Raising the Bar: Satisfyingly Gut-Busting Fare at One and One

"The food at One and One isn't healthy or light, but it's hearty, comforting, and perfect after throwing a few beers down the hatch."

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[Photographs: Tia Kim]

One and One is an Irish-style pub in the East Village bordering the Lower East Side. Full of rowdy NYU kids and the after-work crowd catching the game with a cold brew before commuting back home, the bar is low-key with no pretense. At night, the people get louder, and the music starts pumping—but if you're lucky enough to grab one of the tables outside, you'll be able to chow down on some hearty food guaranteed to sop up all the beer you have (or will have) in your system, in relative New York City peace.

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The pub fare at One and One consists of classics, such as Bangers & Mash ($8.95) and Fish & Chips ($9.95). For those that crave mashed potatoes with gravy and tons of sausage links when they drink, Bangers & Mash is the dish for you. For me, although I love sausages, there's a limit to how many I can ingest in one sitting. Especially the sausages at One and One, which tasted like less salty Jimmy Dean sausages. Nevertheless, the grill marks were beautiful, and although the mashed potatoes didn't taste homemade, the sautéed onions and the buttery mushrooms on top were a nice touch. I'd recommend sharing this plate with a friend or two. It's hard to eat five links without getting sick of them halfway through.

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The Fish & Chips, on the other hand, will probably leave you craving. A hunk of cod is heavily beer battered and fried extra crunchy so it develops a thick hard shell. Cracking the crisp exterior revealed flaky innards that were juicy, if not as tender as I would have liked. I suspect the fish was previously frozen, but with a little salt, malt vinegar, and a dip into the housemade tartar sauce, it didn't make much of a difference. In contrast, the fresh cut fries were too soggy and could have used a little more time in the fryer. In a perfect world, I'd want more fish and less chips, but that's never the case anywhere. To quote Jay-Z, "It's a hard knock life."

09172009guiness_web.jpgTo wash down the heavy fare, one of the citrusy wheat beers on tap would have sufficed, but since I was indulging anyway, I ordered a dark Guinness, properly poured with a thick creamy head. Like cool liquid velvet on the tongue, the beer was the perfect accompaniment to a satisfyingly gut-busting meal.

The food at One and One isn't healthy or light, but it's hearty, comforting, and perfect after throwing a few beers down the hatch. If you're feeling guilty, you can always burn off a few chips shaking your booty in the crowded lounge downstairs. But for a less stressful end to a night, do what I do: Take the long way home and then collapse into a long and restful food coma. Tomorrow is another day.

One and One 76 First Street, New York, NY 10009 (at 1st Ave; map) 212-598-9126
oneandoneny.com