122 East 7th Street (b/t 1st and Avenue A) New York, NY 10009
Since starting this Dukan Diet I have literally been shoveling in all forms of steak, turkey and chicken, and even sashimi and any baked fish I can get my hands on (I mean I had been trying the Skinny Bitch (vegetarian) diet for a while so this was a whole new world for me).
With that being said, I’m sort of sick of all this food, so I was dying to come up with a new way to continue my diet (after two weeks of doing this and I had already cheated…I mean I have a food blog what did you expect?) so my mind wandered to oysters.
I don’t die for them like some people, but I thought this was a good opportunity to expand my palate, so I found Desnuda, a Cevicheria (and oyster bar) and wine bar…an anorexic alcoholic’s dream. Yay!!
I convinced my lush of a cousin to join me (she had oysters the night before, but I think the wine bar swayed her), and I was on my way.
Desnuda is on a block in the East Village, which has a million and one amazing restaurants, so as I was aimlessly searching for the restaurant (no sense of direction AT ALL) I walked by three restaurants I was interested in for my next adventure (still haven’t been to Pylos or Luke’s Lobster) before I made it to Desnuda to be greeted by my cousin already sipping a glass of wine at the bar.
“Is there seating in the back?”
“I think it’s just the bar, “wine bar.””
“Oh, I get it.”
I order the same glass of rose as my cousin (I trust her) and scan what’s happening around me. There is a date happening next to my cousin (which I will agree, it is a fab date spot), and two gay men and their lady friend sitting to my right.
The bartender plops down truffle popcorn in front of us, and I slide it closer to my cousin and I. I suddenly realize it might be for the whole bar.
“I’m sorry is this yours?”
One of the gay guys looks up and replies, “no, it’s yours. They give it to everyone once they order a drink.”
“They must like you better than me, because they didn’t give me popcorn when I sat down,” my cousin says.
While that’s nice of her to say, I’m pretty sure they were just waiting for the rest of her party to arrive. I don’t think they thought my cousin came to a wine bar to sit by herself and drink (that’d be so sad).
My cousin had already scanned the menu and decided she was very into two tuna ceviche options, and a lobster ceviche. I really had my heart set on oysters so we figured we’d split one ceviche, and go our own way on one dish.
“Which tuna do you want?”
“I can’t eat fruit on my diet, so whichever one doesn’t have fruit.” (I already had popcorn woops).
“They both don’t.”
“Let’s do the spicy one.”
Then the bartender/waiter/chef (he does it all!) tells us about the specials of the day. I can’t tell if he lists two specials or one, because I only caught the first sentence and the last sentence, but I was into it.
“Maybe we should get a special and a ceviche, and then see what happens next.”
“Excuse me, was that one special or two?” (we’re dumb)
“We’ll get the first one,” (which was hamachi).
I sadly was buzzed from the one glass, and my cousin was cruising to her second.
“I like to try new drinks,” my cousin says.
“What are you getting next?”
“Can you get white wine after you have red, or is it the other way around?”
“I have no clue.”
“I don’t want the waiter to think I’m dumb.”
“Who cares if he thinks you’re dumb, just order a drink.”
She gets the cava, while I just get a second round of the rose. What do I know??
I then watch the bartender/waiter whip out a weird gadget and place glass bobbles on the table that look like round light bulbs: smoke starts going everywhere, and we hear him instruct our neighbors, “wait a minute ½ for this, and then eat this one minute after…”
Sounds complicated, but I’m jealous. What are they eating?
Tea smoked oysters.
Our tuna ceviche comes first, but I was convinced it was the hamachi, because when I ordered I said “we’ll have the Hamachi and the tuna ceviche” so I had assumed it’d arrive in that order, which in retrospect makes absolutely no sense, but like I said I had one glass and was tipsy.
So good! and SO spicy!
Hamachi is prepared next, and is just so so pretty. I like the tuna better, but the Hamachi was yummy, but they put salt and pepper on top, and it was just way too salty.
My cousin is up to glass #3, while I’m treading lightly with #2. I decide it’s only right if we get a third dish, and the lobster ceviche is ordered, which was my favorite by far, probably because it was the least healthy according to my diet. It came with mango (oops), and it was mixed with coconut milk (douple oops).
