Joseph Leonard (Christopher Street and Waverly Street) – When someone asks me, "I have one meal in NYC: where do I go?", I tell them, "Joseph Leonard." Friendly staff, creative new-American dishes, and you absolutely must order the brussels sprouts. If you live in the neighborhood, I suggest putting your name in and going back home for a glass of wine (or two) while you wait.
Jeffrey’s Grocery (Christopher Street and Waverly Street) – right across from Joseph Leonard and owned by the same guys, so the friendly service and great tunes are guaranteed. This is their seafood-forward spot, and their menu changes frequently.
Meatball Shop (Greenwich Avenue and Perry Street) – This is our FAVE. We've had everything on this build-your-own-adventure menu but generally go for chicken or veggie sliders with parmesan cream sauce or pesto. They have excellent sides that change daily, great wine and custom “Wheat Ball” beer from Sixpoint Brewery.
Jack’s Wife Freda (Carmine Street near Bedford Street) – beautiful space with delicious "South-African-Israeli-Jewish-Grandmother cuisine." I love the peri peri chicken and the roasted cauliflower appetizer. And the roasted beet dip. And the grilled haloumi. Don’t forget to order extra hot sauce.
Via Carota (Grove Street between 7th Avenue and Bleecker) - This spot is the literal love child between partners Jody Williams (of Buvette fame) and Rita Sodi (of i Sodi fame -- see "Italian" section of Lucy's Guide). The space is beautiful yet cozy, and the dishes, though small, are executed perfectly. While they're famous for their chopped steak, I'd recommend sharing a pasta and several small dishes, especially the carrots.
(West 10th and West 4th Street) Perla is a beautifully designed, inventive Italian spot of the Joseph Leonard/Jeffrey's/Bar Sardine clan of restaurants. It's a small but elevated menu, and the friendly staff make you feel like you're a regular.
Little Owl (Bedford Street and Grove Street) is a cozy, intimate neighborhood gem that's one of the West Village institutions. Don't miss the meatball sliders, and I suggest ordering several small plates and sharing.
Fun fact! Little Owl sits at the bottom of the apartment building where the cast of the show "Friends" lived.
Pearl Oyster Bar (Cornelia Street) – A neighborhood institution and lobster roll hot-spot with chill, East-coast-nautical decor.