Is it embarrassing to have to explain you're wearing your T-shirt in the pool because you "just don't want to get sunburned"? Yes, yes it is. Is it also totally worth it that you got that way because you indulged yourself at every single one of May's best openings in NYC? You're damn right it is. Here're all 17 of the best new May openers -- damn the beach body and get to work.
NYC's 17 best bar and restaurant openings from May
Russ & Daughters Cafe (click here for address and info)
Lower East Side
The super OG delicious food purveyor has finally gone and opened up a proper cafe. Get down here for their supremely fresh and tasty fish, some new egg dishes, egg creams, and a surprisingly interesting cocktail list for a place with such throwback roots.
Cafe El Presidente (click here for address and info)
Remember when we told you about this massive Mexican spot that feels like a pool club from 1950s Mexico?? Well in case you need a refresher: it's got a taco counter, a machine churning out fresh tortillas (El Machino!), and a bar up front where you can get a cool buzz on, or just opt for damn-fresh juices.
Après (click here for address and info)
The former Apiary spot on 3rd Ave snagged the former chef of The Elm in Williamsburg for this small-plating, veggie-centric resto doing "modern New York cuisine" like “egg drop soup” (w/ king crab, Spring garlic, and water spinach), or Pommes Kao -- a mix of octopus, peanut, and bacon XO sauce.
Ivan Ramen (click here for address and info)
The massively hyped and long-awaited ramen shop from Ivan Orkin -- who teased us with the Slurp Shop in Gotham West Market -- is finally here and it’s bursting with innovative Asian food like 1,000-year-old deviled eggs, pork meatballs with buttermilk dressing and “bulldog sauce”, and the Lancaster okonomiyaki, which is the only Asian dish in existence that we know of that’s managed to incorporate scrapple. Of course, there're interesting ramens too, like a four-cheese mazemen and the triple-pork/triple-garlic mazemen with tonkotsu broth, pork chashu, and whole wheat noodles.
The Pavilion (click here for address and info)
The beautiful structure at the North end of Union Square is now a restaurant that’s entirely al fresco (but you already knew that), serving drinks with ingredients sourced from a few feet away at the Greenmarket, and top-notch bistro eats. You’ll want to go here AT LEAST once this Summer.
Claudette (click here for address and info)
The team from Rosemary’s has opened this Provencal-leaning beauty, with a menu that revolves around veggies and seafood like their bouillabaisse en croute with monkfish, octopus, mussels, and puff pastry. Don't worry, losers with shellfish allergies, there're a couple land-bound dishes too, including a grilled lamb served with za’atar and yogurt vinaigrette.
Mokbar (click here for address and info)
Bolstering the already-pretty-impressive roster of eats in Chelsea Market, this new ramen spot has noodles with kimchi bacon broth or classic braised pork broth, and, in an amazing move that should be sung from the mountaintops, they have disco fries with ramen gravy. Disco fries. With ramen gravy.
The Eddy (click here for address and info)
A small spot from a former Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar chef (who was also the exec chef at Tasting Table’s test kitchen) and a serious cocktailer from Wallflower, the Eddy marries next-level libations like the Carrancho (w/ rose hip-infused rum, guava falernum, plum gin, and lime) with eats like bacon tater tots and grass-fed ribeye steaks served with Brillat-Savarin fondue.
Blenheim (click here for address and info)
With ingredients coming directly from the owner’s farm in the Catskills (because you're wondering: Blenheim Hill Farms) to the chef from the recently shuttered (but excellent) Gwynnett St, this rustic date spot is coming mad correct with fresh-as-hell seasonal plates like beefsteak with asparagus, morels, and dill Havarti; turbot in beurre blanc with ham and ramps; and lamb with roasted spinach and mentholated yogurt.
Horchata (click here for address and info)
This project from ESquared Hospitality group and Top Chef Manuel Trevino highlights Mexican eats and liquor with a deep set of tequila and mescal options to help you wash down four types of guac (including one loaded with chorizo and cheese), pork belly tacos, and a citrus-roasted half chicken with garlic and chimichurri.
