Category Archives: East Village

Apiary

Chef Scott Bryan worked in the New York kitchens of Gotham Bar and Grill, Bouley, Le Bernardin and Lespinasse, and was the executive chef and co-owner at Veritas for years.  As one would guess, he is extremely assured and yet he is completely unpretentious.  He believes in clean, pronounced flavors that stand alone, and says that there should be no more than two good ideas on a plate at a time.  When asked about the restaurant business, the chef will tell you he was hooked from the get-go.  He finds in cooking an exciting mix of creativity, improvisation and adaptation where one receives instant feedback, or gratification, for the hard work.  When going out to eat, Chef Bryan likes to frequent places like Sushi Yasuda, Shorty’s .32 in Soho, or his old haunt Le Bernardin.  When eating at home, he prefers to keep it simple and might make some pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe.  60 3rd Avenue www.apiarynyc.com

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6th Street Kitchen

You may remember chef Gregory Torrech from our our first meeting at Brown cafe (over the body of a suckling pig).  As of a month ago, he is the chef at 6th Street Kitchen where he has brought his progressive American cuisine using seasonal ingredients.  He and his crew of four work in an open kitchen overlooking the dining room.  The best seat in the house, in our humble opinion, is at a small counter which faces the kitchen where one can see the action first-hand.  The BBQ Lamb Ribs with cole slaw is the most popular dish.  Once home after a long day at work, chef Torrech will often eat cereal topped with granola.  We’ve been told the brunch menu may soon reflect this comfort food by including a home-made granola.  Some day, Torrech intends to dine at chef Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago.

The owner of this restaurant, chef Chris Genoversa has been in the business his entire life.  Asked to elaborate upon his tagline for the restaurant “simple food for complicated people”, he says that he prefers “to serve his favorite foods based on season and availability of product”.  He wants “to strive for a loyalty to technique and the integrity of our ingredients”.  The evening we met , Genoversa could be seen opening bottles of wine, greeting newcomers and helping to serve the guests.  507 East 6th Street  www.6thstreetkitchen.com

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Satsko

Seven years ago, Satsko Watanabe left a career as a computer consultant to open this sake bar and restaurant.  Having no background in the food industry, she drew from her experience as a someone who loves to cook and entertain.  She incorporates the traditional cuisine of her native Japan with ingredients such as brown rice, olive oil, avocado and cilantro and attributes her Westernized style to the fact that she has lived in New York a long time.  Satsko is a neighborhood bar and restaurant with a local and friendly crowd.  Two marriages,  three engagements and counting – in the words of Satsko “people meet people here”.   There is a crew of two working each night:  one in the tiny kitchen and one behind the equally small bar.  They are open for dinner nightly, whereas the latest and second Lower East Side location will be serving brunch as of this coming weekend!  207 East 7th Street www.satsko.com and 245 Eldridge Street

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Rai Rai Ken

This restaurant has a narrow kitchen, serving ramen and gyoza to a clientelle seated along an equally narrow bar.   Three or four people work in the kitchen at one time taking turns cooking, serving and cleaning.  English, Spanish and Japanese are spoken.  Tacked to the kitchen ceiling in phonetic chinese characters  is a list of  Spanish words.  One of their most popular dishes is the Shoyu Ramen, a typical Tokyo ramen.  The owner, Mr. Yagi, who is from Japan and a longtime New Yorker, owns a total of 11 Asian restaurants, nine of which are within blocks of each other in the East Village.  Decibel, which was recently featured on this blog, is another of his very successful establishments.  214 East Tenth Street

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Decibel

This 17-year-old East Village subterranean sake bar is dark and mysterious.  It is easy to miss the small sign, and yet weeknights often finds the place packed.  One has to go down a small flight of stairs and wait at a dusty velvet rope to be seated at a table down a narrow hall.  Or, one can take a seat at the first of two bars, and watch the food being made.  With the help of a two-burner gas range, one electic burner and two microwaves, the sole bartender working the small bar concocts the various Japanese Isakaya-style small plates of food.  They carry about 80 different kinds of sake, and English, Japanese and Korean are spoken by the staff of 13.  240 East 9th Street  www.sakebardecibel.com


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Minca

While touring throughout Japan as a jazz drummer, the owner of this ramen noodle shop,  Shigeto Kamada, visited some of the country’s most famous ramen noodle shops.  When he settled in New York, he vowed to bring his knowledge and love of authentic ramen to the city.  Tuesday evenings, Shigeto can be found performing with a jazz piano trio at his second noodle house, Kambi.  536 East 5th Street www.newyorkramen.com

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Zum Schneider

For the last ten years, Sylvester Schneider’s authentic Bavarian haunt has been a popular destination for those who love traditional German food, a festive atmosphere, and of course beer.  The kitchen is not large, and will have four or five people working in it each night, but its well-organized set up makes for an efficient operation.  107 Avenue C

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