Recently Opened Restaurants

Dining

by Julie Besonen, 10/29/2009

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An Nhau
172 Bedford Ave., 718-384-0028, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Vietnamese home cooking served in a calm, alluring setting is just what the doctor ordered now that the temperature is dropping. Murals of Vietnamese street life run along one wall, leading to a leafy back patio. Out front, An Nhau's exasperation in waiting for a liquor license is expressed on a sandwich board: "Believe me, I'm just as thirsty as you are but we have pho!" And what pho it is, with noodles, flank steak, brisket, cilantro and sweet onions swimming in an intense broth. Luscious pork belly and egg slow-braised in coconut jus is the must-have dish, while salt-and-pepper squid and marinated quail sautéed in roti sauce also get high marks. The restaurant shares a kitchen with its tiny bánh mì shop next door if you're in need of something cheap ($5) and quick.

Barros Luco
300 1/2 E. 52nd St., 212-371-0100, Midtown East, Manhattan
Barros Luco was president of Chile in the early 20th century, but more famous for a sandwich named after him—steak with melted cheese on homemade bread. The version here is as close as you can get to a café in Santiago. So are the big empanadas, variously stuffed with beef, chicken, onions, eggs, raisins and olives. Chilean food has long been underrepresented in Manhattan, so who knew there was such a thing as Chilean-style frankfurters topped with tomato, avocado and mayo? Downstairs is a take-out counter and upstairs a clean, trim little dining area with snug booths. What's extra nice is that menu items top out at $7.99, and there's no skimping on ingredients.

Bill's Bar & Burger
22 Ninth Ave., 212-414-3003, Meatpacking District, Manhattan
This friendly, straightforward roadhouse, in the old Hog Pit space, is from restaurateur Stephen Hanson (Vento Trattoria, Blue Water Grill) and tries harder than your average tavern to create a superior burger. Pat La Frieda beef is ground fresh daily, hand-pressed and griddled until the edges crisp up. In a land where $15-and-up burgers are far too prevalent, at Bill's they're a refreshing $5.50 to $6.95 (for a Fat Cat, a double patty with caramelized onions and American cheese on an English muffin). The Tuscan turkey burger is tasty, too, blended with provolone, parsley and garlic. Up front is a full bar and high tables, and in back a casual dining room with checkered tablecloths on tables preset with your basic condiments.

May Chan Ramen & Robatayaki
119 Second Ave., 212-982-4285, East Village, Manhattan
Love Saves the Day, the wacky vintage shop that made an iconic appearance in Desperately Seeking Susan, is no more, replaced by something far more commonplace, at least in the East Village: an Asian eatery. Walls are plastered with sake labels and there's a sake bottle chandelier, but so far there's no liquor license. The ramen menu is priced from $8 to $12, and appetizers are just $3 to $5.50 (for sweetly seasoned fried chicken wings). It's a foolproof canteen for New York University students, with long tables, a bustling open kitchen and blasting rock music.

Tanuki Tavern
18 Ninth Ave., 212-660-6766, Meatpacking District, Manhattan
Fast on the heels of installing Ed's Chowder House at the Empire Hotel, Jeffrey Chodorow has completely reconfigured the bi-level restaurant at the Hotel Gansevoort. What used to be Ono is now Tanuki Tavern, an izakaya (translation: a bar with food) glowing with candlelight on every possible surface. Upstairs is a fanciful dining room with pink fabrics, low tables and splashy flowered wallpaper. The Japanese-inspired menu features spicy blue crab pizza, tuna sliders with ginger aioli and pear-marinated short ribs, plus inventive sushi, such as the yakuza roll barbecue (with eel, avocado, Boursin cheese, spicy mango and a drizzle of eel sauce). In keeping with the Meatpacking District party milieu, there's an extensive list of specialty cocktails, sake, wine and beer.

 

related venues/(2)

  1. 1
    An Nhau
    172 Bedford Ave
    Brooklyn – Williamsburg
    NY
  2. 2
    May Chan Ramen & Robatayaki
    119 Second Ave
    Manhattan – East Village
    NY 10003

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