Lower East Side Food Notes: Two Stars For Hwa Yuan, Teen Chef’s LES Debut, Bar Belly Relaunches

Bar Belly has relaunched on Orchard Street.

Bar Belly has relaunched on Orchard Street.

Here’s what’s happening on the Lower East Side food scene:

–Just in time for Chinese New Year, New York Times food critic Pete Wells awards Chinatown revival, Hwa Yuan, two stars. The lavish East Broadway spot is a trip down nostalgia lane, providing a modern day version of Shorty Tang’s original Szechuan restaurant. Wells loves the whole fish, the spicy wine chicken and, of course, Hwa Yuan’s famous cold sesame noodles. The special-order Peking duck? Not so much.

–Teen chef Flynn McGarry opens the casual portion of his new Forsyth Street restaurant. Reports Eater: “Currently, just an 18-seat casual cafe-style portion called The Living Room is open at Gem, serving pastries like a blueberry violet muffin and sweet potato bread. It’s McGarry’s version of a neighborhood coffee shop.”

–Where did third generation Economy Candy owner Mitchell Cohen take his wife on their first date? Economy Candy, of course! AM New York tells the pre-Valentine’s Day love story.

–Bar Belly, once called Leadbelly, relaunched earlier this month. The Fat Radish team isn’t in the picture these days, but co-owners Tommy Mendes and Mauricio Melo are still involved. The spot has always been a good choice for oysters, and that’s still the case. A revamped menu includes items such as bigeye tuna tartare, Moroccan spiced lamb meatballs, Portuguese octopus spiked with harissa. On Mondays, they’re offering an all-you-can-eat Mussels special for $15. Check out the menus here. There’s still live music. Tonight, for example, you can take in some Fat Tuesday vibes with the Hot Hand Band and a cucumber julep in your hand.