54 E 1st St, New York, NY | Directions 1000340.723918 -73.989367
Mon-Thu 11:30am-3:30pm, 5:30pm-11:30pm
Fri 11:30am-3:30pm, 5:30pm-12am
Sat 10am-3:30pm, 5:30pm-12am
Sun 10am-3:30pm, 5:30pm-10pm
Neighborhoods: Downtown, East Village, Bowery
It didn't take a NY Times bestseller for New Yorkers to know about Prune--it's homestyle cooking has been a favorite for years.
Prune was an original, and its whole aesthetic -- the no frills decor, the funky, unvarnished food, the cool music -- has been imitated endlessly. But there's something special that adhere's to the original, and the food has never declined (or gotten better). In its own way, Prune has become as much of a New York institution as Katz's across the street.
great cozy dinner... – My dinner at Prune was great-we arrived early for our reservation and were seated right away. The food was unusual in that there were a lot of choices that you don't usually see on a menu. After seeing the restaurant on No Reservations I wanted to try all of the things that they had eaten. The head on shrimp were sweet and flavorful and the sweetbreads were soft and with a great caper sauce. The whole grilled fish was delicious and the green tomatoes side were sweet and sour like those pickled cukes from your youth. And whatever dessert you get ask them to add a scoop of the ricotta ice cream-its phenomenal!! Definitely worth the trip and the atmosphere is just what you'd expect in the East Village.
Recommended if you order the right items.... – I went recently went to dinner at Prune with my husband. A few of the dishes were exceptional and a few were below average. To start with the good, the entree of the whole grilled fish was amazing -- very flavorful and moist, the jewel yam side with a brown butter sauce and the dessert of ricotta ice cream with brioche "croutons" and a butterscotch sauce were also outstanding. Our waitress was great and gave good recommendations when asked. We also had a very good bottle of wine which was reasonably priced. On to the bad... the fried oysters were odd -- shaped like chicken fingers (long tubes) and in a heavy coating. We also disliked the sweetbread appetizer which was also deep fried. If I had closed my eyes I wouldn't have been able to tell what was an oyster vs. what was sweetbreads as they both just tasted heavy with the thick coating and not-so-fresh oil. The other strange thing about the place is that the lights are on fairly bright especially since they have candles on the tables -- too bright to make it good for a date. I would go back, but would try the marrow bone appetizer as it looked really good. If you pick the right items you can have a really good meal here, but if you pick the wrong ones you'll be disappointed for the cost.
Food with no flavor plopped on a plate – I had dinner at Prune with a Manhattan chef who visits regularly. The staff is genial, the ambiance pleasant and the crowd hip but not too. The thing is, it's a restaurant, and they serve food. I ordered "Head-On Shrimp". I was confused for a few minutes, wondering what sort of preparation would give a head-on flavor. Then I realized they were going to be prawns with the heads on. The waitperson asked if I'd like any vegetables, but I thought whatever came with the shrimp would be fine. In fact, nothing came with the shrimp. There were two jumbo shrimp, and not only were the heads on, so was the shell. Well, I thought, one shrimp sitting on top of another on a white plate. $14. Imagine peeling that shrimp skin right off and getting at the juicy, flavorful meat. Uh uh. The skin didn't want to come off. The shrimp were overcooked and dry. Zero flavor. No garnish, nothing. My companion ordered an omelet (?) and some sort of vegetable like fennel. Her omelet plate consisted of one perhaps 3 egg omelet, folded in half, and that's all. Flat. Nothing in it. The companion, remember, another chef, was stunned to see the other plate with an entire fennel plant that looked as though it had been boiled. The chef ate little of it. The dessert menu featured a delicious sounding chocolate cake, which I thought would be just the thing, but when it came it was the size of a brownie, tasted like a brownie, but a really bad brownie, again overcooked. The chef ordered some sort of milk thing that came in what appeared to be a shot glass. With no bottle of wine, but one glass and one well drink, the bill was over $80. The ingredients could not possibly have cost more than $15. That's an obscene markup. I would rather have had prunes for dinner.
Best rib-eye steak ever. Roasted marrow bones (as seen on Anthony Bourdain show) worth a try. – I was skeptical after reading the recent negative reviews on Citysearch, but thought we'd just give it a try - after all Anthony Bourdain made the food look so unique and good, and the place looked cozy.
So I was fully ready for a huge disappointment, common when a place gets some media exposure and public attention - but I was pleasantly surprised. The service was very professional yet friendly, the food was excellent - we shared the dry cured rib-eye steak, and it was the most delicious steak ever I ate (and for me, an avid fish lover/eater, to say this is something really exquisite). It is pricey than you'd hope for, but we could tell the chefs know what they are doing and they pick the best material to prepare the best food, so at least to me it's worth the money.
Only downside would be the really tight seating - we were pushed into this corner table, where we had to sit sideways as there's no place under the table to put our legs in, and if you looked around our table wasn't bad at all. But admit it, it's a tiny cozy place in EV, we know places far worse - so I'm not complaining.
