2006_02_food_bleecker.jpg

For such a long and storied crosstown street, it is odd that Bleecker Street on has only one subway stop. That stop on the 6 train will drop you square into NoHo, providing easy access to that neighborhood as well as the East Village and NoLita.

Regardless of the time of day or scope of your agenda, there is a great place for food within striking distance.

- Maybe you need some food before meeting friends for drinks downtown on a Tuesday night:

Five Points - 31 Great Jones Street / 212-253-5700
Eat at a table in the back choosing from a menu of well prepared, ingredient driven dishes. Alternatively, stay up front which is set up with a bunch of comfy high tables and tons of bar space. Grab some excellent $1 oysters (M-F, 5-7pm, dozen max pp), order up some other plates to share and be happy. We also love the Burger ($12.50), with bacon and cheese no extra charge, served with those killer fries; top 5 in NYC if you like rare as your temp.

Hedeh - 57 Great Jones Street / 212-473-8458
This little gem of a place, serving modern Japanese sushi and dishes, opened a year ago or so when the chef moved to NYC from Aspen. Perfectly cut fish is of the highest quality, including Uni ($5) from Santa Barbara, and the appetizers have been strong every visit. Be sure to try the Crispy Rock Shrimp ($9), whatever fish is on the specials, and at least one of the interesting maki rolls. They also have $3 pints of Sapporo in the bar during happy hour.

Bianca - 5 Bleecker Street / 212-260-4666
Specializing in food from Emilia Romagna, Bianca strongly delivers results on all fronts, the food was excellent and the prices very reasonable. Frito Misto ($14) was light, hot and crispy, Lasagna ($11.50) was rich from béchamel and studded with beef, and the Carciofi Fritti ($7.50) was an exceptional few bites. Service was also great, and when they were out of the Roman Sangiovese we ordered they steered us to a $24 bottle that way exceeded expectations.

- Should you be just passing through on the way home after spending a Saturday downtown, or just need a quick bite to start your day:

Sparky’s - 333 Lafayette Street / 212-334-3035
This recently opened clone of the original in Williamsburg serves up Dogs ($2.50+), Burgers and such, all made from tasty and responsibly sourced ingredients. The Dogs are available with a variety of toppings, inspired by both traditions and geographical regions, and the Fries were surprisingly good even when boxed up to go.

Bite - 335 Lafayette Street / 212-431-0301
Should you be seeking a wider choice for a snack, go right next door to Bite for sandwiches, soups and salads. You will be supporting what may be the smallest restaurant in all of NYC.

- If it is Sunday brunch you seek there are two good choices nearby:

Nolita House - 47 E Houston Street / 212-625-1712
Their Sunday brunch packs them in for live Bluegrass and Bloody Marys. Most of the food is very good, including an exceptional Cheese selection. Also on the cheese front, see if you can get an order of their Mac & Cheese as an appetizer if your stomach is up to it.

NoHo Star - 330 Lafayette Street / 212-925-0070
An early outpost for good food in this area, it has settled comfortably into a great, albeit overpriced, option for food at many different times of the day. We like it best for brunch with the wide variety of choices both in and out of the egg world available until 4:30pm.