photo by Henry Hargreaves
Gabe Stulman and his Little Wisco team have built six restaurants in the past five years — an impressive feat made more spectacular by the fact that the ventures don’t share a common culinary tradition (he now counts among his collection a raw bar, an izakaya, an Italian joint, and a French bistro). His landgrab began in 2009 at Joseph Leonard, an all-American spot on a corner plot in the West Village that set the tone for what was to come: While Stulman’s places don’t share dishes, they do share an essentially neighborhood vibe and a penchant for a good time. Diners here are crammed haphazardly into this small and dim split-level space, but no one seems to mind. Instead, they ask their neighbors to recommend a few dishes, ordering mussels and fries, brussels sprouts with sriracha, and crisped braised pork hock, while knocking back cocktails and bottles of wine. If you’re the brunching type, this is an excellent place to find yourself on a Saturday morning, not least because the bloody marys are exceptional.