In My Neighborhood: Sohla El-Waylly’s East Village

Sohla El-Waylly

Sohla El-Waylly is a chef, television personality, recipe developer, cookbook author, brand-new mom, and an East Village resident. El-Waylly grew up in LA and loved cooking, but—ever practical—she studied economics at UC, Irvine, while cooking at The Cheesecake Factory. Ditching economics, she enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America, and ultimately landed positions at Atera, Del Posto, and Battersby in Brooklyn; this was, as she puts it, during the era of “tweezers and foam and all that stuff.”

When Hail Mary, the Greenpoint diner that she opened with her husband, Ham El-Waylly, closed in 2017, El-Waylly turned her energies to food media. She joined Bon Appetit as an assistant food editor and frequently appeared on that magazine’s popular YouTube channel. Eventually, El-Waylly became a major voice in uncovering the discriminatory and tokenist employment practices hidden behind the smiling faces of BA’s channel. Having cut ties with Bon Appetit, El-Waylly works independently now—you can catch her with Dan Levy on HBO’s “The Big Brunch.” Look for her new cookbook, Start Here, out now.

Superiority Burger

The burger is good, obviously, because it’s called Superiority Burger, but I think my favorite thing is their sides. One of the best things he does is steamed vegetables with a little tahini dipping sauce.


We love to just go there for lunch and get sashimi bowls. I don’t even know how they make money on it because they give you a very generous quantity of fish on top of the rice.

Electric Burrito

The thing about their California burritos is that they’ve got french fries and carne asada, so it almost little bit like a shawarma.


They have this honey cake that’s fantastic. It’s really thin layers of almost a graham cracker kind of cookie thing layered with this cream. And the whole thing gets really soft like a crepe cake.

La Cabra

I think that the thing that La Cabra does the best is their cannelle. If you get there early, right when they’ve pulled those out of the oven, it’s the best cannelle you’ve ever had in your life.