Lunch at Agnes & Eva's Cafe started like this: a window seat facing out onto East 13th Street, and one hot chai latte ($2.50). This Polish East Village cafe, run by a mother and daughter team, is equipped with wireless, plenty of seating, solid food and low prices. I wrote about their peach pie when they first opened; I was not a fan.
But the cafe has improved with time, working out a number of kinks, and while the desserts are still far from fantastic, you won't be disappointed stopping in for a quiet meal, with soups, sandwiches, and more. Should you be lucky enough, you might come in on a day where Hungarian specialties are on the menu—if so, make those dishes your first eating priority.
Two soups are offered on a daily basis: chicken and dumplings, and French onion soup ($4.95) on my visit. The chicken and dumpling tasted as homemade as they come, rich in herbs and plenty of sweet shredded chicken, carrots and potatoes. The dumplings were non-existent, but I didn't press questions.
Better was my side order of home fries ($2.95), extra hot, salted and peppered just so, with plenty of thin cut, sautéed onions. Next time I will request that they fry it extra crisp so that parts of the exterior are well browned and crunchy. Regardless, I would have been happy with calling a big bowl of just home fries for lunch.
Dessert was from a vast selection including coconut tarts, banana bread, and coffee cake. I went with the latter, gently priced at $2.75, with a crunchy pecan studded top. Everything is fresh baked in-house—which is great, but also a problem, because the turnover is not sufficient to compensate for the wide variety of sweets they have available any given day. The coffee cake was tired and dry—but the crust, with toasty pecans and a brown sugar crumble, was almost good enough to make you forget just how long it had been sitting out.
Verdict? Not a destination spot, but a solid place for a meal if you're in the neighborhood or need a quiet place to wind down with food and WiFi.
Agnes & Eva's Cafe
243 East 13th Street, New York NY 10003 map) 212-505-8453
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