to spend some money, it’s not exactly cheap; we ended up spending about $30 per person without ordering drinks.

As a special bonus, in the trend of many other Williamsburg restaurants, they had fantastic smelling soap. I don’t know why restaurants have suddenly decided to spring on the fancy soap, but it really raises my opinion of a place when I come out smelling better than when I went in.

247 S 1st Street, btwn Havemeyer and Roebling, Williamsburg

Café Condesa

photo from http://www.snackish.com

We’ve been here a couple of times for brunch, and I always leave pleased.  The brunch is pretty reasonably priced, and though the portions can run a little small depending on what you order, it’s always good and the coffee is excellent.  It’s pretty tiny but there’s rarely a wait for brunch, I think it’s better known for its dinner.  The huevos rancheros have been one of my favorites, and the home fries are so good, I wish they’d put more than 4 on my plate.

West 10th St and 7th Ave

Ippudo

Photo from newyork.seriouseats.com

As a pretty big fan of the low key, Ramen bar scene, I was initially skeptical of Ippudo’s fancy façade and long waits, despite Renee insisting it was worth it. Though it’s definitely not for a casual ramen night, I have to agree, it was worth it. I had the Won Ton Ramen – the soup itself was a little plain but the won tons were really tasty. Chris had the Classic Ramen and though it was gone too fast for me to try, he claims mine tasted like ‘canned chicken noodle soup’ compared to his. I’m assuming that means it was amazing.

There are a couple of disadvantages, for example, all of the chefs yell something to you in Japanese upon entering the restaurant, and there’s an hour and half wait on even a week night. Also, the prices are a little bit higher than normal ramen and you can easily drop a lot of money there on all of the tiny but scrumptious appetizers.

65 4th Ave, between 9th and 10th streets