Part of Keith McNally’s kingdom along with Minetta Tavern and Balthazar, Schiller’s is like the mischievous youngest sibling. As The New York Observer recently wrote, “It’s simple: Order the garlic shrimp and the steak frites.” The restaurant’s two signature dishes as well as the casual, retro atmosphere and décor call for a relaxed brunch or dinner with friends. With chef Shane McBride (of Balthazar fame) cooking up in the kitchen, Schiller’s is the perfect neighborhood hangout.
We sometimes miss London when we’re in New York. Luckily there is a resurgence of gastro pub culture and an all-around British ethos. The Fat Radish is our cure of choice when the longing for pints, pot pies and banoffee becomes too much to take. The crowd is what you’d except from a restaurant located on one of the coolest streets in the Lower East Side – creative, interesting and hip. We think the New York Times pretty much sums up the atmosphere when describing the sound level at The Fat Radish: “It’s loud in the way a party of beautiful people gets loud. If you can’t hear, there is at least plenty to look at.”
Located on Orchard Street (where else but the coolest street in the neighborhood?!) By Robert James is a Lower East Side landmark and a local favorite. Happy customer after happy customer talks about the fantastic quality, excellent service and just the overall awesomeness of the store. Robert’s passion for creating menswear and his dedication to make men feel handsome really shines through. Blended with the unique New York energy, By Robert James is a maestro. Go for retro sunglasses and shirts, and for special occasions his suits will make sure you’ll be one of the coolest guests in attendance.
We take our chocolate seriously. Tache Artisan Chocolate understands this. Pastry chef Aditi Malhotra opened the delicious café slash shop in September 2012 and has made it into almost every New York publication since. She also won the coveted Zagat 30 Under 30 Award. Tache offers the super popular chocolate making classes and handcrafts all of their chocolates in their basement kitchen. (Tequila-infused chocolate anyone?) Just one more reason to love this block on the Lower East Side.
For years, there has been a long line at this restaurant on brunch time. Years. And that just goes to prove that the breakfast is worth the wait. The restaurant uses cage free eggs and seasonal local produce. The banana walnut pancakes are delicious and the sugar-cured bacon is to die for. Get your comfy shoes on and get ready to wait…for the best breakfast ever.
On the newly gentrified streets bridging the Lower East Side to Chinatown, The Leadbelly stands out as a top favorite. The bar is buzzing and intimate; a great date spot; or a place to take friends who love a carefully crafted cocktail. Our bartender made a cocktail as though he were doing a scientific experiment—with patience, method, and a deep concentration on his craft. It was well worth the wait. An LES visit should include a stop at The Leadbelly.
Time and time again (especially during fall) a restaurant opens with a buzz like nothing else. This year that honor was given to Dirty French, the new restaurant from huge crowd favorites: Torrisi and Carbone. Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick have opened a French bistro and what’s to be expected is long waitlists (reserve as early as possible) and celebrity sightings. You may get the “we have a 5.15pm and 11.15pm available for dinner” but don't give up – Dirty French delivers an excellent meal and heaps of excitement only visible at the hottest new restaurant in New York City. And please, promise us you’ll enjoy every bite of that flatbread with fromage blanc you get before your meal. Heavenly stuff.
Dirty French The Ludlow Hotel, 180 Ludlow Street New York, NY, 10002 (212) 254-3000 www.dirtyfrench.com
Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Maryam Nassir Zadeh is a true creative mind. All the clothing and jewelry in Maryam’s namesake boutique is meticulously curated – to the point where you wonder if you could find these beautiful things anywhere else (most likely not!). It’s always wonderful when the designer’s passion shines through. The store carries the perennial favorites – Isabel Marant and Acne – but also many unique names that we love such as Swash London and Golden Goose. One of the most precious boutiques in town.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh 123 Norfolk St New York, NY 10002 (212) 673-6405 www.mnzstore.com
Russ & Daughters
If you ask 10 New Yorkers what the classic NYC dish is, bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon will be high up on the list. And to understand what the smoked salmon on this iconic bread roll means to New York you must visit Russ & Daughters, the family-owned specialty food store that has served locals since 1914(!) The store is most well-known for its smoked lox, herring and caviar. You can just tell that the Russ family and anyone who works here loves what they do. Anthony Bourdain, the famed chef and author, aptly described this NYC institution: "Russ & Daughters occupies that rare and tiny place on the mountaintop reserved for those who are not just the oldest and the last – but also the best." Also visit the Russ & Daughters Café on Orchard Street.
Essex Street Market is local New York grocery shopping at its absolute best. The place is not for everyone but if you’re looking for the type of atmosphere only to be found in New York City you should visit ESM. Be prepared to do some legwork to find what you’re looking for though! A sort of scavenger hunt for adults, the Essex Street Market is the perfect mix of diverse food vendors, all with deep passion for what they are doing. As ESM notes on their website, “here you can be on a first-name basis with your butcher, cheese seller, grocer and fishmonger. “ We’d add chocolatier to that mix. Highly recommended.
A gelato laboratory – the name pretty much sums up the atmosphere in Il Laboratorio del Gelato. White, lab-like space in the Lower East Side serves delicious hand-made gelato and sorbets. Jon Snyder, a gelato aficionado, who opened Il Laboratorio in 2002, wanted patrons to be able to see how their frozen treats were made (Solution: create a cafe slash open kitchen!) The flavors are abundant so we suggest going in and trying fearlessly!
The quintessential Lower East Side neighborhood coffee shop / hangout where the coffee is hot and the kids are cool. Don’t be intimidated by the seemingly never-ending supply of in-the-know baristas and surfer-type clientele. Whether you decide to get your coffee to go or stay and browse the surf gear and boards, Lost Weekend is the perfect California-style addition to your New York day.