I should mention that almost every day after work, I walk rather aimlessly South from where I work in West Chelsea in an attempt to discover new shops, restaurants, cafe's etc - not to mention my preferred avoidance of rush hour subway traffic. A walk in New York will never disappoint. It's my addiction. That and dance music.
A good 45 minutes to the Southeast of Chelsea, past The Village, Soho, Nolita and the Lower East Side and a good chunk of Chinatown, you'll stumble across my new favorite neighborhood : Southeast Chinatown. To be rather specific, the intersection of Canal and Ludlow is right on the dot. The streets feel deserted, with abandoned factory architecture and cobble stoned streets hidden behind graffiti and wind blown plastic bags - basically, its fucking beautiful. The gentrification process, of course, has begun - but for now the neighborhood remains perfectly balanced and hip.
A few places to check out that are super good:
Les Enfant Terribles
This place is hip, fun, low key and super tasty. Not to mention the fact that the French speaking waitresses are the sweetest ladies in NY.
From NY Mag:
You don’t have to be able to pronounce korhogofefemougou to appreciate succulent steak marinated in Ivory Coast spices—just one of the twists on bargain-bistro classics at this Lower East Side lair with a French-colonial feel. Duet of duck pairs a meaty breast with shredded confit. Muqueca, the Brazilian seafood-coconut-milk stew, is loaded with plump shrimp and served with a steaming bowl of white rice. Tropical-tasting cocktails are well balanced and perfectly refreshing, and an unobtrusive D.J. plays captivating world music at neighbor-friendly decibels.
The interior of this place is beautiful. The first floor level is nice enough, but its the downstairs level that really won me over. You'd never think the basement level of a tenement could offfer such a seductive place to dine, with exposed brick arched ceilings, side rooms with old wood tables, a snazzy bar and all the rest. I have actually never eaten here, although I am taking my sister here tmr night. So I'll let you know about the food. But really, when the space is so sexy, who needs Lasagna.
From NY Mag
In Venice, a bacaro is a workingman’s pub where snacks called cichetti are served in small plates, and wine is served in a commensurately small glass (“ombra” in the local dialect). It is much the same at Bacaro, the Venetian restaurant Peasant chef-owner Frank DeCarlo opened on the eastern fringes of Chinatown. DeCarlo and his wife, Dulcinea Benson, converted a former aquarium into a persuasively antiqued bi-level wine bar and osteria, outfitted with exposed brick, salvaged barn wood, and a warren of romantic nooks and crannies, including a brick-vaulted private dining space located below the sidewalk. DeCarlo’s classic Venetian bar snacks include crostini, fried stuffed olives, and marinated sardines, which he supplements with cured meats, cheeses selected by local legend Lou DiPalo, and pastas like spaghetti with cuttlefish ink. The wine list is Dulcinea’s domain, and focuses on the Veneto and neighboring northern regions.