TLD Food Wire: Azul, NY Mag Nods, Chinatown Deals, Perfect Picnic

The caneles with dulce de leche at Azul, where a new team is in charge.

Here’s the mid-week roundup of neighborhood restaurant news:

  • The Daily News talks to the new culinary team at Azul on Stanton Street, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a revamp of its menu by Argentinian natives.
  • New York Magazine’s annual “Cheap Eats” issue highlights many local favorites: Cocoron, Souvlaki GR, the turkey sandwich at Stellina and the al fresco options at Hester Street Fair.
  • Speaking of cheap eats, Serious Eats offers its selections for 10 great meals under $6 in Chinatown, including nods for Vanessa’s Dumplings and Great NY Noodletown.
  • The NYT’s Diners Journal checks out the new picnic outfitter on Clinton Street.



A satisfying Turkish kebab joint catering to late night revelers and locals alike.

187 East Houston, at Orchard


Open 24 hours, daily




One of the few kosher options in the neighborhood, Ashkara serves a respectable falafel sandwich. You put the toppings on yourself.

189 East Houston, near Orchard


Sun-Wed, 11am-3:30am; Thu-Sat, 11am-5am

Web site


An Choi

Banh mi, delicious authentic pho and other Vietnamese specialties, in fancier digs than you’ll find a few blocks to the west in Chinatown proper.

85 Orchard Street, near Broome


Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week

Web site


Souvlaki GR

One of several food truck operations that opened a brick-and-mortar shop on the LES in 2011, Souvlaki GR offers traditional Greek street food at moderate prices. The star of its menu is a sandwich of grilled meat, wrapped in a pita and accompanied by feta cheese, tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce.

 116 Stanton St., near Essex


Open 11 a.m – 11 p.m. daily


Recent coverage on The Lo-Down

Congee Village

The best congee (26 varieties) in New York City can be found at this large restaurant on Allen Street, and its sister outpost on the Bowery. But there’s a huge menu (250 items long) featuring a wide variety of Cantonese and Hong Kong specialties. The crispy garlic chicken is legendary. Other favorites include: razor clams in a salty black bean sauce, sweet potato greens, roast duck with meatballs and chicken with black mushrooms. There are four party rooms downstairs, each featuring  a multi-lingual karaoke machine!

100 Allen Street, near Broome


Open 10:30am-12:30am Monday-Thursday & Sunday, 10:30am-2am Friday & Saturday

Web site


Congee Bowery

Revel in the tacky decor as you slurp down big bowls of congee (rice porridge). There’s an extensive menu featuring many other Cantonese dishes.One of the best bargains in the neighborhood – and they deliver!

207 Bowery, near Rivington


Open 11am-midnight every day

Web site


El Nuevo Amanecar

A Mexican spot on Stanton Street serving all the standards (tacos, burritos, enchiladas) — plus lethal margaritas. Don’t expect speedy or attentive service, but if you don’t mind waiting, it’s a good time.

117 Stanton, at Essex

(212) 387-9115

Hours Daily 11am-11pm




A favorite of late night bar crowds, this “hole in the wall” spot serves sweet and savory crepes until the wee hours.

135 Ludlow, near Rivington

212-979-5521 or 212-253-6705

Hours Sunday-Thursday 11am-3am; Friday-Saturday 11am-4am

Web site

Cash only, late night

Bun & Company


Cambodian-style sandwiches – served in gourmet hot dog buns and stuffed with pulled pork, brisket, catfish and other interesting  ingredients.

78 Rivington, near Orchard


Hours Monday: 12pm-10pm; Tuesday-Wednesday: 12pm-12am; Thursday-Saturday: 12pm-2am; Sunday: 12pm-10pm

Web site


Birdbath Bakery

The organic cafe in the New Museum run by Maury Rubin of the City Bakery. There’s a nice selection of pastries, sandwiches, soups and salads.

235 Bowery, at Prince


Hours Wed: 11am-6pm Thu: 11am-9pm Fri-Sun: 11am-6pm


Big Hing Wong

A dependable Cantonese place on Grand Street, specializing in noodles, congee and a $5.95 lunch special.

300 Grand Street, between Eldridge and Allen

(212) 925-1662

Hours 8am-10pm


Delivery, Cash only

Classic Coffee Shop

Like the sign inside says, Carmine Morales has been “serving real Lower East Siders since 1976.”  The Classic Coffee Shop is only open weekdays. The menu is super-basic: egg sandwiches, grilled cheese, pb&j, cold cuts. But the price is right. A turkey sandwich, for instance, will set you back $3.50. Coffee is a buck. This is a place to be treasured while it’s still around.

56 Hester, near Ludlow


Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm; Sat-Sun, closed



Dominican diner serves up comforting stews and soups, plus a tasty cubano. The tostones (fried plantains) are also a highlight.

72 Clinton, near Rivington


Sun-Thu, 8am-9pm; Fri-Sat, 8am-10pm



Cheeky Sandwiches

The white picket fence signals your arrival at the LES’s New Orleans-style sandwich shop. Owner Din Yates offers a half dozen or so made-to-order creations. There’s fried chicken on a biscuit, pulled pork, delicious oyster and shrimp po’ boys, etc. And for breakfast, beignets and Cafe du Monde coffee. Din’s a friendly, laid back guy who quickly established a loyal following in the neighborhood. A series of glowing reviews has not hurt business.

35 Orchard, near Hester

No phone

Monday-Friday 9am-6pm, Weekends 10-6, but actually open until 8 most days