The thing I love about the Lower East Side is that no matter, what there are always amazing restaurants that have either been there for years, recently opened that you just stumble upon or learn about through word of mouth. It’s a down and dirty approach because most of these places are not chef driven. Louie & Chan is like a playground: they have a small restaurant upstairs (you look around wondering where the rest of it is), a lounge/clubby situation going on downstairs late night with a DJ and a space next door designated for private events with an adorable long dinner table. Now this is what makes you feel like you are in your own home outside of the city, of course, because who can fit a dining room table like this in NYC? Think $50 per person + a $15 open bar for wine and beer. What a birthday steal! Your friends will bow down.
Louie & Chan is perfect for a first date. Nothing you need to commit to, a menu that’s familiar and a space that’s pretty platonic and also good for drinks. Start with the Charred Octopus. This is the best thing I had all night. I still can’t believe how easy it was to slice it with just the side of a fork. You don’t even need a knife it is so tender. Skip the wood roasted beets with smoked ricotta. Something cray cray is going on with these purple veggies. They are more like dried beets and not what you will be expecting.
I really dig the house-made Gnudi with Roasted Lamb Ragu. Seriously, who doesn’t love a lamb ragu pasta dish? The smoked ricotta added a nice cheesy touch as well. I rarely notice a big difference in temperature, but when you’re working with ragu here, you notice when it’s cold. Make sure they serve this hot, and it’s a winner! The Butter Poached Main Lobster & White Shrimp Spaghetti also sounds incredible.
After all of this, it’s hard to believe that yes, there is an entire section of pizzas, too. They are all made with homemade mozzarella, and I love the thick yet fluffy crust. There are thousands of places to get pizza in New York. You can try and find the best, but all that matters is if that dough is doughy and crunchy at the same time and if the toppings are legit. The Lobster Pizza with Burrata, Green Tomatoes and even flowers is good. It would have been life changing if the lobster were bigger pieces and fresher. That being said, try the Margherita instead or the Roasted Kale Pizza.
You’ve had carbs on carbs, but there is no stopping when it’s dessert time. The Bread Pudding will crush you. Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with Walnut Crunch, Salted Caramel Toffee Crisp Gelato. Dive your head in chocolate lovers. It’s gooey, fudgey, chocolatey, and I’m pretty sure the gelato is from Il Laboratorio del Gelato. Don’t be scared about sharing this treasure with others either. You’ll get enough. It felt like a never ending bowl for three of us.