Mon, closed; Tue-Thu, 5:30pm-11pm; Fri, 5:30pm-midnight; Sat, 11am-midnight; Sun, 11am-11pm
F at Delancey St.; J, M, Z at Essex St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
This LES neighborhood favorite packs a fun vibe and thoughtful, eclectic menu into a cozy 35-seat space. Chef Chris Mitchell worked for April Bloomfield before taking over the kitchen in fall 2011, and his refined comfort food bears traces of that chef’s style, particularly in a dish of perfectly pan-seared arctic char over spinach topped with crispy capers. Grouper tacos were deliciously seasoned on a recent visit, and their California flavor fit with the laid-back atmosphere, as did mussels in a coconut-y Thai-spiced broth. Housemade porcini ravioli arrive in a pureed butternut-squash-carrot sauce with an intense flavor that matches its bright marigold hue. Pork tenderloin is served tender and pink in the center, while short rib in a sweet glaze comes with an unusual cold sweet-potato salad. While there’s serious intent behind the menu, friendly service and tasty cocktails keep things lively, particularly the Root of All Evil, made with rye whiskey, root-beer extract, fresh lemon juice, and bitters.