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Asian Cuisine - Lower East Side, NYC
You can find just about any cuisine you want in the Lower East Side, from old-school Jewish and Eastern European dishes to Asian and Italian restaurants as well as some of the coolest bars and lounges in Manhattan.
Chinese Tuxedo-Lower East Side
A restaurant that is located inside of what used to be an opera house, Chinese Tuxedo more than lives up to its' reputation for cutting edge Asian cuisine and an unforgettable ambiance that will have your Instagram account going into overdrive!
Although the rows of ornate seats and majestic stage may be long gone and contemporary, hip beats waft through the air where operatic arias were once sung; space still retains a certain panache' and theatrical flourish.
Chinese Tuxedo has two levels of indescribably delicious eye candy. The spacious ground floor area is beautifully decorated with tall, lush green plants and circular brown leather booths that lend themselves to cozy, date-night canoodling and dining.
The world is definitely your oyster when you eat, drink and make merry on the sexy, lounge-like terrace. This intimate and atmospheric space possesses a cool vibe that encourages diners and revelers alike to make the most of their night.
A culinary concept from the team of Eddy Buckingham and Jeff Lam, Chinese Tuxedo may be one of the trendiest spots in the city, but it thankfully doesn't have any of the obnoxious pretentiousness that is usually associated with popular Manhattan restaurants and bars.
In fact, you'll find that everyone on staff, from the hostess who greets you to the servers who will guide you through the delectable menu, is as chill as it gets.
Gather up your friends from work and head on over to Chinese Tuxedo to feast and celebrate a few precious hours of me-time.
A good place to start the feasting with would be by ordering a selection of plates from the Dim Sum portion of the menu.
The kitchen offers delights such as a King Prawn spring roll as well as an ever so slightly spicy sweet potato and curry spring roll.
Other Dim Sum treasures include the signature Chinese Tuxedo BBQ pork bun with spicy cucumbers along with with shrimp and scallop filled wontons in a golden Imperial broth.
A fine-dining establishment, Chinese Tuxedo offers a wide array of vegetarian and noodle options that, guaranteed, your local, neighborhood Chinese take-out place doesn't have on their menu.
If you've recently put protein in your rear-view mirror and are committed to eating clean then you'll want to order the fantastic stir-fried Iceberg lettuce that's artfully mixed with soy paste and just a touch of garlic.
You might also enjoy the stir-fried King Oyster Mushrooms dish with baby corn and Hudson Valley turnips.
Two of the best noodle dishes here are the confit duck leg "Chow Mein" with roast duck sauce and the whole lobster, which is made "Hong Kong" style and served with egg noodles and garlic butter. That is one Heavenly dish.
Are you SO over those bland and boring servings of white, yellow or brown rice that comes with, it seems, every dish at every Chinese restaurant in the world?
Well, be ready to get extremely excited when you read over the creative rice-based dishes that are a huge part of Chinese Tuxedo's menu.
Does chili-fried rice accompanied by hand-picked Jonah Crab, celery and crispy shallots float your boat? You bet it does!
How do fluffy rice cakes with snake beans, marinated pork and chili bean sauce, sound? Yeah, now we're talking! This is where your food party starts.
When it comes to washing your feast down the hatch, the bartenders at the Tuxedo have quite a few intriguing options ready to mix and stir for you.
Get a real celebrate the night buzz on with the Paradise Park Swizzle, a cocktail to end them all with a nifty pour of delectably refreshing melon liqueur, Mezcal, cane syrup, lime juice and Angostura.
Premium Scotch, a shot of Pimms, a touch of Ginger along with both pineapple and lemon juice are the delicious ingredients that will make you want to order another round of the Fist of Fury.
Popular with regulars and first-timers alike is the Kung Fu Pandan; a drink that is composed of Gin, Pandan, Kaffir lime and Acquafaba.
Should your barkeep suggest that you give this cocktail a try, by all means, listen? You won't regret the choice; especially if you've had a worse than usual day at the office.
One could use a lot of complimentary adjectives in which to describe what you can expect from an evening here at Chinese Tuxedo.
But, the word that almost everyone turns to, in summing up their time spent here, is fun. We dare you to leave Chinese Tuxedo without wearing a big, bright smile on your face!
Location and Hours
5 Doyers Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday to Sunday6 PM to 12 AM
Ginger and Lemongrass - Lower East Side
Vietnamese cuisine has been a relative latecomer to the city's deliciously diverse Asian restaurant scene.
