Once upon a time in the East Village, there was a restaurant called Roettele A.G. Located just off the southwest corner of Tompkins Square, the interior was cramped and labyrinthine, jam-packed with gilt cherubs, chandeliers, and dancing bears, the walls creepily painted in dark hues. Yet it opened up into a lovely backyard swagged with grape vines, which quickly became the haunt of literary types when the place first appeared in 1990. The menu, too, was unique to the neighborhood and the city, offering a combo of unfussy Swiss, German, and Italian food. There was nothing better on a balmy summer evening than a simple plate of viande des grison (Swiss air-dried beef) or a crock of melted raclette, served—rather oddly, we thought—with cold boiled spuds... More >>>