When Alan Natkiel finally caved to pressure from his enthusiastic friends and decided to solve his unemployment problem by opening Georgia’s Eastside BBQ in 2007, he had a few very firm predictions about his potential for success.
One, that all the new buildings sprouting out of the ground near his northern Orchard Street location would create a built-in customer base—construction workers at first, and later, upscale office workers and new Lower East Side residents.
Two, that he could turn a profit without becoming a destination dining spot as long as he won over enough local diners.
Orchard Street already has plenty of international flair: Vietnamese, Jamaican and Austrian restaurants contribute to the global feel on the block between Broome and Grand. They're about to be joined by Saffa, a South African restaurant. This afternoon the finishing touches were being put on the space at 74 Orchard, once occupied by Ronald's Pizza Cafe. The designer, Aaqil Ka (Negril Village among others), told me the chef ran the kitchen at Brooklyn South African restaurant Madiba when it first opened. The co-owner, Manu Dhingra, said they might not be serving the full menu on Thursday when they open – but you can get the idea via the photo above.
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
Address: 76 Clinton St./map
Hours: Tue-Thu, 11am-4pm and 6pm-11pm; Fri, 11am-4pm and 6pm-midnight; Sat, 11am-3:30pm and 6pm-midnight; Sun, 10:30am-3:30pm and 6pm-10pm; Mon, closed.
A pioneer on Clinton Street that’s still a neighborhood favorite. The low-key spot offers an eclectic American menu that features one of the LES’s better burgers, comfort food staples such as brisket and roast chicken and a taco plate with your choice of fish, chicken or veggies. Thuesday-Thursday there’s a nightly “blue plate special” that includes an entree, a glass of wine or beer and dessert for $20.
Mentions on The Lo-Down
A New Face in the Kitchen at Alias
Empanadas, braised short ribs and other hearty South American specialties, many of which are cooked in a wood burning oven.
173 Orchard, near Stanton
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday noon-11pm
Address: 98 Rivington St./map
Hours: Mon-Fri, noon-1am; Sat-Sun, noon-3am
This wine bar at the corner of Rivington and Ludlow streets, one of the Lower East Side’s best places to watch the world go by, is an ideal location to spend a lazy afternoon, especially in the warm weather months. There’s sidewalk seating and a dining room that’s open to the street, providing a European feel as you sip a glass of wine and nibble from a cheese and charcuterie plate. The panini is excellent, and the pastas are very decent. Brunch is a standout; the brisket and fried eggs is a personal favorite.
A-1 Pizza offers a decent slice on the eastern end of Grand Street.
505 Grand Street, near East Broadway
Open until midnight
Japanese-born chef Yoshihito Kida has opened a tiny restaurant, just west of Allen Street, serving extremely fresh, authentic soba. There are only three tables and an 8-seat bar in this handsomely designed space. Behind the bar, you’ll be able to watch as your noodles are made on the spot. The menu offers detailed explanations of cold and hot varieties of soba, as well as the health benefits of each. There are also some nice appetizers and side dishes, including miso coleslaw and a daikon salad. Service is gracious and friendly.
61 Delancey Street, near Allen
Hours: lunch 11am-3pm; dinner 5pm-11pm
No online menu yet
Cash only, no alcohol , no takeout