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Hot Pockets! Empanadas Bar Opens On Ninth Street

empanada barSarah Darville
empanada bar 2Sarah Darville

Iconic Hand Rolls isn’t the only takeout joint that’s new to the neighborhood: an empanadas spot will host its grand opening tonight, days after quietly soft-opening on East Ninth Street.

Empanadas Bar makes a bold claim on its menu, as you can see below: “We only use organic or local farmer market products.”

“The idea was that New York doesn’t have good empanadas,” said owner Juan Tourn. “Here, everything’s fresh.”

He and another cook, Efrain Sosa, left Novecento, an Argentinian restaurant in SoHo, after Mr. Tourn spent a year dreaming of opening his own small place. Deciding what to serve at Empanada Bar was easy, he said, since he’d been making empanadas for decades, first in Argentina (where he got his dough recipe) and then in Spain.

Will this newcomer fill the void that Ruben’s Empanadas left when it closed on First Avenue? Find out for yourself: tonight’s grand opening starts at 6 p.m. Read more…

First Look Inside Iconic Hand Rolls, Serving Sushi to Coneheads Tomorrow

Photos: Daniel Maurer

Back in April, we brought word that David Ravvin, a 29-year-old graduate of N.Y.U.’s Stern School of Business, planned to open a quick-service sushi spot in the former home of Cotan, on First Avenue near Saint Marks Place. Soon after that, its plywood got defaced (to the delight of neighbor JoeDough), but after a fresh coat of paint, the restaurant opened to friends and family just minutes ago, and will open to the public tomorrow.

Earlier this evening, Hiroko Shimbo, the Japanese cooking authority who designed the menu, was busy in the kitchen as Mr. Ravvin buzzed about the modest eat-in area, which is still awaiting some finishing touches. Mr. Ravvin plans to plaster a mural of this photo of Rocky Aoki, the late charismatic founder of the Benihana chain, on a wall where the restaurant’s few tables are lined up. “He’s kind of an inspiration,” he explained. And he’s still working on perfecting a method of delivering the cone-like temaki rolls that will be the signature of his menu. (You can see that menu below.) Hours are from 6 p.m. to midnight daily, and beer and wine will be served. Read more…

Iconic Hand Rolls, Nicoletta Get Paint Jobs

sushiDaniel Maurer

The construction shed at Iconic Hand Rolls, which got memorably defaced last month, has come down; earlier today, workers were painting the facade of the building on Second Avenue near St. Marks Place. Seems everyone’s in a painterly mood: Calliope was sporting new colors earlier this week, and yesterday we spotted work being done at Michael White’s forthcoming pizzeria, Nicoletta, at Second Avenue and 10th Street. Here‘s how it looked today.

Cotan Replaced by Another Sushi Joint, But a More Iconic One?

photo(129)Daniel Maurer

David Ravvin, a 29-year-old graduate of N.Y.U.’s Stern School of Business, is opening a sushi joint where Cotan once rolled rice at 135 First Avenue, near St. Marks Place. As you can see from the plywood art created Tuesday by street artist Para, he’s hoping his concept will be a bit more iconic than his predecessor’s was.

The name of the 14-seat restaurant, Iconic Hand Rolls, is a play on the word “cone” – a reference to the funnel-like rolls that Japanese cooking authority Hiroko Shimbo created for the 8- to 12-item menu.  Read more…