Tag Archives: East Village Manhattan

The Big Easy in The Big Apple: Ninth Ward

11 Mar

Though Mardi Gras is over, with Fat Tuesday come and gone, there’s always a place where you can go to feel like you’re visiting The Big Easy.  The Ninth Ward, a sexy East Village (2nd Ave btwn 11/12th Sts) cocktailery, welcomes the cajun-craving masses with its dungeon-esque front facade.  It’s the perfect place to warm up by the fireplace with one of their drinks (their warm ginger berry cider  is AWE-some) and I cannot wait to swing by in the warmer weather to visit their spacious backyard.

The biggest surprise of the night was the food – the Hidalgo Grilled Shrimp skewers were nothing short of excellent; the peppery citrus sauce makes the dish (each order has 3 shrimp – order a few, for sure).  The biggest testament to their food came from a New Orleans expat who said that the gumbo was phenomenal, even by Nawlins standards.  So yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and stamp my approval on it.  I also opted to get an order of beignets, which were powdered with sugar and tasty, but a little too dense to be a true beignet.

The Ninth Ward is perfect for drinks (and a bite too) with a date or a group of friends – the booths in the back are perfect for 6-8 peeps.  The spot pays homage to New Orleans with the refinement to assure you that shirts are required (sorry guys) and that you won’t be forced to endure cheesy purple/yellow/green color schemes and Mardi Gras beads.

You MUST Try: Northern Spy

12 Nov

Don’t let the name fool you – there’s nothing sneaky about the Northern Spy Food Company’s amazing selection of farm-fresh, seasonal menu items.   This spot is my fave new resto in the East Village (12th St btwn Ave A/B) and I’m not alone – the scene was hopping with everyone from hipsters to suits to B/C list celebs – but all this was pulled off without being sceney or in the least bit pretentious.  You could’ve been in Winchestertonfieldville, Iowa (although I’m sure the food there couldn’t hold a candle to Northern Spy).

While we waited (it was about 20 mins or so), I had a glass of red and Ben had a beer to pass the time – I loved the selection of local beers for only $5.  The menu offers a lot of variety as well – there were SO many things calling out to us that Ben and I opted to order several smaller dishes that were all veggie friendly so I could partake (but don’t worry there were plenty of meaty selections too).  Keeping in mind that their menu changes daily but many similar items are always offered, here’s what our tasting tour included:

"Who YOU callin FLAT?!"

Flat Bread w/ caramelized shallots – warm, fluffy bread that’s smothered in delicate shallots and oil…  Oh.Em.Gee. Only $4?!  I’ll take another order to go… Kale Salad – the slightly bitter greens are perfectly suited to the cheddar cheese on the top, and I must mention those crunchy almonds!  It’s really quite a big portion of delish – we almost didn’t finish it.  Almost…  Gnocchi – sweet potato pillows of buttery goodness – it’s the perfect portion for sharing several items.  I think I may have had more than my fair share though… whoops… Wild Rice Salad – this fab collab of rice, feta, mint and lemon sounds simple, but is SO different from anything I’ve ever had.   Not sure why, but it vaguely reminded me of a blueberry muffin in a savory rice salad – this was a very GOOD thing.  Ben is nodding with me on this one…  Runner Beans w/clothbound cheddar – These beans were gynormous and the sharp, gooey cheddar coating each and every one of these gentle giants filled my mouth with complete and total ecstasy.

 

"What big BEANS you have!"

…Soooo yeah, I’m kind of serious when it comes to my food…  But let’s get down to biz with a bottom line: the total bill was $42, no joking.  Sure, there are def ways to go a little bigger, but for me, getting to taste a little bit of everything was the way to go.  Now GO!!!!

But wait a tick – one last suggestion… Looking for drinks before or after?  Shoolbred’s on 2nd Ave & 12th St (just 2 blocks over) is the essential cold weather bar.  Grab a draft beer (they’re 2-for-1 everyday from 4-8pm – BOOYAH) and park yourself by the fireplace.  Finish said beer and repeat.

Over and out.  Toodles!

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