Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 01/14/2010
- 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/
Baked by Melissa
7 E. 14th St., 212-842-0220, Union Square, Manhattan
Cupcakes as small and exquisite as bonbons have come to Union Square, a spin-off of Melissa Bushell's well-trafficked SoHo street window. Instead of waiting on the sidewalk here, however, you can now step into a bite-size storefront. Cupcakes come in nine flavors, including red velvet, cookie dough, mint chocolate chip and s'mores (chocolate cake, graham crackers and marshmallow fluff). An order of three ($3) is accurate for a snack, but the more you order, the less each cupcake costs: you get six for $5.50, 12 for $10, 25 for $20, 50 for $37.50 and 100 for $70.
28 W. 32nd St., 212-736-5393, Midtown West, Manhattan
The lights of Koreatown just got a little brighter with this 24-hour Japanese-fusion restaurant. The stylish interior conjures a Japanese rock-walled garden, complete with faux flowering cherry trees. There are other nice touches, like woven baskets set beneath table benches, convenient for storing belongings. The menu is illustrated to avoid any confusion and to minimize on servers having to explain pork katsu, oozing with kimchi and mozzarella cheese, or Japanese-style hot-plate pizza with seafood. There's also a selection of sushi, ramen, udon noodles and teriyaki. Party music makes it more festive than peaceful, attracting a young crowd. Lunch features discounted specials for a speed-eating business crowd.
10 W. 32nd St., 2nd fl., 212-736-3232, Midtown West, Manhattan
Up an office-like stairway is a clubby Japanese restaurant with round green booths that look out over the action in Koreatown. The word "izakaya" denotes that this spot is more of a drinking establishment, but also that the food is substantial, with a multi-page menu of yakitori (skewered grilled chicken), pork and chicken katsu, grilled fish and a fragrant miso broth brimming with shrimp tempura and fat udon noodles. Another dining option is the sushi bar, bordered by giant bottles of sake. Asian pop music is piped in, but if you want to make your own music, there's a karaoke room, complete with a disco ball.
134 Ludlow St., 212-979-9211, Lower East Side, Manhattan
Behind a cramped counter, a short-order cook flips burgers at this new venue from über-restaurateur Michael Bao Huynh (Baoguette, Bia Garden, Obao Noodles & Grill). The meat is freshly ground and juicy, fitting perfectly in a smushy bun. Burgers are under $6, crowned simply with cheese and lettuce and tomato or more luxuriantly with corned beef, onions and pickled mustard seed or a BLT-style patty with Chinese bacon and a coating of Japanese Kewpie mayo. Milk shake flavors push the envelope, featuring the likes of both Vietnamese coffee and avocado (which tastes of creamy vanilla, not like guacamole or salad dressing). Fries are crisp, spiced up with sriracha-laced ketchup. The small diner-like space feels makeshift, with a radio playing old Beastie Boys and Lou Reed. Burger fixes can be sated until 4am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Torrisi Italian Specialties
250 Mulberry St., 212-965-0955, Little Italy, Manhattan
The iconic Little Italy deli will not face extinction thanks to Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, whose new boxy café reinvents the genre. Their résumés include Café Boulud, Del Posto and A Voce, so you know their chicken parm heroes, lasagna and pillowy mozzarella won't be humdrum. To lighten their carbon footprint, all the ingredients are domestic rather than shipped from Italy. They also place a special emphasis on vegetables, such as spicy broccoli rabe and corona beans with chunks of bacon. The decor is old-timey, decked out like a grocery, with bread loaves and hanging salamis displayed in the windows.