Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 07/27/2009
259 Front St., 212-608-7873, Financial District, Manhattan
A Southern-style seafood roadhouse with summery appeal has dropped anchor near South Street Seaport, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. Outboard motors hang from the ceiling and other nautical trimmings include mounted fish, water skis, a ship's wheel and globe lights hanging from ropes. On the menu are fried catfish fingers, clam fritters and po'boys, with a few Southwestern-style tacos and nachos thrown in. And, yes, you do want a rattlesnake bite if it means a roasted jalapeño stuffed with grilled shrimp and wrapped in bacon. Pabst Blue Ribbon, Mountain Dew and Dr Pepper come in cans, fitting for a joint that's a spin-off of the rollicking Cowgirl in the West Village.
225 Varick St., 212-463-7101, West Village, Manhattan
There is no Lucy Browne, just a cute, friendly sounding name that befits the down-home, regional American fare here. Ale-battered fish and chips, buttermilk fried chicken and crab cake are typical dishes, but there are also a few Italian accents, such as hearty, Sicilian-style meatballs studded with pine nuts and currants. Meat maven Josh Ozersky designed the "Big O" burger crusted with sweet shallots. An inexpensive bar menu is in place all day, and at happy hour you'll find good deals on beer, wine and well drinks. The airy dining room is cloaked in weathered barn wood and lit by hanging bulbs that look like teardrops. Breakfast and live music are on the agenda.
Mantao Chinese Sandwiches
235 E. 53rd St., 212-888-2490, Midtown East, Manhattan
What's a Chinese sandwich, you ask? At Mantao, it's served on a steamed sesame-seed bun, said to be a Northern China staple. The original Mantao pork bun is filled with succulent meat and layered with pickled cucumber and cilantro. Other fillings include chicken breast, spicy tofu and short rib with kimchi. The boxy, beige nook is clean and brightly lit, with a line to the door at lunchtime, made up mostly of local workers picking up takeout. Things move along pretty swiftly, thanks to the efficient service of two pretty It Girls with straight bangs. For those who stay and pull up a stool at the counter, sandwiches, dumplings and crepe-like pancake rolls are served in bamboo steamers. Fans will recognize Mantao as the reincarnation of the now closed Province Chinese Canteen in TriBeCa.
Super Hot Dog
111 MacDougal St., 212-375-0700, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
Can't swing the price of a $16 or $26 burger at Minetta Tavern? Practically next door is the new Super Hot Dog, where all-beef dogs start at $1.99. The atmosphere is poles apart, too. Here, it's like being inside a comic strip. The walls and ceiling are plastered with images of a caped hot dog crusader saving the City and a damsel in distress. For a couple of dollars extra are toppings like crisp fried onions with barbecue sauce, guacamole or chili with corn chips. There's also a vegetarian version. Late-night snackers will be glad to know it's open until 5am on weekends. And what kid wouldn't love it?
The Upholstery Store
713 Washington St., West Village, Manhattan
Kurt Gutenbrunner (Cafe Sabarsky, Blaue Gans) has opened up a small, sleek wine bar around the corner from his revered Austrian restaurant, Wallsé. And, yes, the space used to be an upholstery store. It's a quiet watering hole for conversation, rustic with wood tables, long benches and earth-toned horse blankets hung on the brick walls. In back is a small private dining area that looks out on a leafy courtyard. Whereas Wallsé focuses on Austrian wines, here the list is more international, with by-the-glass options listed on a blackboard. There is no kitchen, so the menu consists of small plates of cheese from Murray's, sweet and hot soppressata, mixed nuts and a seasonal bean salad with pistachios. Gutenbrunner will also cater family-style dinners for large groups from Wallsé's kitchen.