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A line of five story buildings in bright sunlight with cast iron pillars.
Soho’s cast-iron commercial row along Broadway.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

28 Restaurants That Prove Soho Offers More Than Just Pricey Shopping

A tourist favorite, NYC’s Soho has a number of great restaurants to rival its retailers and art galleries

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Soho’s cast-iron commercial row along Broadway.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Soho has a reputation — perhaps unjustified — of having a rarified collection of expensive-but-mediocre restaurants that cater to shoppers who frequent its boutiques and art galleries. A little digging reveals a lot more restaurants of widely varying prices packed into Soho than many New Yorkers might imagine. Though the borders of the neighborhood are fuzzy, for the purposes of this map it extends between Lafayette Street and Sixth Avenue on the east and west, and Houston and Canal streets on the north and south.

Before it was the art, shopping, and loft-apartment district it is today, the neighborhood was largely industrial and commercial, filled with the cast-iron architecture of the city’s Victorian era. By the 1960s and ’70s, it had become rundown, and the stage was set for artists to move in and establish studios in its distinctive buildings. Galleries and boutiques followed, and finally big-box stores along Broadway, attracting droves of shoppers. Now few artist’s lofts remain, but there are dozens upon dozens of restaurants, many of them excellent, and some surprisingly inexpensive.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Pepe Rosso To Go

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Once related to a long-ago restaurant chain with branches in several neighborhoods, Pepe Rosso is one of the few still standing. It offers bargain appetizers, salads, and a long list of pastas in a corner of the neighborhood that retains much of its Italian charm, with pasta store Raffetto’s and butcher shop Pino’s Prime Meat just steps away. Homemade focaccia and grated parmesan in a tub accompany every order, and beer and wine is available.

A plate of wide noodles with red sauce.
Pappardelle with Italian sausage.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Charlie Bird

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A perennially popular spot, Charlie Bird serves up lighter pastas, like cavatelli with sausage, saffron, and mint. Don’t miss the raw bar selection, which might include razor clams with fennel in addition to oysters and trout belly on a recent evening. Among small plates, the seasonally changing farro is a highlight. Large plates are primarily seafood- and fowl-centric, and the wine selection makes this a hospitality industry hang, accompanied by a hip-hop soundtrack.

Tables and chairs set against a yellow banquette
Charlie Bird’s canary yellow banquettes.
Daniel Krieger/Eater New York

Niche Niche

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Niche Niche is an unstuffy restaurant for wine tasting, hidden away on a side street, where wine experts from around the country curate their favorite wine pairings with prix-fixe menus that change weekly. Downstairs, owner Ariel Arce also oversees a basement retro hangout called Special Club where blues, soul, and jazz musicians perform as people sip champagne, cocktails, sake, and wine. Don’t you dare call it a speakeasy!

At Niche Niche where a bottle of wine is being poured into a glass on a tabletop.
Wine is the main attraction at Niche Niche.
Matt Taylor-Gross/Eater NY

This handsome, low-key restaurant is descended from London’s famed River Cafe, and the menu reflects a mix of Italian and French cuisine — with some Brit sensibilities thrown in. A meal should begin with a plate of panisse (chickpea fritters shaped like french fries) decorated with brittle toasted sage leaves, before progressing to an entree such as pork chop with borlotti beans, Hudson Valley trout with English peas, or hanger steak chargrilled over thyme branches with wax beans, lentils, and basil aioli. The menu changes often and the wine list is one of Soho’s best.

A red lobster split open and heaped with greenery.
Lobster with watercress and beans is one of King’s signature entrees.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Brigadeiro Bakery

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A Brazilian bakery and snack shop founded by Mariana Vieira, Brigadeiro specializes in the eponymous buttery chocolate balls, along with two dozen other globular pastries in the same vein, including lemon, dulce de leche, strawberry, and pecan pie. Pao de queijo (the delicious and bouncy tapioca-flour cheese bread) and other savory snacks are on sale. Brigadeiro also functions as a neighborhood coffee bar.

A bunch of yellowish balls in a cardboard box.
Brazilian pao de queijo from Brigadeiro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja creates flavorful, colorful dishes that meld Tunisian, Moroccan, and Italian influences at this Eastern Mediterranean restaurant. Her brunch menu is a Soho favorite (opt for the shakshuka or the lamb burger), while the dinner menu focuses on dips, mezze, and kebabs. Large groups are accommodated with a fixed-price feast. The space is lovely, with ample windows in both the street-facing room and the greenhouse-like back area.

