Schiller's Liquor Bar
For a few years now, Schiller's has been my go-to spot on the LES for a certain sort of sit-down meal: reasonably-priced, reliably good bistro/continental dishes in an attractive, casual, lively—though never too loud—atmosphere. I've eaten their with kids, with no kids, with the woman I love, with out-of-town visitors, by myself, for an early dinner, a late dinner, for lunch, for dessert-only in the middle of the afternoon, and have never been anything but totally satisfied with the food, the friendly service, the whole experience.
Anyway, I was reminded of all this last Saturday night, when I found myself alone and ravenous on Rivington, and so popped into Schiller's to see if they could help me out. It was around 10:00, and the place was jumping, but I managed to score myself a nice table by the open windows. In the past I've enjoyed the Burgers and the Cuban Sandwich, the Calamari and the Nachos, the Cheesesteak Sandwich and the Steak Frites, a terrific Lamb Chop special, and various pastas and salads. Tonight, though, I started with something different: the exceptionally rich and beyond-expectation delicious Goat Cheese "Petatou", which was a warm mound of potato salad and olive tapenade covered in melted goat cheese, nicely complemented by a vinegary bunch of mesculin. This is my new must-get.
For my main I went the macaroni route, and the always-good Rigatoni with Sausage, Cream and Tomato, the admittedly somewhat-bland sauce more than offset by the generous chunks of spicy meat and the chewy pasta. For dessert... well, for me, there's really only one option: the Sticky Toffee Pudding, which Schiller's makes better than anyone in town (I've had better in London, but so far that's it). The combination of cold and warm and cakey and gooey and creamy and sweet is totally irresistable. Better to split this with at least one other person, perhaps (my heart was literally pounding after wolfing it solo), but please don't leave without trying it.
Schiller's Liquor Bar is located on the corner of Rivington and Norfolk Streets, and serves lunch, brunch, dinner until midnight and late supper until 3:00 AM on weekends. It's owned by Keith McNally, who also runs Balthazar, Pastis and Morandi. If you're like us, you'll admire the floor-to-ceiling white tiles and silvered-out mirrors and unlikely pillars and you'll try to guess what the space "once was," and then you'll ask your server, who will tell you. And don't forget to check out the bathrooms.