Foul Witch is an East Village wine bar opened by the Roberta’s team, and like many nepo babies, it entered the world with a sense of self-assurance. The long, narrow space a few doors down from classic dive bars like The Double Down Saloon and Library Bar is decorated like a tavern from a rich kid’s D&D campaign, with a big wood-fired oven in the back, niches filled with flickering candles, and a sleek bar populated by folks in overly-designed denim. Drum and bass music blares incessantly.
This is a cool place to hang out and drink from a wine and beer list that seems like it was curated to impress that one friend whose fridge is filled entirely with $40 bottles of craft beer. Foul Witch also serves some pretty good small plates, but when we say small, we mean small. Think: $32 for three square inches of grilled pork.
Foul Witch notably doesn’t serve pizza, but the freshly-baked bread and cultured butter that hit your table as soon as you’ve ordered drinks are both excellent. This will set you up to think that you’re in for an exceptional meal, when really it’s a mixed bag. Everything we’ve had here tastes alright, and some dishes—like the grilled tripe with pecorino and mint and the polenta with uni—are exceptional. The musical monotony and the cost-to-value ratio of the food are the two main issues we have with this restaurant.
Given that most of the menu items are in the $20-30+ range, it’s hard to justify having a full meal here. And no matter how much you order, you’re likely to leave hungry. The best way to use this restaurant is as a preamble to your actual dinner. Come for drinks, bread, and the unmissable Fire & Ice appetizer of stracciatella and 'nduja, plus one or two other small plates. If you have a sweet tooth, the desserts here are worthwhile, and skew slightly savory. We recommend skipping the pricier main dishes, so just order a hodgepodge of snacky things to share and if you’re with a group where everyone is going to want their own starter and their own main, stop here for drinks and appetizers, then head somewhere else for the main event.
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Bread and Butter
The best thing on the menu here. We kind of wish you could just order whole loaves of bread with a side of butter to go. It’s consistently warm, has a perfectly crusty exterior and a light, chewy interior, and you’ll wish you could purchase the butter by the pound.
Fire and Ice
Spicy meat and creamy cheese is hard to beat, and that’s exactly what’s happening with this dish. There’s a pile of stracciatella on top of a bed of ‘nduja, and it’s delicious.
This salad is one of the larger dishes on the menu, and the dressing has pleasant briny, tart notes. One person could make a meal out of this salad and an order of bread.
These small potatoes are really just a vehicle for paddlefish roe, which is totally fine if you like fish roe in general. This dish tastes good enough, but it’s nothing special.
We love the grilled tripe here as the combination of char, chew, and deeply flavored tomato sauce just works.
Polenta with Uni
This dish is so rich and creamy that we don’t mind how small it is. It’s delicious.
In general, Foul Witch does pasta well, and the sunchoke caramelle with lemon and poppyseed is our favorite. It’s delicate, delicious, and $25 for six pieces of pasta.
The flavor of the goat is really nice, but the garganelli is just okay, and we wish it had more of a sauce.
This is a nice piece of grilled pork, but it comes with absolutely nothing else. It feels unfinished and oddly unsatisfying.
It’s a good idea to save room for dessert here. The ice cream is dense and velvety, and comes with a tart berry sauce.
Sake Lees Cake
This cake is made from the lees left over from sake production, and you can taste it. Both the flavor and texture of this dessert are unique, and you should try it.