A white table full of salad, spreads, pita, and skewered meat
A spread of mezze, salads, and skewers at Shuka.
Shuka

The Dutch

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This Andrew Carmellini spot serves vaguely Southern comfort food, filled with wild cards: kimchi fried rice flanking a hanger steak, and black sea bass with crispy rice. Try the excellent fried chicken, served in a stainless-steel wok with honey butter biscuits and coleslaw, available for lunch, brunch, or dinner. There’s also a house burger, and an oyster and raw bar selection served in an oyster room, that’s also on the main menu. The clubby corner space is done up in dark wood, with a handful of comfy round booths.

Fried chicken, slaw, and small biscuits served in a metal bowl.
Fried chicken at the Dutch.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sadelle's

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Bagels, lox, and a schmear get theatrically updated at Major Food Group’s very expensive take on a (very un-kosher) Jewish appetizing joint. Seed-crusted bagels are stacked tall on wooden dowels for the dramatically plated spreads of salmon, sable, sturgeon, and whitefish salad. There’s an entire caviar section, available with scrambled eggs, latkes, lobster benedict, or as a supplement to any dish. Other options include sticky buns or egg scrambles and sandwiches incorporating smoked salmon and salami.

On three separate plates, sliced fish, vegetables, and a bagel with cream cheese served in a separate metal cup.
Sturgeon and other accoutrements with bagels at Sadelle’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Raoul's

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The draw at this longtime French bistro is the burger, even though it’s only available semi-secretly in limited supply at the bar. But now it’s been added to the regular brunch menu, comprised of a peppercorn-crusted brisket blend, seared in butter, topped with creamy Saint-Andre cheese, watercress, onions, and cornichons, and served on a challah bun with duck-fat fries and cream-and-cognac sauce. Beyond the burger, opt for bistro classics like escargot, pate, frisee with lardons and a poached egg, or steak tartare.

Raoul’s burger with oozing cheese
Only a limited amount of burgers are served at Raoul’s.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Omen Azen

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From its founding in 1981, when it was one of a very few restaurants in Soho, Omen Azen became a hang for celebrities and artists. The list included Yoko Ono, Richard Gere, Patti Smith, and Bill T. Jones, who became regulars for the simple and elegant Japanese food. The sashimi platters have become legendary in this walk-up dining room with a jazz soundtrack, but noodles, hot pots, and tempura are also good choices.

A white plate with 10 or so sashimi selections, including tuna, uni, and mackerel.
Sashimi selection at Omen Azen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Vesuvio Bakery

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Founded in 1920, Vesuvio is one of the few remaining examples of the neighborhood Italian bakeries that used to dot Soho, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side. It lay dormant for 11 years, and then returned in 2020 with its appearance intact due to landmark status, but offering a much broader range of baked food than loaves of bread and grissini. Now, muffins, croissants, and sandwiches on good bread are available, a perfect pit stop for a snack or fixings of a picnic.

A woman stands behind a pastry counter as two clerks look on.
Chef and baker Sofia Schlieben presides behind the counter at Vesuvio.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Alidoro

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This tiny sandwich shop dating to 1986 was one of the first in town to offer real Italian panini rendered on quality bread and deploying imported cold cuts and cheeses. The menu is appropriately inscrutable — it’s not the kind of place you wander in and request a roast beef on rye with Russian dressing. Instead, be prepared to study the detailed sandwich list, offering names like Pinocchio, Michelangelo, and Fellini. A favorite is the Fiorello, stacked with mortadella, fresh mozzarella, and eggplant caponata.

A small white storefront with a single table in front, and two people sitting at it.
Alidoro’s storefront on Sullivan Street.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Altro Paradiso

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The Estela team is behind this much larger and airier restaurant that might remind you of a bus depot, where the focus is Italian cuisine. Chef Ignacio Mattos applies his subversive style to a menu that has included riffs on cacio e pepe, a wagyu burger, and beef carpaccio. The space, just west of Soho’s boundaries in Hudson Square, is drenched in sunlight and lined with a low, handsome cognac-hued leather seating.

