Eat your way through St. Marks

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Jeffrey Wu

Dessert Spot is a great place to grab something sweet in a hurry.

Nikki Link, Contributing Writer

Without a doubt, St. Marks Place is one of the best areas near campus to grab a quick bite to eat. With over 60 restaurants contained within three blocks, St. Marks has all the variety one could ask for. Yet, the abundance of options can be overwhelming. Here are a few places you shouldn’t miss for lunch, dinner or any time hunger strikes.

The Bao (13 St. Marks Place)

A relatively new addition to St. Marks Place, The Bao has already made quite a name for itself in the realm of xiaolongbao, or soup dumplings. Six of the paradoxical little dumplings arrive at the table nestled in a bamboo steamer in each order. Their paper-thin skins make handling them an arduous undertaking, but once on your spoon, bite down on the top to let the hot soup run into the well.  Then drizzle on some ginger vinegar and pop the whole thing in your mouth. The combination of the earthy, savory pork filling and the spicy, acidic vinegar creates a particularly stellar meal. Because these little gems take 20 to 30 minutes to get to the table, nibbling on an appetizer is a great way to pass the time, the red puff beans being a must-eat. The flaky pastries dotted with sesame seeds enclosing sweet and earthy red bean paste are to die for. The restaurant itself, with its dark, industrial interior and soothing music, is a peaceful and surprisingly affordable escape after a long morning of classes.

Spot Dessert Bar (13 St. Marks Place)

Located directly underneath The Bao, Spot Dessert Bar is the perfect place to enjoy gourmet desserts at fairly reasonable prices. Opened several years ago by world-famous chef Ian Chalermkittichai, Spot offers a wide variety of European and American-style desserts with a distinct Asian flair. Think green tea macarons and Thai tea creme brulee. For a real sugar rush, try their fall-inspired Golden Toast.The heavenly thick-cut toast is slathered in butter, honey, whipped cream, fresh strawberries and condensed milk ice cream.

Stromboli Pizza (83 St. Marks Place)

If you ask any New Yorker what they get when they need a cheap and delicious meal on the go, most will probably say pizza. For those New Yorkers who find themselves on St. Marks, the best place to pick up a slice is Stromboli pizza. This is not dollar pizza, but the reasonably higher prices reflect the pizza’s better quality. Keep it simple and try the plain cheese slice, which has been a customer favorite for over 20 years. The ultra thin, pleasantly chewy crust is complete with a sweet tomato sauce and a blanket of gooey cheese. The restaurant is also open until 5 a.m., making it the perfect late night stop.

Email Nikki at [email protected]