Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 05/28/2009
240 Central Park South, 212-582-5100, Midtown West, Manhattan, marea-nyc.com
This seafood spot in the former San Domenico space exudes the sort of poise, gravity and soothing setting that suggests four-star aspirations. Such an accolade might come to pass since chef Michael White enjoyed a critical lovefest (and three stars) with the more informal Convivio last year. Until The New York Times weighs in, however, judge White's brodetto, black bass and tagliata for yourself. That is, if you're inclined to splurge. (When was the last time you saw caviar on a menu?) For curious foodies who are less flush, there are pasta options like spaghetti with crab, sea urchin and basil. Or slip into a seat at the glowing onyx bar and drink in the atmosphere with a glass of wine and some fava bean crostini.
14 Bedford St., 212-675-9080, West Village, Manhattan, quintoquarto.com
The Italian duo behind this Roman osteria also has restaurants in Milan and Monaco, so it's safe to say they know what they're doing. For starters, they smartly chose a charming, secluded block in the West Village that's already a magnet for gastronomes, thanks to Blue Ribbon Bakery and 'ino. The romantic, archetypal ambience—exposed brick, shelves laden with wine bottles—is immediately familiar to Italophiles, as are beloved staples like bucatini all'Amatriciana, spaghetti cacio e pepe and roasted baby lamb. The prices are also something to swoon over: appetizers are $6, pasta dishes go for $11 and main courses are all under $20. Plus, many of the bottles of Italian wine sell for $30 or less.
19 Eighth Ave., 212-366-1541, West Village, Manhattan, chocolatebarnyc.com
Alison Nelson's Chocolate Bar has had a nomadic life, moving from the West Village to the East Village and now back to the West Village again. Its location across the street and down the block from the 86-year-old Li-Lac Chocolates could pose rivalry issues, but so far it's a blissful coexistence, with enough sweet-toothed patrons to go around. The newcomer's snug, modern space has about eight seats, abundant light and a list of caffeinated drinkables to wash down the bonbons. Chocolate Bar also doubles as a neighborhood coffee and gift shop, selling croissants from Balthazar as well as non-comestibles—chocolate-themed T-shirts, candles, bowls—if you're in need of extra hostess gifts.