The bowls with salad, charcuterie, and pasta.
A selection of dishes from Altro Paradiso.
Khushbu Shah/Eater NY

Dominique Ansel Bakery

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Yes, people still line up early in the morning to get a Cronut in one of Soho’s great tribal spectacles, but there are plenty of other great pastries of an unusual sort that customers grab and go. And there are sandwiches, too, made on predictably great bread from a shifting roster that includes a toasted cheese and a dijon chicken salad dotted with pistachios. Croissants with a variety of stuffings also available.

A store with a yellow awning and people sitting at tables in front.
Dominque Ansel Bakery is a Soho classic.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Famous Ben's Pizza

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Since 1977, when this corner of Thompson and Spring was still largely Italian and Portuguese, Ben’s has been slinging pizza, many of them channeling snack shops back in Sicily. The array displayed behind the glass sneeze guard is impressive, but go for any of the thick, square slices, which is what Ben’s does best. The sweet Palermo slice is heaped with olive-oiled bread crumbs and caramelized onions, and is available almost nowhere else in town, reflecting the style of snacking in Sicily’s capital.

A corner of a square pie with crumbs on top and sprigs of flat leaf parsley.
Palermo slice at Famous Ben’s Pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Boqueria

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This Spanish restaurant was one of the earliest to reinvigorate the tapas bar when it opened in Flatiron 15 years ago, offering outstanding selections of charcuterie and cheese with Iberian flair. The Soho branch is perhaps the most comfortable, on a tree-lined street with an angular bar that is the center of activity. Recommended dishes have included grilled squid, steak served with pimentos, mixed seafood paella, and, for dessert, churros dipped in chocolate.

A metal pan of paella.
Paella at Boqueria.
Boqueria

Piccola Cucina Estiatorio

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On a quiet, darkened street in the southwestern section of Soho lies Piccola Cucina Estiatorio, part of a small international chain that specializes in Sicilian food, and seafood in particular, sometimes with a Greek flair. The grilled sardines are spectacular, and there’s a fine seafood misto served with lemon and aioli that makes a shareable appetizer. Don’t miss the miniature rice balls, attributed to restaurateur Philip Guardione’s hometown of Catania. Pastas are another strong point, along with a new wine list favoring Sicilian vintages.

A fish with colorful swatches of raw fish positioned on its sides.
Three kinds of fish crudo as served at Piccola Cucina Estiatorio.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Fanelli’s Cafe

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The quintessential Soho saloon opened in 1847, according to its website, but for part of that first century it was a grocery store. Nevertheless, a visit to Fanelli’s is to step back in time, and no place in Soho evokes the 19th century and the area’s cast-iron era more effectively. The bar food is profuse and predictable, running to burgers, shepherd’s pie, and chili con carne served with grated cheddar and sour cream. Isolated in its own pool of light, Fanelli’s burnished its image as a late-evening destination during the pandemic.

A bowl of red chili with cheese and sour cream.
Chili con carne at Fanelli’s Cafe.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ba'al Cafe & Falafel

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This sleeper in the southwest corner of Soho, now a decade old and named after a Caananite god who may have been the forerunner of Beelzebub, specializes in falafel that’s freshly fried. But it also offers all sorts of other chicken and vegetable sandwiches and pita pizzas. For this rather expensive neighborhood, the prices are a steal, but there’s not much seating, so head to one of the nearby parks along Sixth Avenue.

A narrow storefront with a dark red awning advertising falafel and a partially bald person going in.
Ba’al Cafe’s storefront on Sullivan Street.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen

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A refuge of Los Angeles expats, Lupe’s offers the typical menu of that city’s Mexican-American cuisine in a brightly colored setting full of chrome and Formica. The burritos are an obvious choice, but the bill of fare also presents options such as potato-filled taquitos and steaming bowls of chile colorado and chile verde. Strong cocktails are available, too, at this place that never ceases to be hip.

three rolled tacos filled with potato with rice and beans on the side
Potato taquitos at Lupe’s East L.A. Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Pi Bakerie

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This branch of the mighty Artopolis — Astoria’s best Greek bakery, which closed during the pandemic but reportedly is on the verge of reopening — persists in a sunny Broome Street location with tables in front that are a great place to grab an espresso and a hand pie like spanakopita or galaktoboureko. Step inside the antique-filled interior and inspect the collection of cookies, pastries, casseroles, and salads, then assemble a choice selection for one of Soho’s most pleasing and relaxed lunches.

