Well, New York, as your wheezing radiator that keeps you up through the night should have made clear by now, the cold is upon us. But before you resign yourself to a life of staying inside reading Westworld theories and refusing to see your friends for fear of a single gust of wind, make sure to check out these new restaurants that opened this October -- from a reborn West Village staple to three promising new spots in Bushwick.
All of the restaurants on this list are part of our ongoing quest to find this year's best new restaurants in America, and we're combing through every opening in every Thrillist city. Get involved on Instagram -- #BestRest2016 -- to let us know your picks and your favorite dishes at each of these new spots.
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It’s fairly hard to justify spending $200 a head on dinner, but when that dinner is prepared by chef Yoichi Akashi, who previously served as the chef de cuisine at Sushi Nakazawa, it’s easier to find reason with yourself. At his new namesake restaurant, Chef Akashi (who’s also a Sushi Yasuda alum) isn’t doing your standard raw-fish omakase. Instead, it’s kappo-style omakase, which amounts to about 20 courses of seasonal fish from both Japan and the US served a variety of ways, including raw, boiled, fried, and stewed. There are a few tables and a private dining room, but if you’re willing to spend the money to eat here, you better be doing it in front of the chef at the 10-seat sushi counter.
Andrew Carmellini’s second of three new ventures at Williamsburg’s William Vale hotel, Mister Dips, opened at the tail end of September -- which is a shame only because it would have been perfect for summertime. The ice cream and burger spot is set up in a ‘70s Airstream trailer in the hotel’s park and offers several types of burgers (including one with chilies, Jack cheese, and Sriracha verde) in addition to seasonally inappropriate but still very welcome dairy dips, like the Hawaii Five-0 with Tahitian vanilla, pineapple preserve, and toasted coconut.
It may not look exactly like the old Chumley’s (the famed West Village speakeasy/pub that opened in 1922 and closed in 2007 after the building collapsed), but Chumley’s is very much back, now under the ownership of restaurateur Alessandro Borgognone of Sushi Nakazawa. Generally, things are little fancier than they once were -- leather banquettes have replaced old wooden booths and tables, there are upscale cocktails and a full dinner menu featuring a $25 burger with bone marrow -- but the walls are still full of the old, restored images and book covers from years ago, and for a neighborhood that’s been mourning its loss for the last nine years, Chumley’s return is still a welcome one.
From the team behind popular Williamsburg restaurants Mesa Coyoacan and Zona Rosa, Bushwick’s Guadalupe Inn focuses on authentic Mexican dishes inspired by chef/owner Ivan Garcia’s home in Mexico City. Expect hearty items like beef tongue tacos and Flor de Calabaza Rellena (beer-battered squash blossom, queso fresco, grilled corn, epazote, and dark plum mole) and a tequila- and mezcal-focused drink menu (because the mezcal obsession is clearly not going anywhere). Unlike its sister restaurants, the sound-engineered Guadalupe Inn will also host frequent live music performances.
Located inside the colorful building on the corner of Howard and Centre Streets, which previously housed a $5 Chinese buffet, Nickel & Diner is inspired by old-school diners and five & dime lunch counters. In a similar vein to Greenpoint's Hail Mary (another opening from this year), the menu here is a modernized take on traditional American diner fare -- think chicken soup with plump ricotta dumplings and a grilled BLT with cheese and truffle vinaigrette that's really more of a croque monsieur than a BLT (in a good way).
The first US outpost of beloved Japanese ramen chain Ichiran has finally opened in Bushwick, and here, in addition to tonkotsu (pork bone) broth and house-made noodles, it’s all about dining solo -- in its most extreme form. That means literally no communication with anyone -- not a hostess, not a waiter, and definitely not a companion. Should you opt out of dining in the communal area (which you should), you’ll sit alone in a single-person booth with a bamboo curtain, which will be raised only when a staff member comes to collect your filled-out order form (you’ll see their arms only) and later when they slide you your customized bowl of ramen, which comes with some of the best noodles in the city.
Tom Colicchio’s new spot inside The Beekman (a just-opened Thompson Hotel that will also house Keith McNally’s forthcoming Augustine) is grand in a way that few new restaurants are these days. The bar area is filled with plush velvet chairs and leather banquettes, Persian rugs, and books in dark-wood cases, and the restaurant features multicolored stained-glass windows, ornate light fixtures, and a long, antique mirror. The menu goes along with this sensibility -- think old-New-York-style French/American dishes like oysters Rockefeller, diver scallops, and rabbit schnitzel.
If you want to pretend temperatures aren’t actually dipping into the 50s, head to this Caribbean-themed restaurant from the team behind Featherweight. In addition to jerk chicken, cod fish cakes, and a burger topped with grilled pineapple and bacon, Sally Roots also has a large patio out back with string lights and umbrellas that will certainly be put to better use when we aren’t nearing winter.
