ST MARKS PLACE
You may have walked past it a thousand times and never noticed this little gem in the heart of East Village. Cucina Italiana Paprika, serving up Northern Italian stables for 11 years, checks a lot of boxes. Unique brunch menu? Check. Casual mid-week dinner? Check. Intimate date spot? Check. Something unexpected on the menu? Check.
Paprika's menu is thoughtfully split into salads, starters, pasta and grains, and entrées, with enough choices in each group but nothing to overwhelm the indecisive eater. The clear standout is the lamb meatballs in a thick tomato based sauce served with green lentils and butter-like red bliss potatoes. The meat is tender and the delicate meatballs are perfectly cooked.