Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Hanging Around St. Marks
Baoguette Cafe (37 St. Marks Place)
Baoguette Cafe is a small cafe on St Marks between 2nd and 3rd ave serving delicious Vietnamese cuisine. The cafe itself is small as it only fits 20 people max. Some friends and I thought it looked pretty unique so we stopped in for a bite. We sat at the 3 seats at the counter, giving us a perfect view of the narrow kitchen. The menu is broken down into three main components: appetizers, sandwiches, and noodles & rice. The menu also has a dessert and drink section, but that seems to be glanced over. Dining here made me feel like I was tucked away in some market in Asia, which was a cool feeling considering we were in NYC. The ambiance and decor really gave way to their concept.
The waitress greeted us with menus, water, and a big smile. She also informed us that the cafe was BYOB, so after placing on order--we got some beers! I immediately knew it was going to be a good meal as soon as I saw the condiments on the bar counter. Every guest had soy sauce, siracha, and a grinder with fresh jalapenos available to them like your typical salt and peppers. Although the menu seemed to offer a bunch of delicious options, I got the Grilled Pork Chop Sandwich and I couldn't have been more happy. The sandwich was made with Vietnamese style pork chop, fried egg, pickled daikon and Carrot, and Jalapeno. The waitress also informed me the sandwich came in mild, medium, or very spicy so she wanted to know my heat preference. I went with medium, which had a nice kick to it. The medium spiced sadnwich allowed you to get the flavors without numbing your mouth with spiciness. Not only was the sandwich aesthetically pleasing, but it was delicious. The combination of fried egg and pork chop went really well, not to mention the pickled daikon and carrots which not only helped with flavor but with texture.
I was also fortunate enough to try the PHO, which is beef noodle soup. and the Spicy Catfish Sandwich. The Catfish Sandwich was tumeric roasted Viet Catfish, cucumber relish, pickled red onion, honey mustard aoili, and jalapeno. Both were good, but my sandwich seemed to top both. I would definitely recommend this place for anyone hanging out in the East Village. The food is delicious and cheap, the atmosphere is authentic, the service is good, and its BYOB!
PDT (113 St. Marks Place)
PDT (Please Don't Tell) is a small, sexy speakeasy offering a variety of specialty cocktails whether classic or seasonal. Jim Meehan, mixology expert, heads the Crift Dog hideout. Enjoying yourself is not the hard part--its getting in. PDT is very well known and respected, but at the same time unknown. Even with reservations you sometimes cannot get in and I think its awesome. The space is a rather small and they do a good job in monitoring how many people are there. The best part of PDT (besides the cocktails) is the going into the phone booth and speaking with the lady on the other side of the wall. If you have reservations or know some1 then she will open up, but many are turned away. Although this seems a bit pretentious, its not. Everyone there is just is just looking to relax and have a good time. The service is a bit slow, but you could appreciate the bartender taking his/her time to create a delicious mixture. Although I cannot recall all the drinks I tasted due to their complex nature, I do remember my first drink which was the Benton Old Fashion. This was bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and bitters poured over one huge ice cube. You could really appreciate a place that has many different types glasses, but you could really appreciate a place that has several different types of ice. Mixology is a underappreciated craft, but PDT pays homage to the cocktail and how versatile it is. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for a good cocktail and a cool scene. If you bring a girl here on a date you will probably get laid--its that cool. But SHH! Please dont tell!