To keep tabs on every New York restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Bon appétit.
Tim and Nancy Cushman of O Ya fame present the mashup we’ve been waiting for in the Park South Hotel. On the Mediterranean side, you’ve got your small plate starters, greens and grains like the Hungarian Fry Bread with House-smoked Salmon and House-made Hummus. And they’ve paired the weighty starters with big-hit closers: the Wood-grilled Ribeye is not to be missed. You've also got pizza, pasta and a mezcal tipple called the El Diablo that gels well with the vacation-vibes atmosphere.
A new space and a fresh feel for Perla, with big French windows letting the spring light in. Last summer, Chef Jack Harris swooped into the kitchen and pushed the fare in a lighter and more accessible direction. It’s still quality, classic Italian grub, but with a more everyday focus. Set aside trimming the ‘ol waistline for the night and get some homemade pastries. Oh and ramps. They’ve got ramps, people.
Fair Weather Bushwick
An elegant 10-course tasting menu with beer pairings for under $100. Yeah, that grabbed our attention. Every Tuesday, Chef John Creger, previously of Le Cirque and Saxon & Parole, does one seating at 8 P.M. for 22 people. It’s $65 for the fare, an extra $30 for very generous local beer pairings and feels like a private party. Don’t go looking for a menu, as there isn’t one. The tasting changes weekly. Open Wednesday through Sunday, it’s a la carte with fresh, seasonal selections and a backyard garden.
At the new INNSIDE NoMad Hotel, Chef Scott Conant is dealing out some inspired Italian Sprezzatura. That’s the art of making elegant look simple. So Italian. It’s savoir faire save the stuffy attitude. And while the Braised Rabbit with Mint Pappardelle and Burrata with Fava and Peas had us swoonin’, it's the perfectly prepared Italian espresso they serve up in the A.M. that makes this an essential stop.
Nordic culinary god Claus Meyer (co-founder of one Noma Copenhagen) brings his first U.S. venture to Midtown. And it’s all ours. Agern's Executive Chef Gunnar Gíslason is delivering two tasting menus for lunch and dinner — one for meat lovers and one full veg — alongside an a la carte selections. Humble vegetables are prepared in a manner that showcases their greatness. Exhibit A: the Parsnip with Black Garlic and Dead Nettle. Main plates like the braised and roasted Lamb with Sunchoke and Grass-fed Beef with Morels and Ramps are forward but unpretentious. And the atmosphere is all about hygge (Danish for “coziness”): so warm and inviting, you’ll forget you’re in Grand Central.
Almost 40 years to the day after Omar Guerda opened the Grand Poobah of North African eats in Paris with Chez Omar comes its sister — or rather, daughter — restaurant, Bar Omar. Run by Omar’s actual daughter, Yasmina, it's an excellent date spot with an affinity for Parisian fare. The French, Algerian and Moroccan menu is served family-style; highlights include the Couscous Royal, Homemade Merguez Sausage and Organic Lamb Tagine for two.