Wednesday, January 28, 2009

JoeDoe - Nicky's - Redhead

A Quick Note

I just wanted to note that I ordered a digital camera and desperately want to add photos of everything to the site. Also, I am working on creating a master map that will have locations of all of the restaurants that I write about. Back to the food:

6. JoeDoe
45 E 1st Street between 1st and 2nd Ave

Jew food is comfort food and chopped liver on challah ranks pretty high on my list of Jew food. In sharp contrast with this Jewish staple is bacon. For those that keep kosher, one could suggest that even mentioning these items in the same sentence is somewhat unsettling. What I know is that chopped liver is awesome and bacon is awesome. JoeDoe gave me the chance to try them together.

JoeDoe, a small 15-20 seat restaurant, opened in Fall of 2008 and with competition coming from Prune (which I have yet to go) across the street, was not particularly crowded on the Friday night at 7:30 that I continued on the TONY quest. I had planned on splitting the chicken-liver sandwich with bacon ($11) with a friend at the bar and heading on my way but we were also intrigued by the “Scottish Egg” ($9) which is a hard-boiled egg that is covered with sausage and deep fried, served with mustard. The bartender started us off with some fried chickpeas which are apparently also served at Prune. They were hot, oily, slightly crispy and a welcome snack while we waited for the appetizers. The Scottish Egg was well plated, the sausage and egg were very tasty and the mustard complemented the dish perfectly. The only problem I had with it is that it is still a $9 egg, it’s only one egg and it’s essentially breakfast.

The chopped-liver sandwich, however, made me even more determined to complete the list. If all of the items are going to be this good, I’m in for a spectacular ride. For $11 I was quite impressed with the amount of food that they serve. It’s definitely enough to have as a small meal in itself. The challah is lightly toasted, the chicken liver is creamy and not as livery-tasting as its beef counterpart and the bacon adds saltiness and texture to each bite. As if this wasn’t enough, the sandwich is served with a side of baked apple chutney. I couldn’t decide whether I enjoyed the sandwich more with some of the sauce on it and finished the sandwich while alternating bites with and without it.

Though the rest of the menu looks fairly pricey, I will definitely return for the sandwich and to try some of there desserts.

Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches
150 E 2nd Street between A and B

I had read about this place on a number of cheap eats websites and had wanted to try it for quite some time. Nicky’s is a small space that sells Vietnamese sandwiches, all served on baguettes with pickled carrots, cucumber, cilantro and mayo. All of the sandwiches are $5.00-5.50 including sardine, chicken and pork chop sandwiches with their specialty being the classic Vietnamese which comes with pate, Vietnamese ham and roasted ground pork and can be ordered regular or spicy. Feeling particular brave I chose the spicy and sat down at one of 2 tables. As my friend noted, one sandwich is not enough to fill you up but two is too many. Ideally I would come here and split 3 sandwiches with someone else. The classic was well worth the wait with the pate and vegetables providing most of the flavor and the ham and ground pork adding consistency. The baguette was fresh and the ratio of veggies to meat was just about right. The only problem that I had was that I thought I could take down the spicy sandwich which was slightly out of my heat tolerance. Nicky’s sandwiches are a steal at $5.

7. the Redhead
349 E 13th St. between 1st and 2nd Ave

Redhead is a small bar/restaurant that serves Southern-inspired cuisine until 1am. I had never heard of this place until it was mentioned on the TONY list. The place feels more like a bar with tables than a restaurant, but based on the reviews I’ve read about the service and quality of food from the full menu, I am ready to try the full experience (reservations are taken for parties of 5+ and only before 6:30pm and after 9pm; if it’s anything like when I went at 11pm, reservations are necessary as all of the tables were full and the bar was hopping). Items of note on the full menu include a homemade pretzel and Kreuz sausage which is flown in from Texas, and fried chicken. I was only there to get some of their bacon peanut brittle to go, which they sell in self-sealing jars for $7.50. It’s peanut-y, it’s sweet, spicy, salty and altogether befitting of the praise that it has received from food critics. There are small clumps of bacon that stick to many of the individual peanuts, combining the crunchiness of the nut with the softer texture of the bacon. I’m usually hesitant to spend $7.50 on a snack, but this is well worth it. The jar, while small in appearance, is probably enough for 3-4 tastings. For those not in the area, Redhead sells jars in 3-packs on their website for $20.

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