“The guy next to me keeps bumping his elbow into me,” my cousin says.
“Do you want to move seats?”
“No, it’s ok. I think he has an accent. Maybe he’s Israeli.”
“If he’s bumping into you then he’s definitely Israeli,” and we start cracking up, we’re hysterical! (she married an Israeli, judge me if you will, but they’re pushy sometimes, but I’m ride or die for my homeland).
As we’re paying the bill, I realize I’m not even one step closer to liking oysters more, but I like ceviche more.
Desnuda (rose wine)
It’s a wine bar so I have to highlight the wine. Here it is. I know nothing, and I can’t give an ounce of an educated summary of the flavors, but I drank it, and it increased my BAC, so I’m into it.
Desnuda (truffle popcorn)
The beginning of the end of my diet. Some people are a little over truffle’d everything. Sometimes I agree, but not this time. I don’t know why I’ve never had this before! AMAZING, and worth just going for wine and the popcorn!
Desnuda (tuna ceviche with jalapenos and scallions)
This was SO spicy. I really liked it though, and I thought it was good quality tuna. It was the right cut, and had good flavor!
Desnuda (hamachi: with scallions and salt and pepper)
A little salty but I scraped the salt off and threw the scallion everywhere! You can see the jalapeno on the side, which was accidentally left over from the tuna. I’m messy.
Desnuda (lobster ceviche: coconut milk and mangos)
I couldn’t find the detailed description on the online menu, but trust me when I say I died for this. I love lobster in general, and I was obsessed with the mango/coconut milk combo.
Nicoletta [Click the photo above to go to Nicoletta website]
160 Second Avenue (on the corner of 10th Street), New York, NY 10003
I know what you’re thinking, I’ve never heard of Nicoletta, what is this place? I’m just so insanely on trend that I decided to a try the new Michael White restaurant that opened in mid-June (let me think I’m cool ok!).
I secretly knew there might be a wait since it’s a new restaurant and they don’t take reservations, but I didn’t tell my friend who I was meeting there (like I was gonna let her pick a different place), so I got there a few minutes early, put my name down, and phoned my mom to kill some time.
I see my friend approaching, and I tell my mom I have to go, “you called me!” She says and then hangs up. Jewish moms…
I break the news to her that there is a wait, and I have to say, she kept it together pretty well, considering she texted me that she was starving a few minutes before arriving, so plus 5 for maintaining your composure girl.
We opt to go across the street to 13th Step to get a beer, while we wait for our table (they call you when your table is up). Just as we order our Blue Moons (the girly beer), we get a call saying our table is ready. It was like 10 minutes earlier than they said, so I already loved them. We cancel our drinks and haul ass back to Nicoletta (it was 10 feet away, but we were hungry!).
“This place is so cute. I love the aesthetic….you can put that in the blog. aes-thet-ic,” my friend says it slowly like I’m about to whip out a pad and jot it down.
“I’ll be sure to note that.” That being said, it is cute. Brick walls, red décor, I’m gonna label it “laid back chic.” Do what you want with that information.
We order our wine and settle into the menu.
“Ok, what are we gonna get?”
We try so hard to look at the menu and decide, but we keep getting distracted, talking about how hungry we are, her “douschebag professor,” you get the idea….
I felt like my eyes were turning into ping pong balls as I tried to catch the waiter’s eye, maintain eye contact with my friend, and scan the menu (I’m a multi-tasker what can I say?).
“Ok, let’s just decide on a pizza first.”
“I’m not into red meat,” my friend replies.
“Great, I try to avoid red meat too.”
We go for the broccolo pie, which is broccoli rabe, peppers, and some pesto thing happening.
“Doesn’t your family think it’s weird that you don’t eat meat? Like your dad?” (referencing one of my blog posts, she’s a fan!)
“Yeah, he does, but then he does this…” and I motion him hitting his chin implying my face blew up.
“I hate that! My brother makes fun of me too, but did he run 3 miles before eating, no! I did!”
I’m suddenly wondering if we’re on the same page…
“You run 3 miles?”
