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I don't have a strong opinion on Belmondo one way or the other. It was
sparsely populated for a Friday night in the East Village, but that could've
had something to do with their lack of air conditioning. It was just
someplace new to try. It's bistro food, but somehow I felt like I shouldn't
be eating, and especially not eating the steak frites (though I ordered them
anyway). Maybe it's just the East Village syndrome (which isn't as bad as
Williamsburg as far as androgyny goes). I'm not always in the mood to be
surrounded by girls (women?) with little boy bodies who couldn't possibly be
eating red meat or fried potatoes to maintain that appearance. Just order
mojitos if you want to fit in. Or get really radical and eat something. It's
up to you.(6/29/01)

Belmondo * 98 Avenue B, New York, NY


It's right near all the Indian hubbub on Sixth Street, yet manages to stand
on its own. Maybe it's Banjara's corner location that keeps it from blending
in with the rest though I'd say it stands out due to its inventive menu. You
won't find many of the Indian standbys you've grown accustomed to, as was
demonstrated by the obnoxious pregnant woman sitting behind me who was
loudly harassing the waiter about where the curry was. Who would go to
Banjara for dime a dozen curry when you can sample items like duphakt, which
is sort of like an Indian chicken pot pie (you don't have to get chicken).
The tasty eggplant-wrapped, coconutty, grilled shrimp is also worth an
appetizer mention. The only baffling part of the meal was at dessert, trying
to figure out how they got such a huge lemon to stuff sorbet into. Does
fruit expand when frozen? The thing was practically the size of a

Banjara * 97 First Ave., New York, NY

Radio Perfecto

I'd met friends for drinks (well, beer and wine since they don't have a real
liquor license) here before and they didn't seem that impressed with the
food. Overpriced and small, or something along those lines. But I felt like
checking out Ave. B and this place seemed like the lesser of many evils.

I'll admit that the Cubano-style empanada starter was on the tiny side,
but nicely flaky and great with the tangy jicama (or whatever it was) slaw.
My roasted half chicken with pesto and fries was more than substantial. I
had leftovers galore. James insists the chicken pot pie was less than
filling, and then proceeded to order shrimp dumplings at Forbidden City like
45 min. later. It looked o.k. to me, but maybe the roast chicken was a
better choice. Topped with sangria and key lime pie, I thought the meal did
the trick. Nothing to write home about, but reasonably priced and not
completely blah as many east village choices.

RadioPerfecto * 190 Ave. B, New York, NY

Cosmic Cantina

Blech. Maybe this place is cosmic. I hesitate to call it a cantina (that
word always conjures up the kooky Star Wars scene). I do know it's certainly
not Mexican food. I only went because it's one of three new restaurants
that's popped-up on James' corner in the past few weeks, and it looked like
the one that would best lend itself to take-out–I wasn't up for anything
spendy, fussy or time consuming.

They can take their "California-style" burritos and shove 'em where the
sun don't shine. Any place with tofu sour cream, fat-free everything and
burritos with names like Sarah and Jessica, is wrong. So wrong. Beans
should be refried, and that means lard and plenty of it. There's no way
around it. Real burritos are fat-laden and that's why they're so damn good
(and impossible to find in this town).

It's clearly geared towards the NYU contingent who think it's cool to
blow $8 on a mediocre, supposedly healthy burrito and drink specially brewed
teas and the like. Wait till they're footing their own bills and it'll be
back to Hot Pockets and Diet Coke. (6/13/01)

Cosmic Cantina * 105 Third Ave., New York, NY