Mon-Wed, 6pm-11pm; Thu-Sat, 6pm-midnight; Sun, 5:30pm-10pm
F, V at Lower East Side-Second Ave.
Grand St. to 3rd St., Clinton St. to Lafayette St.
With the openings of Family Recipe and Zoe in the latter half of 2011, a once-quiet block of Eldridge is starting to become something of a restaurant strip. This place feels like a find, with its sleek mid-century vibe, complete with curved oak ceilings along one wall and jazz on the stereo. An L-shaped counter flanks the open kitchen, and from time to time your nostrils are filled with the seductive, brownielike scent of the restaurant's can't-miss chocolate cake: Dessert is decided. Dinner is trickier, with choices to be made from a Japanese-leaning hodgepodge of small plates that generally don't quite meet expectations. A daily-changing trio of pickles is likely to include a delicious thinly shaved daikon with toasted sesame seeds, marinated in yuzu; the citrus fruit is used liberally in other dishes as well, including the Washyu beef prosciutto. Pork buns are in no danger of upsetting the bao pecking order; there was nothing melt-in-your-mouth about thick slabs of tough meat on a recent visit. A rock-shrimp pancake (one of five or so daily specials) is classic okonomyaki, presented in a small cast-iron skillet. With its layers of mayo and gently undulating bonito flakes, it would taste really good after a couple of the large rice beers.Recommended Dishes
Alice's pickles, $6; chocolate cake, $9.50