Friday, Aug 1, 2014 08:22 pm est

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


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

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.


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.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.