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LES favorites

I don't get to the lower east side very often and I know there is a lot of good eating to be had. Any guidence for a place to go for dinner? Not necessarily looking for street food, although always interested in hearing about very casual eating as well. Thanks.

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  1. Azul Bistro, Tides, Apizz, The Orchard, Cube 63, Clinton St. Baking Co., 'inoteca

    1. 'inoteca, The Stanton Social, Thor, Barrio Chino

      1 Reply
      1. re: LeahBaila

        Barrio Chino is good, their margaritas are pricey. Clinton Street has WD50, etc.

      2. Clinton St. for Brunch, 'inoteca, Freemans, Paladar

        1. Falai is quite good. Innovative, and very clean flavors. I find the food at Apizz a little heavy although I really like the setting. 'Inoteca is great.

          1 Reply
          1. I would stay away from The Orchard. I ate there recently with a group of 5 and had an awful experience. Our water glasses were filled with debris and when we showed the waitress, she remarked: "that is positvely cryptic"! No apology. The flatbreads were pretty good but the rest of the dinner was bland and less then ordinary. Halibut was terrible. I would NEVER return. The staff there was unfriendly and unprofessional. The dining room was also empty of people on a week night. Loved Stanton Social though. It is fun, friendly, and the food was quite good.

            1. Inoteca, Barrio Chino, Kuma Inn (Asian fusion and BYOB), Brown's, WD-50, and Katz's, which is actually good despite being a huge tourist cliche. Also, been meaning to try Shopsin's, which recently moved here but is only open for breakfast and lunch. And what is this about Barrio Chino's margaritas being pricey? Where else can you get an $8 margarita that is huge and only has fresh fruit juice in it, no sour mix? And if you visit in the fall, try the pumpkin glazed donuts at Doughnut Plant.

              8 Replies
              1. re: KateC.

                from what i recall, a basic margarita is $8 but the prices jump really quickly for anything beyond that. it's true that they use all sorts of fresh, seasonal fruit so i wouldn't say that they're out of line, but i think it's funny that much of the cocktail list is more expensive than the entrees.

                1. re: wleatherette

                  Maybe they have a happy hour and they're only $8 then?? Their margaritas were alot more than $8. Grapefruit jalapeno, yum! Love the melt in your mouth, pear donuts at Doughnut Plant (not your Dunkin Dougnut, Krispy Creme variety).

                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                    My recollection is the basic margarita is $8 and the jalapeno and grapefruit ones are $10. That's a great price for New York City, where a "quality" margarita (that isn't as good) costs $12.

                    1. re: KateC.

                      Thanks, KateC. I think any place where the drinks cost more than the entress is a bit obscene. That said, I'm still a Barrio Chino fan, just have to be careful on the margaritas . . . By the way you can ask for a fresh margarita at some bars (vs. the dreaded mix). They may charge you extra but you know it will be lime, tequila & cointreau. (I generally prefer to make great, fresh, "quality" ones at home and head for the roof deck.) And Mole which makes your guac tableside is still BYOB.

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        Thanks, financialdistrictresident. I have tried the "fresh lime juice" thing in quite a few places and always been told "yes" and then gotten Rose's, so have finally given up. But it's good to know you've had better luck with that. Also, I have a new fallback when I'm craving a margarita but am in the wrong place for one: Grapefruit and tequila. Don't get me started on the places that don't have grapefruit juice...:)

                        1. re: KateC.

                          I ask to them use the lime garnishes and if they do give them a good tip. I also throw down a challenge: most bartenders can't make a margarita as good as I can make at home :) Love the grapefruit and tequila idea. Grapefruit and vodka is one of my favorite cocktails. I only like pink grapefruit juice, now that's a challenge for too many bars! fdr

                          1. re: KateC.

                            i order tequila on the rocks and ask for a lot of lime wedges on the side, then squeeze them in to taste. it doesn't take much work, and you get a custom-blended pseudo-margarita. substitue vodka or gin, and you've got yourself an improvised gimlet.

                            1. re: KateC.