And since it's such a tiny place, you'll need a reservation and if ever possibly you'd like to do it earlier in the evening rather than later. We had 6:30PM reservation on Presidents' Day and had no wait time, but after 7PM it started to get busy and people were waiting to be seated for quite a while - and there's no waiting room, so you have to either stand in the entrance way or outside, which is not too comfortable.
So here are the bottomlines: plan your visit well and make a reservation; plan on spending a considerable (yet not ridiculously much) money; and enjoy the food. You will have a great time.
Cramped and Sloooooooow – First off, getting there for your 8:30 reservation and being seated at 9:30 is a bad way to start a meal. And forget waiting comfortably for a table. There is nowhere to stand, so you end up hugging the entrance door and dodging the hostess who keeps telling you to move out of the way.
Then you get to sit down - And if you're even remotely tall forget it. You're crammed in there like a contortionist in a circus act. It is not a comfortable place. Elbows in your face.
The food wasn't bad - not at all. I enjoyed it... until the bill came. Way over priced. Way way way overpriced.
All in all I wouldn't come back to Prune. The experience lasted 3 hours - It's like they're cooking the food over a box of matches- Completely silly. Kind of a waste of time. The fun and joy of eating a nice meal was completely lost.
Totally overrated – This place is totally overrated and totally overpriced. This is a restaurant for people who do not know how to cook but want food that somewhat resembles home-cooked food. The problem is, it's not a good as home-cooked food from a reasonably skilled cook and they are over-charging for it. The food is not very inventive and not well presented. In addition, although I am someone who really likes all kinds of food, the selection is not great. I had a hard time finding things I wanted on the menu, they had something like three pork dishes and the only other protein was chicken.
Also, I agree with a prior poster that the service is not good. There seemed to be a lot of waiters there for what is a very small restaurant, and they were not very attentive.
O.k. and VERY Overrated – I was really excited to try Prune - especially after seeing the crowds that awaited their brunch. However, after a good huevos rancheros that was solid, but not special and service that was not very helpful and somewhat inattentive, I don't get the hype. I can understand a chef not wanting to compromise, but they were unwilling to yield to any dietary restrictions, which limited my choices. If you have any issues with dairy or cholestrol, save this place for an occasion where you can be a little bad. Moreover, the prices seemed a bit high, even by New York standards ($8 for oatmeal and another $8 for a bowl of fruit is asking a bit much). One last note - not once during brunch was I offered a refill on my coffee, which seemed really odd given thae limited number of tables. With all of the wonderful brunch places in New York, I won't be returning to Prune.
Worth the Trip from Anywhere – Although this is my first post on the Citysearch page I am no stranger to eating well. Before moving on to surgery I cooked professionally in Charleston, S.C. for five years (not as bush-league as one might think for those of you that have made the trip down.) My co-cooks from that time have since gone on to such restaurants as Le Bernadin, French Laundry, and in the interest of full disclosure, Prune. I just can't say enough about the food. It is honest, simple, and shockingly straightforward. The inclusion of just a hint of spearmint in the salsa verde with the braised pork, for example, was genius, plain and simple. The setting is tight, no doubt, but the place is small enough that it feels cozy, intimate even, rather than crowded. If you enjoy kicking back in your easy chair at some carnivore's palace, stay clear. My chief impetus for this post however, is to categorically refute the criticisms of the service and attitude of the staff. We arrived late for the final reservation (10:45!) of the night on a Saturday. My years in the industry assured me that this would precipitate a dizzying rush to order and hack service in-between sidework. I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. Instead there were glasses of Cava awaiting us (as we had requested) and smiles all around. The service was attentive in a way that you would expect from a Michelin-starred joint. I couldn't even get my head around to ask the waitress for something before she appeared with it. We were a large party so we got grat'ed but felt obligated to add on anyhow. I don't know what sort of black cloud the previous reviewers dragged in with them, but I saw no hint of it during our superb experience. I will be back without fail and take my most discriminating friends without hesitation.
wonderful food, wonderful staff – I recently told a friend visiting from out of town to check out Prune online so she could get a little sense of it before she arrived on vacation. After viewing this site, she let me know about some of the bad reviews, so I checked them out. Honestly, I was shocked. I have come to the restaurant many times and each time I have had an absolutely wonderful meal and great service. Every single meal has delighted me. I have had dinner, lunch, and brunch and I was always served incredibly well prepared, inventive, and delicious food. The staff members have always been very friendly, welcoming, and very knowledgeable about what they were serving. They are all quite attractive to boot! The hamburger at lunch was to-die-for. At one of my dinner's, a great wine was recommended, a beautiful fish was served, and a fabulous chocolate dessert topped it all off. Brunch has a great pancake, great omelette's, and an amazing list of different yummy Bloody Mary's. Prune is small. It's true. The wait can be long during brunch. It's true. But, give them a break! It's rare that there is a place in this city that serves such great food consistently, has a staff that provides great customer service, and comes without the typical New York snobbery attitude. Cozy on up, make reservations when you can, and enjoy!
Hair in my food and the rating system is buggy – The rating system on this site is buggy. Prior to this review there were 60 reviews, 1 through 5 stars. The average of these 60 was 3.283, yet CitySearch gives them 4.5 stars? Thats not what the reviewers have voted for!
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