East Village Late Night Eats Part 1 (With One Out of Bounds 24-Hour Exception)

Date May 8, 2009

I’ve already done a comprehensive round up of cheap late night eats all over Manhattan but now it’s time to focus on the East Village, arguably Manhattan’s finest neighborhood for eating after midnight. Read on for the final word on Artichoke Pizza, plus the best slice if you don’t want to brave Artichoke’s line.  We’ll find a great place to take a mid-night break from the booze and we’ll also discover why heading to Murray Hill at 4AM without a booty call, is actually a smart move.



What to Eat Instead of Artichoke Pizza

Muzzarella Pizza

221 Avenue A near 14th Street
New York, NY 10009
Open until 4AM most Thursdays & every Friday & Saturday

This closet-sized pizza shop makes it’s bread and butter off the Avenue A late night bar crowd so be prepared for a small line and a potential shortage of variety the later it gets. If you do happen to have your pick, the best best is a palate-cleansing plain slice ($2.50) and NYC Food Guy’s favorite the “lasagna” ($3.50, below).


It has nothing to do with pasta and everything to do with the combo of creamy ricotta, salty mozzarella and hearty meat sauce. Muzzarella’s crust is always chewy, crisp and airy, a result of being cooked on top of a pizza pan in the oven. What the crust lacks, however, is that hint of sweetness that prevents a good crust from being great.

Where to Build A Base Before Midnight

Dumpling Man

100 Saint Marks Pl # B b/t Avenue A & 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10009 (Google Map)
(212) 505-2121
Open until 12:30AM Friday & Saturday

If the 12:30AM close time Friday & Saturday qualifies this hand made dumpling spot for late night status then it’s worth taking a break from the bars for a few chicken or pork dumplings.


The slighlty spicy chicken (one for $0.90, 6 for $5.95, 10 for $7.95) and scallion-filled pork ($0.80, $4.50, $6.95) dumplings easily trump the mundane shrimp & corn ($0.99, $5.50, $8.95) dumpling and the mealy green-skinned vegetable ($0.90, $5.95, $7.95) version.


Pass on straight soy sauce and opt for the vinegar infused house version. Beware the Sirracha, a little drop goes a long way.


There are also several special sauces (an employee told me the “Asian tahini” and “hot monster” are very oily, while the “green curry” and cucumber-based “cool monster” are better options) and desserts on the menu, but in the spirit of keeping things delicious and affordable, I stuck with the dumplings and saved my space for our next stop in the late night eating arena.


The Out of Bounds 24-Hour Exception

Sarge’s Deli

548 3rd Ave. near 36th Street
New York, NY 10016 (Google Map)
Open 24 hours

Sarge’s Deli landed on this East Village list solely due to its 24-hour status and the great value its $12 hot pastrami sandwich offers. The hot, fatty, machine-sliced pastrami isn’t the best in the city (Katz’s Deli anybody?) because it’s a little underspiced, but for this price, you really can’t go wrong.


Two people can comfortably share any of Sarge’s sandwiches, including the $14.50 corned beef and pastrami combo with Russian dressing and cole slaw.


One order of thick, crinkle cut fries ($4.95, make sure to ask for them well done) will also suit a party of two.


And don’t feel like you have to eat everything in front of you, ask for some extra slices of rye and watch one half of a leftover sandwich become a totally new sandwich for the next day’s lunch.


If you haven’t received your complementary pickles and sweet, crispy cole slaw at the start of your meal, credit it to the sometimes harried service and just ask.


Every meal should end with something sweet and if you’re not asleep in your booth at this point, the cinnamon-dusted vanilla rice pudding ($3.95) is always a great option.


Is Artichoke Really Worth the Wait?

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza & Brewery

328 E. 14th St., b/t 1st & 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
Inconsistent Hours: Open at noon, close around 5AM

I won’t wait in line for Artichoke but when things are calm in the closet-sized pizza shop, it’s hard to pass on what’s truly the East Village’s best slice. Cubed and shredded mozzarella, a ton of grated Parmesan (before and after cooking), fresh basil, and bright tomato sauce are enough to make up for an inconsistent, generally flavorless and typically burnt crust. The Sicilian slice’s size makes its $3.50 price tag hard to swallow, but its slightly airy, buttery crust makes it Artichoke’s best slice. The best value may be the massive $5.50 styrofoam container of beer, which Artichoke generously fills to the very top.


The infamous spinach and artichoke slice ($4) has helped put Artichoke on the map, but don’t forget that Artichoke initially billed itself as the Manhattan DiFara’s, the Midwood, Brooklyn home of the legendary pizziola Dom Demarco.  The salty, sloppy slice may be unique and gimmicky, but it’s definitely my third choice after the Sicilian and margherita.


