Dimes Cafe: California-Style Cuisine right in Chinatown

Chicken liver mousse topped with jalepeno-pickled raisins from Dimes Cafe in NYC

It's places like Dimes that make it impossible to ever get tired of New York City. Twice now this summer I've stopped into this tiny, funky-pretty spot on dingy Division Street for dinner, once late, around 10pm, once on a bit of the early side, around 6pm. On both nights I was greeted warmly and seated immediately, despite the fact that everyone here is at least 20 times cooler-looking than me. The menu is incredibly appealing from top to bottom, with healthy, California-ish dishes–owners Sabrina De Sousa and Alissa Wagner honed their chops at places like Northern Spy and Smile–at reasonable prices. Most important, both dinners at Dimes were wholly satisfying, two-for-two, app-and-entree winners. Enter hungry, leave happy. 

Juicy braised chicken served over kale salad and apricot couscous.

Tasty, Fresh California-Style Fare 

Dimes is usually filled with way-stylish beautiful people and, since it's open for breakfast, brunch and lunch in addition to dinner (until 11pm), it's become something of neighborhood hang for this surprisingly happening stretch of Chinatown/Lower East Side. Trust me, the people-watching and chatting-with is good at Dimes, the food is even better. My jar of Chicken Liver Mousse, for example, was wonderfully rich and creamy, brightened by a small parsley salad, and given some nice bite by the jalapeno-pickled raisins on top. And if my other starter a few weeks later didn't quite cohere in the same way, each of elements–roasted peaches, shishito peppers, sweet and spicy pecans–were pleasant enough to snack on by themselves. 


More Deliciousness at Dimes

The entrees–sorry, "Large Plates"–were both excellent. The Braised Chicken was cooked to crackly skin/moist meat perfection, and the bitter wilted kale/apricot and lemon couscous tower upon which it perched (all doused in fiery chili oil) made for first-rate, mix-it-all-together accompaniments. But my favorite dish so far at Dimes had to be the Seared Tuna Nicoise, which sounds cliche for a Cali-style joint, but was so fresh and zingy, each of the many ingredients working together and holding their own–a list that includes radishes, beets, eggs, tapenade, bulgar, and perhaps the best sunchokes I've ever had in my life–that I've been craving it ever since. 

Roasted Peaches over shishito peppers from Dime Cafe.

Menu & Additional Info for Dimes

Dimes is located on Division Street between Ludlow and Canal, and is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and on weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00. There is also a juice bar type situation at Dimes, as well as to-go coffee and cookies. More information and the complete Dimes menu can be found here


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