The Derby (click here for address and info)
If your thing is fried food, this place has you covered with chicken and waffles and a chicken-fried steak (remember?). If you're more into burgers and whiskey, they’ve got you covered there, too, with a pimento cheese-covered patty melt and a deep selection of bourbons and juleps.
Bâtard (click here for address and info)
Big-deal restaurateur Drew Nieporent’s new spot (kitchen-minded by Chef Markus Glocker) doesn’t have an a la carte menu, but you can choose between two and four courses with dishes like octopus "pastrami", roasted rack of lamb for two, and a veal tenderloin.
Delaware and Hudson (click here for address and info)
The old Egg space in Williamsburg is now home to this ode to Mid-Atlantic eats, which's doing high-minded and fresh(... -minded?) takes on goods like pretzel rolls, funnel cakes, crab cakes, and scrapple.
Bacchanal (click here for address and info)
Channeling Gilded Age style and party vibes, this Bowery dining spot is pushing old world wines forward while kicking up eats like hand-carved jamon iberico, braised short ribs, and slow-roasted chicken, all complimented by a bar program led by Naren Young.
Bar Primi (click here for address and info)
Filling in the spot recently vacated by Peels, BP is the next notch in Andrew Carmellini’s culinary belt and its focus is squarely on pasta. Dishes include fiore di carciofi with smoked bacon and pecorino; a roast beef, italian peppers, and provolone number known only as "The Sandwich"; and bucatini with lamb amatriciana.
Tender (click here for address and info)
This sexy spot in the Sanctuary Hotel is part lounge, part steakhouse, and part sushi joint -- get the omakase from a former Sushi of Gari chef, or premium cuts of beef like a dry-aged NY strip.
1. Russ & Daughters Cafe127 Orchard St, New York
2. Cafe El Presidente30 W 24th St, New York
3. Après60 3rd Ave, New York
4. Ivan Ramen25 Clinton St, New York
5. The Pavilion20 Union Square West, New York
6. Claudette24 5th Ave, New York
7. Mokbar75 9th Ave, New York
8. The Eddy342 E 6th St, New York
9. Blenheim283 W 12th St, New York
10. Horchata470 Avenue of the Americas, New York
11. The Derby167 Orchard St, New York
12. Bâtard239 W Broadway, New York
13. Delaware and Hudson135 N 5th St, Brooklyn
14. Decoy529 Hudson St, New York
15. Bacchanal146 Bowery, New York
16. Bar Primi325 Bowery, New York
17. Tender132 47th St, New York
Around the corner from the iconic Lower East Side appetizing shop of the same name, Russ & Daughters Cafe serves everything you love about the original (pastrami-cured salmon, whitefish salad on a bagel, caviar) in a sit-down luncheonette space. Cafe-specific dishes like babka French toast and halvah ice cream cater to the brunch crowd, as do Jewish classics like knishes, latkes, and matzoh ball soup. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, R&D Cafe is proof that Jewish noshes are the perfect anytime food.
From the Tacombi team, Cafe El Presidente is a one stop shop for all your Mexican cravings. The Flatiron market-style restaurant sells pastries and coffee (sourced from Mexico) in the morning, quesadillas and spiked juices for lunch, and ice-cold beer and rounds of tacos, from familiar al pastor and carnitas varieties to more unique sweet potato and spicy shrimp ones, all day long. All of the tortillas are made at the in-house tortilleria.
Vegeteble-centric does not equal meat-adverse at this eatery. This means that while the focus of the brasica is on the broccoli, cabbages and turnips, protein sifts through by way of the short rib garnish. A seat at one of eleven seats on the bar will see you imbibing garden-focused cocktails, like a ramps fusion that mixes that vegetable with gin and dry vermouth.
There’s so much more than noodles to be had at Ivan Orkin’s NYC flagship, especially at lunch when fusion sandwiches like the Herbie’s International (Chinese-style roast pork and Tokyo duck sauce on a toasted miso garlic hero) and pork meatballs make an appearance. But don’t get us wrong, there’s a reason “ramen” is the name of the game: noodle guru Ivan Orkin has fused his Long Island upbringing and Tokyo training with age-old ramen traditions to make original and delicious dishes right here at home. The weekend brunch features a combination of whole-wheat noodles, cheddar broth, crispy bacon and scallion omelet ramen.
