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.
Le Coq Rico
When a three-star Michelin chef crosses the pond for the first time, we listen. Such is the case with French toque Antoine Westermann, who just opened a NY spinoff of Le Coq Rico, his Parisian spot that specializes in hyper-local poultry. The menu is a meditation not just on chicken, but also duck, hen, guinea fowl, squab and more, all raised on small farms in the Northeast. Get a whole bird to share with the table (the Brune Landaise is the showstopper) after starting with a few small-plate "Eggz" — you'll find poached, soft-boiled, deviled and *en meurette*, which involves bacon, mushrooms, a red-wine reduction and audible mewling from at least one InsideHook correspondent.
If you’ve yet to head over to National Sawdust for some cultural and symphonic delights, we’ll give you one more reason to go: the freshly opened Rider, a new American bistro from James Beard winner Patrick Connolly sharing the same space. The name’s a nod to the hospitality “rider” an artist submits to a venue prior to arrival. The menu is meant for sharing and deftly showcases a creative, veggie-driven spin on classic fare. Don’t worry — also highlights proteins. Take our word for it and order the French Dip served with a roasted two-inch bone marrow tube topped with black garlic beef jus.
If you’ve ever been to Florence, chances are you know Antico Noé. It’s legendary. For more than 70 years, they’ve served authentic Tuscan panini from a tiny dwelling in an arcaded alley off the Piazza San Pier Maggiore. They’ve amassed a Star Wars-sized cult following. And now it’s in New York. We met someone from Vermont who came down just for a sandwich to give you an idea of the reputation that precedes. These things are iconic, authentic magic with a history you can taste. Currently, the NY spot serves up 10 of the original 25 panini sold in Italy, with plans to expand to the full menu soon. Get the Famous Stuffed Chicken. Get the Prosciutto di Parma. Get ‘em all.
Just when we thought Indian food couldn’t get better, we have to shimmy up the white flag and surrender to Indian Accent. Be forewarned, it’s mouthgasm-worthy. But control yourself — it’s also fine dining. Set adjacent to Le Parker Meridien Hotel, you’ll be sitting among immensely discerning diners familiar with the traditional fare from the place’s original New Dehli locale. It delivers. The flavors are traditional, though for New York, Chef Mehrotra was able to play with some more adventurous preparation techniques. Choose from a la carte, two, three, four courses or a set tasting menu with seven rounds. Just don’t miss the Sweet Pickled Ribs or Pork Belly Vindaloo.
Lower East Side
More of a liquid dinner here, but that’ll happen. Because we’ve been waiting for this one. The brainchild of Giuseppe González — a third-generation barman formerly of Pegu Club, PKNY, Flatiron Lounge and Dutch Kills — and Ruben Rodriguez of Havana Café, Suffolk Arms is a spirit-driven passion project and Giuseppe’s self-proclaimed love letter to his native New York. Signature cocktails stretch the boundaries, like the Tough Room, a Guinness with a whiskey sour float. Arguing that cocktails are better now than ever, there are 12 more “Something Like Classics” to choose from. And for those opposed to the browns, there are plenty of “Vodka Cocktails” aiming to disprove the myth that the fairer spirit is unimaginative.
A new iteration from the Charlie Bird team doing what they do best: simple yet spectacular. The atmosphere leaves nothing to be desired with the wafting of Neapolitan — or at least “neo-NY-style” — pizza coming from the wood-fired brick ovens set amid excellent, dance-in-your-seat-while-you-eat tunes. It’s 50 seats and reasonably priced, save the bigger girls like the Smoked Pheasant and Pork Shank. And if it’s pasta that’s calling your name, try the Rigatoni with Sausage, Ricotta and Nettles paired with a select from the ebullient wine list, the handy work of partner and in-house somm Grant Reynolds.
From the husband-and-wife team that brought us Uncle Boons — previously of Per Se — comes a nostalgic Americana eatery with a “meat and three” menu of yonder years. For meat, choose from the likes of Roast Beef and Broiled Porgy. And tack on a “three” like Spicy Crab Imperial, BBQ Oysters or Jerk Mushrooms. It’s provincial in taste and space. As in: fare is served on vintage china and there are only nine seats.