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.
You know the drill. Long bar in the front. A smattering of small tables in the back. Colorful and cozy. It’s the East Village. It’s swimming pool-sized bowls of noodles. And it’s what we live for. From Jason Wang, co-founder with his ol’ man of Xi’an Famous Foods brings their Queens noodle haven to the city. Start with the Fern Fiddlehead Salad and at least two Sesame Skewers and then dive deep into Sauteed Young Chicken Longevity Noodles. Bustling, but not yet filled to the brim - now is the time to go grab your seat. Side note: Biang! is an onomatopoeia likened to the slapping sound noodle being freshly torn in the kitchen.
High Street on Hudson
Philly diehards rejoice. Ellen Yin and Chef Eli Kulp have transported the PA powerhouse bakery to NYC. Centering on shared dishes -- and easy on the wallet -- the recommends: the malted sausage sandwich, crispy broccoli and chicken for two.
Lower East Side
Two buddies Taavo Somer of Freemans and Carlos Quirarte of The Smile come together to unleash some French New Wave fare. Amidst exposed brick, marble tables and luxe leather banquettes, the menu highlights vegetable creations -- parsley root and cockles and kabocha and burnt onion petal -- with heartier selects like braised oxtail with mirepoix and grilled batard and grilled wagyu. And with house bread from Roberta’s, how could you go wrong?
The query goes, “What happens when 4 Chefs, a Butcher and a Caterer walk into a Bar?” The Pennsy happens. Thanks to Mario Batali and Pat LaFrieda. Joining the grand trend of food halls, the Pennsy’s on the upscale end. Major players include: The Cinnamon Snail, Mario by Mary, Lobster Press and Little Beet. And there’s cocktails.
A reason to travel to the far reaches of Brooklyn? For not one, but two things we love. Syndicated is a 60-seat theatre and a 70-seat dining room serving edgy American comfort food like duck confit nachos and bacon-butter meatballs and cocktails themed accordingly to the respective film showing. On screen, expect indie flicks and throwbacks with tickets running $3 a pop or $5 for a double feature.
The Infatuation called Crave hands down, “The best restaurant in Midtown East.” Agreed. We went cross-eyed for the lobster curry and fried oysters. It’s friendly with a rustic, coastal vibe. And there’s something for all who step aboard from sweet potato gnocchi with bay scallops to tournedos of beef. Though the devil’s in the details so they say. And Crave delivers with subtle ocean-inspired wallpaper and cocktails sneakily dedicated the castaways from “Lost.”
A name that hardly necessitates an introduction, but we just can’t resist. David Chang blesses Chelsea with a Korean-Italian eatery - his first in five years. Don’t be fooled by the fusion. "If people want to call it fusion, well f*** you. It is fusion," Chang mentioned to Lucky Peach. "Tell me what food isn’t fusion?" Touché. Whatever it is, we’re into it. Go for the pork shoulder with white kimchi, Nishi’s ceci e pepe, and the Clams Grand Lisboa.