You’re a brave soul if you plan on checking out that new East Village or Lower East Side restaurant this weekend — if it’s full-up, you’ll be turned onto the streets with the entire teenage population of Strong Island. That’s why last Saturday we hit eight spots between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. to take inventory — our head counts may or may not hold true this weekend when there will be far less drunken Santas running amok, but we’re pleased to see that the wait has lessened at Momofuku (in fact, there wasn’t one!) and are a bit shocked to discover that Jason Neroni is sometimes pretty much the only person in the dining room at Cantina. Bet he’s counting the seconds till 10 Downing.
Alejandro Torio is a busy boy this week. Besides helping to open Le Royale tomorrow, he’s partnering with Iman R. Azeharie (also at one point a promoter) to open Kuta, a 40-seat Southeast Asian restaurant on the Lower East Side featuring the dishes of Azeharie’s native Indonesia. Chef Jutti Jitnopkun formerly of Rain, Tuk Tuk, and others is busting out his grandma’s tamarind chili sauce for meat and seafood skewers and turning out entrées like grilled Sumatra beef rendang, Manado spicy duck curry, and grilled red-curry-lemongrass chicken and garlic fries. (Care to see the menu?) The beer-and-wine license arrives today, Torio says, so sake cocktails all around.
Kuta, 65 Rivington St., nr. Allen St.; 212-777-5882.Kuta menu