The 6 Best Restaurants That Opened in New York This May
Non-fussy French, big tray chicken and all the California wine
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.
The Leroy House
You’re here because: This is the kind of place that makes the West Village the West Village. Solid neighborhood vibes, a little glamorous and a little spendy, but brimming with charm.
You’re dining on: “New American” cuisine, which is the culinary equivalent to a remastered Stones album. Think the hits with a few well-placed updates. Skip the Calamari and opt for the Crab Gratin instead. Bring a partner in crime and spring for the Bone-In Steak for Two. See also: the Filet au Poivre. It’s meaty perfection.
You’re here because: You and your date are looking for free-spirited French fare. This spot from Chef Alain Verzeroli, who apprenticed perennial Michelin Star awardee Joel Robuchon, has all the precision less the traditional fuss.
You’re dining on: Airy, vegetable-forward — but not vegetarian — dishes. The meal will begin with a shot of juice, an updated homage to the chef’s former post at the famed L’Atelier. The Poached White Asparagus is a seasonal hit and the Fingerling Potato Gnocchi might be murder on the love handles, but it’s deceivingly light.
You’re here because: It’s a party restaurant … and you party. Seriously, it’s only open three nights a week with two seatings: one at 6:00 and one at 8:00, the second of which typically turns into a full-on Tel Aviv rager.
You’re dining on Israeli cuisine with French and Japanese influences. The menu switches nearly nightly. But if you’re lucky, you’ll be saddling up to some Avocado Bruschetta, Red Snapper Carpaccio and the fascinating Pici, which is a dish made from a single 12-foot long noodle. Perfect for a Lady and the Tramp reenactment.
Jiang Diner 疆湖
You’re here because: You’ve got five friends, you’re all wearing sneakers and you’re ready to eat everything in sight.
You’re dining on: “Big tray chicken.” It’s the joint’s centerpiece and it’s available in two sizes, with or without bones (get bone in). What it lacks in the Sichuan spiciness we were expecting it makes up for with peppery goodness. Of note: grab a sixer. It’s BYOB.
You’re here because: If you’re going to tolerate listening to your vegan friend talk about being vegan again, you’re going to need a drink.
You’re dining on: Cocktails from Ravi Derossi, the master behind the swill at Death & Co. They’ve got an impressive roster of American Whiskeys lined up, and forthcoming, they’ll launch their Golden Cabinet program with a curation of vintage ryes locked away. Patrons who try each one will receive a key and thereby a complimentary pour upon each following visit. The vibe is old-timey, dark and lined in jewel-toned velvets, but the fare is futurist, featuring plant-based BBQ. We understand the skepticism, but their technique is so solid, and the grub stands up to its carnivorous competitors for savory flavor. The Smoky Burnt Brisket Ends — trust us. You must.
Coast and Valley
You’re here because: The Hudson Valley is great and all, but you and yours long for Napa Valley. Good for dates. Good for moms.
You’re dining on: All the wine. Each select hails from the Golden State, which means a strong curation of steel tank-fermented Chardonnay. Some say the varietal has gone the way of the Harvey Wallbanger, but we firmly disagree. Every wine is available by the glass, even the spendier ones, with 50 (soon to be 120) vinos to choose from. For sopping up, the kitchen serves up a Cali-forward menu as well with basic but not disappointing selects like Roasted Grapes with Ricotta and Crispy Chicken with Lentils, Mushrooms and Frisse.
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