Not long ago, this tiny restaurant on Orchard and Broome was adorably named Little Giant, conceivably because the food was big, while the restaurant was incredibly small. Unfortunately, the food wasn't quite big enough to keep the place afloat for more than a few years, and a new restaurant now occupies the space.
Dudley's is the new establishment that's now opened up in this still tiny dining room, and it's brought to you by the folks that run Australian bar and restaurant hot spots Kingswood and Ruby's. It's got the distinct feeling of a place that's gonna be a hot person hang out, regardless of whether or not the food is good. We hung here on a recent summer evening and had a really good time eating, drinking, and scoping the clientele...almost like we were in a nice part of the West Village as opposed to one of the worst parts of the Lower East Side. The food didn't blow our minds, but we came away glad that this insane neighborhood has something a bit more...neighborhoody again.
The menu at Dudley's is large and varied, from light bites and vegetable starters to sandwiches and hearty entrees. We recommend leaning heavy on the first half of the menu, and also having lots of drinks. There are a few very delicious things to eat, but there are also some let downs on the menu that you should know to avoid. Either way, this place is far more about the hang than it is a memorable meal. Go in with the right expectations and you'll be glad it's there.
Roasted Manila Clams
A nice plate of clams that might be the best thing from the starter section of this menu. They're garnished with some "cider green onions," which is whey they're good? Who knows. Order them.
Fresh Kale Caesar
I've become quite the connoisseur of raw kale salads (trying to fight off the 'betes), and this one feels a bit unfinished. We love the idea, but we've had plenty of other kale caesar's that are far better.
We're always down with fruit and salad, and this is no exception. Peaches + arugula + marscapone + taragon makes for a happy equation. Get it while peaches are in season.
Fresh Prosciutto Crostini
This seemed exciting in concept - a piece of bread, pecorino, and a fried egg on top of some meat. But in reality, it was kind of a snooze. It just didn't really come together.
Fried Chicken Sandwich
Don't put a fried chicken sandwich on the menu, make it look like this, and allow it to kind of suck. This thing was straight up bland.
Famous Bronte Burger
Not a brontosaurus burger, but an Australian slant on a burger that may or may not contain dinosaur. We love this beef patty on a ciabatta with a sweet and spicy chili mayo. You may recognize it from the Kingswood and Ruby's menu, which is why the word "famous" is in the title.
Apparently kale does not make for a good pesto. This tasted like pasta I used to make when I was drunk in college, which is to say I don't really remember it.