Right around the corner from the Greenmarket, this sexy, French Riviera-inspired spot is an al fresco dining destination worth hitting up. It's drenched in gorgeous chandeliers, lush greenery, and exposes entrees like Blue Maine mussels and fries & roasted chicken with potatoes, and's got strong Summery 'tails to wash it all down.
This spot with French farmhouse vibes goes part French, part North African, and part Middle Eastern, home to menu items like grilled lamb with za'atar and yogurt vinaigrette. With a James Beard award-winning chef in the back, the space features 200 year-old barnwood floors -- we're sure you can flip that into some sort of first date dinner conversation
Japanese ramen and Korean soups combine at this take-out shop for the perfect on-the-go meal. Braised pork, seasoned kimchis, and spicy tofu top Korean ramen while disco fries are topped with kimchi and cheese. At night you can sit and down a few glasses of soju or beer while watching the chefs work in the open kitchen.
Bacon tater tots are an obvious winner at this restaurant that nods to Italy and seafood dishes. Scallop crudo, grassfed ribeye, and oil-poached salmon are must tries for dinner, but if you're just around to snack, the beef tendon or those tots are the way to go.
We can't tell you exactly what to order at this 45-seat restaurant, named for the owners' farm, because the menu changes daily depending on what is produced on said farm. One day that might mean lamb with roasted spinach and mentholated yogurt, and another it might be Guinea hen with steamed lettuce and hazelnuts. Our solution: go for the five-course tasting menu.
Multi-colored decor and bench tables will make you feel like you've stepped inside a pinata at this Mexican eatery. Belly up to one of two communal tables in the dining room for dishes like salmon tostadas and fish quesadillas served with spiced pumpkin seeds, roasted poblano chile, Cotija cheese, and cream fresca -- all crafted by Top Chef alum Manuel Trevino.
The Derby -- a LES Southern-fare staple -- is doling out serious eats, ranging from chicken-fried steak, Pimento patty melts, and strong, unique whiskeys.
Named for French wines, this eatery only seves up two-, three-, and four-course meals that can start with anything from warm Kusshi oysters, fried pig tails, and pickles, and end with caramelized milk bread with fennel yogurt, blueberries, and brown butter ice cream.
Northeastern cuisine with an old farm feel fits this small Williamsburg restaurant well, where chef/owner Patti Jackson serves a prix-fixe, family-style menu nightly. Seasonal fare isn't a trope at Delaware and Hudson, and there are no gimmicks, just superbly prepared dishes that are rustic in character but artful in presentation, like braised short rib with squash puree and duck breast with corn polenta. Brunch is an à la carte and more casual affair that draws heavily on mid-Atlantic recipes for dishes like Pennsylvania Dutch scrapple and buckwheat pancakes with blueberry syrup. Pass the pretzel rolls.
Located just below its sibling restaurant Red Farm, Decoy can be a tight fit, but the Decoy Chips -- which are actually fried branzino skin with black garlic dip (they're usually offered for free to start the meal) -- help immediately. Follow those with the main star; only 24 ducks are served each night , and the flavors mix traditional with fusions thanks to the sauces, including hoisin, sesame, and cranberry, and the pancakes manage to hold up to stuffing despite being incredibly thin.
A party spot like the name implies, Bacchanal will treat you to dishes like hand-carved jamon iberico, braised short ribs, and slow-roasted chicken. Thirsty? You'll be able to pair those with old world wines and a bar program led by Naren Young.
Bar Primi is a delicious pasta outpost in the East Village, where you can treat yourself to the likes of fiore di carciofi with smoked bacon and pecorino; a roast beef, italian peppers, and provolone number known only as "The Sandwich"; and bucatini with lamb amatriciana.
Tender, inside the Sanctuary Hotel, is all about the finer things in life. Part lounge, part steakhouse, and part sushi joint, this place offers you decadence like the omakase from a former Sushi of Gari chef, or premium cuts of beef like a dry-aged NY strip.