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And the Best New Cheap Eats Joint Is

A tiny, convivial beer bar run by a Momofuku veteran and former U.S. Navy submariner.


Earl’s Beer & Cheese
1259 Park Ave., nr. 97th St.; 212-289-1581
The chef, Corey Cova, began his cooking career on a U.S. Navy submarine. After that, he did time at Momofuku Ssäm Bar. Out of the combined experience, he’s developed a cooking style that isn’t easy to describe. Let’s put it this way: The man serves Hudson Valley foie gras on Eggo waffles and tops rice cakes with cheese fries. He also makes a Momofukian sandwich (pork belly, kimchee, fried egg, Cheddar) that out-Momos Momofuku. Another of these loony-bin concoctions takes a slice of Calabro mozzarella where no Calabro mozzarella slice has ever gone before: onto a griddle-toasted Thomas’ English muffin with dill pickles, miso mayo, and Kettle chips. It works. Some first-time customers who spot Cova’s alliterative, gender-neutral-sounding name on the menu wonder if he is a pregnant woman. In short, everything about this food sounds wrong but tastes lip-smackingly, mind-bogglingly right. If there’s one criticism you can make about Cova’s cuisine, it’s that it’s hard to get, and when you get it, you don’t know where to eat it. Earl’s, you see, is first and foremost a beer bar and an exceptionally tiny and crowded one at that. At certain times, trying to eat a sandwich here is like trying to eat a lobster on the No. 6 train during a taxi strike. But that’s how it goes in this Cheap Eats town, as well as, one imagines, onboard a U.S. Navy submarine. (CECS: Mozzarella sandwich, $6, plus can of Genesee Cream Ale, $3, plus bread pudding, $7; total: $16.)


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