Bartender Brandon Bramhall with owners Michael McIlroy and Sam Ross
Editor’s note: When it comes to food and drink, there’s something for everyone on the Lower East Side. In our magazine last month, we featured some of the guys behind the counters at the neighborhood’s classic diners. This month, we went in a totally different direction, profiling a new cocktail bar in a very familiar spot on Eldridge Street.
When Attaboy’s Michael McIlroy stands at the edge of your table and asks you what you like – not what you would like to order from a multiple-choice drink menu, but what you like – he is both genuinely curious and absolutely confident. He clarifies a few preferences: sweet or not sweet, brown liquor or clear, any must-do’s or don’ts. He floats a suggestion or two to gauge your reaction and states which fresh fruits he has on hand that evening. And then he nods and says assuredly, “I’ve got something for you.”
The result of this interview might be a refreshing ginger-infused version of a Dark & Stormy or a smooth gin nightcap called a Rolls Royce–or any one of a million variations of spirits, spices, sodas and accoutrements from a large repertoire, depending on your tastes. A sheer love of the art of mixing pervades the place, with creative riffs on classic cocktails and original recipes developed over many years of messing around with a shaker. And while Attaboy’s drinks are all custom-made and not cheap at $16 each, they are concocted and delivered without laborious hoopla or pretension. Continue reading Attaboy’s Artful Execution
Editor’s Note: the following article first appeared in the April 2013 edition of The Lo-Down’s print magazine.
The supermarket scene on the Lower East Side has seen major shifts in recent months, with the arrival of Union Market, an upscale Brooklyn-based grocer that opened on East Houston street in November, and the closure the following month of the giant Pathmark on Cherry Street. Fine Fare, which has two stores in the neighborhood, recently reorganized and renovated sections of its Clinton Street store to beef up the produce department and expand its organic and higher-end offerings. We decided it would be a good time to take a look at prices in our local supermarkets and make some comparisons of basic kitchen staples among Fine Fare, Union Market, Whole Foods on East Houston Street and FreshDirect, the home-delivery grocer used by many urban households. Continue reading Price Check: Comparing Lower East Side Grocery Stores
Since the demolition of the former Gertel’s Bakery building in 2007, the lot at 53 Hester St., just west of Essex Street, has languished vacant.
Since the former home of 93-year-old Gertel’s Bakery was demolished in 2007, the sliver of Lower East Side real estate known as 53 Hester St. has become a stalled-out eyesore blocked off by a dilapidated plywood fence. The Lo-Down has learned however, that a new chapter is opening in the story at 53 Hester St.: a condo building that never got off the ground under the previous owners may indeed be moving forward.
City land and court records show that the developer of the condo building next door at 55 Hester St. paid $3.2 million for the long, narrow lot in late January, following a lengthy legal proceeding that resulted in a foreclosure decree in New York Supreme Court. Three weeks after the deed was signed, the new owner, an entity called Hester Alliance Properties LLC led by partner Chen Wu and headquartered at 12 Monroe St., applied to the city’s building and zoning departments for permission to combine the two properties into one zoning lot.
Continue reading 53 Hester St. Foreclosed, Sold; New Owners Plan Condos
Pig & Khao, 68 Clinton Street. Photo by Zandy Mangold.
Editor’s note: The following story first appeared in the March 2013 issue of The Lo-Down’s print magazine. Since the magazine came out, there’s been more Clinton Street restaurant news. As we reported yesterday, Alias, the creative comfort food spot at 76 Clinton, might be closing after a decade on the LES to make room for a new seafood-centric restaurant from the team behind Wild Edibles.
When 71 Clinton Fresh Food opened with wunderkind chef Wylie Dufresne in 1999, it was widely credited with launching the Lower East Side’s fine dining scene. By the time Dufresne opened his own shop, the wildly successful wd~50, across the street four years later, the blocks of Clinton Street between Delancey and Houston seemed destined to become a hotbed of exciting new cuisine.
While Dufresne racked up award after award, though, the flow of restaurants around his destination dining spot surged and ebbed, never quite reaching critical mass. While Clinton Street Baking Company has drawn rave reviews and long, loyal brunch lines since arriving in 2001, and neighborhood joint Alias has demonstrated staying power, celebrating its 10-year anniversary last year, others that seemed destined for long-term success have come and then gone, most notably Falai and Frankie’s, which both closed in 2012. Countless others have opened to loud fanfare but then burned out quickly, such as Ed’s Lobster Bar. Continue reading Clinton Street’s Restaurants Rising
IF&L, 74 Orchard St. Photo by Alex M. Smith.
Interstate Food & Liquor, the 18-month-old bar and restaurant at 74 Orchard St., is changing hands. Owner Andy Boose tells us the new owners are “a nice group who will be maintaining much of the look and ‘neighborhood’ feel of the place.” They also plan to retain the chef and the manager, Boose says, though the establishment’s name will change.
Boose holds a regular day job as a global event planner and is also involved in Spitzer’s Corner, Los Feliz and the new Tiny Fork, an oyster bar just up the street at 167 Orchard St., which Boose says is set to open “imminently.”
Continue reading Orchard Street’s Interstate Food & Liquor Sold
A cyclist was struck by a taxi at the intersection of Grand and Clinton streets shortly after midnight Thursday night.
Just after midnight Thursday night, a taxi traveling westbound on Grand Street struck a cyclist at the intersection with Clinton Street. Police officers, firefighters and paramedics responding to the scene found a man sprawled out on his back in the road just outside the crosswalk, with his crunched bike on its side a few feet away and shopping bags and parcels scattered across the pavement.
