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Address: 54 East First Street (1st Ave)
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10003
Phone: (212) 677-6221
Fax: (212) 677-6982
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Area: East Village
Entree Price: $20-25



I've always had a strong desire to dine at Prune, but never had the opportunity. That is until the other evening. I was with some friends heading for an after-party at Marion's Lounge when we decided to stop in for a late dinner. It was almost eleven o'clock and the place was still buzzing. Food is served until midnight. You can choose a snack at the bar or a full-fledged dinner. We opted for the latter. As we waited for a table we sipped on some well-made mojitos and champagne cocktails. A table eventually opened up by the window. Getting there was a tight squeeze. Prune is tiny and every bit of space is utilized. We began with some over-sized fried oysters ($9) cooked up in a crispy batter and juicy as can be. We also enjoyed the flavorful Mackerel Escabeche ($10) served with marinated onions on a bed of celery and fried marcona almonds. It is truly a wonderful combination. Prune deserves high marks for its willingness to experiment. Take the Monkfish liver appetizer ($12). Portions of the fatty fish are placed on warm buttered toast creating an artery clogging delight. Every starter we tried was a hit, but some of main courses proved a bit more difficult. The Stewed Pork Shoulder ($24) was tender but too salty. The accompanying salsa verde tasted more like chopped mint. Soupy Rice with Lobster and Squid ($29) had a great smoky flavor. But the lobster was literally gone in one or two bites. Even the squid and rice were in short supply. Although, I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed sopping up the broth with some crusty bread we requested for the table. Even the Manila Clam Bake with Lamb Sausage ($24) was rather skimpy. Eight or nine clams with three tiny pieces of spicy sausage, and I mean tiny. We even tried getting the waitress' attention, but there was no attempt to remedy the situation. And that brings me to my point. If you are shelling out upwards of two hundred dollars for a meal for three in a no-frills location, there really is no excuse for being cheap. Throw in an extra piece of sausage. Would another clam kill ya? And squid is one of the cheapest foods on the planet. So, what started out as a terrific meal turned into a bit of letdown. Would I dine again at Prune? Yes! The kitchen is turning out some excellent dishes. But I'd probably skip dinner and settle for some drinks and a batch of those plump oysters.

Review By: Thomas Rafael