                              For fresh margarita you guys should try Suenos on 17th between 8th & 9th Ave.
                              They cost $11 and are made with Heradura Silver and fresh lime.
                              Go before 7pm and they are 2 for 1. Good margaritas for $5.50, not bad!
                              Great guac as well

                  2. Casual and excellent:
                    Yakiniku West (get the short rib set!) http://newyork.citysearch.com/profile...

                    Frank http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

                    L'il Frankie's http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

                    Momofuko Noodle bar http://www.momofuku.com/

                    And prettymuch all of the Indian places on 6th are good.

                    18 Replies
                    1. re: Jel212

                      i really love frank and thinking of going on friday. any suggestions for something similar (just not il bagatto) in the EV or LES preferrably.

                      I did go to 1492 the other night and like it, pretty good food but cool atmosphere. I've seen mixed reviews of it on here but we enjoyed the night there.

                        1. re: elizabeththinks

                          Going to Barbone on Sat night. Any suggestions.

                          1. re: princeofpork

                            watermelon feta salad is excellent to start, and the aspargus fries are good too.i had carbonara which was good, with nice pieces of pancetta, as were the parpadelle w/ ragu & linguine with clams i tried bites of.

                            let me know what you think! enjoy!

                            1. re: elizabeththinks

                              We're going next week too. I've heard the chestnut ravioli is good. Should we go with the tasting menu? Would love your thoughts . . .

                              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                I didn't do this, and wished I had....for what it's worth.

                                1. re: elizabeththinks

                                  We went to Barbone and had the asparagus fries with pancetta aioli. They were light and delicious, thanks for the suggestion. We had the fennel radicchio salad with calamata olives, nice but not spectacular. We also had the chestnut revioli with brown butter and wild fennel pollen, this was our favorite. The server steered us away from the gnocchi with mushrooms. We had the red beet pasta, good but would probably not order it again. Didn't even bother with desserts, not their strong card. Our server helped us choose between two wines under consideration and actually suggested the bottle that was less costly. It was very nice. Garden was lovely!

                      1. re: Jel212

                        most of the places on 6th street aren't very good at all

                          1. re: emma

                            For "very casual eating" that isn't quite street food, I think the places on 6th fit the bill. Cheap, ethnic, and, in my opinion, generally tasty. Ghandi is one of my faves, there.

                              1. re: LeahBaila

                                Although I do think the name of the restaurant (eatery, if you will) is rather ironic.

                              2. re: Jel212

                                Thanks, jel212. A friend took me to one place that she said is good. I can't remember the name. I think it might have been near but not on 6th. I wonder if it was Ghandi?

                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                  Ghandi is the one right on the corner (or 1 in from the corner) at 6th and 1st. I used to dig Bombay Dining (with the live sitar player in the window), but it closed, and something else is in it's place.

                            1. re: Jel212

                              This posting is about the Lower East Side, not the East Village.

                              1. re: KateC.

                                Thanks, KateC. Apologies for the response to EV comment. I think alot of people don't know the geographic border btw LES & EV. LES Canal/Bowery/E. Houston (also "1st and 1st" to many folks). So while different neighborhoods, they tend to blur when thinking about food or dining choices.

                                1. re: KateC.

                                  Oh yeah - oops! Then I second Stanton Social and like (not great, but a fun stop-by) that little french place on the corner for casual steak frites - Epicerie Cafe Charbon. Also heard that 'Inotecca is good.

                              2. Suba, Azul bistro, stanton social, el castillo de jagua, shopsins, sachikos on clinton

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: DarthEater

                                  Care to tell us more about some of these places, DarthEater? I am familiar only with Shopsins and Stanton Social. Many thanks!

                                  1. re: DarthEater

                                    Agree on Sachiko on Clinton. Delicious sushi in a nice atmosphere, reasonably priced.

                                    1. re: eeee

                                      Sachiko's is NOT reasonably priced considering the many other sushi places in the neighborhood. And it's definitely not good enough to make up for their prices either. I'd skip that one.

