Food & Drink

The 16 must-hit NYC restaurants that opened this Summer

Published On 08/27/2013 Published On 08/27/2013
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1. ABC Cocina 38 E 19th St, New York, NY 10003 (Union Square)

With shareable small plates, twinkling lights, and music so loud that you're often forced to lean in to hear your date speak, it's no wonder dinners at ABC Cocina tend to be intimate. Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this Union Square restaurant serves inventive, Latin American and Spanish dishes like sweet pea guacamole, crispy fish tacos, and a standout paella. The wine list is accessible, but it's the speciality cocktails like a basil-jalapeño margarita that attract the masses. If you find yourself hooked on the decor -- gauze tapestries, seashell accents, pinkish light bulb -- you can buy it next door at ABC Carpet & Home.

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2. Bassanova Ramen 76 Mott St, New York, NY 10013 (Chinatown)

The interior of Bassanova Ramen on the Lower East Side (bordering Chinatown) is decidedly chic and minimalist, but don't let its ascetic decor fool you -- this highly lauded ramen joint doles out bold, intense flavors by the bowlful. The cozy, subterranean space is cash-only, and an open kitchen lets you see exactly how your meal is made. Sidle up to the counter and try its trademark dish -- green-curry ramen with a soft-boiled egg.

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3. Estela 47 E Houston St, New York, NY 10003 (Nolita)

From sommelier Thomas Carter, Chef Ignacio Mattos (formerly of Isa), and Mark Connell (Botanica), Estela is a tiny Houston St walk-up focusing on carefully constructed small plates like burrata with radishes, raw scallops with fennel, and beef tartare. Part-bar, part-restaurant, Estela is also known for a serious wine list.

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4. Ippudo Westside 321 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019 (Hells Kitchen)

Although the original East Village location of this global Japanese chain has been doling out ramen since 2008, Ippudo's Westside outpost tells its own tale. This Hell's Kitchen slurp shop supplies, among other options, uniquely complex and ultra-rich tonkotsu pork ramen and house-made noodles. Like its East Village sibling, anytime past 6pm means a long wait, but the service is fast, so once you're seated, you shouldn't have to wait too long for your steamed pork bun and fried chicken appetizers to arrive.

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5. Juni 12 E 31st St, New York, NY 10016 (Flatiron)

Tucked inside the Hotel Chandler, Shaun Hergatt’s elegant, New American eatery was awarded one Michelin star in 2015, just two years after it first opened. The tasting menu-only spot offers a four-course option for $98, while five courses will cost diners only $17 more. Reservations are available 30 days in advance.

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6. Luksus 615 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Located in the back of the popular beer bar Tørst in Greenpoint, this 26-seat modern Danish resto serves a tasting menu consisting of four main courses, three snacks, and a beer pairing (if you're lucky enough to get a reservation).

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7. Maiden Lane 162 Ave B, New York, NY 10038 (East Village)

An East Village wine bar from Nialls Fallon and Gareth Maccubbin where you can sip wine by the glass or by the bottle, then take down small plates with charcuterie, canned seafoods, smoked fish, and more.

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8. Maison O 98 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012 (Nolita)

Tadashi Ono's izakaya joint on Kenmare has karaoke and sushi -- which's one seriously good pairing.

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9. Minus5 Ice Bar 1335 Ave of the Americas, New York, NY 10019 (Midtown)

Chilling out has never been so literal in New York City. Everything inside of this Midtown "hot spot" is made of ice, from the furniture to the bar to the glasses you drink out of. Dress warm (it's 23 degrees inside), or you'll have to pay extra for some house attire.

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10. The Musket Room 265 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012 (Nolita)

Chef Matt Lambert delivers Asian- and French-inspired New Zealand eats in this classy and rustic Nolita spot.

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11. Onomea 84 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

This BK joint's serving up authentic Hawaiian eats, which isn't something you come across every day in NYC... or, anywhere really, except maybe Hawaii. Get a taste of the islands with plates like kalua pork, Spam musubi, and Shoyu chicken.

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12. Piora 430 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Taking its name from the word "to blossom" in Korean, Piora's menu is a lively mash-up of Italian and Korean cuisines and fittingly features plenty of veggie-centric, farm-fresh fare. Housed in a West Village townhouse, the ground-floor dining room is intimate with 32 seats and great cocktails, and overlooks a beautiful private garden. You’re gonna want to get the signature bucatini with black garlic, Dungeness crab, maitake mushrooms, and chilies.

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13. Shalom Japan 310 S 4th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

This Williamsburg fusion Japanese-Jewish spot marries the heritage cuisines of the shop's married owners, with plates like Panko Caraway lamb ribs and pastrami chicken that are meant to be shared, and paired with your choice of wine, beer, or cocktails. In keeping with the fusion cuisine, the decor is also a cultural mix, with highlights like a high-tech Japanese toilet, Star of David kosher soap, and Japanese lantern-esque lighting that romantically softens the whole space.

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14. Skál 37 Canal St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

From the owners (and in the old location) of Les Enfants Terribles, Skal is an Icelandic (!!) joint serving a slew of seafood (raw and cooked) on the LES.

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15. Uncle Boons 7 Spring St, New York, NY 10012 (Soho)

Unlike the countless generic pad Thai and pineapple fried rice spots around town, this Michelin-starred basement bungalow serves authentic Thai cuisine broken up into drinking snacks, small plates, large plates, and dishes off the charcoal grill. The Khao Soi Kaa Kai is an absolute must -- a steaming bowlful of yellow curry-soaked noodles and an almost impossibly tender chicken drumstick. Frozen beer slushies pair well with spicier dishes, and the small, always-packed space lends itself to trading a caramelized riblet for a bite of garlic-coated pea shoots with a nearby neighbor.

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16. ZZ's Clam Bar 169 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

ZZ's Clam Bar does just what you'd expect New York to do to a tiny seafood kitchen: make it exclusive, extravagant, and exceedingly expensive. A bouncer out front enforces the reservations-only policy, which are not so easy to come by considering there are only 12 seats in the brick-walled space. The kitchen turns out high-end, mostly raw seafood that goes far beyond the namesake raw bar clams: you can expect a changing lineup of small plates like fruit-topped snapper fillet and trout roe on toast. The cocktails are as well-made as they are high-priced. Don't even think about slipping the pearl-handled utensils in your purse.