Lowlife Opens Monday With Highbrow Food From a Former Blanca Chef

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Borscht with raw cream and trout roe.
Borscht with raw cream and trout roe. Photo: Melissa Hom

Here’s a powerful partnership: Hugh Crickmore, formerly of Mas (farmhouse), has teamed up with Alex Leonard, previously the chef de cuisine at Blanca (which, during his tenure, received two stars from Michelin and three from the Times), to open Lowlife on the Lower East Side.

Despite the name, the 70-seat restaurant, which opens to the public on Monday, offers à la carte dishes like borscht with raw cream and trout roe, lamb tartare with mint and “shrimp salt,” and yakitori-style chicken — all beautifully plated, like they belong in a fine-dining, tasting-menu restaurant. At a time when many talented chefs are focusing on simple comfort food, Leonard is embracing more complex techniques and flavor combinations. Plus: The chef is making his own vinegars, pickles, kimchee, butter, and cheese, and getting much of the restaurant’s produce from a Catskills farm owned by Crickmore’s brother.

But there are no white tablecloths to be found here. Instead, the space has a sleek mid-century-modern-inspired vibe, and there’s both a bar and a separate ten-seat chef’s counter. Take a look:

Fluke with coriander berries and smoked dashi.
Fluke with coriander berries and smoked dashi. Photo: Melissa Hom
Sasso chicken yakitori with cabbage and leeks.
Sasso chicken yakitori with cabbage and leeks. Photo: Melissa Hom
Lamb tartare with shrimp salt and egg yolk.
Lamb tartare with shrimp salt and egg yolk. Photo: Melissa Hom
Raw-milk ice with husk-cherry compote and black lime.
Raw-milk ice with husk-cherry compote and black lime. Photo: Melissa Hom
The space.
The space. Photo: Melissa Hom
Good tableware.
Good tableware. Photo: Melissa Hom

Menu [PDF]

178 Stanton St., nr. Attorney St.; 212-257-0509

A Former Blanca Chef Opens Lowlife