Category Archives: Lower East Side/Chinatown

Zazzy’s Pizza

In our exploration of all the great pizza joints here on the lower east side, my wife and I came across Zazzy’s. Their Instagram page had me salivating, so when my wife had a $10 off coupon from one of the food delivery services, we figured it was a good time to try it.

We went with the pepperoni Sicilian pie.

A thing of beauty. The crust was puffy and light, but crisped up nicely on the bottom without being burnt like so many others. The roni cups were thin and lean, with no oozing puddles of spicy grease. They were just right.

I really can’t wait to try more stuff from this place, especially since the menu is expanding. I know all of their ingredients are imported from Naples, with tomatoes coming from the foot of Vesuvius. I’m all in on this joint. And they’re already opening more locations throughout the city.

ZAZZY’S PIZZA
173 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002

Zafi’s Luncheonette

Zafi’s Luncheonette is a small, old school counter-service diner on the lower east side.

They do have some regular seating, but the counter is the best way to enjoy an old school diner like this. If indoor dining resumes in NYC, you’ll be able to pop a squat there with spacing between stools.

I had their burger, which was meh at best, but the vanilla milk shake made it all worth while. That thing was absolutely perfect.

I’ll be back here to work my way through some of their more traditional diner menu items, like a gyro, club sandwich, chopped steak, etc. Hopefully they will all be better than the burger.

Stay tuned…

ZAFI’S LUNCHEONETTE
500 Grand St
New York, NY 10002

Saluggi’s East

One of my all time favorite pizza joints, Saluggi’s, has a second outpost on Grand Street in the lower east side. This spot is larger, with more of a bar/restaurant feel than a traditional pizza shop.’

We had their garlic parmesan wings, and their fried calamari to start.

Delicious but very garlicky, so be warned!

Their pizza is brick oven perfection. I’m partial to the pepperoni, which is sliced thin and super wide diameter National Geographic nipple style.

But their standard “red” pie is awesome too. Great for delivery.

We also really liked their lemon and parm roasted brussels. Great way to pretend you’re eating healthy!

I highly recommend this place, especially now that we are in the time of delivery, as opposed to dining out, due to covid-19.

SALUGGI’S EAST
399 Grand St
New York, NY 10002

Dudley’s

Just a quick note here about Dudley’s, which has a great brunch on weekends. My wife and I tried their Bloody Mary with “chicken salt” rim – delicious. I got mine with mezcal, she got hers with vodka.

They make a great double cheeseburger, reminiscent of Big Mac flavors. I’ll definitely be back for this more often, now that I live close by.

And on the healthier side, poached eggs with smoked salmon and salad. Very nice.

DUDLEY’S
85 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002

Kaikagetsu

I recently experienced a really delicious tasting menu at Kaikagetsu in the lower east side that featured some rare and delicious Hida beef from Japan. Not too many places are serving this stuff. Here’s how it went down:

We started with a small plate of assorted bites, each of which was more delicious than the last. Bluefin tuna marinated in ponzu sauce with chopped yam; minced chicken matsukaze with sesame seeds; cooked yam jelly with spicy soy; Brussels sprouts with salmon roe; and baked chestnuts.

This was paired with a really nice cloudy and bubbly cold sake.

Next up was a sashimi course that had some really awesome bluefin tuna, Kanpachi amberjack and Yagara cornetfish.

This was paired with another really nice sake, seen here:

Our third course was a mushroom, seafood and chicken soup served in a tea pot.

This next course was delicious. Super fresh and creamy uni served atop a tempura fried sheet of nori, with a fried taro potato ball.

Now for the beef, which was paired with a whisky and soda lowball.

First was a hot stone preparation of thinly sliced Hida beef shank, with onions, scallions and mushrooms.

This was great. It came with ponzu sauce, which wasn’t really needed, and a really unique smoked charcoal/ash salt. Killer.

Next up was a trio of beef sushi: one with caviar, one with orange, and one on a nori wrapper that was topped with uni.

Mine were all awesome, but a few other people at my table had some chewy beef. I guess they got some not-so-tender pieces of shank.

Finally, there was an array of individual bite-sized desserts (we each got five) along with some delicious, peppery herbal tea.

What a meal! I would definitely go back, especially because that Hida beef is so special. Give it a shot. They also have a really nice bar with unique spirits.

KAIKAGETSU
162 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002

Green Garden Village

I recently went to Green Garden Village with a group of 12 people for a massive “Friendsgiving” dinner. This was a big meal so I’ll get right down to what we tried.

1) Whole Suckling Pig

This needs to be ordered in advance, so make sure you call ahead. It was delicious. They serve the crispy skin with the meat still attached in about 15 bao buns, and then a platter is filled of the rest of the pork.

I’d say if you just ordered this with a veggie and a noodle or rice dish, you’d be good for 4 or 5 people.

2) Grouper Three Ways

These were all light but really flavorful:

A) We had the fish filleted and steamed with scallions and ginger near the end of dinner.

B) The head and bones were used to make a milky-white fish broth that was served at the beginning of dinner (I didn’t take a photo of it).

C) This plate of grouper and cabbage is what was used in the soup (aside from the fish head and bones), along with tofu and Chinese mustard greens. They just strained it and served it on the side with the soup.

