Must-See Lower East Side
by Chris Wallace, 02/13/2013
Fat Radish. Photo: Kyle Dean Reinford
Gastropubs and More
Since opening in 2003, chef/co-owner Wylie Dufresne's Michelin-starred wd~50 has been on the vanguard of inventive, ingredient-driven tasting menus and is acknowledged as one of the best restaurants in New York. The former philosophy student and protégé of Jean-Georges Vongerichten has a creative, personal and humorous approach to molecular gastronomy—take the "pho gras," for example. In mid-2012, he reimagined his classic menu, resulting in a sprawling 12-course adventure with a culinary Neal Cassady at the wheel. For those who only ever want to hear Prince play Purple Rain, Dufresne offers "From the Vault," a five-course meal presenting some of the restaurant's greatest hits.
A similar sensibility is at the heart of The Fat Radish. An evening at Ben Towill and Phil Winser's flagship is like a cinematic dinner party where the crowd is always sexy and the menu, a remix of comfort food, is better than any home cooking. Oysters, celery root potpie and a curried monkfish are fan favorites. (The duo's other restaurants—The Leadbelly, just across the street, and Ruschmeyer's in Montauk, the easternmost point on Long Island—are equally stylish.) Around the corner from The Fat Radish, in a stacked-brick caverna at Bacaro, delectable Venetian-style small plates (called "cicchetti" in Italian) are served by candlelight.