Despite the fact that there were a ton of awesome things to do this year, you didn't do any of them since you were mad busy marathoning House of Cards... and Homeland... and Game of Thrones... oh, and Below Deck... duuuuude and The Walking Dead (AND Sons of Anarchy [AND AND AND American Horror Story]). Make up for it by actually hitting these: NYC's 11 best restaurant openings of the year.
Not resting on his Throwdown laurels, celeb chef Bobby Flay opened this blockbuster back in March and it’s been perpetually packed ever since, thanks to some of the best eats of the year -- from killer bar bites like the lamb tenderloin or eleven-layer potato to more formal apps and entrees, including a bomb tender roasted octopus, a lamb sausage & tomato jam pizza, and charred beef with blue cheese brown butter and red wine. Oh, and it all pairs nicely with a vibrant bar scene and cocktails (get the smokey Tony Juarez).
Among some strong options for pizza place of the year, Danny Meyer and Nick Anderer’s Marta stands out with Roman-style, cracker-thin pies like the patate alla carbonara with guanciale, pecorino, and egg, or the salsiccia with mozzarella, pork sausage, and crimini mushrooms as well as some amazing grilled entrees (the trout saltimbocca with prosciutto, sage, & lemon is a standout).
This place from the team behind nearby Nightingale 9 and the former Seersucker is one of the biggest reasons fried chicken had such a big year in NYC (along with this and this), but the fact that it's touting the whole simple package is what makes this one of our favorites. The menu is a collection of homey, well-executed comfort food, with go-tos like the moist, crunchy chicken dinner and double burger (single if you want to pay less than $10) topped with pimento cheese.
This Venetian spot (with just a hint of Asian influence) is nice enough to qualify as fine dining, casual enough to not be intimidating, and delicious enough for neither to matter. The uni bucatini was one of the best pasta dishes of the year, the cocktails and wine fit well, and the rest of Chris Jaeckle's moves are on point as well -- including the black truffle arancini, the short rib with saffron risotto, and the lumache with aged duck ragu, treviso, and chocolate.
First of all, this place is an underground Peking duck restaurant, which is just cool. Second, it’s also delicious. Located just below its sibling restaurant Red Farm, it can actually be a tight fit, but the Decoy Chips -- which are actually fried branzino skin with black garlic dip (that they usually offer for free to start the meal) -- help immediately.
The cocktails are top notch and interesting, and the main attraction, Peking duck, is everything you want it to be -- the flavors mix traditional with fusion thanks to the sauces, including hoisin, sesame, and cranberry, and the pancakes manage to hold up to stuffing despite being incredibly thin. Definitely try to come with a small group, though, so you can go beyond the duck with things like an excellent steak, lobster with rice noodles, and shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings.
We’re suckers for an excellent lobster roll, and this place has one, put together fresh and in-house daily. The space also doubles as a fresh-as-hell fish market, which creates dishes like a fish taco that rocks whatever the optimal seasonal fish of the moment is, loads of oysters, whole lobsters, steamers, and thai curry green mussels.
We don’t care what people from other states say; NYC is turning into a damn good BBQ town, and this whole-hog, Carolina-style BBQ spot from Chef Tyson Ho, which's whipping up pork belly, sausage, ribs, and a giant turkey leg, is another reason why.
The biggest ramen opening of the year is also the best (the spot in Gotham West Market is also amazing, but the LES version is a more complete experience). The Tokyo shio or shoyu is always a great move (get it fully loaded), but you may as well take this opportunity to try something like the BLT mazemen with kewpie, dashi, bacon, lettuce, & tomato. Instead of ordering two bowls of ramen, though, you can also load up on goodness like the roast pork musubi, pork meatballs, or tofu Coney Island topped with miso mushroom chili, mustard, and scallion.
This bustling spot from restaurateur Drew Nieporent (who also ran Montrachet, the previous incarnation of this space) delivers fine dining without ever getting overly refined or stuffy. The prix fixe menu is flexible, with two courses for $55, three for $65, or four for $75, and delivers dishes like octopus "pastrami" with braised ham hock, pommery mustard, and new potatoes; the Granny Smith & sweetbread strudel; and branzino with butternut squash, grilled lettuce, and pumpkin seed vinaigrette.