                                  2. Little Giant is one of my favorites!

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: samiam123

                                      I second that. Been wanting to try Alias too - anyone tried?

                                      1. re: Jel212

                                        Not a fan of Alias...had one of the worst brunches there EVER.

                                        1. re: LeahBaila

                                          Ohh - I have it on my list of places to hit - why was it so bad?

                                          1. re: Jel212

                                            Really bland, boring and mediocre, IMO.

                                          2. re: LeahBaila

                                            That's sad, I love brunch there. Or at least I loved it until their chef left. The stuff I tried off their brunch menu was pretty good -- fried chicken and waffles, breakfast burrito, or eggs with biscuits and gravy. What did you order that was so bad?

                                            1. re: kathryn

                                              It is sad. I really, really wanted to love it. I had the breakfast burrito. They do make amazing orange juice, though.

                                            2. re: LeahBaila

                                              Agree about Alias. Just totally forgetable and boring. You can do much better on that street. But Little Giant is FAB!!!

                                            3. re: Jel212

                                              I used to love it lots (fried chicken, ice cream sandwiches!) but they changed chefs a few months ago and I haven't been back.

                                            4. re: samiam123

                                              It's only worth $0.02, but Little Giant is the tops!

                                              Their cocktails were awesome and the Swine of the Week rocks!

                                            5. le pere pinard, yummy laidback french food

                                              zozos for fluffernutter ice cream

                                              stanton social for the french onion soup dumplings and edamame (covered in a yummy sauce!)

                                              1. Just my two cents on the restaurants mentioned in this post - take it or leave it:

                                                Trendier, more mid-town than downtown hipster crowd: Thor, Stanton Social

                                                Good food: Falai, Frankie's, Little Giant, 'inoteca, Freemans (although some might disagree on this one, I've always loved the food here)

                                                Good Cocktails: Freeman's, Rayuela and WD-50.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: graphisbeb

                                                  my identical food list. never tried freemans. now i will. i have heard about it alot on here

                                                  1. re: jsmitty

                                                    Oh, please do! I think the high concentration of hipsters may turn some people off, however the food and drink are very good. Right now, I recommend getting a side order of their watermelon (really great when the temps go back up), artichoke dip (of course), and their filet has never disappointed (a must if you like sinus-clearing horseradish). As for cocktails, the bartenders are all lovely - I heart Lynette and Jim especially! Ask them to make you a cocktail off the menu - actually, best to just sit at the bar and eat :) Now the pressure is on to see if you like it!

                                                    1. re: graphisbeb

                                                      Is it terribly difficult to get in? Do they take reservations? What is the best time to go to get a seat? Thank you!

                                                      1. re: KateC.

                                                        I don't think it's that's difficult get in, but then again I tend to go during the week and avoid Fri/Sat nights. If you get there by 7/730, it shouldn't be a problem getting a seat. During more prime dining hours, I would allow about 1 - 1.5 hr. wait for a table - grab a drink at the bar and hang out for a little bit. They only take reservations for parties of 6 or more. Report back and let me know your thoughts!

                                                2. the orchard, falai, little giant, inoteca, frankies 17

                                                  1. Barrio Chino, Kuma Inn, Tre

                                                    1. I recently recommended Falai to my boss who was visiting New York and he came back with an excellent report. Falai even has specific wines on their list that he has not seen since he visited that region of Italy where Falai's chef specializes! The pricing is also reasonable given the quality. Very good find on the LES.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: ljeanne

                                                        ljeanne, we also enjoy Falai. My SO had dinner there yesterday and raved again. It is more upscale. Bill L, Rayuela is also nice. Not as upscale as Falai.

                                                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                          Some women sitting at the next table when I was at Sichuan Gourmet on Sunday night spoke very highly of Rayuela. What do you particularly like there?

                                                          1. re: Pan

                                                            Just remembered Elyssa Dido (no liquor license last time we went) and Bacaro.

                                                            Pan, we like the option of small plates, interesting cocktails, atmosphere. This includes a post about the food: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/524986