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Mekong - Soho

They are all related and owned by the same family, though I don't know if I would classify it as a chain - at least not in temperament or vibe. We Nolita locals are bereft of having lost such a prime spot for hanging out and people watching, and feel rather displaced that the place is gone. We called it the black hole as one could spend hours on the porch in the summer.

While not a culinary temple, a few of the dishes were quite good and very consistent (chicken/papaya salad, fried calamari), though I don't think it would necessarily be considered authentic.

The new location is quite a bit smaller.

Feb 14, 2007
saloniere in Manhattan

Anyone know what happened to Au Coin du Feu?

Closed. Too bad, I forget the owner's name, but he always seemed to have staffing problems. Nice guy, pretty good food, but this was his first experience in the states. He had an original, sister location in France (forget where). I think he was just in over his head here.

Feb 14, 2007
saloniere in Manhattan

La Palapa, Lupe and/or El Parador

No claim on what authentic is here, but I grew up in SoCal on Mexican food - it's always been one of my favorites - though it does seem to be pretty trendy these days.

La Palapa is a favorite, especially for the huevos rancheros. The Chile Relleno has a bit too much egg for my taste, but is excellent. Their flavors are quite rich and their salsa verde is terrific as well.

Lupe is exactly like the food I grew up with in SoCal - they even have refried pinto beans - not easy to find in NY. Flavors here, while still great, are not as rich and deep as La Palapa, Mexican Radio et. al.

And there is a taco truck at 8th Ave and 14th at night which has EXCELLENT and authentic tacos - seconded by an friend who spends most of her working and personal time among and within the Mexican community in LA.

Feb 14, 2007
saloniere in Manhattan

Spicy, affordable ethnic food, late night - NYC

I intended to post about the Indian deli on 10th, but emilia beat me to it.

I discovered it 4 years ago when I used to spend a lot of time at Bungalow 8. A friend turned me on to the veggie samosas. When I noticed that the deli was always busy, and that the food always looked fresh, (I have a general rule about eating at buffets like that), I ventured onto the hot food, and was soon having my late night / early morning snack there 3 times a week or so. In my view, one of the best bangs for the buck in the city.

Feb 13, 2007
saloniere in Manhattan

Saigon Bakery has the #1 Banh Mi

Saigon Bakery is the one in the jewelry store.

I have to be honest, I'm not a banh mi expert by any means, and SB was my first experience with them. I've only ever tried Banh Mi So, and without having anything else to compare it to for authenticity, I found SB superior, but definitely get it made to order. I usually get mine warm and with extra heat, and no coldcut.

Looks like I'll have to make a trip to Brooklyn.....

Feb 12, 2007
saloniere in Manhattan

Best shortribs in Manhattan?

Balthazar does a very respectable rendition as a Saturday special.

Feb 12, 2007
saloniere in Manhattan

Girls night for 8 mid-20 yr olds: Where to eat?

Freeman's is a great suggestion. They are in Freeman Alley - which is off of Rivington, just East of Bowery - not quite Soho.

Cafe Cluny would also be a fun place - food is good, but not great.

Feb 12, 2007
saloniere in Manhattan

Restaurants with Designer Uniforms

Funny, second thread where Chez Es Saada has come up.....

Yes, it's closed, but Badgley Mischka designed the gowns the host staff wore when it first opened.

Feb 12, 2007
saloniere in Manhattan

sushi places for a 1st date...

While not a new place, I think Bond Street fits the bill pretty well, and won't break the bank like Masa or Nobu would.

Feb 12, 2007
saloniere in Manhattan

basement moroccan in the east village?

I can confirm that the place described is / was definitely Chez Es Saada as I worked there right after they first opened 9 years ago. The unmarked door was at 42 1st Street, bet 1/2 Avenues, and was quite fabulous - the space was absolutely gorgeous and charming, and it was quite the scene at the time, though the food and the management was horrible, (except for the harissa mashed potatoes).

It is no longer, but the space has been re-named Ludo. While I have only stopped by once to pick up friends on our way elsewhere, I noted that there has been very little done with the space - it's much the same. It appears to attract young professionals now, and unfortunately, I cannot speak at all to the food/drink.

Feb 12, 2007
saloniere in Manhattan