228 1st Ave
(between 13th St & 14th St)
New York, NY 10009
FISH! FISH! FISH! I’m so happy that a great, affordable seafood place has opened in the East Village. Taverna Kyclades is a casual seafood restaurant that just opened up where Tepito and David’s Bagels used to be. I used to think that spot was cursed (bad feng shui or something) because the restaurants there never stay long. Three restaurants have occupied that spot in less than two years. I’ve never been interested in trying those restaurants because their reviews have always been super mediocre. Taverna Kyclades opened up late last year, a sister restaurant to the eponymous restaurant in Astoria. The original one in Astoria is so popular that people line up for hours on the weekends to get a taste of the fresh seafood.
Lucky us, the East Village location has not gained that much popularity yet. LAW and I came on a Tuesday evening and only had a 15 minute wait (still wildly impressive for a weekday).
This is the free bread that they give out. AMAZING baguette – crusty, soft, chewy – toasted with olive oil and spices. Huge plus in my book for starting the meal right. I would come just for this bread and wine if I could get away with it.
When you come, you MUST get this. This is the Octopodi: charcoal grilled Mediterranean octopus ($15.95). Prior to this, the best grilled octopus I had had was at Pylos, also a really, really great Greek restaurant. Pylos is a bit fancier. It has prettier decor, nicer plates, prettier wine glasses, etc. Also has really great octopus. But this octopodi was phenomenal. It was even more tender than the one at Pylos and had an addicting smokey finish. It was a bit simpler than the one at Pylos, which had a caramelized balsamic glaze. This one was just drizzled with olive oil and some simple herbs. Continue reading Taverna Kyclades: love me some good seafood in EV
Nai Tapas Bar
174 First Ave
New York, NY 10009
Meh. I was looking for a good tapas place in East Village to take my family and some family friends because some of them had never had tapas before. I am really not well-versed in the tapas scene in NYC so relied heavily on Yelp and friends. Nai Tapas Bar is probably the highest rated in East Village with 4.5 stars on Yelp and Urban Spoon, and was also recommended to me multiple times by friends. They also took reservations which was a big plus for a big group. I ordered a variety of things and nothing stood out, especially not the watered-down sangria.
Chorizo A La Plancha ($5.50/$11.00)* – grilled Spanish sausage wrapped in a fried potato chip. It tastes like how it looks. Not bad, not great. Sausage was decent but didn’t have any particular flavors and wasn’t dry nor juicy… what else to say? Continue reading Nai Tapas – someone please explain.
41 Greenwich Ave
(between Charles St & Perry St)
New York, NY 10014
I recently went to this little tapas place in the West Village to meet up with some old friends. Another friend picked the place so I did my research and found that it was rated pretty well – hence, I agreed to go (ha, no but seriously, I don’t like paying for bad food). Of course I scoured the Internet for all the best things to order prior to coming and ordered those exact things: pitcher of sangria, bacon wrapped dates, meatballs, and croquettes. Sangria, as pictured above, was a $27 pitcher of immensely watered down red wine with fruits (mainly apples) that felt like they had just been put in recently. Also, notice the concentric circles on the wedge of apple in my glass? I vehemently tried to ignore it while sipping my
water wine but I couldn’t help but meet its gaze every sip… I really should’ve just removed it, huh.
These are the Datiles con Bacon, aka, dates wrapped in bacon. For $8, we got 4 mushy dates with probably one slice of bacon cut into quarters. It wasn’t bad, because nothing can be that bad when bacon is involved. I was just sad that it didn’t compare to my favorite bacon wrapped dates tapas in Boston at Toro where the dates are slightly crisp on the outside and much more sweet, filled with Marcona almonds and Cabrales blue cheese. La Bota’s version is much simpler and more expensive.
I read that these meatballs were great and as many of you know, I do love my meatballs (see Meatball Shop, Parisi Bakery, and Banh Mi Saigon). They apparently come in a mushroom sauce but as you can see, the sauce seems more like a tomato based sauce with some other vegetables in it (including a few slices of mushrooms). For $9, I would expect something much more intricate. The balls were small, dry, and very tough. At least the sauce had enough salt to give the bland meatballs a little flavor. Continue reading La Bota, tapas for people who don’t care about food nor money.
Chicken seasoned with soy sauce, garlic, cooking wine, and brown sugar. Vegetables seasoned with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and rosemary.