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Food truck expands to LES storefront

Posted on October 2, 2012 | by Katya Simkhovich

Yassir Z. Raouli had a dream to showcase all he can do with food; a dream that turned into a reality when he started The Bistro Truck in 2009 — when the recession created a market for all sorts of business endeavors. The Bistro Truck was very successful, serving a loyal following of gourmet street-food lovers.

However, Raouli felt his business was outgrowing the constraints of truck-based operation, so he decided to venture into restaurant ownership. Because of this ambition, Rustic L.E.S. found its humble beginnings in the Lower East Side. Located at 124 Ridge St., Rustic L.E.S. is a narrow space with a small bar, five bar stools, and enough tables and seats to accommodate 10 people. The characteristically rustic space, renovated by Raouli himself, exudes cozy, casual ambiance.

Kelly Cook, a freshman in CAS, enjoyed her first experience at Rustic L.E.S.

“I liked the atmosphere,” Cook said. “It was really small…like eating at somebody’s house. And I like how the chefs came out and talked to people. It was really intimate.”

The food is as comforting as the atmosphere. Notable items on the dinner menu include Braised Oxtails simmered in a flavorful sauce, and Gratin pomme de Terre, which is a hot, cheesy mélange of potatoes, chestnuts, walnuts and cheddar.

“All of our dishes are meant to be shared,” The online menu says. “You’ll find this greatly reduces food envy.”

When discussing the menu, the increase in Raouli’s enthusiasm is noticeable.

“We change the menu every week depending on what’s seasonably available.” he said. “We get all our produce from the Essex Market, which is a great market with lots of local and organic produce.”

But, Raouli does not feel the need to advertise where his kitchen finds its ingredients.

“I don’t think organic or local food is something to be capitalized upon,” Raouli said. “I don’t write it on the menu because it should be the default, not the exception.”

Rustic L.E.S. serves brunch, lunch and dinner. Brunch ranges from $3 for muffins and croissants to $15 for a hearty Moroccan breakfast or a dry aged burger. Lunch items range from an affordable $6 for veggies tagine to $12 for crispy chicken salad. Dinner is the most expensive, but also the most promising, with a selection of sides ranging from $5-$8, main dishes ranging from $12-$22 and dessert for $7. Considering the sustainability of the ingredients and how well prepared the dishes are, Rustic L.E.S. provides a reasonably priced dinner that will leave you enormously satisfied without emptying your wallet.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 2 print edition. Katya Simkhovich is a contributing writer. Email her at dining@nyunews.com.

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Tatiana Baez

Assistant Managing Editor | A CAS junior, Tatiana is studying journalism, environmental science and politics. She’s a bomb editor, as well as the staff’s main source of entertainment because she sings along to every song after 12 a.m. She also writes about culture, science, technology and sex, and her work has been featured in VICE, Motherboard, Elite Daily, amNewYork and others. She enjoys eating Thai food, reading fiction and binge-watching Netflix.

And in case you were wondering how great she really is — “I just can’t get enough of Tatiana” is a direct quote from her EIC at WSN only moments ago.

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Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

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Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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