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Dieci, a romantic little Italian-Japanese place carved into 10th street

aDieci
228 E 10th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003

I was looking for a cozy little restaurant where LAW and I would be able to pause time for a couple of hours for his birthday. Dieci seemed to fit the bill. We had walked by this mysterious little restaurant a number of times and G.B. recently went and had very good things to say. The Italian-Japanese restaurant is carved into the ground on 10th street between 1st and 2nd avenues. Because the restaurant is below ground level, there is a certain quiet intimacy to it. We sat next to each other facing the window, where we could spy on East-Villagers walk by as we ate. Aside from the uncomfortably high and tiny bar seats (LAW had to rescue my lap napkin that fell to the floor at least three times), the place felt perfect for the occasion.


We started with the seared duck breast with garlic and scallions ($10 – I think). The portions were larger than I expected for a fancy-ish place like this. The duck was a little gamey, but almost in a good way. It was marinated in something a little sweet and salty and served with bits of scallion and garlic. Each piece had a thin sliver of fat attached to it, which cut the gameyness and added a little juiciness. Not standout but certainly tasty.

After having the squid ink pasta at Daily Catch recently, we’ve been on the hunt for a NY equivalent. This is the Tagliolini ($16), squid ink pasta, tomato, and calamari.


The tomato sauce was fantastic. Super fresh. Naturally sweet. Slightly garlicy. Simple. Definitely made with some very high quality tomatoes. The squid ink is probably the best I’ve had in the city thus far. Not many pasta places in NY offer squid ink so I don’t have much to compare to. It was very fragrant, as squid ink is without being too fishy, but could have been a little more al dente. Continue reading Dieci, a romantic little Italian-Japanese place carved into 10th street

A Perfect Meal at Robataya

Robataya
231 E 9th St
(between Stuyvesant St & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003

The way I feel about Robataya is the way people should feel about their significant others. It’s always a treat when I get to spend time with Robataya. I always feel better about myself after I spend time with it. The more I spend time with Robataya, the more I grow to love it. The reason I haven’t fully blogged about Robataya sooner is because all my photos have been pretty crappy. The lighting is not the brightest and there’s a yellow warm hue that my old camera just couldn’t handle. But LAW recently got me an awesome Olympus PL-5 so I knew it was time to showcase Robataya.


I hate using the word “tapas” but that’s kind of what Robataya serves up. The menu offers a variety of grilled (over an open hearth) vegetables, meats, and seafood. There are a number of appetizers on the menu as well but the stars are all in the grilled items. I ALWAYS get the brussels sprouts ($6). It’s ALWAYS the freshest, most perfect brussels sprouts. ALWAYS perfectly grilled. ALWAYS salted just right with Suzu Salt, a salt imported from the Noto peninsula in Japan. According to Robataya’s menu, this salt “can only be produced by using the cleanest seawater in the region. Its saltiness is rounded by acidity, bitterness, and sweetness.” Continue reading A Perfect Meal at Robataya