New In the Neighborhood

Living in New York City where you have a choice of thousands of restaurants is an amazing thing, one of the things that makes living here so exciting.  Often though, what you really want is a comfortable place with good food that is within a few blocks of where you live.  Neil and I live on what I like to refer to as the Lower, Lower East Side, which is to say the southern most tip of the Lower East Side which starts at East Houston Street and ends somewhere around East Broadway.

My favorite local place to hang, eat and drink these days is Barrio Chino, at 253 Broome, it is however a real scene and can be very challenging to get a seat in.  So I am always happy to see new places open up that look inviting or when favorite places that were small and hard to get into expand, like Cafe Katja, a wonderful, fun Austria/German schnitzel place at 79 Orchard Street which is currently doubling it’s size.  The renovations, for what I can see look great .

Over at 138 Division Street the folks from Souvlaki GR have opened up Forgetmenot a cute little cafe/bar serving comfort food, in a very relaxed bohemian space.  I find it to be a very appealing cafe, but in this heat I think it would be much more appealing with the doors closed and  the air conditioning blasting.  So I think I’ll wait until the fall to try this one out.

Lastly in the space that used to house Little Giant is the trendy Dudley’s.  Australian Nick Mathers (owner of Ruby’s) has done a great job renovating the place and upgrading the kitchen, which in its former incarnation cooked everything on an induction stove top.

I was very excited to try Dudley’s and decided to go for lunch last week.


After spending so much money on installing a proper kitchen and buying grass-fed beef for their burgers I was really kind of shocked to see what they were serving and calling a Cheese Burger.  First off I ordered it medium rare, it came well done, probably because the burger is so thin it’s hard to calibrate the cooking of it (but then why ask?) and it wasn’t covered in some wonderful local cheddar or a slather of gorgonzola, no it was covered in an American single on a corpse cold white bun with no condiments.

It was $10.  $3 extra for fries and $5 extra for this very salty side salad with chives and scallions, a few lettuce leaves topped with cucumber and some sprouts – it’s a nice presentation, too bad about the salt.  Which I would have preferred on my burger, but like mustard or ketchup salt and pepper all had to be asked for.  And when the mustard came it was the radioactive yellow kind, not Dijon.

In total this burger cost 16 and change plus tip.  They comped me my Americano as I made it clear how unhappy I was (and for those who care, they also don’t have half and half for their coffee, another pet peeve of mine – how hard can it be to have some half and half on hand for those of us who like it in our coffee?).

At 16 bucks I’d say two things.  If you want a good burger go to Back 40 or Diner and get one the price is about the same and you will actually get a  good burger to justify it.  Secondly, American singles are NOT CHEESE.  Here see look at the label:

It’s a “cheese product”  which is fine, if that is what you say on your menu: Burger with Cheese Product.  Some people love that shit, I don’t and I don’t order a ten buck burger that calls itself a cheese burger and expect it to me be covered with something that isn’t cheese.

Needless to say I won’t be going back, but that hardly makes a difference as I think most people are coming here for the nice atmosphere and the drinks, and hell maybe after 4 drinks I would have felt more kindly towards that waste of grass-fed beef?



About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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2 Responses to New In the Neighborhood

  1. Chris & Skip says:

    I can overlook the white bun, squishy and anonymous is good if the meat is amazing and I can dig Cheese Product on a diner burger where it belongs, but if I were king I would SHUT THEM DOWN for using an anemic, hot-house, hybrid tomato in the middle of summer tomato season. Total no-clue A-holes.

  2. Pingback: Perfect for the Holidays: Lemon Ripple Cheesecake bars and Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake | Urbanfoodguy

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