So where do you go to eat in New York City when the stomach starts grumbling? It is both an easy and difficult question to answer. Easy because there is no shortage of restaurants to visit. Difficult because some of them just don’t make the mark. We have listed here the best of the ones that cut the proverbial mustard, but something special links all of them together: they’re new kids on the block.
Montesacro Pinseria [NB: Images from ‘Photos’ tab on home page]
What’s the buzz: Montesacro Pinseria specialises in pinsa, a traditional flatbread more easily digestible than pizza because of different dough hydration. Working out of an open kitchen, owner/chef Gianluca Legrottaglie creates oval shapes on which you can choose to have traditional pizza toppings. The pinsas are complemented by other Italian fare such as pasta, cheese plates, porchetta, and so on.
What the foodies say: “If you’re looking for a date night spot where you won’t have to spend a ton of money to seem like the kind of person who’s been to Rome many times, this is it.” (Hannah Albertine, theinfatuation.com)
Address: 432 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, 11211.
What’s the buzz: You can’t go to New York and return home without paying your respects to a diner. Au Cheval, however, is slightly different. In truth, it is more diner-style than authentic NYC diner, but the food is the reason why the joint has been jumping since it opened in March of this year. It looks the part, too, with a zinc bar wrapped around an open kitchen, reclaimed wood panelling and the all-important leather booths.
What the foodies say: “What will bring me back to Au Cheval is the fried bologna, which could single-handedly redeem the oft-spurned deli meat.” (Hannah Goldfield, New Yorker Magazine)
Address: 33 Corlandt Alley, 10013
Omakase Room By MAASER
What’s the buzz: Anyone for the best and most authentic sushi and wagyu they’ve ever tasted? The kind that the restaurant’s chefs (Peter Lin and Chunyu Chen) say is “quite literally the finest available anywhere in the world”? Setting a high bar in a city with lofty enough standards to begin with, the moment you enter Omakase Room By MAASER, you are enveloped by waves of calm, good taste, minimalist décor, and truly remarkable cooking and food.
What the foodies say: “I honestly cannot wait to return before it blows up with popularity, which is imminent.” (Jane L, yelp.com)
Address: 321 Bleecker Street, 10014.
What’s the buzz: Niche Niche is one of NYC’s more unusual new restaurants because its owner, Ariel Arce, efficiently throws a two-sitting (6pm and 8pm) new food and new wine menu Monday-Friday. The only repetition from night to night is the bread – apart from this, eating here is like embarking on a culinary Magical Mystery Tour with the same end result: you won’t know what you’re getting until you sit down, but you walk away sated and satisfied.
What the foodies say: “A meal here feels a lot like a dinner party hosted by your coolest friend – except that friend cooks like a pro chef and happens to have an insane wine cellar.” (Hannah Loewentheil, purewow.com)
Address: 43 Macdougal Street, 10011.
What’s the buzz: The buzz is deafening that’s what the buzz is. Located at Pier 17, the new restaurant by world-famous French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is his first-ever seafood venture. Its waterfront setting is perfect for unobstructed views of Brooklyn Bridge, but the food (obviously) is the thing here. Locally harvested fish (including fluke, clams, oysters, lobster, black sea bass) share the menu with somewhat more geographically distant produce (Dover sole, geoduck, Icelandic cod). Inevitably, the results are stunning.
What the foodies say: “A multi-star setting plus multi-star food.” (Adam Platt, grubstreet.com)
Address: 89 South Street, 10038.
What’s the buzz: Some restaurants just get it right, and so it is with French/Japanese eating experience, Maison Yaki. Not only is it a mostly bar-stool sitting experience, but the majority of the food on offer (from beef tongue and frog legs to seafood and duck) is presented yakitori-style (that is, skewered). Not only that but everything on the menu (and we mean absolutely everything, including saki, wine, spirits and cocktails) comes in at less than $10.
What the foodies say: “It’s the cared-for, seamless blending of techniques that make Maison Yaki such a playful and pleasurable experience.” (Emma Orlow, Time Out)
Address: 626 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, 11238.
What’s the buzz: Wayla (translated from Thai as “time”) serves food that is authentically inspired by, as opposed to flagrantly borrowed from, the street food markets and culture of Bangkok. Head chef Tom Naumsuwan grew up in the city, and has taken his knowledge, instincts, skills, experiences (as well as his mother’s curry recipes – clever man!) with him into Wayla. If you don’t fancy sitting down, there’s a sibling shop, Little Wayla, for takeout boxes.
What the foodies say: “The food is really good here! I can’t wait to go back to try more of the menu.” (Scott Lynch, gothamist.com)
Address: 100 Forsyth Street, 10002.
What’s the buzz: The style of quintessentially multi-cultural diner continues in this ever-evolving city. Golden Diner is located underneath Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown, and focus on creating and dispensing classic New York diner food with Chinese/Asian influences. For a perfect example of such a fusion mix (overseen by Samuel Yoo, formerly of Momofuku Ko) sink your teeth into the diner’s Kaffir Avocado Toast, which arrives with firm traces of lemongrass, galangal, Thai basil, and turmeric.
What the foodies say: “Make your next lunch-outside-of-the-office plans here.” (Katherine Lewin, theinfatuation.com)
Address: 123 Madison Street, 10002.
Red Hook Tavern
What’s the buzz: Is Red Hook Tavern currently the place to get the best burger in town? Don’t say we didn’t tell you… Mixing atmosphere (vintage furniture, subdued lighting, narrow spaces) with immediate-classic food (including dry-aged burgers, pan-roasted chicken, Romaine Wedge Salad, cheese and charcuterie plates), this spot is equal parts romantic (in the ‘Noo Yawk’ sense of the word) and utterly dedicated to being the best.
What the foodies say: “A love letter to New York’s old-school taverns and drinking holes.” (Jess Bender, whatshouldwedo.com)
Address: 329 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, 11231.
What’s the buzz: This new arrival has impressed all and sundry that have rocked up to it. Taking its culinary cues from Europe – specifically the Basque Country and Vienna – but adding subtle Mexican hints courtesy of chef Efrén Hernández, Babs look set to stake its claim as a Greenwich Village restaurant that people will want to return to again and again. Smart design (good use of mirrors, gorgeous green velvet banquettes) and superb food – what’s not to love?
What the foodies say: “All caps excitement.” (Time Out)
Address: 72 Macdougal Street, 10012.
WRITTEN BY TONY CLAYTON-LEA