For the most part, Hanoi street cart food and other traditional Vietnamese dishes have been relegated to fast-casual cafes that focus more on take-out and delivery rather than providing their patrons with anything resembling a date-night dining experience.
However, that's all changed with the advent of Ginger and Lemongrass, a Vietnamese restaurant that blends eclectic decor and a traditional South East Asian ambiance with inventive takes on that Nation's comfort food.
Be forewarned, though, you won't find a Vietnamese expat in the kitchen here. All the cooking is done by one of the best, young "undiscovered" chefs in New York, Petra Rickman.
Born and raised in the Czech Republic, Petra was introduced to the delightful and varied flavors of Vietnamese cuisine at a tiny restaurant in Prague.
Inspired by the chef there, Petra set off on a lengthy culinary journey through Vietnam. Petra knew that this was the type of cuisine that she was born to cook! And that the diverse and welcoming environs of New York City would be the perfect location for her restaurant.
Petra eventually joined forces with her real-life partner in life, Michal, who hails from Slovakia, opening the original Ginger and Lemongrass in the quiet Whitestone neighborhood of Queens.
The Borough of Queens has one of the largest Vietnamese-American communities in the city. They know what they like and it wasn't easy, at first, to convince them that an Eastern European-trained chef could turn out even a decent version of the food that they grew up eating. But, one taste of Chef Petra's outrageousBeef Pho and they were hooked.
Foodies and critics flocked to their establishment and the buzz was off the charts. Ginger and Lemongrass was even featured on ABC 7 News in a segment called "Neighborhood Eats".
It was simply a matter of time until the happy couple decided to bring their very personal take on Vietnamese comfort classics to Manhattan.
Michal and Petra really never seriously considered a landing place for their restaurant, other than the LES; a neighborhood that has been home to groups of immigrants and their ethnic dishes for over one hundred years.
The restaurant has a cozy feel to it with lots of greenery set against exposed brick walls. Ginger and Lemongrass also has quite a few LES design accents and there's nary a bamboo shoot anywhere to be seen. Everything is fresh and vibrant.
Much the same can be said about the wonderful food that comes out of Petra's kitchen.
First, we would be absolutely remiss if we didn't start our tour of the menu with the chef's amazing and authentic Vietnamese soups or Pho. These are her signature dishes and you have to try each one. On subsequent visits, of course!
You may choose between traditional beef, chicken, Vietnamese vegetarian soup or the spicy lemongrass offering.
Tender rice noodles, scallions and cilantro form the basis of each soup. Add in a protein and a side of bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapenos and a lime wedge and you've got one exciting lunch or dinner awaiting you.
Petra's vegetarian soup is goodness personified with baby bok choy, mushrooms and tofu added to the broth which is slow simmered and spiced just right.
But, there is so much going on here besides hearty, heart and soul-warming soups.
Salads range from a bowl that's filled with watercress, fennel, orange slices and salmon to a chicken and cabbage salad topped with fresh herbs.
Sandwiches play a huge role in Vietnamese cuisine and the kitchen here is certainly not lacking in that department.
Served on a toasty hero, the crispy panko breaded cod sandwich is topped up with pickled carrots and daikon, fresh cucumber slices and cilantro. There is also a generous amount of mayonnaise and Sriracha occupying every nook and cranny of the bread.
As scrumptious as it is succulent is the spicy beef short ribs sandwich as well as the glazed pork belly, which blends a little sweet with a whole lot of spice.
Microgreens, herbs, fresh veggies and marvelous edamame spread lend a bright, refreshing touch to the marinated Portobello mushroom sandwich.
You really can't miss with any of these creations. They are so filling you don't need a side.
Never content to rest on her laurels, chef Petra is always tweaking her recipes as she combines classic Vietnamese ingredients with elements of Thai cooking, making each dish stand out in terms of character and taste.
Location and Hours
153 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002
Monday to Sunday11 AM to 11 PM
Davelle - Lower East Side
The first thing that you notice when walking in here is how cute and well decorated this cozy and intimate cafe is. The second thing that will grab your attention are the enticing aromas that emanate from the Oden machines, that are situated behind the bar.
For the uninitiated, Oden is a popular Japanese dish; one that is just made for those cold New York days and nights that we all struggle to get through.
Chock full of depth and flavor, authentic Oden consists of various ingredients that are slow-simmered in a very light and flavorful dashi broth. The longer everything simmers in the delectable broth, the better the finished product tastes.
Owner Yudai Kanayama has imported not one, but two Oden machines from Japan, so you are assured of an authentic Oden experience.
