Curry-spiced ramen at Nakamura/Instagram.
Let’s get caught up on the Lower East Side restaurant scene:
–Japanese ramen master Shigetoshi “Jack” Nakamura has opened a noddle shop at 172 Delancey St., in a little space alongside the Williamsburg Bridge. He did a brief stint at Ramen Lab on Kenmare Street and now has a spot of his own. Gothamist’s Scott Lynch says, “the Nakamura menu is short and delicious, with all four ramen choices (and the lone appetizer) well worth traveling for.” The restaurant is the newest big deal ramen shop to get excited about,” writes Grub Street. No wine and beer yet, but that’s on the way. The place is only open for dinner. Check out the menu and other details here.
–Galeria is now open at 43 Clinton St., offering “simple and original food from local, fresh not preserved products in unusual combinations.” Bedford & Bowery stopped by to chat with owner Jairo Barros, formerly a co-owner of Organika in the West Village. The food is described as vaguely Brazilian and wholesome, meaning, “big, healthy bowls overflowing with fresh seasonal vegetables and farro.”
–Grub Street has the scoop on a second location of Mimi Cheng’s at 380 Broome St. (near Mulberry Street). The original spot for fresh, homemade dumplings (using organic ingredients) debuted on 2nd Avenue in 2014.
–Community Board 3 is out with its liquor license applications for February. At the February 16 meeting, there will be a pitch from the operators of the restaurant opening in the Joie de Vivre Hotel at 50 Bowery. The team from the Public Hotel, opening at 215 Chrystie St., will also be presenting their plans for multiple restaurant/nightlife establishments. You can keep an eye on the applications as they’re uploaded in the next few days.
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.
Mission Chinese Instagram.
Here’s a pre-holiday roundup of recent Lower East Side restaurant news:
Take a look at this handy illustration from Mission Chinese Food explaining their holiday hours. While Danny Bowien’s East Broadway restaurant will be closed this evening, brunch service will be offered tomorrow, Christmas Day. “Dim sum and (Black Seed) bagels (baked in the restaurant’s wood-fired ovens)” will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In fact, Mission Chinese is launching regular weekend brunch beginning this weekend. Bowien tells Metro, “We’re gonna have dim sum carts going around, but not with traditional dim sum… It’s gonna be Mission Chinese Food: little plates of mapo tofu, and scrambled egg and tapioca dumplings.”
Pete Wells is impressed with cider-specialist Wassail on Orchard Street, even though service can be spotty and the kitchen sometimes misfires. “I tended to be happiest,” he writes, “when I treated Wassail as a bar where the food is surprisingly interesting but cider, doing things I never expected it to do, carries the night. As a destination for exploring the nuances of the apple, Wassail is so exceptional that I don’t mind working around its occasional shortcomings as a restaurant.”
In the Village Voice, Zachary Feldman talks up Mr. Taka, the new ramen shop that opened at 170 Allen St. (in the former Tiengarden space.” It’s run by Takatoshi Nagara Takayuki Watanabe, who are “part of a new wave of ramen chefs experimenting with lighter broths that express a variety of flavors beyond the standard animal bone, salt, and soy soups favored by nostalgists.”
New York Sushi Ko on Clinton Street was closed for about three months. Now owner John Daley has reopened the restaurant, taken on a new partner and is trying to be a bit more approachable. There’s now lunch service Tuesday-Saturday from 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. According to a press release, “the menu includes a house soba noodle and sushi roll special at $25, a chef’s upgrade that includes uni or toro for $40 and traditional omakase ranging from $50.00 – $100.00.” Daley has lifted his ban on food photos during lunch.
Lower East Side food notes:
–Kossar’s Bialys was supposed to have reopened last month after a major remodeling project. No big surprise: it’s taking a little longer than expected. But today the 80-year-old Lower East Side business revealed its new look. On Instagram, they noted, “the new awning is up! Couldn’t wait to share our new logo and exterior of the store with you…who’s ready for the Grand Reopening? We are getting closer and closer.”
–Eater notes that Garfunkel’s, the bar replacing 2nd Floor on Clinton, is now officially open at 67 Clinton St. Lucinda Sterling of Middle Branch is handling the cocktails. Still to come, a restaurant called the Burgary downstairs in the old Barramundi space.
–Video: Nick Solares of Eater explains why Katz’s Deli is still king of pastrami.
–Pig & Khao’s Leah Cohen and fellow cheg Grayson Schmitz are “teaming up to serve a dinner in which East meets West, Uptown comes Downtown, and former Top Chef contestants cook alongside current Top Chef contestants.” It happens this coming Sunday. More info and ticket info here.