In the last year, poke’s become about as commonplace in New York City as $16 cocktails and ghosting mid-Tinder date. But Chinatown’s Chikarashi has brought something new to the overcrowded poke world, and is arguably doing it better than all the rest. From chef Michael Jong Lim, previously of Neta and Masa, Chikarashi is a "sea to table" fine-dining poke restaurant. Unlike NYC's other poke spots that skew more fast-casual and build-your-own, there's no Chipotle-style service line here -- instead, every bowl has been crafted by the chef, taking influence from both Hawaiian poke and traditional Japanese chirashi, and using only fresh ingredients of the highest quality (you can taste it). Menu hits include the Sichuan Chili Salmon and the Goma Shoyu Tuna, but be sure to ask about the daily special as well.
The team behind Gowanus' beloved 2 Duck Goose has opened a brand-new Hong Kong-inspired restaurant in its old location, with an affordable menu of Asian comfort food dishes like sesame peanut noodles, spicy BBQ ribs, and the pièce de résistance -- a Cantonese street food-inspired Hong Kong fried chicken sandwich primed to make the ramen burger old news for good: tamari-palm sugar glazed chicken breast with a crispy ramen crust topped with green mango, radish pickles, and aioli on a bao bun.
After 13 years on Mulberry, Ruby's, Nolita’s beloved Australian cafe, has finally opened a second location -- this time in Murray Hill. Alongside favorites from the original menu (including the ever-popular Bronte Burger), you can expect a slew of new dishes, like the crispy rice bowl with grilled haloumi, fried egg, and vegetables, and the Bondi Burger with chili-marinated chicken breast, avocado, bacon, and cheese on a potato bun. The best part? (Potentially) shorter waits -- the new spot has 42 seats, plus 10 outside.
Restaurateur Stephen Starr knows how to do over-the-top restaurants (Morimoto, Buddakan) and his latest venture with chef Daniel Rose, an expansive upscale French restaurant on Lafayette, continues in that same tradition. Le Coucou gives its Soho neighbor Balthazar a run for its money, with tall ceilings adorned with grand chandeliers, and walls lined with large plants, nice artwork, and sweeping white curtains. While the menu is certainly pricey, it's full of decadent, authentic French dishes like tout le lapin (whole rabbit), filet de boeuf (beef with oxtail and potatoes), veal tongue, and oeuf norvégien (a cold egg dish with salmon and artichoke). Don't miss the chocolate mousse for dessert.
While it may seem odd that the guys behind two of the East Village/Alphabet City's favorite bars, The Wayland and Good Night Sonny, are now doing healthy food in the Meatpacking District, it makes a little more sense than you might think. At Robert Ceraso and Jason Mendenhall's other spots, food has never been an afterthought (nor particularly unhealthy, as far as bar food goes), so it only makes sense that they'd eventually open a restaurant expanding upon the sandwiches and salads done at their bars. The Wild Son is a bright, plant-filled restaurant offering light breakfast and lunch dishes all day (like an egg sandwich topped with roasted cauliflower and shishito peppers, buttermilk pancakes, and a grain & egg bowl). Drinks play a large role here, too -- they're doing lots of house-made juices and sodas, and a full booze menu is on its way.
After a soft opening in May, things finally kicked off at Union Square's massive new 25,000sqft food hall/cafe/bakery/bar/restaurant space inside the old Barnes & Noble space in June. Executive Chef Yvan Lemoine is behind all of the food here -- from the full-service seasonal American restaurant (open only at night) that's doing dishes like crispy baked chicken and Maine lobster fettuccine, to the foodhall (open both day and night), where you can mix-and-match from five different stands dedicated to specific foods (salads, pizzas, poke, tacos, and burgers). Be sure to grab a to-go funfetti-stuffed birthday cake croissant from the pastry chef Thiago Silva's bakery counter on your way out.
After being destroyed last year in the tragic East Village gas explosion that also took two lives, beloved Belgian fry shop Pommes Frites quietly reopened across town at the tail end of May. It was a modest opening; as co-owner Suzanne Levinson told the Times, “I don’t want it to be an opening with fireworks and fanfare… We are insignificant compared to the impact this had.” The new Macdougal St location may look different than the original, but that’s of little importance -- the fries, scooped lovingly into their paper cones, are still as perfect as ever.
