Tag Archives: lower east side

Bacaro

I’m officially hooked on this place. A while back, my wife and I stopped in for a drink and an app – the fritto misto. We were already sort of full, but that pplate of mixed fried items like calamari, olives, lemon rinds, shrimp, and artichoke really made us want to go back.

Last night we finally did! We tried two more apps, meatballs and fried zucchini blossoms. Both were incredible. In fact, the meatballs are some of the best I’ve had outside of family.

The fried zucchini blossoms are stuffed with velvery smooth ricotta and served with an anchovy pesto oil. I liked swiping them in the meatball sauce though.

The pasta entrees are pretty large servings! Check out this massive bowl of gnocchi with peas and mushrooms.

The cavatelli with duck meat ragu was a massive serving too.

They had to be half a pound each. We couldn’t finish! I’ll definitely be back here to try more pastas, and perhaps one or two of the fish items from their entree menu.

BACARO
136 Division St
New York, NY 10002

Cervos

My wife and I finally tried this spot. It’s been getting very popular lately in the food scene, mainly because of the crispy shrimp heads seen here:

They paired nicely with the house hot sauce.

They’re delicious! But so are the other items they offer, like the mussels escabeche:

The fried skate wing:

And the piri piri chicken with french fries:

Fries were perfect, chicken was juicy! Great cocktails as well.

We’ll definitely be back to try the Manila clams and a few other items that looked tasty.

CERVOS
43 Canal St
New York, NY 10002

Mila’s Fish & Hook

My wife and I popped in here for a quick lunch and to take advantage of the all day dollar oyster special.

The oysters were great. Mild, creamy, fresh and crisp. I only wish they also served them with horseradish and a cocktail sauce. The grilled calamari appetizer was great, served atop a salad of arugula with balsamic and orange supremes.

My wife had fish tacos, which were very nice (no pics), and I had the burger. This was great, though I wish I had gone with cheddar instead of Swiss (they were out of American). That little thing on top, under the pickles, is crispy cheese! That was a nice bonus.

We will definitely be going back here.

MILA’S FISH & HOOK
81 Ludlow St
New York, NY 10002

Casa Mezcal

Casa Mezcal is a fun Mexican bar/restaurant on Orchard Street that serves up some great food and drinks.

My wife and I stopped in here on a whim because a place nearby where we wanted to eat was closed for renovations. It turned out to be a nice unforeseen change of plans.

We noticed that they give free shots of mezcal if you post and tag them on Instagram, so that was a no brainer for me.

Those mezcal shots were deliciously hibiscus flavored and spice-rimmed. I tried one of their sipping mezcal too and really liked it (Del Maguey Wild Jabali).

They also had awesome cocktails on the menu. We tried a couple and loved both.

Speaking of drinks, this place has an awesome bar set up. There is even seating there now, COVID be damned!

We started with the carb meat tostada, which was our favorite item of the meal.

They accidentally brought out an order of chicken quesadillas instead of my burrito. I let them know and they took it off the bill. However, rather than let it go to waste, they told us to keep it anyway. So I gave the value of the item extra in tip at the end to make up for it. That was a really nice move on their part so I wanted to make them whole.

Both were excellent, but the burrito was probably one of the best I’ve had lately. My wife got fish tacos, which I didn’t shoot, but they were the best entree.

Over all this was a really great meal with really great drinks. We will definitely be back here.

CASA MEZCAL
86 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002

El Castillo De Jagua II

A $7 cubano sandwich stuffed to the gills with pernil, a $4 banana shake, a juicy-ass half roast chicken and an ungodly amount of yellow rice? You can’t go wrong at El Castillo de Jagua. This second location, which is right near our new place, offers some amazing food at amazing prices.

The Cuban was probably our favorite. Definitely could benefit from extra pickles and extra ham, but at $7 bucks with perfectly toasted and pressed bread, lots of pernil, and little grease, we were thrilled.

Speaking of, the pernil entree itself was juicy and MASSIVE in terms of serving size.

The roast half chicken comes with exquisitely crispy skin that somehow still remains juicy as well.

The fried pork meat was a blast. It reminded me of Chinese boneless spare ribs, but less sticky sweetness and more of crispy savoriness.

The main dishes come with copious amounts of rice. We picked yellow instead of white. Beans came with the mains as well (not pictured individually, but see the last photo for the serving size to the left of my hand).

The fried plantains had just enough sweetness to make them almost dessert-like.

Speaking of desserts, we were impressed with both the banana and sour sop shakes.

I can NOT wait to explore this menu some more!

EL CASTILLO DE JAGUA
521 Grand St A
New York, NY 10002

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

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

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

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

82 Stanton

This new spot is coming onto the bar food game pretty strong with a great selection of bites.

Here’s what I tried:

First, a nitro espresso martini. First time I ever saw something utilizing nitro coffee in a booze drink. This tasted like a mudslide, only not frozen.

The burger had great flavor. Nice and simple, right to the point. And the fries that came with it were awesome. Very addicting. Check out that CHIZZ drip (cheese jizz).

The fried chicken was really nice and crisp, not overly sauced up. They were well-seasoned too.

I loved the fish tacos. These were perfectly crisp, light and airy. I could put away a dozen.

This fried chicken thigh was really nice too. Juicy as hell.

It went nicely with this mac and cheese skillet.

I’ll definitely be drinking and eating here more often. The place has a great corner location with great wide open windows. You feel like you’re hanging out right in the street.

82 Stanton
82 Stanton St
New York, NY 10002