Who To Take: A friend who wants to take in music after on the LES or the person who likes small veggie dishes. Did not realize this place was part of the Hotel on Rivington when I booked. The space is very cool, with fantastic natural light, via skylights, if you get there before sunset. We enjoyed some nice small plates, mostly veg-centric. What stood out was the Risotto, with fresh pea pods and with a little bits of squash, zucchini, and asparagus thrown in. It was super fresh and light. Service here, though, is a bit spotty. (You are forewarned.)
CAFE MEDI, The Hotel on Rivington, 107 Rivington St (btw Ludlow/Essex)
A KICK OF SPICE
Who To Take: Of course, the Bobby Flay fan or the person who enjoys a restaurant with hustle and bustle. Only for people who like a lively joint, this place had lots of energy. We enjoyed a bunch of little dishes, and the Octopus arrived with a little kick of spice, as you would expect a Bobby Flay dish to arrive. Kirsten just moved into Nolita from Seattle, so we helped her get acquainted with the ‘hood.
GATO, 324 Lafayette St (btw Houston/Bleecker)
BREAD TO SHARE
Who To Take: Your favorite vegetarian pal or someone you want to encourage to eat more veggies, they will be seduced. At lunch with my friend Shawnay, we eyed an enormous roll of something going by our table, and had to inquire. This bread, called dosa, is made of fermented rice and dal, with a texture is similar to a fruit roll. The flavor is subtle and savory, and comes with a bright sprout salad, avocado, and a super lively yogurt for spreading. This is a must order, you will find nothing else like it.
ABCV, 38 e 19th St (btw Park Ave/Broadway)
Who To Take: A friend who likes a nice margarita or those craving lovely Mexican standards. This place is becoming a hang-out of sorts. They have the perfect combination of friendly staff, inexpensive pricing, and fresh offerings. The Camarones Enchilpayados dish is a sensational bite with shrimp, chilpaya aioli, on an amaranth tostada. Perfect accompaniment to a nice cold margarita or sangria. We did spend part of Gay Pride Sunday here getting adorned with temporary tattoos by our artist friends.
TEMERARIO, 198 Eighth Ave (NE corner of 20th St)
Who To Take: Your foodie friend or any fan of Chopped. Chef Scott Conant’s latest venue is in the old Veritas space, and does fill the void. We sampled some wines and dishes at the bar, namely, the Tuna Tartare, and the beautiful Caesar Salad, and a couple of glasses of La Monacesca, which made for a perfect pairing. Reservations can be had at the bar as well as the dining room. Go to experience the elegant space and service. They just re-worked the dining room with a banquet down the middle—I will be heading there next!
FUSCO, 43 e 20th St (btw Park/Broadway)