A brightly lit casserole brown on top in a round vessel.
Moussaka at Pi Bakerie.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Balthazar

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This 25-year-old Keith McNally spot is an NYC institution that reimagined what a French brasserie could look, feel, and taste like stateside. Largely influential on the city’s dining landscape throughout its life, Balthazar serves up a great meal at all hours (8 a.m. till midnight most days) in a lively space lined with massive distressed mirrors, dark woods, and red banquettes. From breakfasts that may include eggs benedict or croissants baked next door, to dinners featuring seafood plateaux or steak frites, Balthazar is a New York restaurant icon.

Slab of pate, cornichons, baby lettuces, and stewed prune.
Country pate at Balthazar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Flipper's

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The specialty of this Japanese import are thick spongy soufflé pancakes, served with fresh fruit. While its specialty isn’t good for eating everyday, there are many other all-day breakfast and brunch options, making this an interesting pit stop until late afternoon. These include sandwiches served with good fries, boba teas, entree salads, and fried chicken with waffles. The upstairs dining room provides good views of this bustling Soho corner.

Three thick pancakes covered with powdered sugar and assorted fruit.
Souffle pancakes at Flipper’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Soho Diner

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Located in the Soho Grand Hotel, this isn’t a real diner despite its name. Rather, it’s a fanciful recreation of a diner with today’s eclectic food tastes incorporated at somewhat hiked-up prices. Breakfasts excel with huevos rancheros and buttermilk pancakes, while lunch and dinner selections include a chicken pot pie, and a Buffalo-style beef on weck sandwich on a caraway-seeded roll slathered with horseradish sauce that few places in town attempt, unusual enough to merit a visit on its own.

A pie in a pot with a big puffy pastry on top.
Chicken pot pie at Soho Diner.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

BoCaphe

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The neighborhood is full of coffee bars and French bistros, but why not go for a coffee at this Vietnamese cafe, and look at it drip like a slowly leaking faucet while people-watching on Lafayette Street? The menu is top-notch, too, including some very engaging breakfast and luncheon fare, running to a breakfast banh mi, eggs benedict with a steamed bao instead of english muffin, avocado toast, and a fundamental crisp baguette with good butter

A clear glass mug with coffee dripping into it from a metal contraption on top.
Vietnamese coffee at BoCaphe.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Antique Garage

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The decor may make it seem like a touristy theme restaurant, with its massive hanging chandelier and walls full of bric-a-brac, but Antique Garage is a Turkish restaurant under deep cover, with an intriguing selection of grilled meats in large portions, including a fine ground-lamb beyti kebab wrapped in pita and drenched with tomato and yogurt sauces. Vegetarians will have plenty of options here, with dishes like a spring roll of grilled zucchini filled with feta.

Rolls of summer squash stuffed with yellow bell pepper and white cubes of cheese, topped with fresh dill.
Zucchini spring roll at Antique Garage.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Landmark Coffee Shop & Pancake House

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Finally, a place for belt-busting breakfasts and decent burgers served with average french fries. The burgers are fine, but the breakfasts are much better than fine, with tasty pancakes not too thick or thin, eggs cooked perfectly to order, and well-buttered toast. Diners walk away sated for not much money. FC 7/14

Stack of pancakes, two fried eggs, three sausages, and buttered toast on a bright blue counter.
One of Landmark’s giant breakfasts.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Le Coucou

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This unabashedly luxurious French spot, in a massive, chandelier-filled space within the posh 11 Howard Hotel, serves all sorts of old-school French classics in digs that feel decidedly sexy, not stuffy. Restaurateur Stephen Starr and chef Daniel Rose, the latter of whom came from Paris’ acclaimed Spring, serve up starters that include whole lobsters, foie gras terrine, and beef tartare topped with caviar, followed by entrees such as sole Veronique and an entire rabbit. Don’t skip dessert.

A spread of dishes on plates and metal trays at Le Coucou.
A spread of classic French dishes at Le Coucou.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Pepe Rosso To Go

Once related to a long-ago restaurant chain with branches in several neighborhoods, Pepe Rosso is one of the few still standing. It offers bargain appetizers, salads, and a long list of pastas in a corner of the neighborhood that retains much of its Italian charm, with pasta store Raffetto’s and butcher shop Pino’s Prime Meat just steps away. Homemade focaccia and grated parmesan in a tub accompany every order, and beer and wine is available.

