The charmingly cartoonish sign has been up on Grand Street for at least eight months now, and the Pickle Guys, who own the joint (as well as the one next door), have been talking about the project for over two years. Now, finally, after countless delays involving tedious things like ConEd inspections, the Diller fried pickle restaurant is open for business.
Diller will be serving a full menu of fried pickles and other fried and pickle-y dishes here, all of which we had the good fortune of wolfing down at a special preview tasting this week.
The signature dish, obviously, is the Fried Pickles—Diller serves these thick-sliced, crisp, generously-battered beauties in a paper cone, with your choice of nine different housemade sauces like the dill-and-yogurt Diller Sauce, the kicky Comeback Sauce, the tangy Turmeric Honey Mustard, and the crazy-hot Death Sauce. These are all very good. They're kosher, too, as is everything else at Diller, which operates under the Rabbinical supervision of Rabbi Shmuel Fishelis. In addition to keeping kosher, Diller is also a vegetarian restaurant.
There will be other fried vegetables available at Diller in the coming weeks (okra, baby corn, string beans, and mushrooms to start), but if you want to supplement your pickles with something else right now, get the excellent, plant-based Beyond Burger. This is a fat, juicy, and wholly satisfying burger, topped with melted cheese, chipotle aioli, and pickles (obviously), all on a Martin's potato bun. The Pickled Fries are just as good, a nice pile of potatoes brined overnight in vinegar, seasoned with dill and garlic, and double fried. They're distinctive, full of flavor, and a fine addition to the city's french fry scene.
The Pickled Rice Balls, filled with cheese, bits of pickled okra, and "pastrami spices," deliver on their crunchy, chewy, hefty promise. And the Rueben Egg Roll substitutes lentils for meat, with mixed results. Definitely order either or both of the unique, non-alcoholic beverages though, a tart Pickled Pineapple Lemonade, and a smoother, slightly sweeter Watermelon Lemonade. A boozy version, called a Pickle Monster, is coming soon.
The space itself is compact, with only about ten stools at various counters, though they're going to add a couple of tables outside on Grand once they get settled. There's a delightfully goofy neon pickle hanging inside, along with a lot of bright green... and Diller's mascot, a straw-chewing bear, pops up often during your meal. The Diller crew, three of whom are named Mike, are all very excited to finally be open, and welcome you to their restaurant.
Diller is located at 357 Grand Street, just east of Essex Street, and starting Friday will be open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight (dillernyc.com)