After receiving an almost deafening amount of buzz before opening, this spot from the team behind Carbone, Torrisi, ZZ's Clam Bar, and Parm unleashed an excellent one-two punch with The Lobby Bar at the Ludlow Hotel and this spot. It's hitting you with kick-ass French plates, like aged duck a l'orange with ras el hanout and preserved oranges; lamb saddle with potato and cumin; boudin with trinity pickles and Creole mustard; and a cote de boeuf for two.
On the forefront of the kinda-scary-but-kinda-delicious, vegetable-forward movement, Narcissa’s Chef John Fraser is turning out some eats worth your consideration, from carrot fries and rotisserie beets, to whole rotisserie branzino with fennel/soft herb vinaigrette, and braised lamb with celery root hummus, delicate squash, and sesame seeds.
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1. Gato324 Lafayette St., New York
2. Marta29 E 29th St, New York
3. Wilma Jean345 Smith St, Brooklyn
4. All’onda22 E 13th St, New York
5. Decoy529 Hudson St, New York
6. Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.114 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn
7. Arrogant Swine173 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn
8. Ivan Ramen25 Clinton St, New York
9. Bâtard239 W Broadway, New York
10. Dirty French180 Ludlow St, New York
11. Narcissa21 Cooper Sq, New York
Brought to you by Chef Bobby Flay, Gato is located in a 100yr-old building and it serves fine Mediterranean fare in a casual and enjoyable environment.
From Danny Meyer and the excellent chef of Maialino, Nick Anderer, this Roman-style pizza joint in the Martha Washington Hotel is serving up simple pies like a Margherita with buffalo mozzarella, and less simple pies like the Capricciosa with mozz, artichokes, prosciutto, olives, and egg.
Armed with Southern hospitality, Wilma Jean in Gowanus serves up stackable portions of double cheeseburgers, fried bologna sandwiches, fried pickles, and its signature fried chicken, the latter of which is served atop a potato bun, on a stick, and in half-portions. Run by a husband and wife duo, the counter-service spot is a solid option for brunch, happy hour (its daily beer and wine deals are an added bonus), or for a late dinner, with the kitchen open until 10pm seven days a week.
Located right near the heart of Union Square is All'onda, a Japanese and Venetian hybrid restaurant housed in a rustic duplex building. The first floor has a spacious bar (complete with sake) where you can drink or dine without having made a reservation, and the second floor is dimly-lit with cozy booths and wooden rafters. The menu is limited, but the smoked uni bucatini is a must-try.
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.
At Greenpoint Fish and Lobster Co., you can expect to find only the highest quality of sustainably sourced seafood. This narrow spot -- awash in white tile and blonde wood with a seating area surrounding a marble bar and open kitchen -- is nothing short of a seafood haven. Head to the market in the front and do some grocery shopping of your own, where you'll find plenty of options on the ice.
This beer hall and home of all things pig from chef Tyson Ho brings a boat load of traditional North Carolina BBQ to the city along with enough whiskey and beer to float said boat on. The space is pretty sparse with ten small tables and a large bar, but when it gets warmer there's a patio where you can chow down. One of their specialties is the Western North Carolina Outside Brown, or pork shoulder. But probably their most unique offering is their mac and cheese waffle, which is exactly what it sounds like.
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.
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.
Located in the Lower East Side's Ludlow Hotel, this glam bistro from Major Food Group (Carbone, Sadelle's, Parm) plays with Moroccan and New Orleans elements to create next-level French cuisine. The menu features elaborate takes on classics with plates like duck a l'orange with ras el hanout and preserved oranges; lamb saddle with potato and cumin; and a cote de boeuf for two. Dirty French is where you go when you want to make dinner an all-night affair, especially when the evening starts with a drink at its Lobby Bar.
Inside The Standard East Village, Narcissa crafts a seasonal menu based around farm-fresh Hudson Valley ingredients that are both light and filling. Two dining rooms and an outdoor space with a private garden view give off a cozy, upscale vibe complemented by a crowd of downtown regulars and hotel guests. The menu gives equal play to meat, fish, and vegetables, with an emphasis on roasted dishes. Be sure to order a side of the carrot fries -- they give their fried potato counterparts a run for their money.