Ion’s menu is larger and somewhat more refined than those of its competitors: Along with peasant dishes like tripe soup with garlic and sour cream, there’s also delicate salatat de icre (fish-roe salad), a hearty but not monochromatic mushroom-and-polenta stew, and mititei (“Romanian-style minced meat rolls”) that's garlicky as all get-out and served with rice pilaf, bean stew, and various rugged starches. Don’t miss the carnaciori oltenesti, little pork sausages typical of southern Romania. Ion’s light and airy décor contrasts with the barren stretch of Vernon Boulevard it occupies, at the foot of the Roosevelt Island Bridge. If you have a car, it’s worth the trip.
Ion’s Café, 36-01 Vernon Boulevard; 718-786-3236