Haute Dining: 10 Questions for Rob Shamlian of Spitzer’s Corner and Los Feliz

I can’t recall how many times I walked by Spitzer’s Corner and Los Feliz, both on the Lower East Side, and didn’t go inside. I sort of regarded them as bars first and foremost, but these are drinking establishments with great food, so enjoying a multi-course dinner along with local beer (Spitzer’s beer list is wildly appealing) and cocktails (made with homemade infusions) is not only possible but welcome.

Spitzer’s Corner features elevated comfort food (braised pork belly, venison in puff pastry, prawns with Meyer lemon) while Los Feliz serves modern Mexican cuisine by celebrity chef Julieta Ballesteros: a variety of ceviches (including the shrimp with crispy capers), creative tacos (including crispy sea bass, Adobo marinated grilled skirt steak, and slow cooked beef cheek) and other dishes to enjoy with 150 types of tequila.

Managing partner Rob Shamliam, once a fashion photographer, is behind these and two other Lower East Side favorites, Fat Baby and Mason Dixon. In a short time he’s become a Lower East Side “Monopoly Man.” And he seems to have another place in the works that we can’t wait to see.

Haute Living: What’s new at your restaurants?
Rob Shamlian: I am busy doing a lot for my newest restaurant Spritzenhaus that’s going to open this Spring in Greenpoint.

HL: What are some of your favorite dishes?
RS: I love the pork belly, octopus taco and the guac at Los Feliz and I also like the Mac & Cheese bars at Spitzer’s Corner and the banana pancakes for brunch.

HL: Where do you like to dine when you’re not working?
RS: Roberta’s in Bushwick, snacks with the kids at Iris Cafe [in Brooklyn Heights] and Walter Foods [in Williamsburg] is pretty solid, and about 50 other places.

HL: What’s your ideal meal?
RS: My wife makes a mean salad with 20-year aged balsalmic. It has to start with that and then a simple pasta with garlic. Kind of basic but too tasty.

HL: Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
RS: Peter Luger

HL: What’s your favorite NYC neighborhood and why?
RS: Cobble Hill cause it’s kid friendly without being like Park Slope.

HL: What do you like to do in the city on your days off?
RS: I arrange playdates for the kids so they don’t get bored and run around like maniacs!

HL: What’s your favorite vacation destination?
RS: I haven’t been anywhere in a while but I really liked Germany.

HL: What’s your most memorable meal?
RS: In Isla Mujeres, there was a place that served conch, shrimp and octopus ceviche freshly pulled from water.

HL: What are your five favorite ingredients?
Garlic, cultured butter (not in cooking but on bread), onions, kunik, cilantro.

Rob Shamlian’s eating & drinking establishments are:
Los Feliz is located at 109 Ludlow Street; 212-228-8383
Spitzer’s Corner is located at 101 Rivington Street; 212-228-0027
Fat Baby is located at 112 Rivington Street; 212-533-1888
Mason Dixon is located at 133 Essex Street; 212-260-4100

Need help finding the perfect New York City restaurant? Or want tips on cooking elegant meals at home? Contact Haute Living dining columnist Tracey Ceurvels via her blog, The Busy Hedonist, or email her with any questions.

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