Address: 368 Clinton St. (Stanton & Rivington St.)
Review: A relative new comer to the LES, we were itching to try out Pig and Khao with all of the great reviews it’s been getting. On our walk over from the 6 train we had high hopes for this meal and we weren’t let down. Once we all arrived and sat at our table with a view of the open kitchen we were informed that there was a tasting menu available for the whole table. Both pairs of our double date went for that option without hesitation. An amuse bouche of tasty/salty sauce and a quail egg, and some beers for the guys and cocktails for the ladies (which could’ve been a bit boozier) was a good start. The rest of the meal was a mix of salty and spicy that delighted the senses. Fried oysters, more quail egg, and some parts of the pig we wouldn’t have normally touched with some one else’s fork turned out to be absolutely fantastic. While everything was delicious, the two highlights of the night were the sizzling sisig – an upscale version of corned beef hash, and the lamb ribs – tender bits of lamp perfectly spiced and fall-off-the-bone-delicious. All in, the food and service were top notch, though the decor and bar left a little something to be desired. It is certainly on the list for off the beaten path spicy eats. While Pig & Khao seems like a strange mix of different elements – almost take-out like decor, a self-service keg in the back garden, yet top notch food that you’d expect from an upscale restaurant, it all somehow works.
Address: 94 Orchard St. (Broome St. & Delancey St.)
Review: Top Hops is a relatively new spot in the LES with an insanely huge selection of beers. You can choose from over 20 rotating beers on tap and 700 bottles from around the world. Thankfully, there’s a friendly, knowledgeable bartender to help you navigate the many great offerings. Whether you are a beer connoisseur or you and your date want to try something new, this is an awesome spot. They have tons of off the run beers you aren’t likely to find in many other bars. They also have some small bar snacks/cheese plates and if you find a beer you absolutely love, they can fill up a growler for you to take home! Definitely a must try for all the beer drinkers out there.
Address: 23 Ave. A (Houston & 2nd St.)
*Location also in the West Village
Review: Yerba Buena is a fantastic restaurant located in both the West Village and the Lower East Side! Great food, great cocktails and nice ambiance. There are so many delicious options on the menu that we had trouble deciding. With their hearty portion sizes it’s a great place to get a few dishes and share – we had the Parrillada for two (5 different meats) – and it was insanely good! The guacamole, croquetes de queijo and tuna ceviche are must tries as well. While not cheap, Yerba Buena is a fun spot that is definitely worth making a trip to.
Address: 85 Orchard St. (Broome & Grand St.)
Review: Sticky Rice is a fun Thai spot on the Lower East Side. The Thai food is pretty authentic and really tasty. The duck spring rolls, bacon belly satay and the pad see hew with pork were delicious. The service is quick but not rushed and the prices are super cheap for how good the food is. The music is a little on the loud side but it’s got a cool, dimly lit atmosphere and can be a fun spot for you and your date or a whole group of friends.
Address: 113 Ludlow St. (Rivington St. & Delancey St.)
Review: We LOVE the Kuma Inn! Nothing beats walking through a sketchy red door into a world of culinary art. Kuma Inn is an off the beaten path Filipino/South East Asian restaurant with a speakeasy type feel, an intimate atmosphere, and a helpful and knowledgeable staff. It’s definitely a great date spot! The food is out of this world and it’s all served tapas style so order multiple dishes for you and your date to split. If you’re having trouble narrowing down the menu, ask the waitress – she’ll tell you the best dishes to order. We got lucky and were able to sneak in without a reservation on a Thursday night before the dinner rush, but the wait is usually long so we recommend making a reservation beforehand. Also note that it is CASH ONLY, though the dishes are reasonably priced so it won’t break the bank. Another plus is that it’s BYOB! So grab your favorite bottle of wine at the liquor store around the corner and some cash and head over to Kuma Inn for a romantic date night out!
Address: 165 Allen St. (Rivington St. & Stanton St.)
Review: Rayuela is a great date spot: trendy, intimate decor, beautifully executed dishes and solid cocktails. We were lucky to get a 4 course tasting menu with the Zagat Table for Two gift card. Everything single dish we tried was fantastic – chicken liver pate, fluke, crab and shrimp wrapped in tuna, beef tenderloin, Chilean sea bass with shrimp paella and calamari with squid ink. The desserts were delicious as well – the Quesada Con Cocos (sweet potato cheese cake) and the Chocolate Cortázar (chocolate with ice cream and macadamia). On top of the outstanding dishes they have numerous specialty cocktails, though we opted for the sangrias (both the blanca and rosada) figuring a Latin American restaurant had to have great sangria – and we were right! If this isn’t enough to convince you to give Rayuela a try – the service is super friendly and helpful as well! We would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for the perfect date night in the Lower East Side.