From our November magazine, a roundup of food notes and happenings on the Lower East Side.
Bruffin Cafe (85 Delancey St., the first brick-and-mortar shop from the Smorgasburg purveyors of brioche-muffin hybrid pastries, opened in mid-October on the ground floor of the building that houses The Yard co-working space. Billed as “the perfect meal in a muffin,” the treats come in both sweet and savory options. Some are styled after a favorite food in a particular country, such as buffalo chicken and blue cheese in the American version and brie cheese in the French. Cafe hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends. Bruffins are also sold in Fairway markets, and a second permanent location is planned at the Gansevoort Market in Chelsea. The bruffin has some company on the neighborhood’s hybrid-pastry market; Creffle Cafe opened on Stanton Street in September, specializing in a crepe-waffle concoction.
Galli Restaurant, 98 Rivington St.: Soho’s two-year-old Italian trattoria expanded to a second location, headed by partners Steven Gallo (the chef), designer Karen Gallo and Michael Forrest. Forrest, who is also a partner in the original on Mercer Street, is the president of the board of directors of the LES Business Improvement District and owns the Rivington Street building, which was most recently home to wine bar ’Inoteca for 12 years. The menu consists of Italian comfort food like calamari with marinara sauce and chicken parm, along with a few dishes that push the classics envelope. Locally sourced craft beer, Italian wine and cocktails are on the beverage list. It will serve lunch, brunch, dinner and late night meals daily, with dinner entrees ranging from $12 to $25.
Two neighborhood eateries–a relative newcomer and an old-time Chinese restaurant–shuttered this fall. Wacky Colombian hot dog shop Los Perros Locos closed at the end of September after less than two years at 201 Allen St. Chef Alex Mitow plans to take his restaurant on the road, doing more pop-up events like the series of dinner and dance parties he hosted in a vacant storefront on Grand Street this spring, while his former dining room has morphed into an arts and events space. At the corner of East Broadway and Rutgers Street, longtime fixture Wing Shoon also closed in late September after the city marshal locked the doors. The large space, which was once home to the venerated Garden Cafeteria, is now for lease. That block is poised for big change with the imminent relocation of Mission Chinese, which is due to open in the former Rosette space by the end of the year.
Stanton Street Kitchen, 178 Stanton St.: Chef Erik Blauberg is striking out on his own after a long career that included eight years at the iconic 21 Club uptown, as well as a decade of consultant work and a teaching gig at the Culinary Institute of America. The former Moldy Fig jazz club space has been transformed into a new American bistro, with a ground floor dining room that seats 70 at tables, plus a 10-person bar. The basement space includes a chef’s table, a speakeasy-style lounge and beer and wine cellar. The lengthy menu includes classic dishes and farm-sourced bar bites. Proposed hours are 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. weekends.
Chin Chin: After 27 years in Midtown, proprietor Jimmy Chin shuttered his beloved upscale Chinese restaurant last month, sending it off with a grand party amid laments about skyrocketing uptown rent. But it wasn’t the end; Chin announced plans to move to the Lower East Side. He told the food blog Eater: “Instead of melting away and dying, I’m going downtown to rejuvenate myself and get young again.” He’s apparently eyeing a vacant space near the intersection of Essex and Rivington streets; stay tuned for details.
At the end of this month, pioneering chef Wylie Dufresne will close wd~50, his 11-year-old Clinton Street restaurant, to make way for a real estate redevelopment project. Whether or not the groundbreaking restaurant eventually reopens in a new home, as Dufresne has hinted it may, its inventive dishes will live on in perpetuity, thanks to a cookbook due out next year. Dufresne has partnered with Peter Meehan, the co-founder and editor of Lucky Peach, to collaborate on a book through Anthony Bourdain’s publishing company, Ecco. If molecular gastronomy isn’t your thing, however, several other LES restaurateurs and bar owners have cookbooks due imminently or just released. Among them: the team behind Fat Radish, which published The Fat Radish: Kitchen Diaries in late September, featuring many of the vegetable-centric dishes that made the Orchard Street eatery popular. On the beverages front, the East Village’s Death & Co. came out last month with Death & Co.: Modern Classic Cocktails, showcasing more than 500 recipes from the East Sixth Street lounge’s eight years on the edge of cocktail culture.