One of the contraptions contains compartments for fish and meat while the other is reserved only for a myriad of veggies such as mushrooms, okra, tomatoes and asparagus.
The staff at Davelle love to show off the Oden machines and explain how they work.
And, it's fun to gaze inside and build your very own bowl of Oden, from all of the amazing ingredients that are on hand.
Davelle is modeled after the traditional Japanese Kissaten. These are tea and coffee shops or cafes that have been around since the nineteenth century. Yudai loved going to these places, back home, to relax, grab a bite to eat and a cup of tea,.
At Davelle, Yudai wanted to introduce to New Yorkers, not only the delicious food that these Kissatens serve but also the welcoming atmosphere that they are known for.
Another thing that Kissatens are famous for is, are you ready for this, their spaghetti.
Yes, you did not misread the sentence. Davelle offers three kinds of spaghetti, all based on recipes direct from Tokyo's Kissatens.
Considered to be specialties of the house, Davelle's version of Neapolitan spaghetti features a mound of al dente pasta that is mixed with grilled chunks of pepper, onions, carrots and bacon. Thrown in some grated Parmesan and a runny egg and you've got yourself one delicious dish.
Aside from their signature Mochi Mochi spaghetti plate, you can also order the sea urchin spaghetti or the spicy cod caviar pasta.
The menu also offers some tasty curries like the gluten-free pork and chicken katsu.
The bar has a relatively small but intriguing liquor selection that consists mostly of premium sake' as well as Sapporo beer and other craft brews.
In Japan, a Kissaten serves three different types of meals to its' customers; each one geared towards breakfast, lunch or dinner.
So, it's no surprise at all that you can get your AM caffeine fix at Davelle with everything from pour-overs and Espresso to an Americano or a Macchiato!
Not feeling a cup of coffee at the moment? Then indulge with a Tofu smoothie, a Matcha Honey Yuzu lemonade or home-made strawberry milk.
From eight in the morning until three PM, you can pair up your beverage with one of their amazing toast selections.
With ten varieties to choose from, you are certain to find a toast that calls your name.
Options range from berries and cream cheese, honey-lemon, cheese curry, chocolate banana and cinnamon-sugar to a hearty ham and egg.
After sampling one of these delights, you won't feel the same way about your neighborhood coffee shop's plain buttered toast ever again.
But then again, that's what Davelle is all about; offering a delicious glimpse into a little-heralded facet of Japanese cuisine.
Location and Hours
102 Suffolk Street
New York, NY 10002
Monday to Friday8 AM to 11 PM
Saturday9 AM to 11 PM
Sunday9 AM to 4 PM
Sakamai - Lower East Side
This trend-setting Japanese restaurant has character and personality to spare from the charming decor to executive chef Takanori Akiyama's spectacular menu.
Sakamai, which means sake rice, was conceived by childhood friends Natalie Graham and Tanner Fahl.
As Hawaii-born Japanese-Americans, Natalie and Tanner wanted to create a welcoming restaurant that blended the warmth of the Hawaiian Islands with the delicious cuisine that they grew up eating.
There's little doubt that these two young restaurant industry movers and shakers have scored big on both counts.
At Sakamai, the party starts as soon as you walk through the door. It's all about enjoying good times with friends or your significant other. After all, the Kanji characters in the restaurant's logo translate to " drink and dance".
Now, aside from the delightful food, you won't really feel as though you are in either Japan or Hawaii, for that matter. But the culinary and emotional sentiments of the Pacific are more than adequately conveyed throughout the premises.
There's no cheesy decor themes to be found here; just classy visual appeal.
The decor draws upon contemporary and turn of the century New York, with beautifully gilded vintage mirrors and antiques set side by side with leather banquettes,candle-lit tables and distressed red-brick walls.
At Sakamai, the menu, like the surroundings, respects tradition but is not bound by it.
The small bites section of the menu brings you a bevy of dishes that you'll want to try includingSaba Jerky ( smoked Mackerel) and Ramen Potato Salad, which consists ofTonkotsu potatoes, pork, soy, a boiled egg, menma and scallions.
Chef Akiyama is justifiably proud of his seafood dishes which never cease to surprise with their artfully designed blend of the unexpected with the familiar.
His" Egg on Egg on Egg "signature creation is made with sea urchin, sturgeon caviar and a perfectly scrambled egg.
The tender grilled octopus is accompanied by frisee' and watermelon radish. It's no wonder that this refreshing dish is a Summertime favorite of Sakamai's regulars.
