To keep tabs on every New York restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Bon appétit.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve nearly reached the end of 2021, especially considering the last two years have felt like somewhat of a time vortex. What’s perhaps even more difficult to comprehend is how far the city of New York has come in the last 365 days — from shuttering doors and cries of “New York is dead!” (newsflash: it never was) to where it is today. Now, nearly 80 percent of New York City residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the streets are once again bustling with those from near and far, and restaurants and bars are popping up like daisies in the springtime.
What better way is there to celebrate progress than with good food and better company? With that in mind, we’re making it easy to find your next place to raise a glass at with this list of the best new restaurants in New York City.
You’re here because: You can handle the heat (literally). Sweetbriar is helmed by Executive Chef Bryce Shuman, formerly of Betony and Eleven Madison Park, who opened the brand new restaurant to bring live fire cooking to Flatiron. There, everything is farm fresh and sustainable, from their numerous vegetable preparations to curated meat and fish options that are flame roasted or buried in lit coals. Despite his time spent in uber-fancy kitchens, Shuman insists that the menu at Sweetbriar, located in the Park South Hotel, is defined as upscale American comfort food.
You’re dining on: Cornbread to start, which is quickly becoming a guest favorite. The must-order and main attraction at Sweetbriar, though, is the ribs. During the height of the pandemic, Shuman launched a barbecue rib delivery service, packing ribs for hungry Manhattanites into the back of his Subaru, which eventually turned into a pop-up called Ribs n Riesling. At Sweetbriar, he serves smoked black pepper maple ribs that are an instant classic.
You’re here because: You want to see what all the fuss is about. The latest addition to the quickly expanding and generally nondescript Hudson Yards district (and latest venture by restaurateur Danny Meyer), Ci Siamo has been making its way onto virtually every best new restaurant list in the city, and with good reason. Its somewhat tedious location (the Manhattan West development, a block from Hudson Yards) is more than made up for by flavorful Italian dishes that defy expectation, along with equally delicious cocktails.
You’re dining on: Chef Hillary Sterling’s homemade pastas, like the rigatoni with guanciale or their lobster cavatelli. Quickly becoming their standout dish is an unlikely hero: a Caramelized Onion Torta with bubbly, charred Pecorino cheese on top. Make sure to leave room for dessert, as their from-scratch gelati and smooth lemon torta are worth it.
You’re here because: You’re curious how a Michelin-starred Korean restaurant might fit into a luxury car showroom. Unlike similar concepts such as Intersect by Lexus or A/D/O, Genesis House combines luxury automobiles and fine dining in a much less discreet way. On the first floor, you’ll find a showroom for Hyundai’s luxury automotive brand, Genesis, front and center. The second floor is home to Onjium, a critically acclaimed restaurant from Seoul that seeks to preserve ancient Korean cooking techniques — some of their recipes date all the way back to the 1300s.
You’re dining on: Traditional Korean flavors from their tasting menu. Unlike the original Onjium in Seoul, you can technically order a la carte at the New York location. All the fun is to be had from the tasting menu, though, which leads you on a historical, gastronomic journey through Korea. Many of the dishes are seafood heavy, with luxe ingredients like abalone, diver scallops, prawns and black cod.
You’re here because: You’re looking for a new anytime go-to. Since Sereneco recently opened in the historic Pencil Factory building, it’s been building on its approachable all-day menu with the addition of brunch, and is pretty much a surefire hit for any meal. Its tall ceilings and airy design are complemented by enormous white paper lanterns, and a tall ficus tree that shoots through marble counter seating — the perfect setting for bringing some serenity (that’s what the restaurant’s name means) into your life.
You’re dining on: Braised short ribs — a tender and flavorful standout on Sereneco’s dinner menu. You’ll definitely want to start your meal out with their lighter dishes, too, like whipped ricotta served with house-made focaccia, and garnet yams with pomegranate, pistachio and mint. If you’re planning a morning visit, their breakfast burritos are a must.
You’re here because: You already love Macchina’s iconic burrata pizza, and want to see what cheesy masterpiece should be next on your list. When the pandemic hit NYC, the team behind Macchina and The Bedford had to pivot hard — they closed down their Midtown East location and started making pizzas out of the back room of The Bedford. The successful pop-up has now been turned into Macchina’s permanent new home, literally attached to The Bedford, with a hallway that connects the two separate concepts. Here, shareable plates and pizzas are the name of the game.
You’re dining on: Inventive pizzas, topped with ingredients like shrimp or foraged mushrooms, which can be ordered as personal-sized or to share. Each pizza is made with a proprietary dough that’s crafted in house every day. The result is a sturdy slice with a good balance of chew and char. Obviously you can’t visit Macchina without trying their burrata pizza, which features an entire ball of the stuff in the middle of a pie.
You’re here because: You’re ready for an authentic and highly flavorful tour of Indian cuisine, plus unique sweet treats to boot. Long before Tagmo came to life as a full-service restaurant, owner and chef Surbhi Sahni had been helping to develop and run pastry programs at Michelin-starred restaurants throughout the city. Her first solo debut is a cozy and colorful ode to India, staffed mainly by women and queer people (Sahni fits into both of those categories).
You’re dining on: Mithai: traditional Indian sweets that Sahni specializes in making. These sweet, milk-based treats come in many forms, such as the burfis made at Tagmo with modern flavors like salted pecan, rose coconut and raspberry almond. Standout dishes from the savory menu include the Khatta Meetha Chaat, a Delhi street-style salad with chickpeas, mangoes and cucumbers, and the Murg Khatta Pyaz, a creamy oven-roasted Tandoori chicken.
You’re here because: It’s the only reason to dine anywhere near Penn Station. After recent hits like Her Name Is Han and Little Mad, Hand Hospitality decided to venture where nobody has before: opening a restaurant concept near Penn Station that marries the comfort of diner food and the flavors of Thai cuisine. The result is a menu full of fun, inventive plates that surprise your palate in the best way.
You’re dining on: Dishes that sound weird but taste delicious, like Crab Curry Mac and Cheese and Thai Ragu Pasta, made with spaghetti and a spicy tomato pork ragu sauce topped with Thai basil. Their stir fry menu includes more distinctly Thai classics like Pad See Ew and Pad Thai, and people are already raving about their cocktails that call upon the vibrant flavors of Thai chilis, coconut milk, butterfly pea and more.
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