The 10 Best Restaurants on the Lower East Side
Gentrification has been pretty thorough in the traditional immigrant stronghold of the Lower East Side, and for proof, you need only to look at the restaurants--trendy spots usurp long-held leases here all the time. But despite all the turnover that's happened in the last decade or so, several old joints have still hung on, making this an area with diverse culinary options. Herewith, the ten best restaurants on the Lower East Side, which run the gamut from a cheap Chinese canteen to a brand new locavore spot.
The pastrami sandwich at Katz's Deli, one of the best restaurants on the LES
10. Lan Zhou, 144 East Broadway, 212-566-6933
Located right on the Chinatown border, we're claiming this one for the LES. Ignore the grime that covers the tables and floors at this bare-bones joint and instead focus on the man thwapping dough into submissive noodles at the back of the space. Those noodles make magic in beef noodle soup when they swim in a broth dense with savory garlic-tinged flavor. We supplement that dish with a platter of dumplings, the pungent pork meatballs encased in thin, slippery skins.
9. Katz's Deli, 205 East Houston Street, 212-254-2246
The lines still form for this neighborhood institution, and they're not just filled with tourists. That's because there just aren't many places in the city where you can get your pastrami fix the way you can here, pink, pepper-encrusted and piled high on rye. The turkey with chicken liver pate is a sleeper hit, by the way, and the chicken soup will cure what ails you come winter time.
8. Shopsin's, 120 Essex Street, 212-924-5160
Shopsin's has mellowed significantly from the days when the fiery owner would throw out diners who didn't play by his rules, but the Essex Street Market location is still an experience unlike many others in NYC. After waiting in line for a table (parties of four or less only), you might be tempted to point blindly at the massive menu, a small-print list of re-imagined diner fare, to order. That'll work out great, actually--but we'd also recommend a stack of pancakes or the breakfast nachos, which can be dialed up to a heat level so intense you'll want to rip your tongue out.