Tag Archives: bars

The NoMad

Not only is the NoMad a shiny new restaurant in a shiny new hotel, it’s the reason Danny Meyer sold Eleven Madison Park, to avoid the competition from another high-end place up the street. And the buyer of Eleven Madison Park, Daniel Humm, who just won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef, is now in the kitchen at the NoMad. The buzz about this place has been huge, and the stakes are high.  (more…)

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Lani Kai

It’s almost that time of year again – time for rum drinks, coconut-scented suntan lotion, the cool sting of salt water and the sleepy heat of the beach. But until you’re actually lying on a stretch of sand as pretty as Lani Kai in Hawaii, there’s a bar and restaurant by the same name right here in NYC where the drinks are garnished with flowers, the bartender’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and the potted palms and pink blooms could be in the lobby of a tropical hotel far, far away.  (more…)

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Alison Eighteen

Grilled Octopus with Fregola, Alison Eighteen

Just mentioning that you remember Alison on Dominick marks you as a Diner of a Certain Age. (I am one of them.) In the restaurant’s heyday on Dominick Street in the ’90s, Tribeca had more homeless people than millionaires, and taking a cab down there for dinner was an exotic, perhaps life-threatening adventure. Fast forward to now, when restaurants can only appear mysterious by not listing a phone number, papering over their windows to discourage the B-list or serving dinner in the dark(more…)

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Amélie

Chandelier, Amelie

When New Yorkers talk about our favorite French restaurants, we’re usually talking about the type of creaky old (looking) bistros that aren’t exactly au courant with young people in Paris. So where would your average Parisian hipster actually go? Someplace a lot like Amélie, the new wine bar that opened quietly on West 8th Street a couple of weeks ago.  (more…)

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Sneak Preview: Pok Pok NY

Brussels Sprouts, Northern Thai Spicy hand-minced pork salad, wings, spicy Isaan flank steak salad, Pok Pok NY

We had the pleasure of attending a friends and family dinner at Pok Pok NY last night. Chef Andy Ricker is bringing his hit Portland restaurant east with this new venture, opening in Red Hook on Monday. The menu is nearly a duplicate of Pok Pok PDX and includes the Thai fish sauce wings at Pok Pok Wing on Rivington Street. This isn’t a full review, since the restaurant isn’t even open yet, but one thing seems certain: Pok Pok won’t be just a “great new place for the neighborhood,” as they like to say in Brooklyn, but a destination restaurant worth seeking out. A pictorial tour, after the jump.

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Whitehall

whitehall-nyc-9

Usually when friends want to go out to dinner, “British” is not on their top list of desired cuisines. Nevertheless, the buzz about British restaurant Whitehall has been building since it opened six months ago, and it’s full almost every night. We stopped by recently to see what gives.  (more…)

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Empellon Cocina

Guacamole, Empellon Cocina

Empellon Cocina is not a Mexican restaurant.

If you’re looking for a big, messy plate of chicken enchiladas for cheap, head elsewhere. The East Village may be Mary Ann’s territory, but at Empellon Cocina, chef Alex Stupak doesn’t do enchiladas – or messy, or cheap. What he does do is use Mexico as a jumping off point for incredibly creative, globalized cuisine.  (more…)

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Il Buco Alimentaria e Vineria

I get a little nervous about going to an Italian restaurant in New York after getting back from Italy. If the meal is bad, will it somehow wipe out the memory of how real Italian food should taste? And just as knockoffs look particularly awful after you’ve seen beautifully-crafted designer goods up close, the comparison to the real thing often doesn’t do a New York restaurant any favors.

Back Dining Room, Il Buco Alimentari

So by the time the check came at the Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria on Great Jones Street, I breathed a sigh of relief. This new restaurant and Italian grocery, the younger sibling of Il Buco on Bond Street, may not be exactly like Italy, but the differences are purely New York.  (more…)

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The Bowery Diner

When Mathieu Palombino, the French-trained chef who conquered the genre of pizza at Motorino, decided to turn his exacting attention to the American diner, it was exciting news. To what heights would he take the lowly tuna melt, the burger, the “diet plates” heretofore characterized by Jello and cottage cheese? The almost comically varied menu of your typical New York diner, which includes everything from fried eggs to the rarely-ordered fish of the day, seemed ripe for transformation.

