L at First Ave.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
With promising wood-smoke barbecue and a cocktail menu as substantial as its dinner offerings, Ducks Eatery comfortably joins the ranks of small, East Village restaurants that double as small, East Village bars. Even on weeknights, the dining room is packed with a tumble of locals, gourmands, meat seekers, and barflies, capturing the frenetic yet discerning pace of the neighborhood’s nighttime nosh. Mostly a small-plates take on barbecue fusion, the menu is a well-executed blend of smoke, southern spice, and Southeast Asian ingredients. While some highlights, including an excellent bundle of crackling pig ears, are overpriced for the portion, most plates fit right into the East Village value equation. Pickles are not recommended, but anything beefy and fatty is advised. And no visit should go without Yakamein Soup, a laksa-colored bowl of noodles, clams, and brisket. For dessert, there is an entire section of the menu devoted to ice-cream sandwiches, which are made with Tate's chocolate-chip cookies.Cafe Hours
Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kitchen closes around 11:30 p.m.
Yakamein soup, $16; crispy pig ears, $11; fatty brisket, $12 (call for weekly availability)