LES Bites: Grub Street Fest Returns, Mission Chinese Chef Spills, Fat Radish Recipes and Sake Tasting

LES Bites: Birds & Bubbles Debuts, Patacon Pisao Opens at Last, Bar News

New Restaurants and Bars for Fall

LES Bites: Balvanera Kudos, 100 Montaditos Opens, SKINnY Bar & Lounge Returns

LES Bites: Spate of Closings, Cheap Eats, Raise a Glass to Public Art

New Arrivals: Moscow 57, Antonioni’s, Pablo’s Birthday and More

Red Caviar on Buckwheat Blinis at Moscow57.

Red Caviar on Buckwheat Blinis at Moscow57.

Here’s our monthly roundup of new businesses that have opened on the Lower East Side:

Moscow 57  (168 Delancey St.), a pop-up concept, catering company and events firm, opened its first brick-and-mortar outpost last month at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge—just in time to capitalize on Sochi Olympics-driven buzz around all things Russian. Its proprietors include Ellen Kaye, whose parents owned the Russian Tea Room from 1947 until 1996, as well as Seth Goldman (who’s running the kitchen) and Ethan Fein. The menu features classics like chicken Kiev, blinis and beef stroganoff; Central Asian and Georgian dishes are also offered and there’s a small menu section devoted to “American.” Dinner is served Wednesday through Saturday. Live music, including blues, folk, world music and jazz, are often on the calendar.

Antonioni’s (177 Chrystie St.), the tiny new “family-style” Italian joint from the folks behind Café Gitane on Mott Street and in the West Village, finally opened for daily dinner service on Feb. 14, nearly three years after it first appeared on Community Board 3’s agenda. The dinner menu features classic dishes like clams casino, Tuscan mussels, a wide array of pasta dishes and eight varieties of pizza. Appetizers and kids’ menu items fall in the $10 range, pizzas and pastas are around $20, and larger entrees a little higher. Brunch and lunch service is scheduled to start later this month, and delivery service is in the works.

Red Royalty Gallery (64 Delancey St.), bills itself as the first NYC gallery focusing on contemporary Eastern European art, with a targeted audience of young collectors “who will be shaping the future of contemporary art,” says gallerist Radina Angelova. Its first show, scheduled for March 27-28, will feature porcelain and ceramic sculptures influenced by Cirque du Soleil and Maxfield Parrish’s early 20th-century illustrations.  (UPDATE 3/14: Angelova tells us the grand opening of the gallery and its inaugural show, The Emperor’s New Clothes by Kremena Lefterova, has been rescheduled for Friday, April 4, from 6 to 10 p.m. A coffee salon with the artist follows on Saturday, April 5, noon to 6 p.m.)

La Petite Mort (37 Orchard St.), is a combination vintage clothing boutique and art gallery. It specializes in putting a modern twist on looks curated from ’80s and ’90s threads, ranging from from Dolce and Gabbana and Versace to Garfield the Cat T-shirts. The store also sells modern accessories by NYC designers. Noting that its name is a euphemism for an orgasm, the proprietors spell out their mission this way: “We believe fashion should evoke a strong emotion and each piece should be loved and celebrated.” Store hours are Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays noon to 7 p.m.; a rotating schedule of art events is posted on the website.

Pablo’s Birthday (57 Orchard St.), a 12-year-old gallery founded by Arne Zimmermann, recently relocated from Canal Street to Orchard Street, joining the Lower East Side art boom. The space hosted an inaugural show of Henrik Eiben’s work called “Clarity.” The gallery, which has a mission of “championing young and mid-career artists,” is open Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday noon to 6 p.m. and by appointment.

Clinton Street’s Restaurants Rising

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.

Weekend Assignment: Eat & Drink in the Neighborhood

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.

Opening Report: Day 1 at Mission Chinese Food

Danny Bowien. Photo: Phi Vettel, Chicago Tribune.

Danny Bowien’s anxiously anticipated Mission Chinese Food is now open on Orchard Street.  Lower East Side food aficionado Mitch Weinstein couldn’t wait to try it out.

Last night was “opening” night, and a friend and I were lucky enough to score a pair of seats at Mission Chinese Food, after a nominal 20 minute wait, at the ungodly dinner hour of 6:30; normally, we’re drinking at that time – and aren’t you?  Whatever; here we were, greeted warmly by the host and hostess (Anna and Aubrey), and invited to share a celebratory beer while we waited for our seats to become available.