LES Bites: Vandal on the Bowery, Excuse My French, Melt Bakery For Valentine’s Day

Excuse My French, 96 Orchard St.

Excuse My French, 96 Orchard St.

Let’s get caught up on the Lower East Side food scene:

–Vandal, a 360-seat restaurant/club from the Tao Group, debuts tomorrow night at 199 Bowery. This is the space that once housed the reviled nightlife spots, “The General” and “Finale.” Chris Santos of Beauty & Essex and Stanton Social is in charge of the kitchen. Think “global-style street food,” menu items like ceviche, soup dumplings, crunchy jicama shell tostadas, spicy Korean rice cakes, curried cauliflower samosas and Argentinian beef empanadas. As Eater noted, it’s a 12,000 sq. ft. space with several dining rooms and a cellar lounge and bar. Street artists have been brought in to create installations throughout the massive entertainment complex.

–We’ve been meaning to mention the opening of Excuse My French, a bistro-style tapas bar located at 96 Orchard st., across from the Tenement Museum. The new spot is the creation of chef Johann Giraud and Ricardo Veldez, who’s general manager. There’s an interesting and extensive classic cocktail list and a wide selection of small plates. Options include: cheese and charcuterie platters, tartines (smoked salmon, crab, etc.), crepes, foie gras lollipops, a mustard-parmesan cauliflower granite, steak tartare and beef sliders. Nothing on the food menu is over $15. Cocktails are $13. The restaurant opens at 4:30 p.m. and stays open until 2 a.m. on weekends. See the full menu here.

–Bloomberg’s Tejal Rao reviewed Lowlife on Stanton Street. The restaurant, she observed, “wants to be informal, down to earth (and) in some ways, it is… But occasionally, Lowlife betrays the fact that something weirder and more meticulous is going on behind the scenes.”

–In the New Yorker’s “Tables For two Column,” Amelia Lester liked a number of dishes she tried at “Low Life.”

–Looking for Valentine’s Day gift ideas. Melt Bakery is offering “Conversation Heart” ice cream cookie sandwiches for delivery. “Kiss Me,” “Love You,” “Be Mine;” take your pick! Available for delivery starting Feb. 8. More info here.