The one great thing about Fridays is having the ability to start over. While Sundays may be considered the beginning of the week, we all know that Friday is the official day to forget about your 9-5 and get loco. The only thing is, sometimes it can be hard to leave work behind especially in a fast-paced city like NYC. But this weekend, we say break the rules and explore everything this little island has to offer (because, you know, the weather is finally nice out).
For this month’s editors’ picks, we’re visiting a few old and new places that have been pulling on our heart strings and begging us to visit. From Speedy Romeo’s new LES spot to a cool Mexican restaurant that has amazzinng guac, check out all of picks below for the perfect weekend shenanigans.
Name & Title: Dana DeLaski, Contributing Editor
Restaurant – Speedy Romeo LES: It’s finally happened – I’ve finally become jaded from living in downtown Manhattan. I’ve become used to having anything and everything right outside my doorstep, and anything that’s not I get serious fomo about. Speedy Romeo has always been a restaurant I’ve had fomo about – I’ve heard of it time and time again. People say “it’s a perfect neighborhood Italian spot with delicious brick oven pizzas!” but I was never in Clinton Hill at an appropriate time to have it. But now, like so many other things, it’s open on the Lower East Side, and you can bet I’ll be heading there this weekend.
Bar – The Camlin: So The Camlin might not actually fit the parameters of this article, but I can’t resist. It’s not particularly new (been around for just over a year), and it’s only sort of a bar (it’s a wine bar with food), but for some reason I’ve been completely obsessed with The Camlin lately. I’ve been bugging all my friends to go there with me, but lately everyone’s “busy” so I’ve been stuck drooling over Foursquare reviews…(I can’t believe I just admitted that). I’m just really in the mood for $1 oysters, a beautiful cheese plate, snacks to share, and a nice glass of vino, and it looks like The Camlin is the best place for it.
Name & Title: Gilah Elul, Contributor
Restaurant – Momosan Ramen & Sake: I just returned from a trip to Tokyo and while I’m pretty sure nothing can quite match the experience of slurping tonkotsu in Shibuya (trust), celeb chef Morimoto’s new spot could potentially be the closest stateside equivalent. The Iron Chef’s first ramen-focused joint opens this week and will feature noodles that are extra resistant to becoming “nobiru” – or in ramen terms, soggy. Dishes will range from pork-focused apps to traditional Tokyo style broths. Slurps up!
Bar – Excuse My French: I’m not normally a martini drinker (spicy margaritas tend to almost always be my thing!), but I’ve been hearing curious things about the purple-hued concoctions at this new Lower East Side spot. Started by the duo that launched macaron heaven Ladurée in SoHo, Excuse My French promises legendary cocktails. Quite literally so, as almost each drink on the menu ties back to a particular moment in history. Come for the pretty pours, and find yourself staying for the stories…
Name & Title: Eliane Awada, Social Media and Photo Intern
Restaurant – Pasquale Jones: During the week I usually try to eat a little bit healthy (focus on the word try), but weekends are for carbs, and that’s why Pasquale Jones is where I’ll indulge this weekend. This new restaurant from the Charlie Bird crew is located in Nolita and specializes in thin crust pizzas with amazing topping combos. I couldn’t resist reading the menu and you bet I’ll be ordering the Little Neck Clam pizza.
Bar – Masa y Agave: We’ve all been to Rosa Mexicana at least once, right? Yes, their guac is amazing. Though at their newish Tribeca location, they’ve surprised us with a lower-level cantina with a colony of tequila, mezcal, sotol, raicilla and agave beverages that have me making me want to visit for some time now. Best of all? You have an amazing menu of Mexican snacks to pair with your cocktail or michelada, including their famous guacamole, queso fundido, and a wide variety of tacos. Can’t wait to go there this weekend and get into the fiesta mood.
Name & Title: Vanessa Granda, Head Photographer
Restaurant – Juno: Right off the Central M train stop, amongst the corner delis and bodegas is this hip restaurant by the same owner of Bossa Nova. Yes, ever since laying eyes on it, I’ve eaten there several times over the span of a few weeks but that won’t stop me from making a pit stop there this weekend. Their New York Strip steak is out of this world, served with the tastiest quinoa I’ve ever had.
Bar – Santina: Being a tropical girl in all sense of the word, Santina’s exterior itself has placed it on the top of my ‘places I need to try’ list for quite some time. And as someone who can’t say no to anything banana infused, their Manganelli Punch cocktail is something I can’t seem to get out of my head.
Name & Title: Celine Bossart, Creator of The Staycationers
Restaurant – Mr. Donahue’s: While no-reservations clauses are the bane of my existence, I can’t really deny the cuteness factor at new Nolita hang Mr. Donahue’s. This minuscule nine-seat space is indeed a restaurant for those who can snag a spot at the counter, but word on the street is that they currently focus on takeout and will ultimately be foraying into delivery. Proprietors Ann Redding and Matt Danzer (Uncle Boons) put a kitschy vintage spin on table service with a cloyingly cute interior and crab imperial with saltines on antique china.
Bar – Pouring Ribbons: Okay, so Pouring Ribbons has been around for a bit, but I’m particularly jazzed about the new spring menu that previewed this week. The entire interior has been transformed into a Silk Road-inspired haven to mirror the theme of this season’s offerings, from the “Painted Veil” with Scottish toffee Pu-Erh tea-infused Beefeater gin, Lustau Don Nuno Oloroso sherry, Brovo Simi/Wallace amaro, and Hong Kong Baijiu to the “Way of the Warrior” with Rhum JM 100 proof, pineapple, Banks 5 Island rum, vanilla, matcha, and coconut. The latter may or may not be garnished with a tiny paper crane.
Name & Title: Raven Ishak (that’s me!), Managing Editor
Restaurant – Le Coq Rico: Since I had the pleasure of visiting Paris last month, I figured it might be appropriate to bring a bit of Paris back home with me by checking out Le Coq Rico. While the original restaurant is in Paris, Chef Westermann decided to bring Le Coq Rico (his first U.S. restaurant) into NYC. I plan on enjoying their Poule Au Pot and lots and lots of wine.
Bar – Abajo: If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love a good tequila drink, preferably with a sugar rim because I’m weird like that. Thankfully, Abajo is making all my tequila dreams come true with their cocktail list. So definitely catch me at the bar drinking their delicious hibiscus sour with a side of their fried guacamole.
Name & Title: Cyndi Ramirez, Founder & EIC
Restaurant – Lilia: Where people are raving about, we want to go. That’s just the way our conscious works. Especially when said places are hard to get a reservation. The desire deepens, the need to see if the place lives up to the hype is there… it’s there bad. That’s where I’m at with Lilia. I want to go — I need to go. I’m going this weekend if it’s the last thing I do. Their dishes sound like something straight out of my dreams; grilled clams with spicy breadcrumbs, black bass with salsa verde, and cacio e pepe fritters?! Are you kidding me, Lilia? If you’re reading this, please make room for me this weekend.
Bar – Sophie’s: I haven’t been in much of a cocktail mood lately. My booze orders have been quite boring actually; tequila on the rocks, red wine, and the occasional vodka soda *gasp, don’t tell anyone!*. That’s why this weekend, the only place I’m really thinking of going to is Sophie’s, undoubtedly the best dive bar in NYC, and my local hangout during my East Village days. Here, it’s not about their drinks, it’s not about their decor, it’s about your relationship with alcohol and the person you’re with. Plus, their jukebox packs some solid oldies, and the pool table is available for a friendly game with strangers. Oh how I miss thee, Sophie.