Booze

Cucumber Caipiroski at LaLa's

Some locations seem jinxed, most notably 410 East Seventh Avenue. Just a block away from such neighborhood powerhouses as Benny's and Govnr's Park, this spot would seem like a gimme for any restaurateur. At one point, it was home to the infamous Sacre Bleu, where I spent far too many late nights watching a lot of people do a lot of things that could have gotten them arrested and/or reviled. At the time, I thought the party would never end — ah, the innocence of youth. But the party did end for Sacre Bleu, and it didn't last long for the space's next occupant, Vega, a beautiful restaurant with inventive food. Next to land at this address was Sparrow, which seemed like a good fit for the neighborhood but flew the coop last year. But the building's latest occupant, Lala's Wine Bar & Pizzeria, just might be the one to break its curse. It's owned by the folks behind Govnr's Park Tavern (also Marlowe's, Paramount Cafe and Caldonia's), giving the area its second set of siblings (both Mizuna and Luca d'Italia belong to Frank Bonanno). The bar has retained Sparrow's beautiful marble top, adding a cuvenee system that lets it pour 42 different bottles by the glass. But I passed on the wine in favor of the Cucumber Caipiroska ($6.95), made with Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka (which tastes delightfully of freshly sliced cucumbers), muddled lime and simple syrup. I liked the drink, but I worry that it's not enough to remove the curse from this space. So how about a good sage smudging? That's organic, too.

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Nancy Levine
Contact: Nancy Levine