Once a no man's land of bodegas and auto mechanics, Kenmare Street is now a haven for high-end establishments.
An enchanting atmosphere of dimly lit orange globes and simple wooden tables channel Tuscany, while floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the spectacle of the Lower East Side.
Currently serving dinner only, Ellabess's menu is a mix of equally pleasing central-Italian fare and down-home American staples. The house-made tagliatelle with decadent chicken ragu ($18) makes a savory, summery meal coupled with the warm, ricotta-and-vegetable salad ($12). Meanwhile, Southern fried chicken ($22) and shrimp and grits ($24) get superb re-interpretations with charred watermelon and spiced heirloom tomatoes.
Offerings change seasonally, so before summer's end, sample the sweet, chilled corn soup ($10), the refreshing, meant-for-sharing Peekytoe crab salad ($14) and an unbelievable peach-cobbler sundae served in a warm piecrust ($8).
Paired with a glass of citrusy Channing Daughters Sauvignon Blanc ($40 a bottle), meals at Ellabess are a testament to its burgeoning neighborhood--rooted and exciting all at once.
Ellabess, 30 Kenmare St. (at Elizabeth St.); 212-925-5559 or ellabessnyc.com