If you filtered a Japanese izakaya (generally serving small plates to go with drinks) through downtown Manhattan, you'd get something like sceney Chez Sardine. This diminutive eatery (hence the name), at the busy West Village intersection of W. 4th and W. 10th streets, is run by neighborhood restaurateur Gabe Stulman (of Fedora, Perla, Joseph Leonard, and Jeffrey's Grocery). Regulars go ga-ga for the foie gras and smoked cheddar grilled cheese sandwich, a sumptuous blend
of haute and low-brow tastes. Likewise, the smokey bacon miso soup and the pork and unagi roll, a divinely delicious marriage of surf-and-turf if there ever was one, are worth a visit in and of themselves. Reservations are strongly recommended.