Look what’s popped up online — an intriguing video greeting/LES tribute from the new restaurant, “Sons of Essex,” featuring cameos from all sorts of familiar neighborhood types as well as luminaries from the entertainment and art worlds.
Leading up to a targeted debut next Thursday night (October 27th), the spot at 133 Essex Street has been generating quite a bit of buzz. Celebrities such as Lizzie Olsen, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Zoe Kravitz and Penn Badgley have stopped by for pre-opening events.
Sons of Essex, the successor to Mason Dixon, has also hosted neighborhood-centric tastings. The guys from ALIFE and Invisible Tattoos are among those who have sampled the menu. We stopped by a couple of nights ago, and found the staff gathered around a long communal table, trying out various dishes.
Sons of Essex owner Matt Levine emphasized the restaurant will be neighborhood friendly. He’s hired locally, as much as possible. The “old New York” decor pays tribute to the LES through various eras (the restaurant’s name is inspired by the Revolutionary War-era Sons of Liberty). There are lots of old photos on the walls (courtesy of the Tenement Museum), but also a big graffiti mural made by Tats Cru, out of the Bronx. The vintage deli up front will be open all day long. And food and drink prices are being kept moderate. The video includes the likes of Padma Lakshmi and Jeremy Piven, but also longtime LES artists such as Clayton Patterson and Chico Garcia.
The deli will feature coffee, espresso, bagels/bialys (from Kossar’s) and a variety of sandwiches. There will also be custom tea blends from “The Teaologist,” Danny Macaroons, Guss’ Pickles (straight out of the barrel), Picklepetunia brownies and cookies and Robiceli’s cupcakes and whoopie pies.
The menu in the restaurant is “New American,” with ethnic twists borrowed from the groups that have populated the Lower East Side through the years. A sampling:
- Lump Crab & Artichoke Dip (warm lump crab & artichoke dip toasted bialy rounds)
- Hen & Waffles (maple glazed hen served with homemade belgian waffles)
- Shepard’s Pie Empanada (Latin pastry, old New York’s shepherd’s pie filing)
- Truffle Mushroom Pizza (ultra thin crust pizza, fresh sheep’s milk ricotta, mascarpone & goat cheese, sauteed mushrooms, arugula, white truffle oil)
- Loisaida Skirt Steak (grilled skirt steak marinated in a blend of Latin spices including mace, cinnamon, cumin, rosemary, topped with salsa verde & pico de gallo)
- Four Question Braised Short ribs (beef short ribs slowly braised in Manischewitz wine, roasted leek)
- Apple Crumb Pork Chop (grilled bone in pork chop, topped with sauteed apples & apple crumb butter)
- Eggplant Parmesan Stuffed Tomato (carved local market beef steak tomato stuffed with layers of eggplant parmesan)
- Espresso Crusted Salmon (roasted fennel & tomato)
- Lobster Pot Pie (chunks of M lobster, served in crock pot pie, croissant topped)
- The Moscow Five Points ( Grey Goose, Lime Juice, Chinese 5 Spice Power, Agave, Honey Syrup, Fresh Ginger, Float Wine )
- The Pushcart (Woodford Reserve, sweet vermouth, green chartreuse, peach bitters, maraschino cherry garnish)
- The Bowery Mission (Maker’s Mark, lemon juice, lavender peppercorn honey syrup, egg white, bitters spritz)
- The All American L.E.S. (sailor jerry’s rum, apple juice, cinnamon syrup, churro stirrer)
(Custom Made Tea Blends)
- The Teddy Roosevelt (absolut vodka, green tea, yerba mate, ginger, peach)
- The Evenlyn Nesbit (Jack Daniels barrel and bitters, darjeeling with lemon peel, orange peel, strawberry)
- The Stanford White (SVEDKA clementimne, white tea, strawberry, strawberry leaf, rose petal, orange peel, lemon peel)
- The Van Buren (Jim Beam devils cut, berry tisane & rooibos, squeeze of lemon)
(Video credits: The Knocks, K’Naan, Victor, Rasuk, Bryan Greenberg, Mia Moretti, Padma Lakshmi, Asher Roth, Invisible tattoos, DJ Kalkutta, Jessica Hart, Tats Cru, Silver Medallion, Scott Lipps of One Model Management, Gabe Saporta of Cobrastarship, Kevin Rudolf, Jeremy Piven, Becca Diamond, Amy Hixson, Taryn Manning, Louie XIV, Jane Bang, Drek Martinez, Megan Washington, We The Kings, Jessica White, Clayton, The Chainsmokers, Chico, and local LES peeps).
vids a tad boring
Agreed. Really, how is Jeremy Piven’s presence supposed to win people over? Is going to vouch the tuna is mercury-free or something?
Not sure the whole “branding the LES as uber-cool” video thing works, given that the more you try and tell people how cool you are the less cool you come across. Cool people don’t need to talk about how cool they are, naturally. Plus the whole mood of “downtown” cool was anti-celebrity, so throwing a hot TV personality who only dates billionaires and Jeremy Piven in your video doesn’t make too much sense to me.
Sadly it seems our cool days are behind us, and it’s become more of a B&T magnet of late. Maybe there’ll be an LES backlash and it’ll be an interesting, vibrant neighborhood again down the road. Though as long as they’re charging $2K+ for one bedroom apartments, not gonna happen anytime soon.
But hey, it’s a restaurant (yes?) so in the end it’ll be about the food. After the Olsens and Pivens and Lakshmis are gone, will the locals want to eat there Monday through Thursday? Remains to be seen. I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve tasted a few times, but braising anything in Manschevitz seems about as good an idea as braising someting in Four Loko. Cute idea? Sure. Tasty? Remains to be seen…
interesting– I was stopped on the street and asked what I thought of the LES- so I gave my opinion- now I see what it was for- and I was never invited to sample the food- or to even look inside- hmm- thanks clayton patterson
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