The 10 Finest NYC Restaurant Openings of 2017

The best things we ate over the last 365

December 28, 2017 9:00 am

This year, we said goodbye to some greats: Schiller’s, DBGB, Angelica Kitchen and Roebling Tea Room among them.

That’s New York. They come, their rents double and they go.

But their absence ushers in some much-needed fresh blood.

Herewith: the 10 restaurant openings that defined NYC in 2017, from a bowl of noodles you’ll want to triple-lindy into to the elegant chophouse that had us saying, “Four Seasons, who?”  

Dine on and drink well, people.

Loring Place
Exceptional veg-forward American dining in the Village

Dan Kluger, former Executive Chef at the James Beard-awarded ABC Kitchen, is at the helm of this year’s best seasonal American dining restaurant. Named after Kluger’s Bronx-native father, Loring Place showcases a market-driven bounty with the elevated and unexpected flavor combinations for which we’ve come to revere Chef Dan. It’s rare to find a chef that can create depth with carrots but also bang out one of the meanest cheeseburgers in town. If you didn’t know the establishment had opened this year, you’d think that it had been nestled into the Village for the past 20.
21 West 8th Street (map)

Little Tong Noodle Shop
Stellar noodles, in a crowded field

The East Village didn’t need another noodle shop, until it did. The humble 28 seats that comprise Little Tong snuck into the neighborhood and blew our hair back. Plus this place is run by badass women. Chef Simone Tong serves up several styles of “mixian” noodles, each with its own unique flavor profile that transcends the bowl. Twists and turns await diners, which is to say, what you see is not what you get. It’s more. And for as low as $14 a dish, it nearly feels like stealing. Little Tong hit the scene to show pizza that its throne just might be under attack.
177 1st Avenue (map)

The Grill
A new King, crowned

You won’t be surprised by a single thing here. You also won’t be disappointed. The former Four Seasons space — birthplace of the power lunch — was renovated by the party responsible for big hits like Dirty French, Parm and Sadelle’s. It’s lighter and brighter, but still dripping with that familiar Sinatra-era charm. The waiters don Tom Ford tuxedos, but due to no dress code policy, you’ll see a few T-shirts while enjoying your Goose Terrine. Don’t worry, you can still count on elegant old-school eats like oysters, pheasant with black truffles, venison cumberland, filet mignon Florentine and avocado crab Louis.
99 East 52nd Street (map)

A new Queen, crowned

Chef de Cuisine Daniela Soto-Innes has taken the city by storm, winning hearts and appetites with Atla’s non-traditional Mexican fare. The food is nonchalant in presentation and service, yet sophisticated in flavor. Case in point: the Duck Carnitas involve a four-day marinating process that involves Mexican Coke (as in Cola). The 60-seat megahit is a guaranteed win for everything from date nights to business lunches.
372 Lafayette Street (map)

The NY steakhouse, with a Korean BBQ twist

Cote is the singular restaurant of which every Tom, Dick and Harry this side of the Hudson emphatically asked, “Have you eaten there yet? You must!” Rightfully so. Because if you were thinking that a Korean BBQ-steakhouse hybrid from the founder of Michelin-starred Piora sounded too interesting to pass up — you were right. The locale skews the traditional steakhouse model away from the ol’ creamed spinach and Cabernet. Instead you get Korean bacon and San-Che BiBimBap and get on with searing your own fresh meats like hanger steak and kalbi or marinated short ribs right at the table. The pro move, though? Order the Butcher’s Feast for a comprehensive tour of the menu’s best offerings. Hope you brought an appetite.
16 West 22nd Street (map)

Thoughtful curation at its finest

Just when we thought we had had enough of the Nordic craze, there was Denizen. Nothing says perfect date night like this provencial wine and cheese bar. And while cheese might not be a grandiose fare, it is an art form. The team at Denizen are also serving up small plates like kale Caesar with shiitakes, squash with sage and French onion toast. All around simple and sultry. In total, it relieved skepticism about a previously played-out concept — you can open another wine-and-cheese bar, you just have to execute it with excellence.
88 Roebling Street, Brooklyn (map)

Hanoi House
Pho good it hurts

While baby boomers might not be eating Pho, the rest of the world is diving right in. There’s no arguing with Hanoi’s family-style feasting, with hits like classic Pho Bac with rare filet mignon and Cha Ca turmeric-scented white fish with dill and charred sweet onions, peanuts, sesame crackers, rice paper, ginger and tamarind dipping sauces. The restaurant proved itself as a new St. Mark’s standout, just when we thought the neighborhood might be doomed to turn over altogether.
119 St. Mark’s Place (map)

Made Nice
Superior fare without the white-glove hoopla

The creators of Eleven Madison Park (thankfully) noticed that sometimes you don’t have time for a $295 tasting menu, so they brought you something fast and casual. Saddle up for well-priced favorites like the roast chicken and spring veg salad, quinoa falafel and hangar steak with crispy rice. And for breaking every resolution at once, treat yourself to the milk-and-honey soft serve. A welcome addition, Made Nice brings one-percenter quality to the 99-percent.
8 West 28th Street (map)

The Office
Opulent, over-the-top cocktails by way of Chicago

This year, Chicago’s ultra-luxe experimental cocktail bar set up shop in the Mandarin Oriental, establishinga  new standard for what bar service should be in New York. The new kid on the block also dishes out high-class bites to the tune of foie gras, jamón Ibérico and caviar to accompany the opulent spirits dashed with highball rarities that fetch up to $500 an ounce.
80 Columbus Circle (map)

The Illuminati of sushi

So you’ve had enough of the fast-casual craze and demand some elegant, high-end sushi. Right this way to a $120, eight-course tasting menu featuring some of the finest catches from all over the world. Throw in some Roasted Wagyu with Wasabi on the side and pair with a cocktail from an Angel’s Share alum. Preferably the Seven Samurai: sake, sherry, bitters and smoke.
245 East 44th Street (map)


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