Dining

Classic Table: Prune

Rocking our world since 1999
Triscuits with sardines and mustard at Prune in the East Village
Prune Triscuits

Get the peas and carrots with honeycomb! Get the shrimp on toast!

People always remember what they loved at Prune, even if the last time they were squashed into Gabrielle Hamilton's tiny East Village dining room was in 1999, when the restaurant first opened.

Hamilton changes her menu all the time, but the sardines on Triscuits ($5) with dabs of mustard are still working their charm at the wee bar. So is the delicate frico ($8)--a pleated skirt of golden Parmesan cheese, which arrives warm and flexible and cools to a crisp.

It's a lovely way to start the evening, especially alongside a freezing cold Gibson ($12) garnished with a pink pickled pearl onion.

The stunning boiled beef dinner at Prune
Prune's still got it. That's why moments after it opens, there are families, girlfriends and fans of Hamilton's excellent memoir, here for the unpretentious food delivered by no-nonsense servers who wear charming pink T-shirts in a shade of hot Pepto.

Who knows what treasures you'll find at your rickety table? Maybe two grilled quail riding a piece of charred bread ($29) which almost turns into a savory bread pudding as it soaks up the sweet, salty jus. Or fried sweetbreads with bacon and capers ($17) and ruffles of winter greens in lemon and olive oil ($8).

It doesn't matter. Everything at Prune will be smart and profoundly unfussy, bright with acidity and sharp with salt.


For dessert, if you're lucky, there will be a cold, candied orange ($6). The thing arrives whole in a clear pool of sugar syrup, like a gigantic jewel stolen from a rich lady's fridge.

Share the intense fruit confit with a dear friend, passing the sticky serrated knife back and forth, and you'll be reminded why there are still nights when no other spot in New York City will do. It has to be Prune.

  • Gabrielle Hamilton's East Village gem, Prune, opened in 1999. It's still worth a visit for the Triscuits with mustard and sardines.

  • Prune's stunning boiled beef dinner is just the thing to get you through the winter.

  • Chef/owner Gabrielle Hamilton changes the menu constantly. Keep an eye out for the quail on charred bread (right).

  • Prune's teeny tiny open kitchen is the heart and soul of the restaurant.

  • Start the evening off right with an ice-cold Gibson, which is garnished with pink pickled pearl onions, of course.

  • 1/5
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Prune 54 E 1st St. New York NY 10003 212-677-6221

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