Unlike many of you, I went to the Sunday Show after party for the open Absinthe bar where the fire eater, go-go dancer, and juggler stood out through the thin crowd. Despite the potential for something awesome, expectations weren’t met (nothing caught on fire!) until I ordered an Absinthe and indeed paid nothing. But, after six my stomach hurt and my head still sat squarely on my shoulders.
The night U-turned when I went to Punjabi, an Indian/Pakistani spot with the best PR a cheap basement bodega could ask for: consistent patronage by South Asian cabbies. Plates of rice or rotti with choice of two veggies were $2, but now the price is $3 and the plates are actually bowls. Somosas cost a dollar and they have the latest Pakastani cds on and the wall, ready for purchase. This place is full of ambiance, just not manufactured ambiance. If it is cold eat at the stand up bar. If is warm, join the gang on the sidewalk. They obviously have their shit together because they have a row of 8 microwaves over the 6 chafers holding the food and you bus your bowls to the trashcan outside the door.
Punjabi is at 114 1st Street, but think Houston between 1st and 2nd Ave.