Friends & family: Dimes Square dining
Ernesto's, Corner Bar, May art galleries, mezcal Negronis, more
RESTAURANTS • LOST, FINDING, FOUND
Going deep in the Lower East Side
I don’t make it to Dimes Square, the rebranded micro-neighborhood deep in the Lower East Side, as often as I did when I lived on Rivington St. But there’s a restaurant scene flourishing there, which is why, on a recent midweek evening, I came to be dining at Casino.
The restaurant, which opened in December in a space previously occupied by Mission Chinese, seems to have come out of nowhere to capture some early buzz. The proprietor, Aisa Shelley, has a little downtown empire in the making, adding Casino to a nightlife portfolio that also includes Primo’s in Tribeca and Mr. Fong’s in Chinatown.
Early in the night, Casino had space for us as walk-ins. Seated at a banquette table towards the rear of the dining room, we could marvel at the painted concrete floors, the half-finished look of the room, and the twentysomething couple next to us both ordering espresso martinis. We had real martinis (good), and pappardelle with lamb-garlic sugo (not good). A good place to be drunk or young — ideally both.
Seeking culinary redemption, we walked into Corner Bar a few blocks down at Nine Orchard, subject of recent FOUND interest. I chatted up the bartender. “We don’t get those people,” he said longingly of the Dimes Square natives that populate Casino, while gesturing to his corner table where his customers reclined in tourist-issue t-shirts and shorts (it wasn’t even warm out yet).
Although the food at Corner Bar remains strong — a celery root salad served like pasta is exactly at the level expected from chef Ignacio Mattos (Estela, Lodi, et al) — one can’t help but wonder how long until they acknowledge that they’re really just running a hotel restaurant here and adjust accordingly.
Meantime, the best cooking in the neighborhood continues to be found further up East Broadway at Ernesto’s (above). An early dinner in March at the bar of this Basque-inspired restaurant that opened just before pandemic worked in every way — including the fact that, at 6pm, we were pretty much the only people in the room. Sliced Iberico with potato chips for all my friends. –Lockhart Steele
→ Zero Bond owner Scott Sartiano is on track to open Sartiano’s in the old Mercer Kitchen space in Soho next month, per Page Six. The vibes are sure to be different than those in the longtime JGV space, as evidenced by a neon Sartiano’s sign that’s been hung outside the Mercer Hotel (above). Chef Alfred Portale is consulting on the menu, which is taking the Italian grandmother route a la Carbone.
→ Chef Michael White has left reliable Theater District restaurant Lambs Club after about a year, with chef de cuisine Jack Logue replacing him, per NYT. FOUND hears that White is eyeing a return to the New York City restaurant scene in 2024, after a stop at a forthcoming restaurant at Atlantis in the Bahamas.
→ Mischa, chef Alex Stupak’s eclectic and intriguing newcomer, is now open for lunch Monday through Friday; Resy.
RESTAURANT LINKS: Restaurateur Jon Neidich (Acme, Le Dive) is planning a new French restaurant in the former Da Silvano space on lower 6th Ave. in the Village • Bed Stuy’s much-awarded Dept. of Culture plots a sequel, Radio Kwara, opening later this month • Arturo’s in Maplewood (NJ) is moving across town, adding bar program • In SF, chef Dominique Crenn is guaranteeing reservations as part of a $4k/annual membership program.
GOODS & SERVICES • The Nines
May Manhattan art gallery openings
Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers, David Zwirner (Chelsea, above), new pumpkins, flowers, Infinity Mirror Room
Lee Friedlander: Framed by Joel Coen, Luhring Augustine (Chelsea), photographs curated by the filmmaker
Joan Brown: Facts and Fantasies, Matthew Marks (Chelsea), large-scale autobiographical paintings
Bisa Butler: The World is Yours, Jeffrey Deitch (Soho), celebratory portraits of Black Americans
Richard Mayhew: Natural Order, Venus Over Manhattan (Great Jones), inaugural exhibit in new space
Richard Avedon: Avedon 100, Gagosian (Chelsea), works selected by bold-faced connections
Joe Ray: Inside Out, Bortolami (Tribeca), sculpture, painting, photography, and performance
Carlos Jacanamijoy: La Piel de Latierra / The Skin of the Earth, Harper’s (Chelsea), new oil paintings by the influential Colombian artist
Nigel Cooke, PACE (Chelsea), evocative, atmospheric paintings
WORK • Crypto Report
The global epicenter of web3
There’s a pile-up of narratives in progress at 141 E. Houston St., where crypto firm Solana Labs is taking 25k square feet for an office-slash-coworking-space in the former home of beloved movie theater Sunshine Cinema.
