Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Cardinal - New Southern Comfort in the East Village

A serious dinner spread at The Cardinal
With Irene a distant memory, let's get back to our normal weekend activities. Planning to catch the current number one film, "The Help"? Then follow it up with a big helping of Southern comfort at the new East Village eatery, The Cardinal.

Named for the North Carolina state bird, the bi-level Alphabet City BBQ joint is brimming with promise and hospitality. And a lot of meat. And the former head chef of Bubby's.

It's easy to see chef-owner Curtis Brown's passion for Southern cuisine and his North Carolina roots. He orders the locally sourced meat (grass fed beef + Heritage pork) whole so he can create everything from hot links to the ridiculously juicy burgers and bacon in-house.

I'd easily come here with a friend, a date, my mom, a group outing - even with kids. It's neighborhood casual and won't leave you hungry. That's for sure.

Plates are generous. The wet or dry rubbed BBQ plate ($19) could easily feed two or more. Or just me. It includes three meats: North Carolina pulled pork, Memphis ribs and Texas-style brisket. Homemade sauces on the side. Fried chicken ($15) is three crisp 'n' juicy pieces of bird. The fried pork chops smothered in red eye gravy ($15) are also moist and tasty.

Neighborhood charm
Each dinner comes with a choice of two sides. Mac N cheese is a standout. Baked beans and greens are both a close second. But, seriously, it's all mouth watering. And the prices definitely won't break the bank. Three platters and three beers: $75. How's that for a happy ending? Now smack your lips and pass the napkins.

Cool fact: Curtis Brown used to be the front man for hard rock band Bad Wizard. His old bandmate Stephen Tanner is the chef-owner of another classic comfort food spot, The Commodore.

Currently open for dinner and weekend brunch. Weekday lunch service coming soon.

234 E 4th St (between Ave A + Ave B)
Mon - Thurs 6pm - midnight
Fri 6pm - 1am
Sat 10am - 1am, Sun 10am - 11pm
212 995 8600

The Cardinal on Urbanspoon

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