Is there a neighborhood in Manhattan with more satisfying, inexpensive restraurants than the East Village? The correct answer is no. Witness: old-school cafes like Veselka and Yaffa and Mogador; first-rate ramen shops such as Ippudo and Rai Rai Ken; sandwich stop-ins Caracas Arepa, This Little Piggy, and Porchetta; dessert joints like Spot, Jane's Sweet Buns, and Milk Bar; comfort classics at Crif Dogs, S'Mac, and Mark Burger; pizza from Artichoke, Motorino, South Brooklyn Pizza… add on your personal favorites (Baohaus? Angelica? Big Gay Ice Cream?) and the list of the best restaurants in the East Village is almost ridiculously long. And now, please tack on two more quick-bite spots to your regular rotation of restaurants in the East Village: JoeDough, specializing in creative, stick-to-your-ribs sandwiches; and the self-explanatory sweet shop, Puddin'.
Every community deserves a place like JoeDough, the grab-a-stool offshoot of the well-regarded mom-and-pop restaurant JoeDoe, where you can get inventive, quality-ingredient, freshly-made sandwiches at all hours of the day and night. This being the East Village, the JoeDough menu features such cheeky creations as the Conflicted Jew (bacon and chicken liver on challah), the Stoner's Delight (basically a gooey, salty melted-cheese festival), and the After School Special (fried bologna with chips on white). We've tried a couple of items from the JoeDough menu, and though the Chicken Avocado Club was just ok, nothing special,the JoeDough sandwich to get is definitely the Almighty Brisket, the juicy meat piled high on a sweet brioche, completed nicely with melted cheddar and peppercorn mayo. Good for lunch, great for a quick evening bite, excellent for a late-night post-party snack.
And for dessert, walk a couple of blocks and sample some of the luscious concoctions at the new Puddin', a self-described "serious sweets shop" recently opened by a pastry chef with an impressive pedigree–Bar Boulud, Union Square Cafe–Clio Goodman. Puddin' got crushed with customers its first couple of days (it's a small kitchen, and Clio said she would sell out of everything by late afternoon!), but things have calmed down a bit now that the obviously pudding-mad East Villagers know their supply isn't going away. The Puddin' menu offers loads of appealing treats: choose your basic pudding flavor (chocolate, banana, rice, coffee, coconut, etc.) add toppings such as salted caramel, dried cherry compote, red velvet cake, crushed ginger crunch cookies, and then, you know… dig in! We split an outstanding, super-rich serving of butterscotch pudding with brownie crumbles, and will definitely be back to try more. Oh, and Puddin' also serves Stumptown coffee. Score.
JoeDough and Puddin' Details
JoeDough is located on First Avenue between Ninth Street and St. Marks, and is open on Sunday through Thursday from 12:00 noon until 10:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday nights until 2:00 a.m. For more information and a look at the complete JoeDough menu (including catering options), please see their website, here.
Puddin' is located on St. Marks between First Avenue and Avenue A, and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. For more information and a look at the complete Puddin' menu, please see their website, here.