One of our favorite Friday night standbys. Although this sliver of a wine bar definitely gets crowded, it’s often easier to snag a seat here than it is at the massive pub-on-steroids Brixton a few doors down. Plus, there’s a nice, extensive roster of wines by the glass and a pretty killer nouveau banh mi stuffed with Creekstone Farms ribeye, pickled carrots, jalapeno, and plenty of chicken liver pate.
What to get: Ribeye banh mi; cheese and charcuterie boards.
If you’re hitting a show with a group, this warm Ethiopian bistro hung with pendant lights is a good bet. It can be a sweet deal, too, with big rounds of injera—the slightly sour, spongy bread that is used as both platter and utensil—holding dollops of sharable stews, meat dishes, and salads (the $15 vegetarian platter can easily feed two or three).
What to get: Sambusas (flaky lentil-stuffed pastries); vegetarian platter; doro wat.
Sublime sashimi platters can be found at this minimalist father-and-daughter-run izakaya a few blocks away from 9:30. The cooked stuff—whether popcorn-light fried chicken or a bountiful bowl of fried rice with garlic chips and shiso leaves—is often as memorable as the beautifully presented raw fish. To go with it, there’s one of the city’s best sake lists.
What to get: Sashimi; fried chicken; tuna tataki; marinated short ribs; fried rice with garlic chips and shiso.
Short of scarfing a veggie burger inside the club, you can’t get more convenient than this indoor/outdoor hangout, which sits right next door. The kitchen slings a mix of sandwiches, tater tots, and burgers (the latter are named after musicians like Henry Rollins and Chuck Brown), but perhaps best of all are the thick, boozy milkshakes—try the Frank Costello, a mix of chocolate, mint, and Bushmills Irish whiskey.
What to get: Fried chicken; mac’ and cheese; Frank Costello shake; Vincent Vega shake, with vanilla ice cream and Bulleit bourbon.
Unless you want to go the food truck or fast-food route, this taco shop hung with tissue-paper garlands is your quickest option. Two layers of nubby corn tortillas hold an array of traditional fillings-carne asada, fiery chorizo—topped with cilantro, radish, and a little chopped onion.
What to get: Tacos al pastor (with pork and pineapple); chorizo tacos; tacos with Oaxacan cheese and peppers.