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 views. Oh, the views. No, not the daytime lady’s roundtable with vaseline on the lens — we mean Westlight, on the 22nd-floor rooftop of the new William Vale hotel. It’s spirit-focused, with head bartender Anne Robinson (Evening Bar, PDT, Booker + Dax) presenting powerful, joyful cocktails like the Sling Sling (a refreshing tiki drink), the Viking Shandy (a grapefruit-based beer cocktail) and The Crusher (a gin-based floral cocktail). But the bites match her punch, with Chef Andrew Carmellini and executive chef Anthony Ricco tossing out dishes like Charred Octopus Skewers, Chicken-Fried Chicken Wings, Duck Carnitas Tacos and the signature Westlight Burger.
111 N 12th Street (map)
New in town by way of Florida, Wok Chi plants its fast-casual stir-fry and fresh dim sum flag in our fair(ish) city. The 1,060-square-foot, 15-seat eatery lets you curate your own made-to-order bowls of Asian classics with a gaggle of sauce options, like Kung Pao, BBQ Black Bean, General Not-So-Tso’s, Ginger Sesame and more. Wok Chi defies the takeout stereotypes, especially with their dim sum (“no batter, just what matters”) and clean, simple, highly flavorful ingredients.
918 3rd Avenue (map)
Battery Park City
A new bar by The Dead Rabbit’s Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry would excite us no matter what. At Blacktail, that sentiment is amplified by the pre-Castro Cuban vibes and cocktails are divided into five categories: Highball, Punch, Sour, Old-Fashioned and Cocktail. Based on first impressions, veer toward anything with rum and particularly the “El Presidente.” And don’t forget Chef Ryan Schmidtberger’s menu, which combines traditional Cuban ingredients with a heavy seafood bent.
Pier A Harbor House, 22 Battery Place, Battery Park City (map)
Harold's Meat + Three
Chef Harold Moore, formerly of Commerce and Montrachet, showcases his newest project on the ground floor of the Arlo Hudson Square Hotel. It’s a modern take on conventional meat-and-three-style dining, with mains like Beer Can Chicken, Whole Roasted Lobster and Pork Ribs alongside more than 30 sides. We vote for the Broccoli with Burnt Garlic, Basil Fried Rice, Country Club Potatoes and Twice Baked Avocado.
2 Renwick Street (map)
GUAC Tacos + Tequila
GUAC is easy on the wallet and awesome on the palate — just how we like our tacos. True to its name, the joint also serves up 11 unique varieties of its namesake menu item, guacamole.
179 Avenue B (map)
The first eatery from chef/brother duo Chat + Ohm Suansilphong is serving up the dishes they grew up on: authentic, seafood-heavy, family-style Thai. It’s bright and convivial, with playful takes on traditional dishes like Coconut Crab Curry and Crispy Garlic Branzino. It’s rich with flavor and has a heritage you can taste.
55 Bond Street (map)
Name of the game here: breakfast tacos. Crazy delicious breakfast tacos. The Austin-esque taco kiosk recently opened in the Clark Street Station, and it’s everything one could dream of snagging footsteps from the subway. From a salsa company of the same name (you might have seen them if you’ve ever been to Smorgasburg), the spot is turning out tacos with egg, cheese and your choice of meats and veggies for $4 a pop. Sorry bagel, but there just might be a new breakfast sheriff in town.
2 & 3 Line, Clark Street Station, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn (map)