ES Local: Six LES Food Stops, Old and New

View LES Food Stops, Old and New in a larger map

You know we usually like to think of ES as a huge, important international operation. Actually, scrap the ‘usually’ — I’ll stand by that. But sometimes we also like to obey the whole “all Internets is local” mantra. So over the next few months we’re going to be teaming up with the folks at new travel website Oyster to bring you some local NYC food content. Twice a week, we’ll be posting mini-guidebook style posts about our favorite New York food stops. You can read the posts both here on ES, and over at the new Oyster Locals blog.

First up, we’re looking at the Lower East Side, a neighborhood that serves as NYC’s ultimate dichotomy. With shiny new hotels and condos rising next door to rundown tenement buildings, it’s the new Manhattan plopped down right on top of the old Manhattan. Actually, it’s a really effing weird place right now. But for food lovers, that means a wondrously schizophrenic smorgasbord. Here are three of the best classic LES food stops still standing, along with three newcomers that are worth the hype.

Old LES: Katz’s Famous Delicatessen. Sure, New York’s oldest deli has become a bit of a tourist trap ever since Meg Ryan had “what she’s having” here, but the circa-1888 salami shop deserves credit for keeping their sandwich prices relatively reasonable, unlike some other brand-name NY delis. 205 East Houston St.

New LES: WD-50. The immigrant Russian family who founded Katz’s would likely roll over in their graves if they saw the passion fruit-filled foie gras and scrambled egg ravioli that mad scientist chef Wylie DuFresne whips up here. But if you’ve got $100 to throw around, NYC’s most playful 10-course tasting menu is a worthy diversion. 50 Clinton St.

Old LES: Guss’ Pickles. Many a displaced New Yorker has returned for a take-home container of dills dished out of the giant orange barrels outside this simple storefront that serves as a reminder of what the Lower East Side was like a century ago. You’ll have to hurry—like many a displaced Manhattanite, Guss’ recently announced they’re soon moving to Brooklyn. 87 Orchard St.

New LES: Doughnut Plant. The Dunkin’ standbys get the avant garde treament at this Houston Street newcomer, with original flavors like crème brulee, Valrhona chocolate, and dulce de leche.  They even invented the square-shaped jelly doughnut, a design that allows for less spillage of the (obviously homemade) jelly filling. 379 Grand St.

Old LES: Congee Village. Don’t look for General Tso’s chicken or egg rolls at this traditional Chinese spot. In addition to 26 varieties of the gloopy rice porridge that gives the restaurant its name, the giant kitchen here churns out far-out Cantonese dishes like  roasted young pigeon, geoduck clam, and sea cucumber and goose web with abalone sauce. We don’t know what they are; we just know they’re delicious. 100 Allen St.

New LES: Dessert Truck. The LES officially nabs the mantle of hippest New York eating ‘hood by stealing this celebrated high-end food truck from the West Side. The $5 treats like rosemary-caramel goat cheese cheesecake will be rolling onto Clinton Street shortly. 6 Clinton St.

Where else do you eat on the LES? Let us know in the comments, and add your faves to our map.

Oyster Locals: Six LES Food Stops, Old and New

LES Hotels on Oyster: The Bowery Hotel, Thompson LES

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  • TVFF November 5, 2009  

    Gotta give some love to Russ and Daughters, too!

  • gansie November 5, 2009  

    before katz gets all this credit…what’s their rye bread like?

  • BS November 5, 2009  

    lol. too small! next time I’m def asking for pastrami on challah, though.

  • BS November 6, 2009  

    lol. too small! next time I’m def asking for pastrami on challah, though.
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  • xem November 6, 2009  

    I am agree with you TVFF

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