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A Food Tour of the East Village

IMG_0228Spencer Magloff Hundreds of participants munched their way through 15 eateries during the East Village Eats tour.

From sweet Maine shrimp rolls to Korean fried chicken, seitan dumplings to braised venison, the East Village was a food lover’s paradise on Saturday, as hundreds of participants and 15 eateries took part in the East Village Eats Tasting Tour.

With a map and complimentary spork in hand patrons trekked from one eatery to the next on a self-guided tour, sampling some of the best finger-licking foods the neighborhood has to offer from an assortment of varied restaurants. The event cost about $40.

“You walk by these places all the time, but never stop in,” said Zoe Lee-McDermott, a high school student and East Village resident. “This is definitely the best to way to learn what’s in your backyard.”

Saeju Jeong, 30, a tech entrepreneur, echoed the sentiment while gnawing on chicken wings. “Unless you spend $50, you don’t know if you’re going to like a restaurant. With this you can discover what you do and don’t like.”

Sponsored by the Fourth Arts Block, the tasting tour promoted local restaurants. Andy Song, manager of Mono+Mono, a Korean restaurant that opened in September on East Fourth Street, said he was hoping to garner new customers. “Since we just opened this is really a great way to advertise to new people in a new neighborhood. So far everyone has left happy,” he said.

Perhaps one of the most popular destinations was Luke’s Lobster, a little East Seventh Street seafood shop, packed with a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd that spilled out onto the sidewalk all vying for their sample of half a shrimp roll. Salacious-sounding moans encircled the restaurant as people chomped down on their rolls – some in as little as two bites.

“Picking restaurants can be hit or miss,” said Crystal Simpkin, 25, finishing up her shrimp on the congested sidewalk. “But so far, this is definitely my favorite, and I’ll be back.”