More Like This
If the crowds around Union Square have felt even more suffocating than usual recently, that’s likely because of TsuruTonTan. The beloved Japanese udon chain, which has been around since 1979, opened its first US location on East 16th St, making a strong case for the thick noodle over the city's beloved ramen (and for eating soup before it's even properly cold outside). If you can brave the long wait (or get there early enough) and are feeling supremely indulgent, opt for the creamy mentai with caviar or the spicy soondubu. If you’re looking for something a little less rich, there are standard beef, chicken, and duck varieties, too, as well as other more involved options -- and nearly every dish on the menu costs less than $20.
Plopped down on the corner of the mostly non-commercial King St is the aptly named King, a bright and airy French/Italian restaurant from co-chefs Clare de Boer and Jess Shadbolt, who met while working together at River Café in London, and GM Annie Shi, previously of London's Clove Club. The slightly upscale but totally frill-less menu changes daily, pulling inspiration from both countries for dishes like delicate malfatti with butter and marjoram, and hearty Provencal fish stew with lobster, clams, and fluke. Also look out for a number of great wines and house cocktails, like the Beton Brut with Byrrh, rye, and Pastis.
It was only a matter of time before Major Food Group brought its dressed-up Italian-American food to Williamsburg (in fact, it should have been sooner -- the lease was signed on the N. 4th location three years ago). Along with favorites from the mini-chain’s other three locations, like meatball, chicken, and eggplant Parms and house turkey sandwiches, the new, spacious spot (it’s their biggest one yet, boasting more stand-alone tables and booths than the rest) also has two neighbood-exclusive items: a crispy veal Parm and clams Casino with broiled Littlenecks, bacon, peppers, and breadcrumbs.
After the tragic closure of its original 1st Ave location last year, and months of rumors about a return, Ess-A-Bagel is finally back on its home turf in Stuy Town, making it the shop's second location in the city (post-1st Ave closure, the bagel shop moved to the faraway land of 3rd Ave between 50th and 51st). It may not be the fluffy bagel purveyor’s original home -- this one is located at 324 1st Ave, while the original was a few doors down at 359 -- but that’s of little importance to the neighborhood that’s more than happy to have it back. There is one major change, though: at the new location, they’ll toast your bagels -- a famous no-no at the original. Don’t get your bagel toasted; they’re still perfect as is.
The team behind popular Chelsea Market taqueria Los Tacos No. 1 has opened a brand-new stand close by to the original that’s all about Baja Californian seafood. Los Mariscos takes the beachy theme to heart with picnic tables, fish wall art, and casual counter seating. The menu (almost all of which you can also get to-go) is full of dishes inspired by street food in cities like Tijuana -- so you can expect several kinds of seafood tacos, ceviches, and aguachiles, plus raw bar offerings and traditional cocktails like margaritas, palomas, micheladas, and clamatos.
Look, rooftop bars are never not going to be rooftop bars (meaning generally overcrowded with people you hate, all drinking cocktails that cost more than a couple days’ worth of lunches), but sometimes all you need in life is a really, really good view with along with your fancy cocktail -- and Westlight, the rooftop bar atop Williamsburg's new, ridiculous-looking William Vale hotel offers just that. It’s also worth pointing out that the cocktails here aren’t just an afterthought to the pretty city views -- drinks like A New Kind of Kick (with Scotch, Fernet, Suze, and orgeat) come from head bartender Anne Robinson, previously of PDT and Booker & Dax. On top of that, the brains behind the food is chef Andrew Carmellini (Lafayette, Locanda Verde, The Dutch), who’s doing dishes like charred octopus skewers, duck carnitas tacos, and a burger with onion jam and mushrooms.
Welsh food isn't easy to come by in New York, which is why this Smith St, sea-inspired bar/restaurant, which opened at the end of last month, is such a pleasant surprise. Sunken Hundred takes its name from an ancient Welsh myth about the sea, and the menu is appropriately seafood-heavy (think mussels, hake, razor clams, a traditional seafood "cawl"). Seaweed imported from Wales also makes an appearance in many of the dishes, as it’s a popular regional ingredient (if for some very embarrassing reason you didn’t already know that). There are also a number of interesting wines, beers, and ciders from Spain, and nearly everything on the menu falls under $15.
From brothers and co-chefs Chat and Ohm Suansilphong, Fish Cheeks is a family-style Thai seafood restaurant inspired by the food Chat and Ohm grew up eating at home in Thailand. The space, located just next to Mile End on Bond St, is colorful and warm, filled with bright, multi-colored chairs and tiling meant to look like fish scales. The menu is largely made up of shareable family-style dishes -- like coconut crab curry, grilled porgy, and Tom Yum Goong, a soup with tiger prawns -- so come with a group and be prepared to order a lot.
The latest marker of NYC's Southern food renaissance is former Commerce chef Harold Moore's Harold's Meat + Three, located inside the Arlo Hotel in Hudson Square. Not familiar with a "meat + three"? It's a Southern dining tradition, wherein you get a choice of meat, plus three side dishes. Moore's iteration is far more upscale than what you might find in Nashville, but the general setup is the same: choice of protein (like chicken, roasted lobster, or pork rib) along with three sides (of which there are 30 different options, including seasonal vegetables, quinoa, and baked avocado).
You've probably already tried Umber Ahmad's pastries at places like Intelligentsia and ‘wichcraft (and maybe even on JetBlue), but after years of selling baked goods wholesale online, her Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery now has an official IRL storefront. The West Village location will feature signature pastries like the Mah-Ze-Dar Bar (oatmeal brown sugar cookie with toasted pecans and chocolate bits topped with brown butter salted caramel sauce) and pâte à choux, a classic French pastry puff filled with cream. It's mostly standing room in the bakery, so live like an Italian and post up at the counter with a dessert and an espresso (or an Intelligentsia cold brew).
Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.
1. TsuruTonTan21 E 16th St, New York
2. King18 King Street, New York
3. Parm162 N 4th St, New York
4. Ess-a-Bagel324 1st Ave, New York
5. Los Mariscos75 9th Ave, New York
6. Westlight111 N 12th St, Brooklyn
7. Sunken Hundred276 Smith St, Brooklyn
8. Fish Cheeks55 Bond St, New York
9. Harold's Meat + Three2 Renwick Street, New York
10. Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery28 Greenwich Ave, New York
Japanese udon chain TsuruTonTan's first US location is right off Union Square, where it's making a strong case for the thick, hand-made noodle that's considered one of Japan's national dishes. The chewy udon noodles are made from a flour and salted water mixture that's kneaded, stretched, and cut into thin strips, then served in a variety of ways: with fish and vegetable tempura in dashi seafood broth, accompanied by katsu pork cutlet and creamy curry, or cold and in a spaghetti-like mound with fresh uni sauce. The menu, which helpfully features photos of various dishes, also includes donburi rice bowls and sushi appetizers.
Co-chefs Clare de Boer and Jess Shadbolt met while working at the famed River Café in London and fulfilled their dream of opening a restaurant together with this chic, south of France meets northern Italy bistro on the corner of King St and Sixth Ave in Soho. Matching the simple yet elegant feel of the white-exposed-brick space is the small but refined menu, which changes daily and is inspired by both regions. Expect a mix of fish and meat dishes, and instead of a bread basket, the cracker-like carta di musica.
The first Brooklyn outpost of this Italian-American restaurant from the Torrisi crew brings the popular veal, chicken, and eggplant parms (in sandwich or platter form) to those living off the L. Parm's menu reads like a "best of" list of red sauce classics, featuring clams casino, mozzarella sticks, penne pomodoro, and of course, giant meatballs. There are stand-alone tables and red booths to cozy up in, but delivery is available if you'd rather eat your sauce-drenched hero in the privacy of your living room.
After Ess-a-Bagel's original location in Stuy Town shut down in 2015, fans were forced to trek to its outpost in the corporate jungle of Midtown East. A year-and-a-half later, it came back to its home turf on First Ave with a storefront a few doors down from the original. Ess-a-Bagel 2.0 still serves its beloved hand-rolled bagels, extensive selection of cream cheese spreads, and add-ons like egg, whitefish, bacon, and lox, but in a departure from the original policy, they'll toast your bagel should you so please (though, it really doesn't need it).
Fish tacos, ceviches, and aguachiles all await you at Los Tacos No. 1's seafood sibling in Chelsea Market. Baja Californian seafood is the focus of Los Mariscos, whose walls are painted white, blue, and yellow to resemble the restaurants of Baja and Tijuana. The food, too, is inspired by the street food of those cities, and it pairs well with traditional cocktails like margaritas, palomas, micheladas, and clamatos.
Westlight, the rooftop bar perched on the 22nd floor of Williamsburg’s William Vale Hotel, is well aware that its domineering North Brooklyn view is rare, so much so that its outdoor patio is mounted with bright yellow observation binoculars. The menu, crafted by Chef Andrew Carmellini, includes a beverage program that juxtaposes unique concoctions with standard cocktails, and a small plates selection that’s a microcosm of global street food. Though you’re undoubtedly here to drink and ogle at the 360-degree views of New York, be sure to order dessert: the peanut butter bar with salted caramel cream is spectacular.
Welsh food isn't easy to come by in New York, which is why this Smith Street gastropub -- whose name comes from an ancient Welsh myth -- is such a pleasant surprise. The kitchen pays homage to the western Atlantic region, which aside from Wales, includes Brittany and northern Spain, so expect a wide array of seafood like steamed mussels, razor clams, roast hake, and sautéed squid, along with seaweed imported from Wales. The menu emphasizes small bites and shared plates, and there's also an interesting wine list, local beer, and ciders from Spain.
Two brothers are bringing Noho the seafood recipes they grew up eating in Thailand at their family-style restaurant, Fish Cheeks. Located next to Mile End on Bond Street, it's a bright and chic space with multi-colored chairs and tiling that resembles fish scales. Most of the dishes on the menu are meant for sharing, such as coconut crab curry, grilled porgy, and Tom Yum Goong (a soup with tiger prawns), and though the menu is almost entirely seafood-based, there are land options too, like Hat Yai fried chicken or Namtok pork. If you plan on bringing a large group, be sure to make a reservation in advance to ensure that a few wooden tables are pushed together for you.
From former Commerce chef Harold Moore, Harold's Meat + Three, located inside the Arlo Hudson Square hotel, is an upscale take on the Southern tradition of a "meat + three." Moore's iteration is a far more upscale than what you might find in Nashville, but the general set-up is the same: choice of one protein (like chicken, roasted lobster or pork rib) along with three sides (of which there are 30 different options).
At the brick-and-mortar outpost of online bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr, financier-turned-baker Umber Ahmad is selling sweet offerings that harken back to the basics: good ol’ fashioned baked goods. The name, translated from Urdu, describes the magical essence that makes food delicious, and it’s easy to imagine Ahmad peppering this magic on her globally-inspired creations, like the light and lemony Heavenly Cheesecake, Scandinavian sweetbread, or brioche donuts. If it’s savory you’re craving, there are lunch-friendly items like spinach-and-feta hand pies and ratatouille galettes. Tables and plush couches in varying neutrals provide a distraction-free atmosphere to spend an afternoon enjoying one bite of flaky pastry at a time.