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“Joe Doe”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American East Village Moderate Good

One of my favorite things about my “job” (if you can call eating for a living a “job”) is discovering little off-beat neighborhood restaurants, places like The Redhead, Char No. 4, and some years ago now, The Little Owl, Tia Pol, and Prune. There’s something to the intimacy of small spaces and the personal reflection of the owners that makes me feel very much at home and also makes me respect the struggle and the effort that it takes to bring a restaurant off the ground without the help of a team of investors and the name of a fancy celebrity chef. So when my food-writing students and I walked into JoeDoe, a dorm-room sized restaurant on a dark stretch of First Street (just a hop, skip and a jump from Prune), I was immediately happy.

The restaurant has all the trappings of a neighborhood gem. It’s owned by a young married couple—Joe Dobias, the chef (Savoy, Blue Ginger in Boston), and his wife Jill, a ballet dancer who runs the front of the house with the warmth of a grandmother (albeit a stunning and graceful 20-something grandmother) welcoming her little ones home. They found their shoebox on First Street, a former Polish restaurant, and gutted, scraped, painted and furnished it themselves with salvaged vintage pieces including 19th century church pews. They opened their doors with 27 seats, and no liquor license, which slowed them down a bit, but they were finally in full swing in September with booze but no gas: the restaurant’s bathroom-sized kitchen is run on induction heat. It’s amazing what you can do without gas.

Joe’s menu is a fun and quirky affair that reflects his Italian-Irish heritage in dishes like cod in a stew of bacon and cabbage, and his wife’s Jewish heritage as well. On the cocktail menu you’ll find a cocktail called the Lucky Driedel made with Maneschevitz that’s garnished with gelt, and on the appetizer menu you’ll discover a dish that’s an ode to the Jewish staple chopped liver that might be the greatest sandwich ever placed on a restaurant menu (if not on earth). It&rs ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in East Village :
+ Yujin-- Closed   + Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar   + Mermaid Inn   + Five Points   + Lavagna   + Five Points   + Bond Street   + Jewel Bako   + Alphabet Kitchen   + In Vino   + Bao 111   + Chikalicious   + Il Buco   + Hearth   + Lima's Taste   + Mercadito   + Hedeh   + Momofuku   + Una Pizza Napoletana   + Winebar   + Uovo-- CLOSED   + Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction   + Gotham Bar & Grill   + Colors   + Chinatown Brasserie   + Knife and Fork   + European Union-- NEW CHEF; SEE APRIL 2007 Review   + Aroma Kitchen and Winebar   + Stand   + European Union   + Mercat   + Gemma   + Back Forty   + The Smith   + Seymour Burton   + Belcourt   + Graffiti   + The Redhead   + Double Crown    + Apiary   + Joe Doe   + Apiary by guest reviewer Kiri Tannenbaum   + DBGB   + Northern Spy   + Goat Town   + Saxon + Parole   + Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria   + Acme   + Calliope   + Nicoletta   + JEPPNEY by Claire Jaffe   + Feast   

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