After transforming his East Village Italian mainstay Hearth earlier this year, Marco Canora set his sights on his bar-next-door, Fifty Paces, which has been totally rebranded as Zadie’s Oyster Room. This time, it's an old-school oyster house-inspired bar, embracing the theme by doing oysters every way you could want them (baked, broiled, steamed, fried, pickled, poached, or raw) in addition to a few other small plates, like baked top neck clams, shrimp cocktail, and whitefish salad with brown bread -- which can all be accompanied by wine, beer, or bubbly.
From the team behind Upstate, Edwin & Neal’s, and Sauce, Coco & Cru is a charming Australian cafe doing breakfast/brunch dishes like omelets, avocado toast, and buckwheat pancakes all day long (plus, they’ll spike any drink you want -- including coffee). If you’re more in the mood for lunch, from 12pm on, you can also order several salads, sandwiches, and burgers, including The Aussie, topped with beets and a fried egg.
Columbia Street Waterfront District
Nashville hot chicken reigns supreme at the very first restaurant from The Chew’s Carla Hall. The insanely spicy chicken, made with a combination of spices, is a rarity in New York (save for Peaches HotHouse in Bed-Stuy) and a welcome addition to a city that can sometimes feel overcrowded with trendy, new pseudo-"Southern-style" joints. In addition to a few different chicken plates and by-the-piece options, Carla Hall's has several heat options to choose from (go for the sweet and spicy Hoot & Honey, or the medium-level Hoot), plus lots of traditional Southern sides like biscuits, cornbread, and pimento cheese & Ritz.
Because there's always room for more wine-and-small-plates restaurants, the team behind Brooklyn Winery has opened its first proper restaurant in Crown Heights. The wine selection, curated by head winemaker Conor McCormack, is strictly from the winery itself, but it's certainly substantial -- including some rare vintages. Wine-friendly food like root beer-glazed pork ribs and smoked slab bacon comes courtesy of executive chef Michael Gordon (previously of Bouley), and there's even an on-site micro-winery -- meaning some experimental wines may make their way to the bar for you to try.
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1. Chikarashi227 Canal St, New York
2. Hey Hey Canteen400 4th Ave, Brooklyn
3. Ruby's442 3rd Ave, New York
4. Le Coucou138 Lafayette St, New York
5. The Wild Son53 Little West 12th St, New York
6. Union Fare6 E 18th St, New York
7. Pommes Frites128 Macdougal St, New York
8. Zadie's Oyster Room413 E 12th St, New York
9. Coco & Cru643 Broadway, New York
10. Carla Hall's Southern Chicken115 Columbia St, Brooklyn
11. BKW, by Brooklyn Winery747 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn
When poke was first introduced to the New York dining scene, it was done so in a fast-casual, cafeteria-style format. Michael Jong Lim (previously of Neta and Masa) is giving the Hawaiian dish the fine-dining treatment at Chikarashi, his "sea-to-table" restaurant in Chinatown. The poke at Chikarashi is a take on the traditional Japanese chirashi dish, meaning that the kitchen uses a variety of raw fish, not just the usual salmon and tuna found in many a poke bowl.
The folks behind Cantonese restaurant 2 Duck Goose have transformed their Gowanus space into a more casual, more fusion spot with Hey Hey Canteen. Inspired by Hong Kong cuisine, Hey Hey Canteen serves an all-day menu of noodles, salads, and small plates like vegetable dumplings and lemongrass chicken wings. Its signature dish is a packed fried chicken sandwich made with a crispy ramen crust and served on bao bun. Everything on the menu is reasonably priced, especially the sweet and spicy cocktails.
The Murray Hill outpost of Ruby's is more than just a mere replica of the perennially popular Nolita restaurant. The Australian cafe serves many dishes from the original menu, like vegemite toast and the sweet chili Bronte Burger, plus a few exclusives. The Third Avenue space is larger than the Mulberry Street one, with 42 seats plus 10 outside.
