The 8 Best Restaurants That Opened in NYC in August
One lowbrow, one high-minded and six that are just effin’ worth it
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 last month (or so). Bon appétit.
You’re here because: It’s not okay to talk with your mouth full, but it is totally okay to belt out a full ballad of Queen with some nosh flying left and right. It’s a supper club-meets-karaoke bar with an endearing Spencer’s Gifts-esque vibe.
You’re dining on: Liquid courage in what’s coined as an “11,000-square-foot event space filled with Instagrammable fun.” We went. We shamelessly ‘grammed. Their description is spot on.
You’re here because: It’s a serious name and you want a serious concept. Also, you went to RPM Underground, deleted Instagram and now desire the dining equivalent to a Dave Chapelle standup show: no cameras, no phones. Chef/Skydiver Russell Jackson banned technology. If you go … we’ll never know it happened. Refreshing, no?
You’re dining on: West Coast-influenced farm-to-table fare. On paper that means such delights as black pea heirloom rice, escargot with fermented uni chile crema and quail egg empanadas. In practice and palate that means they source, toss and sear much better produce than we can “Russell” up on the East coast. Also caveat emptor: don’t even think about trekking up to Harlem without a reservation.
You’re here because: It takes some serious stones to open a new South Indian restaurant in the East Village. But the gauntlet has been thrown down. The place is delicious, swarming with aroma and ambience. And to boot, they play rotating Indian films from the ‘70s and ‘80s against a wall of succulents, which is just the tops.
You’re dining on: Homestyle dishes, as one might expect — albeit a bit on the smaller portion side — with a knockout Saag Paneer and a not-to-be-slept-on Madurai Fish, fried and marinated in garam masala and side-kicked with mint chutney.
You’re here because: Summer is over and it’s time to break out the European wine-bar date nights before cuffing season hits. If that’s not the case, you’re likely here for their awesome $10-a-glass happy hour from 4-7 p.m., featuring lesser-known, small production vineyards.
You’re dining on: Dishes worthy of pairing with such thoughtfully curated vinos, artful and rotating with carefree discourse from Executive Chef Ben Traver, formerly of Cafe Boulud. The Fluke Crudo is weird and cool. Get it.
You’re here because: You’ve got $100 (make it $200 + tip) and your partner in crime digs — you guessed it — tasting menus.
You’re dining on: Five courses ($68) or 10 (for the Benjamin) of both meatless and meat-filled Indian specialties. The Monkfish Green Curry seriously does knock it out of the park, but either way this is the “it’s time to impress him or her” third-date alternative to Khiladi, listed above.
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You’re here because: The place is glimmering with those five enchanting words no New Yorker can resist: Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Co-owners Tashi Gyamtso and Kevin Chen met at the legendary culinary establishment and the duo have set up shop here for city mice.
You’re dining on: Cuisine so daring yet simple you won’t quite know how to describe it. Not surprising given the Chefs’ French, Tibetan and Chinese heritage. Seated at the 24-chair spot (complete with eight-seat bar), you’ll gaze into the eyes of your colleague or partner or who-the-heck-ever over organic wine and transcendental Beef Carpaccio and intuitively say to one another, “We’ve been real pieces of sh*t ordering Seamless and Sweetgreen for the past two months.” There’s also a tasting menu coming soon.
You’re here because: Michelin-starred chef Alain Verzeroli has designed a contemporary menu of French fare that incorporates influences derived from his experience working in Japan. Everything is based on the Japanese culinary tradition of offering seasonal foods when they are at peak freshness.
You’re dining on: Offerings from a three- or four-course menu that includes staples like grilled Wagyu ribcap, Colorado lamb and Long Island duck à l’orange. Plates are gorgeous, portions are decent and the plethora of bread options are baked in-house. There’s also a killer wine list offering pairing options that should impress even the most discerning of palates.
You’re here because: You want a quality burger and a craft beer and don’t mind paying a couple of bucks extra for either. Black Tap can accommodate that desire. In addition to chicken selections including wings and sandwiches, it boasts 13 signature burgers on its menu (which can also be dished up sans bun as salads). The kitsch and graffiti on the walls give the feel of a local hamburger joint, but Black Tap is a worldwide chain that also has locations in Kuwait, Bahrain and Switzerland.
You’re dining on: The Greg Norman, a tantalizing take on the black and bleu burger which has a half-pound Wagyu beef patty topped with house buttermilk-dill, bleu cheese and arugula. Pair that with onion rings served up with sauces like truffle mayo and creamy horseradish. In addition to the aforementioned craft beers, beverage offerings include cocktails served up in pint glasses and super-sized signature shakes like the Churro Choco Taco, a creamy creation featuring Cinnamon Toast Crunch topped with a Choco Taco, two churros, whipped cream and a dulce de leche drizzle. Maybe walk home afterward.