Three of Solana’s four floors will be available to other NYC companies in the Solana ecosystem. Once dubbed an “Ethereum killer” for its potential to facilitate fast and cheap transactions on the blockchain, Solana has had a bumpy last 15 months.
Pols and business boosters came out for the opening party last week to hail the city’s future as the “global epicenter of web3.” The building’s other tenants will include Flyfish Club, Gary Vaynerchuk and chef Josh Capon’s nascent NFT restaurant project, which FOUND hears is tracking to open by the end of this year.
NYC WORK LINKS: Wall Street’s hiring binge turns into bloat • Crypto media company Blockworks raises $12 millon • Artishouse, coworking space for artists, takes 3k SF at 526 Seventh Ave • Will this light show help a bid for a coveted New York casino license? • Warby Parker’s retail strategy is looking good • Business lunches are back.
GOODS & SERVICES • FOUND Object
Six days after this piece arrived — 30 weeks after we ordered it — our 10-year-old daughter’s friend exploded a stress ball filled with a neon gelatin on the chaise. Desperate, they tried to blot it up with bathroom tissue, which shredded on impact. The babysitter, a high school senior, wiped at the purple with a Tide stain stick, further laminating the substance into the fabric.
Months later, after hours of blotting and scrubbing, the stain is gone, reduced to a faint sear only on our retinas. The couch remains, defiant, having taken our best punch. It is an ethereal lounger with a backbone, modular and elegant. We’re adding another piece. –Josh Albertson
GOODS & SERVICES LINKS: A new premium credit card for the Erewhon set • Men’s fashion store Paris Laundry opening storefront in Tribeca • Boulud’s Blue Box cafe, a redesigned breakfast at Tiffany’s, opens Monday • Courtney Love is done with shopping • The duo behind quirky new Nolita clothing retailer Res Ipsa • Inside the opening of downtown dispensary Gotham (more and more).
Alphabet City cube
Q: Where does one find the best mezcal Negroni poured over a big rock ice cube in NYC?
A: While it’s debatable whether a sole ice cube should be one’s preferred preparation for any Negroni, a very good version of the classic gin cocktail with said giant cube is to be had at Torrisi (Nolita), going $20 per. This places the restaurant in the mid-upper tier of the Negroni Index, below Monkey Bar’s $23.75 version but above La Pecora Bianca ($17) and Via Carota ($18).
But as to the single-cube mezcal Negroni:
Per a FOUND correspondent, “Best big rock mezcal Negronis in NYC: Long Island Bar (Cobble Hill, $16). I think there has to be a one in Manhattan that can give it a run for its money but I have yet to find it.”
Per another FOUND correspondent, “I’d say The Cabinet (East Village, $15) — amazing place for mezcal all around.” Indeed it is. A recent field investigation at 9th and Ave. C yielded the above mezcal Negroni, along with a knowledgeable bartender with lots to say on the matter. Bonus confirmation on the white mezcal variant (excellent) and the food (worth ordering).
PROMPTS, two new, one for which we continue to seek intel:
I'm sort of into grand manhattan dining rooms right now (like Oceana). What are some other examples of the form?
What the are the best day spas for sauna / steam / hot / cold pools, but not necessarily massages? Like Aire baths, but other options.
I’m always looking for decent restaurants that don't have an annoying reservation policy or that I can call to get a reservation. Can you help?
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