Denny Gallery, 261 Broome Street, New York
An art project in the Lower East Side gives good ideas for summer readings: a printout of the full contents of Wikipedia. Bring a large suitcase to the beach: the first 2,214 volumes cover topics from letter “A” to letter “E” with more than 1.5 million pages.
84 Rivington Street, New York
Sweet Buttons Desserts cakes, tarts and cup desserts epitomize the traditional motto of the Lower East Side: “L.E.S. is more”. Despite their size, these miniature desserts deliver in a few bites the same experience of their bigger counterparts: XXX-Large dessert pleasure in X-Small size.
Each dessert combines an outstanding level of detail in the presentation with delicious depth of textures and flavors.
The chocolate mousse is fluffy and rich of cocoa notes; the salted dulce de leche tart offers the sweet-salty contrast at every single bite. The panna cotta and the banana custard are also delicious.
The menu has seasonal variations, offering another excuse to come back to the Lower East Side and to these great dessert spot.
Eldridge Street, New York
At sunset, there are five minutes – or maybe less – when the skyline goes on fire. Forget about Photoshop filters or Instagram effects: these spectacular views do not require any app, software license or registration.
4 Clinton St New York, NY
The recipe for pancakes is relatively simple. As with everything that it is simple to produce, a great deal of art and craftsmanship is needed to make pancakes that truly excel and stand out an overcrowded offering.
The pancakes at the Clinton Street Baking Co. belong to the small and privileged group of ethereal pancakes. The plain pancakes with walnuts and maple syrup are the essential definition of this dish. Every bite is fluffy and almost melts in your mouth, releasing delicate flavors of butter and vanilla.
The pancakes are available also for dinner: a recommended option if you just arrived in New York with a 6 to 12-hour jet lag, or if you simply don’t like standing in the long lines that form in the morning.
And if you really don’t like pancakes, the eggs benedict on a house baked scone will convince you to stop at this great corner of the Lower East Side, where the ingredients are local and no compromises are made on the quality of food.
205 E Houston Street, New York
Katz’s Delicatessen is a piece of history of the Lower East Side. Most of the tourists coming to New York go there because they want to see the place where Meg Ryan simulated an orgasm in the “Harry meets Sally” movie. Truth is that Meg Ryan did not simulate anything: she just had a slightly above average response to Katz’s pastrami sandwich.
It is better to go to Katz’s for a dinner during the week. You can sit at one of the tables on the side, and peacefully enjoy the three signature experiences at Katz’s: the 1960s interiors, the attitude of the waiters and the quality of their pastrami.
The pastrami literally melts in your mouth, delivering an incredible variety of flavors: lean meat, smoked meat, spices, fat. Everything in one bite. The best way to enjoy it is with the pastrami sandwich. Two slices of bread and more than inch of pure culinary tradition of the Lower East side.
The adventurous gourmet, could also go for the meat platter that combines pastrami, reuben and corned beef. The only caveat is explicitly indicated in the menu: “feeds 3 tourists or one regular customer“.
7 Rivington Street, New York, NY
Loreley is a great place where to spend an evening with friends, enjoying food from the German tradition. The menu offers a wide choice of wurst, schnitzel and other typical dishes like spätzle. As you would expect there is a wide choice of draft beers that can satisfy everyone’s preferences.
The classic Wiener schnitzle is a can’t miss: the pork escalope is incredibly tender and the thin layer of bread on its surface shows an attractive golden color. Any excess of oil that would make this dish quite heavy – or heavier than normal, actually – was removed from the breaded surface, further exalting the texture contrast between the layer fried bread and the tender meat in the inside.
Even though the dish comes with fries, the most appropriate side for this Wiener schnitzel is a generous portion of Loreley’s mashed potatoes: they are made with real potatoes and are fluffy like whipped cream.
185 Orchard Street, New York, NY
Every visit to the Lower East Side represents an opportunity to experience something new, and to travel to new places without leaving Manhattan. The recently opened Landbrot Bakery and Bar brings us to Germany.
The decor is lovely, in its minimal and elegant design. The German rigor and attention to details permeate each aspect of the dish, from presentation to texture and flavor.
The shnitzel sandwich does not try to bring any innovation and this will make you happy: the meat is tender, with a crunchy batter on the outside. The green salad is refreshing and the potato salad on the side is simply addictive.
The roll is the perfect companion for a sandwich. It keeps everything together without getting soggy or being too chewy, as it sadly happens with many rolls in New York.
The house beer is the mandatory drink. If you are still hungry or if you’d like to spend more time in Germany, you could try one of the delicious wursts.