Just because this East Village speakeasy mixology mecca has somewhat of a secretive vibe (located behind Crif Dogs, no visible name outside, must phone in via the red phone in the telephone booth kind of thing), that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t share details! Hello…the point of the Leopard. The last time I attempted to grab a drink at Please Don’t Tell, the wait was three hours.
The amount of hot dogs….Not waiting. Last night, I was in the hood, after finishing an excellent dinner at Cafe Mogador, and figured I’d give PDT another shot. I called to check in and homegirl advised the wait was about 45 min-1 hour. We checked it out anyway to verify. And would you look at that…Immediately snagged the only two open seats at the bar. Don’t mess with me lady.
I had no idea what to expect, given all the hype about Jim Meehan (who just moved to Portland), the epic cocktails, etc. The setting was unpretentious and pretty small. It was dark, wooden, some bricks, a few dead animals as decor, about 12 seats at the bar, two tables for two, and four booths that seat up to five people.
I am a recent Moscow Mule convert–I upgraded from my mojito and sangria fetish that started at age…16? And Mezcal is a nice swap for tequila; the smoky flavor mixes well with almost anything. So, I opted for a Mezcal Mule–it had some cucumber, passion fruit puree, lime and chile. Solid. Jordyn got some funky blue situation to the right, with rum and a cocktail umbrella. You can also order a hot dog at the bar…
Try to find an odd time to swing by or make a reservation because…ain’t nobody got time for one hour waits. Well, unless you plan accordingly and dine at Mogador next door.
This was my second time at Cafe Mogador, my first time was way too long ago! And ever since that first bite, I’ve had dreams about that veggie tagine (which was…unavailable yesterday–only the chicken and meat ones are permanently on the menu.)
We got a roasted cauliflower appetizer to start, which came over a bed of sheep’s milk yogurt, and had some spelt berries and preserved lemon. Great starter, nice mix of flavors. Then, I went for the crispy skin salmon with cauliflower puree and kale. It was perfect.
One problem I’ve come across with the NY restaurant scene is that it’s harder to find a reasonably-priced epic meal. Paying top dollar for an awesome meal is easy to find. But, on a night when you want to kick back and enjoy a great dinner without spending $50…that can be a mission. So far, Cafe Mogador is an excellent choice for that range. Appetizers are $10, and entrees range from $17-$21. I’ll be on the lookout for these kinds of establishments and keep you all posted on my findings!