The 7 Best Restaurants That Opened in NYC This Summer
Dine on and drink well, people
To keep tabs on every NYC 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.
To say it’s been a difficult summer for restaurant owners — whose businesses have been surviving on a combination of loans, community support, ingenuity and pure grit — would be a hell of an understatement. And beyond pandemic-related hurdles, New York restaurant owners have also had to contend with some pretty daunting statistics and apocalyptic headlines to boot.
According to July’s federal employment data, 160,000 people in the bar and restaurant industry in the city remain out of work, and nearly 1,300 restaurants closed for good between March and July. The city’s dining scene has been making small but promising gains, though, with reservation app Resy recording a nearly 15-percent increase in patrons from mid-July to mid-August, though the volume still remains low when compared to last year.
Against all odds, restaurants are still finding a way to survive. In fact, they’ve somehow been cropping up around the city all summer, providing NYC residents with a never-ending well of new and exciting spots to grab a bite and a beverage. From Tibetan momo dumplings to lush garden dining, here are some of the best new restaurants that opened in New York this summer.
Originally slated for an opening back in March, Australian restaurateur Jamie Web’s eclectic new restaurant is finally open in the former Extra Fancy space. He and chef Ken Addington partnered with Manscapers, the outdoor design stars of the Bravo show Backyard Envy, to create a lush covered garden space where diners can feel comfortable spreading out. The highly shareable menu is inspired by Addington’s travels abroad, meaning you can expect to see ingredients influenced by a wide range of cuisines — from flavorful and tender crispy rock shrimp with pickled serranos to a chopped kale salad with tahini-seaweed caesar. Wash it all down with one of their frozen boozy cocktails and you’ve got the perfect end-of-summer meal.
Those ready to upgrade their takeout will be excited to hear about the recent opening of pop-up restaurant Nice Day within the popular Chinese food restaurant Junzi Kitchen’s Greenwich Village location. Available only for delivery and takeout, Nice Day is all about modern updates to American-Chinese classics like orange shrimp, which they’ve dubbed shake shake shrimp, as well as Mongolian beef and mapo tofu.
East Villagers might remember Borrachito as a secret dining room behind The Garret East. Now, following an extensive renovation, the much-loved speakeasy has a street-facing position of its own, as well as a brand new curated menu of traditionally prepared Mexican tacos, sides and cocktails with unexpected twists. The new eatery also features a 20-seat al fresco dining situation where patrons can enjoy chicharrón carnitas, short rib tacos and chicken thigh al pastor, as well as alcoholic paletas (ice pops) and some of The Garret’s signature cocktails.
Anyone who has traveled to Jackson Heights for a visit to Lhasa, the tiny Tibetan restaurant hidden behind a cell-phone store that was once made famous by a visit from Anthony Bourdain, will rejoice at news of their new East Village location. Now patrons can get down on the same satisfying fried momos (dumplings) in a much less hidden storefront on East 11th Street.
If you’re craving some typical Thai-American cuisine this evening, you probably shouldn’t go to Tong. For the more adventurous, the Bushwick newcomer is an authentic place to try out kub klaem — small, shareable, flavorful Thai dishes like crab meat curry with vermicelli noodles or grilled pork jowl. Tong is still working on getting their liquor license, so those who plan on dining at the restaurant anytime soon should note that alcohol is BYOB.
The team behind insanely popular Thai restaurant Wayla has just opened a new spot in Nolita serving “Itameshi,” a fusion of Italian and Japanese cuisine that looks a lot like a carb lover’s dream. An all-female team leads the kitchen, where they’ve started turning out dishes like soy butter bigoli, which combines spaghetti-like pasta with soy sauce-emulsified butter, and a fried and breaded eggplant katsu served over a banana leaf.
Long Island City
From Mark Rancourt — who used to own aforementioned Williamsburg hotspot Extra Fancy — is this modern Mexican restaurant in Long Island City. With the help of noted Boston chef Matthew Gaudet, he’s serving up chicken and pork tamales, lamb barbacoa and roasted carrots bravas in a large and airy outdoor space filled with picnic tables. Once social distancing is eventually a thing of the past, expect live music and events to boot.
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