A delectable plate of steamed mussels is on just about everyone's list of favorite foods. But, when you add sake to the broth, you're kicking the enjoyment level up by tenfold.
For heartier appetites, the Sizzling Plates portion of the menu is sure to satisfy.
The Filet Mignon is butter poached and accompanied by sweet onion soy, Jalapeno sauce and Ponzu.
Other red meat selections include an incredible Wagyu hamburger and an Iberico pork steak that is simply outrageous.
And, get this; you can add succulent bone marrow to any sizzling plate for only nine bucks. So, don't hesitate to ramp up the proceedings.
Nothing goes better with meat or seafood than a nicely-made cocktail.
The bar at Sakamai turns out quite a few tasty elixirs including the Chrysanthemum Sour. This strong but thirst-quenching concoction is made with aged plum liqueur, cognac, honeydew melon, vanilla, lemon juice and an egg white.
Another fantastic choice is the Toki Suntory Whiskey Highball which features imported whiskey, a splash of soda and citrus oil.
Location and Hours
157 Ludlow Street
New York, NY 10002
Monday to Thursday6 PM to 11 PM
Friday and Saturday6 PM to 11:30 PM
Sunday 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM
Benemon - Lower East Side
At the dawn of Japan's modern era, there was a man named Benemon, who, legend has it, shook up the country's social order by refusing to abide by the rules as he marched in step to the beat of a different drummer.
Benemon continued to carry his family sword during a time when many Japanese citizens were adopting Western fashion styles.
This contrary gentleman went on to cause a huge scandal in his rural village when he defied accepted tradition by marrying above his social class.
To this day, the legend of Benemon is celebrated by non-conformists throughout Japan, be they artists, actors, writers, chefs or even the average guy or gal on the street.
At Benemon, the chef and his team pay homage to their fearless namesake by infusing traditional recipes with vibrant and modern twists and turns.
This is old-school Japanese comfort food re-imagined.
The specialty of the house is something called Donburi, which are delicious bowls of rice that come with a myriad of different toppings.
Here at Benemon, the Donburi is served in gorgeous ceramic bowls that have been custom made by pottery maker extraordinaire David Moldover.
Handcrafted with expert care and attention to even the smallest detail, these bowls feature a variety of designs and colors. They are so striking that, no matter how famished you may be, you will pause for a moment or two to admire them, before digging into your meal.
If you have ever traveled to the land of the rising sun and enjoyed a bowl of Donburi at a restaurant in, say, Tokyo, you'll find that the offerings at Benemon compare more than favorably.
This is good stuff! And there are nine scrumptious bowls to choose from.
Satisfy those carnivorous cravings with the Yakiniku Donburi Bowl which is filled to the brim with tender, juicy slices of beef and sauteed onions together with scallions, a pinch of red ginger, a mound of fluffy rice and BBQ sauce.
The Shrimp and Anago Ten Don Bowl feature a nice portion of crispy shrimp, conger eel, kabocha and eggplant tempura in tentsuyu sauce.
There's also a satisfying Vegetable Ten Don Bowl with a harvest of fresh veggies like eggplant, string beans, okra, broccoli, Shiitake mushrooms and carrot tempura. It's all drizzled with their house-made tentsuyu sauce.
Aside from the Donburi bowls, the menu also highlights From the Sea entrees such as a divine Salmon Carpaccio. One of their most popular items, this vibrant dish offers house-cured salmon dressed in ikura, red onions, Dijon mustard, lemon-pepper dressing with just the right amount of citrusy tang and a dashi glaze.
If you're not that hungry but wish to try a small plate or two, then go for the anchovy fried potatoes with garlic and mozzarella or the edamame pepperoncino, with young soybeans, olive oil and chili flakes.
The food here is not only quite approachable, but it's also very affordable.
Make Benemon your new go-to lunch place and skip the lines at the fast food joints.
Treat yourself to a special traditional Japanese lunch set. Most are priced at between $13 and $16 and you get a whole lot of food and quality for your money.
Lunch sets consist of your choice of either a rice bowl or entree-sized curry dish together with miso soup or their signature Japanese-style coleslaw salad plus the dessert of the day.
Benemon is now serving weekend brunch from 12 until 3 PM on BOTH Saturday and Sunday.
Location and Hours
108 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
Monday to Thursday 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM
Friday 5:30 PM to 11 PM
Saturday 12 PM to 11 PM
Sunday 12 PM to 10 PM