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Aug 11, 2014 09:46 AM

Rare date tonight -- need recs for dinner LES

My husband and I rarely go out for dinner without our kids, but tonight we're going to see a concert on the LES (it's way beyond our realm of cool to be doing such a thing on a school night, but it happened by accident.) I'm always wistfully reading about great little restaurants and then I totally forget which ones I'd like to visit if every I had the chance. Well, here I am with a chance. Any and all suggestions welcome. Lower East Side preferable (the show is on Allen Street if that makes a difference, but doesn't have to be that close). We're open to all cuisines, probably mid price range but flexible. I like a good cocktail. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Pala, on Allen (right by Rockwood--is that where you're going?). You can sit in or out, food is great, nice for sharing. No cocktails, but a pleasant wine list.

    Black Tree, on Orchard, is also fun and reasonably priced.

    1. It's fairly close if you are going to Rockwood; you could check out Estela, great food with a very lively atmosphere, excellent wine and cocktail lists.

      Root and Bone is getting alot of positive buzz (but we have not gotten there yet).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Spiritchaser

        Thanks everyone! I *am* going to Rockwood! I'm impressed that you both knew it. I'm such a nerd...

      2. Grab a drink at Attaboy, Experimental Cocktail Club, or Nitecap before or after if you have time.

        Also the Death & Co guys literally just opened 151 Bar (151 Rivington) on the LES.

        4 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          I tried 151 the other day. It seemed off. The bar was completely empty, which I guess is understandable given that they opened a couple of weeks ago. The staff was were super polite but at times, preferred to answer questions about drinks in monosyllables. Their cocktail selection is pretty small and they seemed hesitant to go off menu (I did not ask them explicitly but usually, when you describe something that is not on the menu, places like go off menu in a heartbeat). I found that to be a little surprising since they seem to have the entire arsenal of ingredients that you would find at a cocktail bar. I asked them if the menu that they were using was for the initial few weeks until things settled down a bit but they said that it was what they planned to use in the long term. The drinks themselves were just OK.

          Went over to Nitecap after this which was a very different experience. Nice atmosphere, good drinks. I would not put it in the same league as Dead Rabbit or even Attaboy but still very good.

          1. re: kathryn

            I went into the new (cough) improved 151 tonight with a good deal of trepidation, because I liked the place the way it was. Some damage has been done, but there are still a number of things to like about the place. It looks more or less the same - glossier, but still low ceiling-ed and dark. As before, the music's a little too loud, but now it's also too hip (i.e, not Led Zeppelin). The two guys working the bar were very friendly and welcoming. As indiefoodie mentions, the cocktail list is surprisingly brief and skews toward the sugary. At happy hour prices, the mixed drinks are $10, which is pretty reasonable, as they are carefully made. The beer prices are fair. Nothing on the food menu appealed to me.

            But it's no longer a dive. It's a dive-themed bar, Epcot Center style.

            1. re: small h

              Found this on Eater - "the heart (and bulk) of the menu, which debuts next week, is a list of 75 classic cocktails"


              1. re: indiefoodie

                I saw that as well, but I was handed this single sheet menu (which you've probably seen yourself):


                I guess the "debut" of the full menu hasn't happened yet.

          2. Rayuela. 165 Allen. There is a Coming Up Roses cocktail.

            1. Rosette's been really good lately, the new chef is great. The broiled avocado (sounds weird, I know) and lamb-for-two with rhubarb tzatziki are both fantastic. Cocktails good too.

              9 Replies
              1. re: sgordon

                +1 Rosette
                This is good to hear. We really loved the dinner we had there a few weeks ago when Curtain was still in the kitchen. The burger was pretty awesome (the patty was flavorsome.. but weren't fans of the bland sesame bun), sides (sprouts, roasted avocado) were delicious, drinks well made, and the space (half empty on a Friday evening though - hope it picked up for them) is atmospheric and beautiful. Looking fwd to a return visit with the new chef.

                1. re: DistendedBelly

                  From what I hear Curtin's actually been gone over a month, but they just didn't make the announcement until recently. Either way, much of the menu is still Curtin's. As the seasons change it'll be more Frederickson's, though I suspect some dishes (the lamb, the burger, the avocado) will remain, with little tweaks. I think the avocado could use some kind of carb or crispy component - maybe little flat crispy tortillas to spread it on or something, offer it as an app instead of a side dish. We had a new dish the last time - a special, a whole blackened fish with dill - that was a knockout.

                  Frederickson was great at Aamanns, his dinner menu (when it wasn't all Smorrebrod) was pretty creative tasty stuff there, and really reasonably priced. Looking forward to what he creates here. Sadly I was out of town the night he did the special guest-chef dinner with Marcus Jernmark. Might have provided a glimpse of what's in store.

                  They were jam-packed our last visit, a Saturday night.

                  1. re: sgordon

                    You missed a great dinner...Marcus and Carl knocked it out of the park. Carl's gonna do a great job here.

                    1. re: mitchleeny

                      Jealous! I was mostly bummed as it was the last chance to have Marcus' cooking until he gets around to having his own place again, whenever that may be.

                      Carl kills it in the kitchen. He was doing some amazing stuff at Aamanns before he left, hopefully he really gets to remake the menu at Rosette into a stage for his own work rather than just having him execute the old dishes for too long - though I noticed that fish special is already on the regular menu, so I guess it's already starting to change over. I -believe- the desserts are all his already as well.

                2. re: sgordon

                  sgordon, broiled avocado has peaked my interest. It doesn't get mushy? Just flavorful?

                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                    Well, no more mushy than an avocado naturally is. I mean, they're like Nature's Mayonnaise to start with.

                    It picks up a little char from the heat, and additional smokiness from the bonito. It really took me by surprise how much I liked it - it's kind of a crazy little concoction.

                    Years ago Dufresne had a charred avocado thing at WD-50. This is only the second time I've seen it cooked in a restaurant.

                    1. re: sgordon

                      <This is only the second time I've seen it cooked in a restaurant.>

                      If you haven't yet had the avocado fries at Toloache, I suggest you try them when you're in the area.

                      1. re: small h

                        True! Third time, make that. Forgot Toloache.

                        Mitchlee is right - it's roasted, not broiled. Minor difference, I suppose.

                      2. re: sgordon

                        I don't think it's broiled - just roasted in the wood-burning oven.