Interior, the Bowery Diner

But the menu is a blessing and a bane. Just as, when you sit down at your corner diner, you view the various categories on a multipage menu with skepticism – can they really make pad thai as well as they can make pancakes? – the scope of dishes the kitchen must do well proves daunting here.  (more…)

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Corkbuzz

“Buzz” is the key syllable in this new wine bar by sommelier Laura Maniec, former wine director of the B.R Guest restaurant group. Since Corkbuzz opened in late November, it’s gotten dozens of press mentions and seems to be constantly packed. Certainly an upscale wine bar by one of the few female sommeliers is a nice addition to Greenwich Village. But there are already lots of wine bars in the city, so what gives?

Bar Area, Corkbuzz

Maybe what New York’s wine bars needed all along was a feminine touch. They’re mostly patronized by women, yet the owners and wine directors of most serious wine-centric places are men. It seems like a type of machismo for a sommelier to push an intimidating, challenging wine list that does more to prove his own wine knowledge than satisfy the customer. Corkbuzz represents a kinder, gentler approach.  (more…)

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Buvette

Buvette is easy to overlook. Situated on a quiet block in the West Village, it’s narrower than most coffee shops. The bar takes up nearly half the space in a restaurant lined with little cafe tables on one side and a communal table in back. It’s so petite it’s practically miniature.

Terrine, Buvette

Recently a French expat we know recommended Buvette as one of the most authentic French restaurants in Paris. Vraiment? Chef Jodi Williams wrote the book on small Italian plates at Gusto, Morandi, Gottino and more. And now she was cooking the most authentic French food in the city? There have been several positive reviews of Buvette, but this recommendation was what convinced us to go.
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Scarpetta

To paraphrase Yogi Berra, nobody goes to the Meatpacking District anymore. It’s too crowded. This is one reason we haven’t gotten to Scott Conant’s Italian restaurant on West 14th Street until now. When it opened five years ago, New Yorkers were outnumbered in the Meatpacking District by touring Sex and the City fans, and the resulting atmosphere was decidedly unsexy.

Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil, Scarpetta

But that’s the good thing about January: Everybody leaves, and suddenly the city’s not so crowded anymore. There was even an available 8:30 reservation at this critically-acclaimed Italian spot in the Meatpacking District on a Saturday night. It was like the ’90s all over again.  (more…)

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Veselka Bowery

East Village stalwart Veselka has been around so long, it’s impossible for most of us to remember a time when it was not. Beginning in 1954, the original restaurant on Second Avenue operated like a club for Ukrainians until it opened its doors to the artists and musicians of the East Village in the ’70s. Now it’s a necessary stop for many a kid making the pilgrimage down St. Marks Place, but if you’re a New Yorker who’s always seeking out the latest and greatest on the dining scene, chances are the original Ukrainian restaurant falls by the wayside.

Exterior and Bar, Veselka Bowery

Perhaps to prove that the restaurant is more than just a piece of history, Veselka’s owners just opened an additional branch in a shiny new space on East 1st Street off the Bowery. Airy and open, with plain wooden tables, dishtowel napkins, sleek navy chairs and wrought iron chandeliers, it brings the homey atmosphere of the old Veselka into the current day. (more…)

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The Beagle

Though we try to get to new NYC restaurants as soon as possible, sometimes it pays to wait. The Beagle, another gastro pub in the vintage British vein, got a lot of press when it opened in the East Village earlier this year, including a review from the Times in which the restaurant was praised for offering some inventive food and cocktail pairings but reprimanded for withholding the wine and beer menu from diners who wanted to make their own choices.

Bar, The Beagle

Fast forward to now, when our server immediately pointed out that the wine list was on the table, where she left it for the entirety of the evening. The innovative appetizer and cocktail pairings are still on the menu, but now diners can opt for wine, beer, or a number of food options without any pairings at all.  (more…)

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Allswell

One of the best things about dining in New York is following the diaspora of kitchen talent from one key restaurant to its contemporaries. April Bloomfield (herself a grad of London’s River Cafe, like Jamie Oliver) has launched several chefs from the seminal gastropub the Spotted Pig, including Nate Smith, formerly of Dean Street and now the proprietor of Allswell in Williamsburg.

Allswell isn’t direct copy, so don’t come here looking for the Spotted Pig II. There are similarities, like the quirky British decor – cutesy mismatched wallpaper (surprisingly feminine for a male-owned pub), exposed wood beams, inexplicable bric a brac, those famously uncomfortable stools, but a bar you could really settle into. The space is populated with patrons who’ve mastered a particular brand of studied cool, like the Spotted Pig before it hit hundreds of guide books. But the menu and the setting feel personal and distinct.  (more…)

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