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There was a time when Harold Dieterle was best known for being the first to wear the Top Chef crown. After opening the excellent Perilla, he became recognized as the guy who introduced brisket to Thai food with Kin Shop. With a third restaurant in the works, as well as his first cookbook on the way, Harold has his hands full. Unlike other chefs, however, he knows how to take a break: with a pint or a plate of tater tots just blocks away from where he lives and cooks. Harold, who is himself quickly becoming a West Village staple, was kind enough to share a few neighborhood gems of his own.
Pizza, slice: In my opinion, the white slice from Bleecker Street Pizza is the best slice in the city. Apparently they put panko in their dough, and I feel like they have the perfect sauce, cheese, and crust ratio down.
Pizza pie: I get the namesake pie at Keste with prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, arugula, tomatoes, and extra virgin olive oil. The pizza has a nice char on the crust, which is something I love. I try to go during lunch though, since it's a mob scene at night.
Burger: Burger & Barrel serves the best beef burger in the city in my opinion. They use a great LaFrieda blend, and I like the sauce and shredded lettuce. I usually go with the classic, as I'm not into the more "fancy" toppings on the bash style.
Sandwich: The Cuban sandwich at The Original Sandwich Shoppe is a great sandwich. Black forest ham and house-made roast pork. I sub in provolone since I'm not into Swiss cheese.
Bagel: The customer service at Murray's Bagels might leave something to be desired, and they won't toast your bagel, but they are the clear best bagels in the neighborhood. I get a whole wheat everything bagel with tuna salad and lettuce.
Dive bar: The Four-Faced Liar is the official Perilla staff hangout. I usually get gin served to me in a pint glass—it helps improve my foosball game.
Nicer wine, beer, or cocktail bar: I love Daddy-O's. The tater tots are amazingly addictive. A little ketchup mixed with tabasco and you can just settle in with a plate of tots. Everything here is always better than you expect it to be.
Delivery food: I like to order a grilled cheese with ham and mozzarella from Washington Square Diner. Super-fast delivery, they always get the orders right, and the dishes taste like you expect them to.
Ice cream/gelato: I always go for the hazelnut flavor at Love Gelato—it reminds me of my honeymoon in Italy.
Takeout: For Chinese, my go-to is Grand Sichuan on 7th Avenue. My favorite crab and pork soup dumplings in town are here.
Late-night eats: The taco truck on Bleecker Street hits the spot after a late night.
Date night: The food at L'Artusi is outstanding. I always order a scallop crudo and whatever seasonal pork chop they are serving. The wine list is full of amazing value. Whenever I order a bottle of wine there, it feels as if it should cost twice as much, but they know how to select a list so well. Joe and Gabe are killing it.
Can't-miss neighborhood spot: Go get the meatball sliders at The Little Owl. A lot of spots serve meatballs nowadays, but Joey Campanaro is the king!