the cardinal

This place is too good to keep a secret…

by Josh Madden

the cardinal

When you move to New York City and discover your first favorite "secret spot," you learn quick to keep it a secret--because after you take three friends to eat there, your fourth time will most likely involve a half-hour wait. I've literally taken people out to eat and made them pinky swear before we walk down the block that they will only take important dates to this new place. The problem is, if you're not careful, your favorite place can end closing (let's be serious, we can't pay the rent on a restaurant) so you're caught between keeping it a secret and watching it become a hot spot. It's a real catch-22.

The latest case of our secret spot conundrum involves a little place called 

The Cardinal

, tucked away on 4th Street in the East Village. The food at this spot is so good that there is zero need for frills--in fact, the simple decorating job actually makes it feel a full 110-percent authentic, as we checked the kitchen fully expecting mom to be back there. It turns out mom wasn't in the kitchen, but every time we've stopped by, owner Curtis Brown has been...and we think that speaks for itself.



for both brunch and 


are fairly simple, but once again, when the food is this outstanding there's no need for extras. The homemade biscuits and pies are made daily and so is the sweet tea. Does it get any better? The answer is yes. The chicken and beef served at The Cardinal are free range and grass fed, while the brisket is house smoked for 18 hours and the ribs are smoked for six. The menu is painted on the wall and the bar isn't cluttered with a bunch of nonsense drink choices--this place is no strikes and all home runs, but don't take our word for it.

The only thing we're going to ask is that you don't tell to many people about our new favorite spot. And if we see you there, pass the biscuits, because last time we were there we ate four (and coulda gone two more.) Follow The Cardinal on Twitter 


for updates and check out their website 



The Cardinal234 East 4th StreetNew York, NY 1009