A plate of wide noodles with red sauce.
Pappardelle with Italian sausage.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Charlie Bird

A perennially popular spot, Charlie Bird serves up lighter pastas, like cavatelli with sausage, saffron, and mint. Don’t miss the raw bar selection, which might include razor clams with fennel in addition to oysters and trout belly on a recent evening. Among small plates, the seasonally changing farro is a highlight. Large plates are primarily seafood- and fowl-centric, and the wine selection makes this a hospitality industry hang, accompanied by a hip-hop soundtrack.

Tables and chairs set against a yellow banquette
Charlie Bird’s canary yellow banquettes.
Daniel Krieger/Eater New York

Niche Niche

Niche Niche is an unstuffy restaurant for wine tasting, hidden away on a side street, where wine experts from around the country curate their favorite wine pairings with prix-fixe menus that change weekly. Downstairs, owner Ariel Arce also oversees a basement retro hangout called Special Club where blues, soul, and jazz musicians perform as people sip champagne, cocktails, sake, and wine. Don’t you dare call it a speakeasy!

At Niche Niche where a bottle of wine is being poured into a glass on a tabletop.
Wine is the main attraction at Niche Niche.
Matt Taylor-Gross/Eater NY

King

This handsome, low-key restaurant is descended from London’s famed River Cafe, and the menu reflects a mix of Italian and French cuisine — with some Brit sensibilities thrown in. A meal should begin with a plate of panisse (chickpea fritters shaped like french fries) decorated with brittle toasted sage leaves, before progressing to an entree such as pork chop with borlotti beans, Hudson Valley trout with English peas, or hanger steak chargrilled over thyme branches with wax beans, lentils, and basil aioli. The menu changes often and the wine list is one of Soho’s best.

A red lobster split open and heaped with greenery.
Lobster with watercress and beans is one of King’s signature entrees.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Brigadeiro Bakery

A Brazilian bakery and snack shop founded by Mariana Vieira, Brigadeiro specializes in the eponymous buttery chocolate balls, along with two dozen other globular pastries in the same vein, including lemon, dulce de leche, strawberry, and pecan pie. Pao de queijo (the delicious and bouncy tapioca-flour cheese bread) and other savory snacks are on sale. Brigadeiro also functions as a neighborhood coffee bar.

A bunch of yellowish balls in a cardboard box.
Brazilian pao de queijo from Brigadeiro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Shuka

Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja creates flavorful, colorful dishes that meld Tunisian, Moroccan, and Italian influences at this Eastern Mediterranean restaurant. Her brunch menu is a Soho favorite (opt for the shakshuka or the lamb burger), while the dinner menu focuses on dips, mezze, and kebabs. Large groups are accommodated with a fixed-price feast. The space is lovely, with ample windows in both the street-facing room and the greenhouse-like back area.

A white table full of salad, spreads, pita, and skewered meat
A spread of mezze, salads, and skewers at Shuka.
Shuka

The Dutch

This Andrew Carmellini spot serves vaguely Southern comfort food, filled with wild cards: kimchi fried rice flanking a hanger steak, and black sea bass with crispy rice. Try the excellent fried chicken, served in a stainless-steel wok with honey butter biscuits and coleslaw, available for lunch, brunch, or dinner. There’s also a house burger, and an oyster and raw bar selection served in an oyster room, that’s also on the main menu. The clubby corner space is done up in dark wood, with a handful of comfy round booths.

Fried chicken, slaw, and small biscuits served in a metal bowl.
Fried chicken at the Dutch.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sadelle's

Bagels, lox, and a schmear get theatrically updated at Major Food Group’s very expensive take on a (very un-kosher) Jewish appetizing joint. Seed-crusted bagels are stacked tall on wooden dowels for the dramatically plated spreads of salmon, sable, sturgeon, and whitefish salad. There’s an entire caviar section, available with scrambled eggs, latkes, lobster benedict, or as a supplement to any dish. Other options include sticky buns or egg scrambles and sandwiches incorporating smoked salmon and salami.

On three separate plates, sliced fish, vegetables, and a bagel with cream cheese served in a separate metal cup.
Sturgeon and other accoutrements with bagels at Sadelle’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Raoul's