Table Stakes: January

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.

MAV Soho
Soho

You’re here because: You have your finger on NYC’s culinary pulse, and a place that can be described as “contemporary Italian dim sum” intrigues, rather than intimidates.
You’re dining on: The Short Rib Milanese with slow-roasted ribs breaded in grissino and served with black truffle onion charred perfectly and dripped in parmesan fondue. You’ll be tempted by the lasagna. Don’t — that’s a kid’s meal.

525 Greenwich Street (map)
Website

Upside Pizza
Garment District

You’re here because: You’ve already hit these fancy pizza date joints and you’re super curious about how to get a career as an “international pizza consultant,” which this haunt has in tow.
You’re dining on 100% naturally leavened dough with staples like the Upside Down, a two inch-thick Sicilian square slice with low-moisture mozzarella, house-made Sicilian tomato sauce, house-made breadcrumbs, Sicilian oregano, parmesan and topped with high-quality California extra virgin olive oil. But for the pop-culture adventurer there’s our favorite: the Fuzzy Dunlop. Named after an iconic scene in HBO’s acclaimed series The Wire, with house-pickled chili peppers and house-seasoned sausage.

598 8th Avenue (map)
Website

Violet
East Village

You’re here because: You want to fill the void in your heart with grilled pizza.
You’re dining on: Non-manicured pies, grilled — yes, grilled — on both sides. Go in on the Atwells: broccoli and pistachio pesto with squash, Sichuan oil, chèvre and thyme. The pies are served with scissors for maximum tangible pleasure and, of course, etiquette.

511 East 5th Street (map)
Website  

Gitano Jungle Room
Soho

You’re here because: You miss Tulum … or are pretending that you have been and do.
You’re dining on: An NYC nightlife interpretation of Mexican-meets-Mayan cuisine. The menu is broken down into five categories: Snacks, Small Plates, Large Plates, Sides and Desserts. The highlight is the Tuna Tostada and the Brook Trout. The lowlight is the number of people Instagramming their food and the long wait/reservation line.

23 Grand Street (map)
Website

Philippe Chow Downtown
Meatpacking

You’re here because: You need to power lunch in the same neighborhood where you need post-nightclub eats.
You’re dining on: Beijing-inspired modern eats well-suited to impressing colleagues or potential one-night stands. You won’t have to think too much as they play the hits with dishes like elevated Chicken Satay, Salt and Pepper Lobster and a Peking Duck with a side of local DJ.

355 West 16th Street (map)
Website

Big Mozz
Chelsea

You’re here because: You’ve found someone who also is completely okay with eating a block of cheese like an apple. Lucky you.
You’re dining on: Cheeeeeeeese. Whether its Chicken Parm or Mozz Sticks or handmade Mozz or even Fried Cookie “Do,” it all includes everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure: dairy. And they serve the craft-made sins to-go, so you can head home and eat it over the kitchen sink like we all know you do.

75 9th Avenue (map)
Website

Main image via Violet, all others via their respective entities