Mayahuel

Mayahuel NYC

Photo by Mayahuel

Address: 304 E. 6th St. (1st & 2nd Ave.)

Link: http://www.mayahuelny.com/home.php

Review: Though we have never sat down to enjoy a full meal, Mayahuel  is worth the trip to the East Village for the cocktails alone.  In the middle of the East Village, just off 2nd Ave., lies a mecca for fun and original tequila and mezcal cocktails.  With a plethora of options to choose from it’s tough to go wrong.  We have nibbled on snacks like spicy popcorn and chips and guac that were a nice treat to accompany our drinks.  Those ordering full meals around us were waiving in sizzling plates of shrimp and succulent pork belly..looks like we are going to have to show up with the intention of sampling the fare and not just the libations!  A dark and cozy bar with a couple side rooms lends itself to a great spot for a quiet conversation, though, like many of the cocktail establishments in the EV, there can be a wait (normally not TOO bad), but dont let it deter you from the chance to transport your palate to some place south of the boarder.

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Kanoyama

Kanoyama NYC

Photo by NY Mag

Address: 175 2nd Ave. (11th & 12th St.)

Link: http://www.kanoyama.com/

Review: Situated in the East Village, Kanoyama offers an array of both food and sake options. During the week they do take reservations, but Friday and Saturdays are walkins only which can lead to a lengthy wait at times, though the selection and freshness generally rewards those who have the patience. Kanoyama has often tough to find, off the run varieties of fish, great fresh daily specials and a great selection of seasonal oysters as well. With options to grab a table or sit at the sushi bar; a la carte or omakase (chef’s choice), it’s the quality and selection that keeps people coming back for more.  Though the space is a bit tight and the bills are not cheap; its a great option for a nicer date spot with a wide array of sushi, sake and oysters to keep your palate entertained for the night.

Forcella

Forcella NYC

Photo by Forcella

Address: 377 Park Ave. S. (26th & 27th St.)

*Also located in the East Village and Williamsburg

Link: http://www.forcellaeatery.com/

Review: One of the more recent openings in the quickly changing landscape of the Flatiron/Park Ave. neighborhood brings us this higher end pizza joint coming over from Brooklyn.  We sat at the bar to grab some beers and a pie.  The bartender was friendly and helpful, giving good recommendations on the new menu.  All the options had a wide array of cheeses and toppings.  However, the crust fell a bit short – the base of the pizza was a little soggy and couldn’t hold the toppings up when we lifted it to eat.  Though disappointing, the quality of toppings helped make up for it.  It could have been some new growing pains as we visited Forcella right as it opened, or maybe it was just an overload of toppings…a debate we wouldn’t mind settling with a return trip.  With its relaxed atmosphere, Forcella is a good spot for a casual date when you’re in the mood for something a little nicer than that $1 slice pizza joint on the corner.

Peels

Peels NYC

Photo by Peels

Address: 325 Bowery (2nd St. & Bleecker St.)

Link: http://peelsnyc.com/

Review: Located in the East Village/NoHo area, this is a terrific spot for a cozy date with some delicious food as well.  The decor is stylish but comfortable.  The booths upstairs are a favorite and work well for a quiet conversation or can even accommodate a double date with some of your pals.  They do a good job of executing some old comfort food standbys – fried chicken, burgers, and shrimp and grits.  With prices that won’t break the bank, Peels is a good spot for a cozy date on a cold winter night to sip on some hot cocktails and fill up on some home style cooking. (They have a great brunch too!)

Kingston Hall

Kingston Hall

Photo by Kingston Hall

Address: 149 2nd Ave. 2nd Floor (9th & 10th St.)

Link: http://www.kingstonhall.com/

Review: Kingston Hall is a nice break from the chaos that can be the East Village bar scene.  This sudo speakeasy is a great place to bring a date or a group (though avoid Thursday through Saturday for a date as it can get pretty loud/rowdy on weekends).  There’s comfy lounge seating, a pool table and a back room that’s great for groups.  Fun cocktails give Kingston Hall a classier feel than the standard East Village bar catering to the beer swilling masses.

