Lower East Side

Cherche Midi

Bar, Cherche MidiIt was 25 minutes past our reservation time on a Tuesday night, and still our table at Cherche Midi hadn’t materialized. Aside from the wait, this can be a bad sign about a newish restaurant. Are the servers overwhelmed? Or the kitchen? Yet Shane McBride, the chef of Cherche Midi, who looks like someone you probably wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley in Dublin, was leaning against the kitchen pass through, completely unperturbed.  (more…)

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Lunch: Pok Pok Phat Thai

For some reason the city’s Thai restaurant entrepreneurs seem to have banded together and decided that what we want is fast casual spots with uniform wood-and-polished-metal design schemes and heaping portions of sweet, bland noodles. So it’s a relief to walk into Pok Pok Phat Thai and find someplace just a little bit weird.  (more…)

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Pearl & Ash

As restaurants go, Pearl & Ash has all the makings of a super trendy one. It opened in a one-block area of Chrystie and the Bowery where four other concept restaurants (the Bowery Diner, the General, Cata, Cocktail Bodega) and two cocktail bars (Bantam, Experimental Cocktail Club) have opened in the past year. It has the currently favored __ + __ name scheme, and chef Richard Kuo used to be one half of the popular pop-up restaurant Frej, which was – of course! – Scandinavian.  (more…)

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The Bowery Diner

When Mathieu Palombino, the French-trained chef who conquered the genre of pizza at Motorino, decided to turn his exacting attention to the American diner, it was exciting news. To what heights would he take the lowly tuna melt, the burger, the “diet plates” heretofore characterized by Jello and cottage cheese? The almost comically varied menu of your typical New York diner, which includes everything from fried eggs to the rarely-ordered fish of the day, seemed ripe for transformation.

Interior, the Bowery Diner

But the menu is a blessing and a bane. Just as, when you sit down at your corner diner, you view the various categories on a multipage menu with skepticism – can they really make pad thai as well as they can make pancakes? – the scope of dishes the kitchen must do well proves daunting here.  (more…)

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The Fat Radish

When fashion people heartily endorse a restaurant, one’s suspicions are immediately aroused. Do they serve actual food there? Or merely a substance one can push around the plate while admiring the crowd, as at Indochine or Monkey Bar? This is a tribe that espouses the joy of cooking with sugar substitutes and raw cacao nibs, a tribe that professes to actually like the taste of kombucha. So when the praise started rolling in for new, vegetal-themed British restaurant the Fat Radish, we had to go experience it for ourselves.

Interior, the Fat Radish

Rest assured, the “fat” in name is merely playful, so you can still wear your skinny jeans here. Owned by the people behind Silkstone, a catering company that caters largely to – surprise! – the fashion industry, the Fat Radish skews towards British food. Not like the Breslin, however: there’s nary a pig’s foot in sight. Instead the array of greens and legumes on the menu speaks to the fact that that the Brits were into this organic, locally-sourced thing way before we were. Look at Prince Charles and his cute little vegetable garden! (more…)

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