‘Ginger & Lemongrass’ Vietnamese Spot Posts up at Former Calexico on Rivington Street
The recent tale of 153 Rivington Street begins with Australian fare, morphs to sit-down Mexican cuisine, and now to Vietnamese stylings.
After two years, and a flood of real estate listings later, the space previously occupied by Calexico (and Bondi Road) is finally filled. Remember that this is a Steve Croman-owned property, so there was probably little budging on the $14K rent tag during this period of purported warehousing.
The newcomer here is an offshoot of the Queens-based Ginger & Lemongrass, described by owner-chef Petra Rickman as a contemporary Vietnamese fusion restaurant. Having debuted in Whitestone just last year – the Czech-born Rickman opened with Slovakian fiance, Michael Prelovsky – we are told that 153 Rivington Street is actually an expansion of the original, not a replacement.
Apparently, they’re pretty popular out there, too. “The reaction is crazy,” Prelovsky told WABC back in October. “Sometimes people are hesitant to try us but after they do, we’re getting really good feedback.”
On the new, larger location, Rickman noted that “before I opened my first restaurant I went to Vietnam to learn how to cook the real authentic food and I ‘polished it’ to create a contemporary Manhattan style Vietnamese fusion restaurant.” She felt that the Lower East Side, but this location in particular, was a “great fit” to impart “great new items and flavors.” Expect brunch with pandan and ube pancakes, plus breakfast during the week.
The negative halo of Steve Croman hasn’t escaped the business owners, though. “[We understand the] reputation and lawsuit of Steve Croman doesn’t help the place to look better but we believe we are coming with something new and great and we will label 153 Rivington with a good name and reputation.”
Ginger & Lemongrass is going for the full monty – an on-premise liquor license in an over-burdened area. They’ll appear before Community Board 3 for the privilege in two weeks.