Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 02/23/2010
- more recently opened restaurants/
- The Best Chocolate Cake in the World and Rabbit in the Moon
- Eddie's Pizza Truck, The Famous Pink Tea Cup and Toto Ramen
- Lina Frey, The Plaza Fodd Hall and Seersucker
- Balkanika, Kaz An Nou and The Matcha Box
- The Counting Room, Teany and South Brooklyn Pizza
- Beba, Four & Twenty Blackbirds and Otarian
- Annisa, Iris Cafe and Terroir Tribeca
- more in dining/
405 E. 58th St., 212-935-9100, Midtown East, Manhattan
Ready to take a detour from the pizza/burger track? An ambitious Gallic bistro run by Pascal Petiteau and his wife, Virginie, now occupies the narrow town house that was once home to the venerated March. But just because Bistro Vendôme is French, it doesn't mean that it's formal. There's a warm, lively vibe and an emphasis on mussels. The bivalves come in five varieties, including baked in garlic and parsley butter or in a curry, lemongrass and coconut milk sauce. The rest of the menu upholds sacred traditions such as escargot, wintry cassoulet, sole meunière and tarte tatin.
104 John St., 646-682-7747, Financial District, Manhattan
The fried chicken here takes its inspiration from Seoul, Korea (and not soul food). The wings, drumsticks and breasts are the color of dark honey and crackle with each bite. The skin is delicately thin, not in the least nubbly with batter, and the soy-garlic glaze begets sticky fingers. Financial District workers pile into this new franchise at lunch and after work, many toting the chicken back to the office in the provided paper lunch boxes. But for maximum crunch, eat it in the long, roomy cafeteria adorned with framed black-and-white photos of Wall Street. Sides are also of Seoul food variety: kimchi coleslaw, sesame ginger tofu salad and spicy garlic pot stickers.
Faustina at The Cooper Square Hotel
25 Cooper Sq., 212-475-3400, East Village, Manhattan
Scott Conant (Scarpetta) has taken over the kitchen at the short-lived Table 8 space, importing his sybaritic Italian-inspired fare. Named after a Roman empress, Faustina is modern and softly lit, with a windowed front café and a separate, more decorous dining room lined with banquettes. A noisy bar scene monopolized Table 8, but at Faustina, the focal point is the food—tajarin pasta with creamy sea urchin and tomato, grilled ciabatta with a poached duck egg and fonduta (Italian-style fondue) and beef short ribs with spaetzle—most of which is served in smallish portions and meant to be shared. Wines and cocktails—such as the red-hued Ne'Roni, a potent blend of Nero d'Avola wine, Plymouth gin, Campari and sweet vermouth—show their Italian roots as well.
The Meatball Shop
84 Stanton St., 212-982-8895, Lower East Side, Manhattan
Meatball mania has broken out on the Lower East Side! This old-school standard is suddenly the latest craze, and the fervent crowds at this charming, casual joint jam in as if it's FAO Schwarz on the day before Christmas. The concept, thought up by chef/partner Daniel Holzman and manager/partner Michael Chernow, is simple yet brilliant. Mix and match balls of beef, spicy pork, chicken, salmon or vegetables with a variety of sauces (including mushroom gravy and spicy meat sauce) and have them alone (a hunk of focaccia is provided to wipe up the sauce) or with pasta, polenta, mashed potatoes, in a slider or as a hero. Meat is ground in-house and locally sourced whenever possible. For dessert, Michael's wife, Donna Chernow, whips up ice cream sandwiches with fresh-baked cookies.
513 W. 27th St., 212-967-4392, Chelsea, Manhattan
Luzzo's in the East Village has a legion of devoted followers for its thin-crust pizza, so a spin-off was inevitable. Close to the Chelsea art-gallery and club scene, Ovest is stylish and rustic, with farmhouse wooden tables and exposed brick. Michele Iuliano is the pizzaiolo firing up the pies, all made with imported mozzarella di bufala, in a new wood- and-gas-burning oven. The 'a frusta—stuffed loaves with fillings like sausage, mozzarella and broccoli rabe—come in different sizes, and assorted panini are also available. Happy hour, called "aperitivo" here, includes a free buffet of Italian snacks laid out on the bar.