Monday, April 16, 2012

The DL: A New Lower East Side Restaurant Not to Be Kept on the Down Low

By: Anne M. Raso

There seems to be quite a few hip “modern comfort food’ eateries popping up on the Lower East Side—or rather, they have been popping up for the past three years in abundance but one of my top choices in The DL. It’s definitely not a place you’ll want to keep “on the down low” once you taste executive chef Wesley Wobles’ unique creations, including the world class mac and cheese called “Ludlow Mac.” (In case you are curious, the name actually stands for Delancey and Ludlow, where the eatery is located—but the waiters will say that secondly, it stands for “the down low”!)
The DL Burger

We started out our evening with world-class cosmos and mojitos at about $10 a pop—the bartenders are open to concocting anything your heart desires and unlike other trendy eateries, there are no signature cocktails. My mojito had plenty of fresh peppermint just how I like it and I honestly have not had a better one, even at Cuban-American restaurants around town.
Rice Crispy Crusted Monkfish
They serve everything here as “small plates” or “tapas” but honestly, the portions were generous and some of the heartier ones worked as an entrée for two. The menu is one continuous list as opposed to being divided up into appetizers, entrees, sides and salads. Only the desserts are listed on their own. So my dining partner and I decided to so a random sampling of five items that were as diversified as possible. The affable Wesley and his staff treated us to the Rice Crispy Crusted Monkfish ($15) as an extra special sixth treat and it was a respectable eight ounce portion drenched in lobster broth and served with tender sautéed mixed vegetables.
Ludlow Mac
The primary five dishes sampled were the Truffle And Mushroom Ludlow Mac ($15) which was made with luscious, gooey béchamel cheese and topped with panko; the DL Burger done medium ($12) which features freshly dry aged beef on a potato bun with picked turnips and avocado puree; Merguez Pizza ($14) featuring grilled flatbread, lamb sausage spiced up with cumin, fennel and anise seed and a thick layer of tzatziki sauce; Green Leaf Salad Roll ($11) made of super-fresh locally grown avocado, mango and julienne vegetables; and Grilled Cheese ($12) made with Humboldt County goat cheese and heirloom tomatoes and served on a soft 12 grain roll.
Green Leaf Salad Roll
I honestly thought each dish was prepared in a unique way and not run of the mill comfort food by any stretch of the imagination but the clear winner for me was the Green Leaf Salad Roll because I left the table wondering, “How can something so healthy taste this good?” I would also say that the Ludlow Cheese and the Grilled Cheese should be entered in any local competitions for “best in town.” There is a lot of competition these days on those items now that comfort food is making a big comeback, but both are memorable. If you like oozing, hot cheese that tastes like it was made on a local farm by artisan cheese makers, go to The DL and try both immediately!
Chocolate and Pistachio Cake
The DL only offers a few dessert selections and changes them around every couple of weeks or so. Our server recommended the Chocolate And Pistachio Cake ($10) and the Blueberry And Banana Pudding Tiramisu ($10). Both desserts were truly unique and rich without causing an over-rich “death by chocolate” or “death by tiramisu” effect. The concept of making a blueberry and banana tiramisu really was unique and could easily be voted one of the Lower East Side’s best desserts.
Blueberry and Banana Tiramisu
Bottom line: Chef Wobles really knows how to take something traditional and put a creative twist on it. We have the feeling he has a lot more culinary tricks from where the ones we experienced came from, so hurry on down to the DL. There’s no reason it should be a secret—and two people can eat comfortable for $50 or $60 without cocktails included. The intimate lighting makes it a great date spot, and there is nothing pretentious about this eatery—you will feel right at home and love the attentive service and how fast the food comes out of the kitchen!

The DL
95 Delancey Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-0909

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