The rich sauce atop the spinach and artichoke slice is the perfect recipe for instant food coma.  The margherita slice ($3.50) surprisingly strikes a balance between the soupy cheese and sauce which seems to be Artichoke’s trademark.  It’s a wonder more doesn’t end up on our shirts than in our stomach.  The margherita is the best value on any slice at Artichoke as you can see from the scale above.


If the spinach and artichoke slice wasn’t unique enough, hand it to the boys at Artichoke to offer a crab slice ($4).  A creamy crab-based sauce coats the surface of the crust and is dotted with pools of melted mozzarella and tiny shards of crab meat.  Hints of spicy black pepper cut through the mild fishy flavor of the sauce.


As much as I admittedly wanted to dislike this slice, I actually enjoyed it.  What I can’t understand is who would want to eat crab chowder on their pizza at 4AM?  It sounds like a recipe for disaster.  NYC Food Guy will be sticking with the margherita and Sicilian. …  If there’s no line.


27 Responses to “East Village Late Night Eats Part 1 (With One Out of Bounds 24-Hour Exception)”

  1. Thepunkguy » van morrison to paul simon said:

    […] NYC’s Artichoke and more HERE. […]

  2. Shelby said:

    I’m not going to lie, I thought Artichoke was awful. It may just have been an effect of the insane amounts of hype, but I just could not cope with the inordinate amounts of grease and how severely burnt my pizza was (it was on a whole different level than ‘char’ – it crumbled when poked; it was rendered inedible.

  3. DWeez said:

    Tuck Shop? Pommes Frites? Sunny and Annie’s? Crif Dogs?

  4. tacogal said:

    My husband and I were wandering around the East Village at around three the other day and decided to give Arthichoke Basille’s a shot. I love artichokes and spinach, and really love them together dip style so I went with the artichoke slice. I didn’t like it at all. It was so heavy and creamy, it was just way too much. My man had a sicilian and a margherita slice and we both really like the margherita. We were happy we tried the place after hearing all the hype, but would never go out of our way to AB’s, it wasn’t that great.

  5. KoK said:

    are these Sarge’s pics from the infamous “cole slaw slam” night?

  6. kristen said:

    omg sarges is right by my apt i love that place!!! when are we doing nycfoodguy happy hour in the hillz????? i’m going to be drinking all summer i can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Alex said:

    hey man. good post. i disliked artichoke and actually threw my slice away. katz is open pretty damn late anyways and agree with you, a notch above sarge’s

    @Dweez: yah, almost all of east village is open way past midnight. crif dogs is fun with PDT.

  8. The NYC Food Guy said:

    I’m sorry to hear you had a bad Artichoke experience. It was never transcendent for me but I think you should give it another try. I try to never judge a place on just one eating, especially a place that’s as predictably inconsistent as Artichoke. Go for a Sicilian slice.

    This is just Part 1 of my East Village Late Night Eats. I’ve got the word on all three of those places coming up. Any other spots I should add?


    Couldn’t agree more. Would never go out of my way for Artichoke either. That being said, it’s a sad statement about the state of pizza in the East Village, especially slice joints, that there’s really nothing worth clamoring for.


    Unfortunately no, NYC Food Guy didn’t have his camera that night.


    Long time no speak. You name the place you know your loyal following will be there.

    Katz’s is definitely a notch above Sarge’s but Katz’s closes at 2AM, Sarge’s is open 24 hours. Thanks for the shout out.

  9. AG said:

    Much love for Sarge’s. I too find artichoke’s namesake slice overrated, with it’s super thick crust and overly wet and heavy topping. I haven’t tried the square since my last visit was so lackluster, next time I am in the area and there is no wait maybe I’ll stop by.

  10. maritza said:

    loved the pics!! thanks so much for writing about delicious food…:)

  11. phil-ate said:

    best meat in sarge’s is courtesy of enrique the busboy. not on the menu, but if you ask him, he will be very happy to provide. nothing better after a long night of drinking.

  12. W said:

    Artichoke’s has got to be the most overrated place in NY. Had the sicilian on two different times and on both occasions the crust was a bizarre combination of unholy amounts of grease and charcoal briquette. I kept eating them thinking, no, this is acutally supposed to be good, try another bite. But I’m convinced it’s borderline inedible.. I literally felt like vomiting both times. I don’t know who christened this place the “best” in NY but if it’s your’s, no prob, keep it. All the comments seem to agree. Who goes to this place?

  13. nyceats said:

    That’s a smart move, making sure there’s no wait. Sarge’s r andy is an underrated source for latea night eats and quality kosher style deli.

    You’re very welcome, it’s my pleasure.

    Really phi-ate, really?

