Late Nite Bites: Schillers NYC

by Darren Atkins
07.28.2011


The Lower East Side is home to many late night haunts, i.e., Stanton Social, 'Inoteca, Freeman's. But one that dominates the scene is Schiller's Liquor Bar. After opening in 2003, Schiller's joined the ranks of superstar restaurateur Keith McNally's eatery clones-Odeon, Minetta, Tavern, Balthazar. McNally’s restaurants all deliver a cookie-cutter reflection of his signature decor and cuisine.

His longtime pals and chefs, Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson serve up simple, quality pub grub like excellent steak frites and hard-to-resist beer battered fish and chips. And the best part is that it’s all served until 2 a.m. When you walk into Schiller's, the vista is made up of a busy room of raucous diners hanging out on the Parisian style, pewter bar, sipping wine amongst a backdrop of white subway tiles, black and white checkered floors (a McNally trademark) and antique mirrors that catch the reflection of punters laughing and chatting. It’s a virtual feeding trough of late night, 30-something revelers. You won’t find a fancy menu or fine dining experience at Schiller's, but you’re guaranteed good service and honest-to-good food cooked in that all so familiar "McNally way.”

Everything at Schiller's is delicious, however the steak frites is the real star here- served with a variety of delectable sauces that taste so good you’ll want more and more. Order this if you like authentic, Parisian bistro food. You’ll also want to try the garlic shrimp- a full-flavored journey for your palate, and the fried calamari provides a perfect appetizer.
For those French onion soup fans, Schiller's version definitely doesn’t disappoint. The burger on the menu is decent but doesn’t rival the iconic Black Label burger at Hanson and Nasr's other joint, Minetta Tavern.

Make sure to order the chicken palliard- a juicy, tender, delicately smashed chicken breast, and mussel lovers will rejoice after tasting the moules frites-served in a traditional steamy broth with a zesty curry cream. While rigatoni’s tubular shape sometimes strips the sauce from the noodle, Schiller's version manages to evade this problem. The pasta chutes retain a heaping amount of creamy tomato sauce and sausage chunks. The seared salmon with tomato, coconut and basmati rice is also a must-have.

Schiller's wine list covers a broad range of both cheap and pricey options but for the most part, flows at a reasonable price. Finally, a trip to Schiller's would not be complete without an order of sticky toffee pudding- a real crowd pleaser. Foodies take note- Schiller’s Liquor Bar should definitely be a stop on your late night train.

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