Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 11/24/2009
90 W. Houston St., 646-448-4559, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
How about a glass of fine Burgundy with those short-rib tacos? You never know what will be open for tasting at Bar Henry, a cellar bistro in a 19th-century town house that's shaped like a railroad apartment, albeit a very fetching one, with antique brass lighting. The singular wine program was developed by Grand Cru Wine Consulting's John Slover, former wine director at Blue Hill and sommelier at Cru, who's assembled a global, 200-plus-bottle collection. Approximately 100 bottles on the "market" (not reserve) list are available by the half-bottle for half the price of the full bottle. In addition, there are accomplished cocktails and bar snacks of panko-crusted fried oysters and blini with caviar. The cozy back dining room offers sustainably raised steaks, chops and chicken.
57 E. 57th St., 212-758-5700, Midtown East, Manhattan
For the best view of architect I.M. Pei's art deco–inspired interiors at the Four Seasons Hotel, head to The Garden, the new restaurant on the lobby's east side. Four towering acacia trees help make it garden-like, although it's decidedly an indoor environment. During daylight hours, full breakfast (eggs Benedict, corned beef hash) and lunch menus (Cobb salad, ahi tuna burger) are in effect. At night, it's a more informal, romantic setting, with small plates of duck confit salad, fat shrimp with romesco sauce, cheese flights and stellar charcuterie to match an amazing list of wine and Champagne by the glass.
2 Lexington Ave., 212-777-2410, Gramercy, Manhattan
Danny Meyer restaurants (Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, The Modern) are such hallowed institutions that an eager delirium broke out at the news of his latest, Maialino, taking over the Wakiya space in the swanky Gramercy Park Hotel. Names like Ruth Reichl, Alain Ducasse and Anna Wintour descended opening night (November 11) to check out rising-star chef Nick Anderer's hearty Roman cuisine. He's sticking to classic pastas such as spaghetti alla carbonara and bucatini all'amatriciana (ranging from $13 to $17) and other Roman-inspired fish and meat specialties ($18 to $32) executed with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. The David Rockwell–designed dining room has a warm, old-school vibe, reminiscent of '21' Club but with more windows.
31 W. 14th St., 212-929-9917, Chelsea, Manhattan
On a block filled with low-end stores it's peculiar to find a glossy, high-minded eatery serving a fusion of Taoist macrobiotic and Hindu ayurveda cuisine. "Qi" means "good energy flow," and to promote that are a slew of dishes incorporating ginger, garlic, lemongrass and herbs. A healthy mix of young people gathers around communal tables, perched on ottoman-like molded plastic blocks. It's a modern, open, airy space pulsing with house music and doesn't feel anything like a medicinal spa experience. Lunch is a fantastic bargain, starting at $6.90 for stir-fries, noodle dishes, curries and sandwiches filled with tilapia and turmeric tartar sauce or honeyed barbecue pork with coriander and sesame. The price also includes an appetizer, such as crisp triple-mushroom spring rolls or tangy chicken tom yum soup.
151 Rivington St., 2nd fl., 212-677-5470, Lower East Side, Manhattan
A secret sushi place on the second floor of a regular-looking tenement building is a surefire way to win points with dates and out-of-towners. There's nothing funky about the interior, with tufted black walls and a roomy sushi bar ruled by David Bouhadana, 23, who trained in Japan and worked at Morimoto. All fish change on a daily basis, with some only available seasonally, so don't expect anything like your average California rolls. His creative little jewels can be ordered by the piece or omakase style, with a diverse selection of sushi for $37 or the chef's choice sushi and sashimi platter for $44.