From industry all-stars Stephen Starr (the restauranteur behind Morimoto and Buddakan) and chef Daniel Rose (the chef behind Spring and La Bourse et La Vie in Paris), Le Coucou is an upscale French restaurant full of decadent reinventions of classic Gallic dishes. For example, instead of steak frites, you'll find a filet of beef with bone marrow jus and oxtail potatoes. The high-ceilinged Soho space is ornately decorated with grand chandeliers and sweeping white curtains. Oh la la indeed.
Robert Ceraso and Jason Mendenhall -- the guys behind East Village bars The Wayland and Goodnight Sonny -- entered the restaurant scene full-on with their Meatpacking spot, Wild Son. The all-day eatery revolves around a health-focused menu of sandwiches, salads, and breakfast plates like buckwheat pancakes (which can be made gluten-free) and three-grain porridge. There’s also an extensive selection of fruit-and-vegetable juices, blended coffee drinks, and naturally-sweetened sodas. Full of light, plenty of plants, and wooden tabletops, Wild Son resembles rustic cottage...or maybe just a treehouse.
This massive 25,000sqft space inside the old Union Square Barnes & Noble has it all: a food hall, cafe, bakery, bar, and restaurant. The full-service restaurant emphasizes seasonal American food, and its menu is appropriately packed with oysters, charcuterie, seafood and vegetable plates, and entrées like crispy baked chicken and Maine lobster fettucine. Separate from the restaurant, Union Fare's so-called “gastrohall” serves salads, pizza, poke, tacos, burgers, and pastries all day long.
After the original East Village location burned down in the 2015 gas explosion, Pommes Frites reopened with a fresh start in Greenwich Village. The MacDougal St storefront serves the same twice-fried Belgian frites piled high in handheld paper cones with dipping sauces that range from traditional European mayonnaise to the more complex, like curry ketchup and organic black truffle mayo. Aside from the signature frites (which come in three sizes), the menu includes Canadian poutine made with cured cheddar and gravy. The shop is small and narrow and the frites' disposable packaging, complete with plastic fork, make it ideal sidewalk-eating food, but there are a few tables to sit and stay.
Marco Canora knows he's got prime restaurant real estate on 12th Street, which is probably why it seems like his two neighboring spots are always reinventing themselves. After Canora transformed the menu at East Village mainstay Hearth from heavy Italian to (relatively) health-centric, he focused his attention on the bar next door. Previously Fifty Paces wine bar, the space is now Zadie's, an oyster bar where you can order bi-valves baked, broiled, steamed, fried, pickled, poached, you get the idea. The menu also includes clams, shrimp, whitefish, and of course, a fine selection of wine, beer, and champagne.
From the team behind Upstate and Edwin & Neal's Fish Bar, Coco & Cru is an Australian cafe that serves all-day food like omelets, salads, and sandwiches made with grass-fed beef and organic chicken. On the border of Soho, Noho, and Greenwich Village, the cafe is convenient not just for its location, but because its menu works for any meal, any day of the week. If you're in the mood for a burger, make sure to get the signature Aussie, which comes topped with beets and a fried egg, plus an optional add-on of bacon and pineapple.
The Chew's Carla Hall introduced her Nashville hot chicken to New York slowly. After setting up an outpost at the Barclays Center in early 2015, she opened her fast-service restaurant in Cobble Hill. The crunch and spicy Nashville speciality is available in a variety of heats at Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen, culminating in the hotter than hot "Boomshakalaka." In addition to chicken plates, by-the-piece options, and family meals, the menu includes traditional Lowcountry sides like cornbread, pimento cheese & Ritz, and sweet potato rolls.
Sourcing grapes from upstate New York -- specifically from head winemaker Conor McCormack -- this wine-and-small plates restaurant from Brooklyn Winery caters to the Crown Heights crowd with an on-site micro-winery, vintages, and dishes like root beer-glazed pork ribs and smoked slab bacon. The 67-seat bar, washed in a cool green and wood palette, is surprisingly spacious and does justice to the curated list of premier wines.