Monday, March 10, 2008

East Village Food Adventure - Part 1

As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” And, that certainly was true when it came to the East Village food adventure that I went on with NYC Food Guy on Sunday. Usually, when I’m dining out with my friends, I’m the only one truly analyzing a restaurant…its food, its atmosphere, its inner-workings. That’s part of what made Sunday so fun (obviously the food didn’t hurt!). I had someone there to share in the commentary and offer another critical eye (well, two).

We set out from 14th & 3rd with only a few simple rules:
1 - The meal had to be under $10 per person
2 - There could be no wait staff, just counter service
3 - Continue on the adventure until you feel sick

With a massive list and a map in hand, we set out. First stop was Vanessa’s Dumplings. The menu consisted mostly of fried or steamed dumplings, sushi, and their house specialty, sesame pancake sandwiches. My pork-less diet eliminated a good amount of menu items, but NYC Food Guy was willing to humor me.

Ordering the namesake dumplings was a no-brainer, and having not had a sesame pancake before, we had to go with that as well. The steamed vegetable dumplings were really tasty. They were made fresh and actually had visible vegetables inside, not the mushy mixture often found in fast food dumplings. The sesame pancake was a pleasant surprise. Not sure what to expect, I really enjoyed the texture and the flavor of the pancake itself, which wasn’t too heavy on the sesame. Carrots, lettuce, cucumber, and bean sprouts served as the “meat” of the sandwich, and was mixed with an Asian vinaigrette of sorts.

Off to a great start. If you’re in the Union Square area, Vanessa’s Dumplings is a great spot for a quick, cheap Japanese fix. The day was young, but we wasted no time…next stop, here we come!

Vanessa's Dumplings
220 East 14th Street
b/t 2nd & 3rd Avenue
Menu Pages listing

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