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Address: 157 Second Ave (10th St)
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10003
Phone: (212) 539-1900
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Chef: Wylie Dufresne
Cuisine: Gastro-Pub
2nd Cuisine:
Area: East Village


It's not often you see a star chef chatting casually outside their restaurant, unless it happens to be Wylie Dufresne in the front of his East Village "gastro-pub," Alder.   The space is stunningly simple with lots of distressed wood and exposed brick.  It's a true neighborhood spot where folks are encouraged to stop in for a quick snack, meal or a drink.

Dufresne's inventiveness, which made WD-50 one of New York's premiere restaurants, is shining through at Alder with dishes lik "Pigs in a Blanket" made with Chinese sausage, Japanese mustard and a sweet chili sauce, or handmade Rye Pasta with shaved pastrami that became an instant hit.

We started with the "Shrimp on Shrimp," diced rock shrimp on a shrimp cracker topped with green papaya, peanuts and red chile slices.  Six morsels arriving on a thin slab of slate.  Each providing one lively and memorable bite.   Deep-fried squash blossoms come loaded up with succotash, a molé cream cheese and a few dollups of chile relish.  It's a dish that screams Summer.   And who could resist roasted quail legs served like mini lollipops on an individual bed of Napa cabbage, cocoa nibs and fermented black bean.  I watched someone try to eat them with a knife and fork.  Don't be ridiculous.  Dig in and use your hands.

Cocktails at Alder also stray from the mainstream.  The Rubbernecker is made with mango shrub, pine and rum, while the Lawn Dart is a concoction of Pimm's, tequila, celery and passion fruit.  

They say the mission at Alder is to "serve delicious, affordable food" that everyone can enjoy, and it's working.

Review By: Thomas Rafael