“I work out like 5 or 6 days a week.” Hmm, do you? I work out 3 days a week, putting her at a 50% advantage in the aerobic department. I don’t like not being the fit one at the table (it happens often if you can imagine). I’m starting to doubt her.
We order two “small bites,” of a cucumber salad and risotto balls (her suggestion, my love for her is growing again).
We look over at the table next to us, and two skinny girls are eating 3 small bites. We will NOT be outdone.
“Maybe we should get that eggplant,” she says. I can forgive you for your 5-6 workout regimen. Consider it water under the bridge.
We order, and my friend rushes to wash her hands. The cheese stands alone. I whip out my phone, and pretend I’m busy.
She sits back down, and tells me there is a bathroom on the main floor. I am loving this place more and more.
The small bites are indeed small (my pictures below make them look large, but they are not, but they’re also $5 sooo I get it), but they’re really really yummy.
Cucumber salad is on the healthy side with a nice crunch; the eggplant has great flavor, and it comes with bread so yay to that, and the risotto balls are deep fried balls of rice, so I didn’t foresee that being a problem (only 4 of them though, so portion control!)
My friend notices little silver circles at the sides of our table.
“Is this for our bags?”
I look around at the other tables. “Nope, that’s where they put the pizza stand in.”
Honest mistake. She’s going to kill me when she reads this, because she’s going to say I made her sound like an idiot. I think it’s a normal question!
Before I can fully laugh at her, we look at the skinny girls next to us, and see their pizza has come. Looks like they’re eating tonight too. I wonder if they ate anything else today, or if they’re just naturally skinny.
Our pizza arrives, and it’s go time! It was yummy, but I’m gonna shoot you straight, I liked the small bites better. We decided we would have preferred a “saucier” pizza.
“Like the ones the girls have next to us…” Do you think these girls know how much trouble they’re causing for us?
I look down at my wine, and I see a little bug has lost its way into my glass of rose, and is now doing the free style in my glass. It looks like the bug is legit swimming in my glass, and I cannot stop watching it.
“Look at that thing!”
“It’s really swimming.”
I share with the busboy that I have an Olympic swimmer in my wine glass, and he takes it and returns with a new glass that is bug free.
“Would you ladies like dessert?” YES.
Gelato is the only option, and I’m not complaining.
“Would you like any toppings?”
We pick the pistachio nuts that the waiter recommends, and he looks at us all crazy and says, “that’s it?” Toppings are fifty cents fyi.
We go for the caramel sauce.
As we wait for our dessert, we see the girls next to us have ordered individual gelatos. Now they’re just rude!
We get ours, and it is definitely the best part of the meal. It’s amazing. 16 handles may be across the street, but ditch the fro yo and get the gelato for sure.
As we depart from the restaurant, I realize there is construction on 3rd avenue, and no cars are allowed on the street. Guess I’ll call my mom while I walk home.
This picture was taken before a bug flew into my glass. I don’t know much about wine, but I liked mine.
Nicoletta (cetriolo:spicy red wine vinegar marinated, cucumbers, black peppercorn)
This was delicious! I am a really picky cucumber eater (I don’t like when it has a mushy center), and this had the perfect crunch and mix of acid. I loved it!
Nicoletta (caponata: marinated sicilian eggplant, peppers, pine nuts, basil)
This was surprisingly amazing. I loved it, and tried to share with my friend, but I kept dipping my fork back into the little bowl.
And that bread? Crispy and unreal.
Nicoletta (suppli’ risotto, mozzarella, ragu antico)
A deep fried carb with dipping sauce. It’s not packed with flavor, but it’s not meant to be. It’s just yum.
Nicoletta (broccolo pizza: broccoli rabe pesto, smoked scamorza cheese, cherry peppers, spicy bread crumbs)
Looks pretty good right??? I think it’s the same pizza they have on the website, which makes me feel like I have superb photography skills. Anyway, it is really great, but I think it needed something like maybe more tomatoes or salt, and they dont serve the food with any of your standard pizza toppings.
Nicoletta (gelato with caramel sauce and pistachio brittle)
I could not help myself with putting up two pictures of this. It was just so good. They said the gelato was vanilla flavored, but I swear it had some marshmallow thing happening. Also, please note that it’s not a super large portion: they serve it in a regular size glass.