    Oddly enough, a lot of people go to this place. And they wait online. Even in the rain. It’s a wonder to me too. That being said, their margherita and Sicilian are actually made from high quality ingredients, probably the best of any slice joint in the East Village. Unfortunately, the consistency of cooking and preparation is low resulting in a sometimes drastically different pie from visit to visit. Sadly, you’ve been on the bad end of that both times. I think you should give it one more shot (Third try’s the charm?) and then if it’s still bad, just chalk it up to bad luck. I suggest you head down to 14th street and Avenue A and check out the Lasagna slice at Muzzarella. It’s pretty tasty.

  14. DWeez said:

    Yea, though PDT seems impossible to get into. Whenever I’m in Crif, I just see people constantly getting turned away.

    More suggestions? Baoguette just opened. Momofuku Bar for dessert. Then again, those close by 2:00AM.
    Bereket if you want some overpriced Halal cart food. Mamoun’s Falafel for some overpriced dog food (overstatement, I guess you can tell I don’t care much for falafel). Rosario’s Pizza for cheap slices (though I’d suggest their Cheeseburger slice), but the late night drunken people are the spectacle.

  15. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Good info man but Bereket and Rosario’s are another food tour all together: Lower East Side! I’m ready for that one too. Want to help out? We’ll do it up one night?

    Bagouette on St. Marks, eh. I’m not really interested, Banh Mi doesn’t excite me late night. Momofuku Milk Bar, wow, I wish it was open later than 2am and there are night’s I’ve seen it closed by 1am.

    Crif is really the best, it never disappoints. I’m totally over the PDT thing, I’ll get in there one day. The only real draw is trying some of these other hot dogs they offer in there but don’t offer outside. I’m going to investigate the chance of getting the PDT dogs outside the bar.

  16. Jeremy J said:

    I was at artichoke the other night…waited prob close to 45 mins at 5 in the morning…had the Margaretta pizza….sooo good!!!

  17. Dr. Dyspepsia said:

    1. AMAZING new site design! The Food Guy just keeps getting better.

    2. The Sarge’s photography walks the line between fine art and culinary erotica. I will surely dream of those sandwiches. Have you considered a publisher for a high-end “NYC Food Guy Photographic Tour” coffee table volume?

    Doc D.

  18. DWeez said:

    Sounds good man, I’ll have to LIRR it in from Great Neck (home for the summer).

  19. HowfreshEats said:

    Come on dude. EV and no Katz’s? Open till like 2:45 on Fri and Sat- they need to get the nod.

    I stayed at Cinderella falafel late 90s early 2000s almost every weekend. The chicken pita, meat pie and spinach pie were the move- I don’t eat falafel though heard good things. B&H next door 2nd is my shit- open til at least midnight, but heard they were trying to 24/7 it. San Loco is serviceable but after stepping up my Mexican game I only go if I need to. Egg Creams or black and whites at Gem Spa and the night is complete.

    Artichokes is good, but not worth more than a 10 minute wait.

  20. Ben said:

    Artichoke is NOT the EVs best slice! Luzzo’s is hands down the best in the ‘hood and may be the best in manhattan. It’s only a block away and it will blow your socks off! Since when is 34th st part of the village? Instead of trekking uptown, just head to Vesekla, B&H Dairy or Katz for a late night sandwich.

  21. The End of NYC Food Guy’s Favorite Late Night Fries: Murray Hill Grease Pit “Ziggiz” Now Closes at 10PM | NYC Food Guy said:

    […] If you’re still looking for some serious late-night eats check out these two posts: NYC Food Guy’s Comprehensive Cheap Late Night Eats East Village Late Night Eats Part 1 […]

  22. Shelly Borrell said:

    Smart move — Looks tasty.

    Shelly, Nibbles of Tidbits

  23. Pulino’s Salsiccia Pizza is Breakfast in it’s Finest Form | NYC Food Guy said:

    […] a surprisingly chewy, almost buttery inner layer.  Now pizza for breakfast doesn’t mean the Artichoke sitting on your table from last night. Thanks […]

  24. NYC Food Guy’s Favorite Late Night Dessert: Cookies and Cream Italian Ices at Led Zeppole | NYC Food Guy said:

    […] Related: East Village Late Night Eats Part 1 (With One Out of Bounds 24-hour Exception) […]

  25. Spencer said:

    Anyone hear of the PUERTO RICAN LASAGNA from La Fonda Boricua. This lasagna is INSANE! Its so damn good that Spike TV actually sent their FOOD DUDE on the road to visit La Fonda Boricua and hold a taping of how to make this dish.

    Go to this link if you really wanna see how this works…


  26. Spency said:

    Spencer, we get it, you want us to go to spike.com to check out the food dude thanks for posting it three times

    but we have our own food dude already

  27. NYC East Village Late Night Pizza: Muzzarella Consistently Gets it Done on Avenue A & 14th Street (And Is a Great Alternative to Waiting on line at Artichoke) | NYC Food Guy said:

    […] Previous Muzzarella Coverage: East Village Late Night Eats Part 1 (May 2009) […]

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