I’ve been doing a lot of eating and not so much of the writing but my break from chit. chaat. chew is now over!
An east side girl for almost 9 months now, I have obviously fallen in love with two of the quirkiest neighborhoods near by — the east village and the lower east side. Here is a collection of some of my current favorites and what to order at each.
40 Ave. B (Between 3rd and 4th Street)
Whenever you go to a Mexican restaurant it is important that you check out the margarita menu. I went with the house specialty, their signature Hisbiscus Margarita. It is available frozen or on the rocks. My preference is always to go the frozen route so it was a no brainer. It comes with silver tequila, hibiscus, orange liquor & lime juice with our own hibiscus rim. This is one the most refreshing margaritas I’ve had. It was strong (when is a margarita not strong?), but the orange and lime flavors was the right amount of citrus with the hibiscus. The hibiscus rim was a nice touch, I preferred it over any salt or sugar.
We decided to order appetizers for dinner in an effort to make a tapas style dinner. The Fish Salpicon was extremely refreshing with chopped white fish, lime juice, onions,chiles, and cilantro. It was served with hand pressed corn tortillas. I ordered the dish thinking it would be similar to ceviche but that was not the case. I was still happy with the lightly pan fried fish as it was not overcooked and the additional lime I squeezed on top bumped up the freshness factor. My favorite dish of the evening was the Duck Zarape, braised duck filled soft corn tortillas with roasted tomato-habanero cream sauce. This is a must when you come to Fonda. That tomato-habanero sace left me considering licking the plate clean. (I know, the image of me doing this doesn’t leave me looking attractive…but it was that good). My dinner buddy was hesitant about trying duck but its more mild flavor (tasted more like chicken) left them addicted just like me.
Special Tip: Make sure you check into the place on Yelp. You can score free dessert. I don’t think there is dulce de leche anywhere that isn’t the most delicious thing in the world when it’s free. This scrumptious slice was devoured in under a minute.
98 Rivington Street (Between Ludlow and Orchad Street)
This is the place for simple yet elegant Italian food in LES. I recommend what 99% (this is a made-up statistic but basically most people) of visitors rave about — the truffled egg toast and the eggplant lasagna. We got the truffled egg toast with the bottarga on the side, which is cured fish roe. The brioche matched perfectly with the richness of the egg and cheese. The dusting on top of the toast provide a note of saltiness. The toast was decadent in many ways and the truffle aroma took over each of our palettes. Another favorite was the lasagnette di melanzane also known as the eggplant lasagna. The restaurant used layers of eggplant between each layer of cheese and sauce instead of the traditional noodle. Because the noodles were cooked down and then baked, the dish was bit on the messier side but the depth of eggplant flavor made up for this.
122 E. 7th Street (Between 1st Ave. and 2nd Ave.)
If you are a seafood lover, you have to check out this small winebar and cevicheria in the east village. When you walk into the restaurant you will notice very limited seating. Guests are seated on a long bar. The chef does it all — takes your order, serves you wine, makes excellent recommendations, and cooks your meal all behind that bar. With the advice of two patrons seated next to us, we ordered the specials of the day. Clams with chorizo, onions, and cilantro and the fried blowfish with lemon. Whatever you do, always go with the specials at this place. They like to do something new all the time based on what is the freshest seafood available. They also hook you up with complimentary truffle popcorn…not too shabby! I also highly recommend the king salmon ceviche. The chef presents the dish and then brûléed two sweet potatoes on both sides of the salmon. The salmon came with red onion, oranges, and herbs so jam packed with complimentary flavors and the presentation adds just the right amount WOW factor.
What is your favorite restaurant to indulge in on the east side? Have you visited any of the restaurant reviews listed in today’s post? If so, please share your thoughts!