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1. Akashi14 Christopher St, New York
2. Mister Dips111 N 12th St, Brooklyn
3. Chumley's86 Bedford St, New York
4. Guadalupe Inn1 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn
5. Nickel & Diner1 Howard St, New York
6. Ichiran374 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn
7. Fowler & Wells in Beekman Hotel, New York
8. Sally Roots195 Wyckoff Ave, New York
For chef Yoichi Akashi, who previously served as chef de cuisine at Sushi Nakazawa, sushi is an art and his self-titled West Village restaurant is a shrine to it. The 10-seat sushi counter is where you want to be for the 20 courses of top-tier fish sourced from Japan and the States. Akashi specializes in kappo-style omakase, so expect not only raw plates, but a chef's choice of stewed and fried morsels, too. Dinner at this sleek 500sqft restaurant is expensive, but worth it.
A fancy food truck from fancy chefs, Mister Dips serves griddled burgers and soft-serve from a shiny '70s Airstream trailer parked outside the William Vale Hotel, which looms like a modernist who-knows-what over McCarren Park and the Williamsburg waterfront. Helmed by Andrew Carmellini, the menu keeps it simple with burgers (including veggie), waffle fries, and dairy dips, the last of which are crafted by William Vale pastry chef Jason Casey, whose resume includes Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurants. The food here is meant to be eaten on the surrounding park lawn and patio tables, and the casual ambience is a sharp contrast to Westlight, the rooftop bar also from Carmellini.
The beloved West Village speakeasy, known for its literary following since 1922, is in its second incarnation after being felled in 2007 by a fallen chimney. Don’t expect a clone though: restaurateur Alessandro Borgognone of Sushi Nakazawa turned it into a full-scale restaurant with an upscale edge that's most obvious in the food and drink. The menu features elegant takes on American classics, like a burger made with bone marrow and fried chicken with cognac consommé. There are hints of the past in the decor, though, with black-and-white photos of the writerly cats who frequented the old joint, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, and book jackets from their famous novels.
The folks behind Williamsburg’s Zona Rosa and Mesa Coyoacan are putting their Mexican credentials to the test in Bushwick with swanky restaurant and cocktail bar Guadalupe Inn. The neighborhood is anything but short of Latin cuisine -- traditional Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Mexican spots can be found on every other corner -- but this 80-seater distinguishes itself by pairing delicious food (veal meatballs and green rice, grilled fish wrapped in plantain leaves) with Manhattan-esque aesthetics (brown leather booths and disco balls hanging next to chandeliers).
The quintessential American diner gets a modern reboot at Nickel & Diner, which sits on the borderlands of Chinatown, Little Italy, and Soho. Hometown classics are joined by plates with Asian flare, so while you can get familiar buttermilk pancakes and beef sliders with American cheese and pickles, they can be paired with a kale-cashew bowl or tempura vegetables. Nickel & Diner's building formerly housed a Chinese buffet and the leftover facade is typical of Chinatown, yet the interior looks like an Art Deco version of any place you’ve stopped highway-side for some fries: with green leather booths buttressing the windows and retro chrome lamps hanging over the long bar counter.
A ramen branch from a beloved and expansive Japanese chain caters to the anti-social side of hungry New Yorkers where you can order a bowl of noodles without having to speak to a soul, let alone look into anyone’s eyes. Eating at Ichiran is an exercise in isolation: after you buy a meal ticket, choose a seat from an electronic seating chart, and settle into an individual dining booth partitioned by wood dividers. After you write your order down on a paper form, the bamboo shade in front of you will roll up and a server's hand will take it from you. All of the ramen is pork-bone tonkotsu broth, but you can customize it for spiciness, noodle firmness, richness, and with add-ons like kikurage mushroom and dried seaweed. The bowls come out quick, and once they’re delivered, you can slurp noodles (refills are available) and sip Japanese beer in peace.
Old New York gets a tribute in Fowler & Wells, a grandiose endeavor from culinary powerhouse Tom Colicchio. Vintage American classics, like oysters Rockefeller and sirloin steak, are executed with modern French technique from within the Financial District’s historic Beekman Hotel, an 1883 landmark building. The chefs rotate New York throwbacks that border on cliché, like beef Wellington or lobster thermidor, which waiters present on white tablecloths at sea green banquettes surrounded by stained-glass windows.
It feels like vacation at Bushwick's Sally Roots, a Caribbean-themed restaurant devoted to the region’s comfort food, and it’s no wonder: the space's designer Matthew Maddy previously nabbed a James Beard nomination for creating spot-on moods at Colonia Verde. The menu is comprised of mains like braised oxtail, chicken curry, and jerk half-chicken, along with appropriate sides like fried plantains and yellow rice. Breezy, tropical cocktails garnished with citrus are served at the front bar, and can be brought out to the expansive backyard where food is served until late. Life's a beach when there are pineapple-topped burgers, kids.