It's hard to keep track of all the food related places opening up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Here are just a few of my favorites:
A media favorite and for good reason is Pok Pok a tiny hole in the wall Thai place at 137 Rivington street with James Beard award winning Chef Andy Richer at the stove. Pok Pok has a limited menu that specializes in the most amazing chicken wing variations. Awesome!
Thai Posters hang everywhere giving this place a Bangkok feel it actually reminds me of a place I used to love to go to in Bangkok that was an art student hang out where you could get lunch for 2 bucks. Dinner at Pok Pok is a little more expensive then that, though still very reasonable.
The food has a decided Issan (Northeast Thailand) feel and I found the non chicken wing items were not as strong. I had a pork dish one night with sticky rice and Som Tam that I felt was a little tame and sweet, but now I know the folks here are very game to spice things up "Thai Style" if you ask and you should ask!
Christian Vautier: Le Concept, (the Times took a better one) the inside is bright, simple and airy with a long banquette for sitting and at the back a wonderful selection of home made truffles and confections to eat in our take away. I've sampled three different truffles: Praline, Salted Caramel Kiss and Passion Fruit all exquisite. They are also serving Dallis Brothers coffee.
This part of Broome street between Ludlow and Orchard is so hot it's crazy. If it's not a new gallery, store or food place opening up it's pack with film crews. Just down the street from Le Concept is Home Espresso Bar which is wonderful if simply because it is so,well....homey. In this landscape of super hip and trendy places it's nice to have something local and easy, where you don't have to dress up to go get a quick latte.
Finally the new (but not new) Doughnut Plant has opened and boy is it fancy! They did a great job and even though it was instantly packed it is a great improvement from the original space next store.