Best Restaurant ever (?): Lovely little place in NYC

I have one co-worker, and let’s call her Kathy.  Kathy is a very cheerful and fun person to work with.  She also is a foodie and has many recommendations where to dine and what to eat.  I love hearing what she has to offer.  When she gets excited about food and/or restaurants she likes, she uses this phrase “the best EVER” and “the greatest EVER.”  I was born and raised in Japan and immigrated to the States 14 years ago, and as English being as my second language, I find her expression is very interesting.  I did not think I had my “best EVER” place to eat until December 27th, 2014.

New York City is my favorite place to be, especially lower Manhattan.  There are so many places I traveled and I love, but NYC is always No.1 on my list.  Yes, it is busy, crowded, expensive, dirty, and crazy however, there is something very romantic about that place just to override those negative impressions.  Old brick buildings, basketball courts, small parks throughout the city, coffee shops, 100-year old delis, tourists walking, tiny alleys, unique characteristics on each borough.  Gorgeous bridges, small restaurants, bicycles, gigantic buildings, dressed up people, dressed down people, bookstores, theaters, music, cocktails, and food.  My list will go on about 5 pages if you let me.  Anyways, today I want to talk about this restaurant called Joseph Leonard in West Village.

I saw this photo on Tumblr about 6 months ago.  It is a photo taken outside of this place and the glass window is steamed up.  It must have taken one cold winter day.  I could read “Joseph Leonard” on the window and see a few people inside.  I did not know what the place was and I have not heard of the name before either but I had a hunch (or I wanted this place to be a restaurant in NYC so badly) so I Googled.  Of course, it was a restaurant in the City (smile).  6 months later, we were there at Joseph Leonard at 9am sharp on 12/27/2014.


The place was even better than I imagined.  When I reached out to the door, this friendly guy opened the door and said, “hey, come in!” We entered then my heart got filled with pure joy and expectations.  The place only has 8 tables and one small bar in the middle.  Old wooden floor and unmatched tables/chairs/benches.  We got seated where people were sitting in that photo.  Fast forward, my kale salad was arrived.  Oh my God, it was the best kale salad EVER!  Did I just use those words?  Best EVER?  And it was.  Right amount of kale, dressing, sourness, sweetness, pickled red onion, perfectly cooked boiled eggs, cheese…And care and love.  Plus, Stumptown Coffee roasts beans only for Joseph Leonard and it’s called “Happy Cooking Roast.” The coffee and our dish were perfectly complimenting each other.


After I talked to our wait staff, Michael B with much enthusiasm about this place and food, he serviced us a big slice of carrot cake (restaurant owner’s wedding cake) and another pot of Happy Cooking Roast, which we did not even ordered.  I told him, “You guys rock.  I don’t use this word too easily but your place and food are the best ever.”  Seeing his smile after my comment was priceless.  Combination of me being NYC, great food, perfect location, lovely atmosphere, and wonderful staff made this magic.  Oh, I cannot forget to mention.  When I came in “London Calling” was playing and Clash was being played whole time we were there.

This place is best restaurant EVER until I find another best EVER.

2 thoughts on “Best Restaurant ever (?): Lovely little place in NYC

  1. I am hungry. You make me want to go to Leonard’s really quickly. I am glad that a small place can receive such a high recommendation. Small can be really big on service and delivery. When I am in New York City sometime, I will look for the place and make sure to tell them that you wrote about them! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you! I fell in love with that place. Yes, please do visit when you get a chance. And make sure you are seated at Michael B’s table (he is in first photo). He is delightful 🙂

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