Espresso At Abraco Coffee Shop | East Village, NYC

Abraco makes room for a midday combo

Stellar espresso and brew-to-order drip coffee have started a buzz about Abraço, the petite East Village coffee shop where java cultists queue up all weekend for the perfect cortado and a shot of owner-barista Jamie McCormick's ebullient personality.

But on less-busy weekdays (except on Mondays, when the staff catches its collective breath), Abraço is a great destination for a quick, sophisticated lunch. Shortly after noon, its sliver of a kitchen begins turning out rotating trios of sophisticated small plates ($6 each, three for $15). One day's offering might include a rich tomato soup, a slender sandwich of Fontina, pecans and sautéed leeks, and a light, custardy frittata paired with red kale and croutons. On other days, roasted Brussels sprouts with pecans and capers, red appaloosa beans with fennel-pollen broth, and a pesto-brushed sandwich with watercress and ricotta make up the perfect midday trifecta.

Don't skip dessert: Plush ricotta fritters and shortbread flavored with cured olive oil are the most distinctive of the creative house-baked goods. And make sure you recharge before rejoining the fray: Abraço is one place where you'll never lack for a good cuppa to cap your meal.

Abraço, 86 E. Seventh St. (between First and Second aves.); 212-388-9731 or