3) Alaskan King Crab Three Ways

These massive crabs are pricey, but they will serve it a few ways for you if you so choose:

A) Steamed w/ Garlic Over Ho Fun:

This was my favorite preparation. The ho fun noodles were awesome, and the garlic was just the right kind.of flavor to really make you appreciate the sweetness of the crab.

B) Fried Crab w/ Salted Duck Yolks:

Not sure why the shells get battered and fried, but I’ve certainly seen this before. The salted duck yolk was nice though.

C) Crab Brain Fried Rice:

This rice was delicious. Anything that isn’t large crab meat gets fried up and mixed into it.

4) Stir-Fried Fresh Eel

I’m not a huge fan of eel but this was nice.

5) House Special Stir Fry (mixed seafood with sugar snap peas)

This dish contained a lot of interesting stuff in it.

6) Mixed Mushrooms w/ Japanese Tofu

Whatever Japanese tofu is, I love it. Crispy outside and creamy custard-like interior. Awesome mix of mushrooms too. Wow. I liked the fucking tofu dish.

7) Peking Pork Chops

I wasn’t crazy about this one. Not the best chops, dogged up breading and the sauce was too sweet.

8) Sauteed Snow Pea Sprouts

Mandatory greens. These could’ve used a bit more pan heat and some more garlic flavor (no photo).

9) Crispy Garlic Chicken (half order)

This was delicious. I also appreciated that it wasn’t hacked into shitty, difficult-to-eat, bone-in bits and pieces, as often happens with Chinese poultry preparations.

10) Rack of Lamb (double order)

These were deliciously spicy, super tender and perfectly cooked inside. I was very happy with these.

Definitely give this place a shot. I think I like this a little place better than Wu’s Wonton King [link].

GREEN GARDEN VILLAGE
216 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013

Scarr’s

This category two pizza joint (individual slices available) on the lower east side has gotten some big hype for being a great spot. I was in the area for dinner, so I had to check it out and grab a slice for dessert.

Most people clamor for the pepperoni slice – probably after seeing ‘roni cups on Instagram – but I’m more of a traditional guy. So traditional, in fact, that I generally prefer the Margherita style slice to the plain slice. This consists of fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil.

This was a great slice. The sauce was bright, sweet yet savory, and nicely seasoned. The cheese was delicious and evenly melted. The basil was fresh (just roasted). The crust was puffy and light, while also being crisp and stiff enough to fold. A winner all around. The only down side was the $4.25 price tag for a single slice.

SCARR’S
22 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002

Wayla

After seeing some pics that my buddy posted on Instagram from this place, I had to give it a try.

My wife and I started with a bunch of appetizers. We tried a trio of meaty Thai dips that came with an assortment of veggies, some pork meatballs wrapped in fried noodles, and a pork jowl salad. Everything was great here, but from those three, if I had to choose, the pork jowls were my favorite. We destroyed all of it though.

Next up was the crab fried rice.

Wow. They dropped about $25 worth of steakhouse quality lump crab meat right on top of this delicious and light-yet-flavorful fried rice. Awesome. This is a must if you are looking for a “starch.”

Then we had the Thai style fried chicken.

I was blown away by this. The flavors, the crispy skin, the juicy-ness.. It was all just working. Get this! It was my favorite dish of the night.

And of course I had to try the strip steak with tamarind sauce.

This came out on a hot skillet and the aroma was nuts.

For $34 this is a steal of a value, and it was tender as hell – cooked perfectly to medium rare. I must admit, I was expecting a shitty experience here. I was dead wrong. Later I learned that this meat is from Strassburger, so it should have been no surprise that it was tender and delicious. 8/10.

For dessert we had a nice fruit plate and a big scoop of coconut pandan ice cream.

Great way to end a great meal. I definitely recommend this place. Go give it a shot!

WAYLA
100 Forsyth St
New York NY 10002

Caffe Napoli

My wife and I tried Caffe Napoli in Little Italy this week. This joint is one of Little Italy’s long standing places that many people go to for their red sauce fix. Here’s what we had:

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Baked Clams Oreganata

I’m a sucker for this dish, and they did a great job with it here. This was my favorite dish of the meal.

Bucatini All’Amatriciana

Veal Parm

Lobster and Shrimp with Lobster & Shrimp Ravioli

This was an impressive dish. Lots of ravioli tucked under there – difficult to see but there was probably more than half dozen.

Caffe Napoli
191 Hester St
New York, NY 10013

19 Cleveland

My wife and I went to 19 Cleveland – a newish Israeli/Tel Aviv joint – for a friend’s birthday. I’m not quite sure of the names of the dishes we had, as so many small plates came out and some aren’t necessarily on the regular menu. Everything was really good so I’m just going to do a pic dump and highlight my favorites with some extra words.

The falafel and starters were all great.

The hummus was awesome. Probably the best I’ve had other than the fave bean and olive -based one at Coco J’Adore.

I really liked this crispy kale, beets and farmers cheese dish. It reminded me of the one I loved at Le Turtle.

Incredible schnitzel. A top dish of 2019 contender for sure. Make sure you get this. It comes with a platter of greens too, to make it into a Milanese of sorts.

I also really loved this lemony and buttery pasta that came with a fried poached egg on top. DELICIOUS!

Roasted cauliflower.

Branzino.

Awesome halva ice cream on this first dessert plate (the stone great color).

That about does it. I’d definitely come back here again and I highly recommend it. Fun spot.

19 CLEVELAND
19 Cleveland Place
New York, NY 10012