The Redhead

Photo by The Redhead

Address: 349 E. 13th St. (1st & 2nd Ave.)

Link: http://theredheadnyc.com/

Review: The Redhead is a cozy spot in the East Village for some tasty dishes that have that home-cooked feel.  The service is quick and friendly and the buttermilk fried chicken was AMAZING, rivaling the fried chicken we had over at David Burke Kitchen.  The duck confit flatbread was a great starter and they have some good specialty cocktails and craft beers as well.  With the exposed brick, dim candlelit atmosphere and limited seating, this is a nice, intimate spot to bring your date for some good eats and some good conversation.

Ngam

Photo by D G.

Address: 99 3rd Ave. (12th & 13th Ave.)

Link: http://www.ngamnyc.com/

Review: We stumbled upon Ngam as we were wandering down toward the East Village on a Friday night.  It had some good looking specials on the board outside and smelled great so we decided to stop in for a quick dinner and were not disappointed.  Ngam has yummy seasonal dishes and quick, friendly service.  The decor is modern and industrial with exposed brick walls and an open kitchen in the front of the restaurant – it’s much nicer than your typical Thai restuarant, and it’s great for groups with their long wooden tables.  The soft shell crabs had great flavor but were a bit heavily deep fried.  The fresh oysters with a spicy thai sauce were fantastic and their pad thai was pretty solid.  Also, the cocktails were very refreshing, though not the strongest.  All in all, Ngam is a solidly good, nicer Thai spot in the East Village if you’re looking for a place to go with a group of friends.

Blue Owl

Photo by Blue Owl

Address: 196 2nd Ave. (12th & 13th St.)

Link: http://www.blueowlnyc.com/

Review: We weren’t blown away by Blue Owl.  We went there around 10pm on a Thursday looking for some cocktails, cheese and some charcuterie but their kitchen was already closed and the place was pretty empty.  They had a decent cocktail selection but we expected more from this place. The layout was a little weird with a DJ playing some hipster music in one room and couples sitting/canoodling in the other room.  Though we could’ve been there at the wrong time, seems more of a happy hour/weekend type place.  All in all, there are definitely better options for cocktails elsewhere in the East Village, but if you want to stop in for a quick one there’s a decent selection here.

Terroir

Photo by Time Out NY

Address: 439 3rd Ave. (30th & 31st St.)

*Locations also in TriBeCa, East Village and Chelsea

Link: http://restauranthearth.com/terrior/Terroir.html

Review: If you love your wine, Terroir Wine Bar is the place for you! They have a great wine selection and a very knowledgeable and helpful staff in case you can’t decide from the huge wine list.  They also have some delicious small bites – chicken liver bruschetta, lamb sausage, and some great cheese and charcuterie plate options.  The candlelit, romantic atmosphere makes it great for a date, but the longer tables against the wall can accommodate bigger groups as well.  Either way It’s the perfect spot to go and try out new wines!

Death + Company

Photo by Death + Company

Address: 433 E. 6th St. (Ave. A & 1st Ave.)

Link: http://www.deathandcompany.com/

Review: Death and Company is another one of our favorite speakeasies in NYC.  With its trendy, intimate atmosphere, perfectly crafted unique cocktails and friendly, knowledgeable staff – Death and Co. is a great spot to impress your date or enjoy a night out with a small group of friends.  If the lengthy cocktail menu is too much for you to handle, just tell the bartender or waitress what you generally like and they’ll whip you up the perfect concoction.  They also have some delicious small bites for you to munch on, like truffle macaroni, crispy pork belly and seared petite filet mignon.  Their no reservation policy makes for long waits, so get there early to put your name in and be extra nice to the doorman as he is the gate keeper.  You can sit up at the bar and watch the mixologists at work or cozy up to your date in a plush booth.