The driver of the taxi stood by, with the taxi parked in the middle of the intersection, as rescue workers attended to the cyclist, who appeared to be alive but unconscious. He was loaded onto a backboard and put into a waiting ambulance as police officers interviewed witnesses and fire trucks blocked traffic.
55-57 Canal St., also known as 11-13 Orchard St. Photo via Loopnet.
Local developers’ conversion of the landmarked Jarmulowsky Bank building into a boutique hotel isn’t the only big change coming to the intersection of Orchard and Canal streets.
The apartment building on the northwest corner, known as both 55-57 Canal St. and 11-13 Orchard St., changed hands last week, after about nine months on the market. A listing on Loopnet dated March 2012 set the price at $4.8 million; city land records indicate it sold for just a little more than asking price, at $4.9 million.
Continue reading Sold: 55-57 Canal St. at $4.9M; 194 Orchard St. at $3M
Aditi Malhotra named her new venture “Tache” (French for “smudge”) in honor of the way her white chef’s coat usually looks when she’s working — covered in chocolate.
Malhotra, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and Switzerland’s Glion Institute, recently took over from her former partner, Christian Vautier, as sole proprietor of the chocolate shop at 254 Broome St. Opened in March under the famed Parisian chef’s name, the small shop still offers fabulous confections in all stripes, including Malhotra’s signature spiced chai truffle in dark chocolate.
Continue reading Tache Artisan Chocolate Born From Christian Vautier
City kids involved in Youth Made Media learn videography and software skills.
Our friends at the City Parks Foundation sent over some pictures of a program they held at Hamilton Fish Recreation Center last week. Youth Made Media (YM2) teaches 350 teenagers age 13 to 19 from low-income communities in all five boroughs skills such as video and audio production, media literacy and new media. The students create movies, documentaries and narratives, as well as explore careers and workplaces.
Continue reading Exposing Youth to Reel Life
In addition to dining out at local eateries this weekend, there are plenty of other easy, fun things to do (art exhibits, movies, shopping, gardening) while also boosting a variety of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. We’ve listed a few here; write us at email@example.com or Tweet us @lodownny if you know of others we should add.
Continue reading Weekend Events: Have Fun, Support Sandy Recovery
Heritage breed turkeys include the Bourbon Red. Photo courtesy of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the November issue of our print magazine.
Thanksgiving is a uniquely Anglo-American holiday. We celebrate the early English colonists’ accumulation of enough food to make it through a Yankee winter by gathering the family and overeating, often while watching our homespun bastardization of rugby on television. Mythology surrounding the day even suggests a chummy relationship between the heathen savages and the witch-burning fundamentalists bringing civilization to them. Rule, Britannia!
Of course the specifics of what we’re eating while counting our blessings are pure New World: cranberries, yams, winter squash and of course, turkey – the bird Ben Franklin unsuccessfully proposed for our national symbol. Franklin would hardly recognize the birds that end up on our Thanksgiving tables. They bear little resemblance to their gunmetal-blue cousins running around our Northeast woods.
Continue reading JP’s Food Adventures: Talking Turkey
Katz’s: Feeding locals, celebrities and tourists since 1888. They stayed open through Hurricane Irene last year, and Hurricane Sandy this year. You know you want some.
OK, so. It’s Friday morning on the Lower East Side, and we know darn well you New Yorkers aren’t cooking at home every single meal this weekend. There’s been a lot of chatter about supporting our local restaurants here in the neighborhoods briefly known as SoPo (South of Power). Local media, including The Lo-Down, have preached it, published it, promoted it. There’s even a Twitter hashtag, #EatDownTipUp. And if anyone living below 14th Street hasn’t yet read the compelling essay New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells wrote 10 days ago, “Why Downtown Needs Diners Now,” well, it’s worth five minutes of your time.
Monday marks three weeks since Hurricane Sandy came to visit; it’s time to stop talking and put your money where your mouth is.
Continue reading Weekend Assignment: Eat & Drink in the Neighborhood
- Chinatown merchants and restaurateurs vent their frustration with losses from Sandy, citing economic challenges that predated the storm. (Villager)
- Nearly three weeks after the power went out, many local merchants still can’t process purchases made with food stamps due to technical issues. (The Local)
- Readers weigh in with early reviews of the new Union Market on East Houston Street. (EVGrieve)
- In case you were wondering what it was like inside the PATH stations when Sandy’s storm surge rushed in, there’s video online now. (YouTube/PATH)
Orchard Street, looking north from Grand Street.
Today’s weather features highs around 50 degrees and lows in the high 30s. Look for similar patterns through the weekend, with clear skies tomorrow and a few clouds on Sunday. Stay in touch and enjoy your weekend!
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We’ve just received word from the management of Knickerbocker Village that electricity has been restored to all 12 buildings as of 4 p.m. today. Workers on-site are still in the process of transferring the electrical systems off the temporary generators and onto the grid, meaning some residents in the 1,600-unit complex may experience temporary and brief outages, but overall, the power issues are solved, according to a lengthy and detailed memo sent by the management company’s public relations firm a short while ago. Management also restated a promise made at Tuesday night’s information session that residents will not be charged rent for the two and a half weeks they endured without basic utilities.
Click through to read the letter in its entirety.
Continue reading Knickerbocker Village Power Fully Restored, Rent Rebates Reiterated