Recently Opened Restaurants


by Julie Besonen, 09/14/2009

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Bia Garden
154 Orchard St., 212-780-0010, Lower East Side, Manhattan
This highly anticipated Asian beer garden is the brainchild of Michael Huynh, of BarBao and Baoguette fame. Bia Garden has already acquired a cult status of its own, packed every night from the moment it opens, leading to an hour-long wait list. Past the small counter up front, and down the beer-bottle-lined walk-in cooler, is a sizzling open kitchen and intimate back patio. Dishes are divided into small, medium and large sizes, all designed to match the Asian beer list (Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Singapore, Laos, India and the Philippines are represented). To choose from are honey-glazed lemongrass spare ribs, chicken lollipops with habañero sweet-sour sauce, salt-and-pepper shrimp and lobster with garlic and tamarind.

Picnick, Smoked
South Street (at Wall Street), Financial District, Manhattan
Get in the lunch line at this eco-friendly barbecue truck as early as possible (it opens at 11am) since the pulled heritage pork and Kobe brisket often run out by 1pm. At that time, there still might be a prime-rib special or half a smoked chicken, the succulent meat pillowy white, the sauce tangy and spicy. The meat-and-drink deal is $9 and comes with a hunk of garlicky, toasted bread. Enjoy it on a nearby bench or at a breezy red-and-white-checkered table complete with a river view. The collective behind it is Will Goldfarb (Cru, Room 4 Dessert) Kevin Pomplun (5 Ninth), Emilie Baltz and Ryan Fix, whose mission includes serving local, sustainable foods in containers, cutlery and cups that are all biocompostable and biodegradable. They plan to brave the elements year-round.

Trattoria Cinque
363 Greenwich St., 212-965-0555, TriBeCa, Manhattan
Locanda Verde has a new Italian rival in TriBeCa. The 10,000-square-foot Trattoria Cinque has a warm, glowing feeling, with brick archways, farm tables and beautifully lit bottles of limoncello, Aperol and Campari lining the walls. After-work crowds gather at the marble bar for Italian-themed cocktails (Aperol spritz, Bellini) and snacks like thin-crust pizza with Gorgonzola and pears or buffalo mozzarella-stuffed arancini (rice balls) with spicy arrabbiata sauce. Order a Caesar salad in the main dining room and you're in for a show; it's prepared from scratch and tossed at a chef's table in an enormous wooden bowl. The food menu is thematically divided into five small plates, five big plates, five pastas (get the ravioli stuffed with braised short ribs) and, of course, five endings (if you're still hungry for dessert).


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