A gem in the East Village, named for an apple variety, Northern Spy is run by two San Francisco transplants who have a West Coast perspective on the farm-to-table movement. Start your meal with the freekeh risotto, a traditional dish made with a quirky little-known grain, or a giant mound of shredded kale tossed with cheddar, pecorino, and toasted almonds. Main courses are winners, too—choose tender meatballs in marinara sauce, roast chicken for two, or baked polenta,
eggs, and mushrooms topped with crème fraîche. There is also an interesting, reasonably priced list of wines and beers, and a selection of housemade desserts like chocolate cake with sea salt and caramel.