Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 05/01/2009
Barocco Winebar + Kitchen
110 Ninth Ave., 212-414-2700, Chelsea, Manhattan
The former Barocco Café has been rejiggered as a contemporary Italian enoteca, equipped to serve Chelsea residents, worker bees and guests ensconced at the nearby Maritime Hotel breakfast, lunch, dinner or any nosh in between. Restaurateur Danny Emerman (Zampa, Bottino) is the trendsetter behind it, along with partners Anthony Briatico and chef Alessandro Prosperi. In the narrow, sleek space detailed with blond wood and mirrors, antipasto, sandwiches and thoughtful pastas couple with boutique Italian wines by the glass or bottle. Lovely robiola cheese, brandade with garlic-slicked toast, and meat lasagna with porcini and béchamel are among the offerings.
10 Downing St., 212-206-9111, West Village, Manhattan
Silvano Marchetto is no slouch—his restaurant Da Silvano has been a nerve center for the fashionable since 1975. And how wise of him, in this economy, to open a simpler trattoria across the street. Scuderia essentially means dream team—in this case, Signor Silvano; his daughter, Leyla; his general manager, Alessandro Bandini; and jazz guitarist Fabrizio Sotti. They're attracting the same sort of who-is-that? habitués, many of whom are ushered upstairs to the VIP room. Downstairs is fun, too, with convivial communal tables and a gently curving bar to gather around if you have to wait, which you often do. Breakfast and lunch are more quiet and loose. Any time, get the polpette (mini meatballs), arancini (fried rice balls) and pizza with fig jam, blue cheese and speck, a mind-blowing combination of savory and sweet.
230 Ninth Ave., 212-243-1105, Chelsea, Manhattan
Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening—is there ever a bad time for pizza when it's via dough genius Jim Lahey? His new Chelsea pizzeria, Company, was an immediate sensation—so much so that he recently added lunch and brunch hours to accommodate the hipster mobs. The sleek, wood space has communal tables, a compact bar and corrugated metal lighting fixtures. Neil Young and the Beatles help idle the time until beautifully composed salads, silky chicken liver toasts and puffy, charred pies—like the flambé with béchamel, Parmesan, buffalo mozzarella, caramelized onions and lardoons—make their appearance.
173 Fourth Ave., 718-398-9898, Park Slope, Brooklyn
When you hear that a Japanese chef who worked at Jean Georges, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Lespinasse is now making ramen in Brooklyn, it's time to grab a map and figure out the speediest way to get there. The boxy, wood-detailed space has counter seating, where you can peer at Akihiro Moroto laboring over slow-cooked beef curry with noodles and vegetables, pan-seared pork dumplings and a superspicy green curry–miso ramen with sliced pork, vegetables and a softly poached egg. The owners, Martine Lafond and Jason Crew (of the nearby gastropub Sheep Station), also offer a fine selection of sakes poured into traditional ceramic boxes.
19 Greenwich Ave., 212-337-3333, West Village, Manhattan
Wide-eyed kids and the parents who indulge them are the target audience for this fanciful ice cream parlor with a human-size gold birdcage and hot pink banquettes. West Village shoppers stop and gape, snapping pictures through the window, even if Julia Roberts isn't inside with her tykes. Sweetiepie's menu is a higgledy-piggledy mix of hot dogs, tater tots, sandwiches, schnitzel, steak, gravlax and pancakes. Aside from the pretty bar, dessert plays a starring role, featuring banana splits, milk shakes and an over-the-top $75 sundae meant for birthday-party sharing. If the baroque Tavern on the Green or Russian Tea Room comes to mind, it may be because an owner, Luke Janklow, is a nephew of the late impresario Warner LeRoy.
113 MacDougal St., 212-475-3850, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
Waverly Inn, watch your back! You've met your match in Keith McNally's beautifully restored Minetta Tavern. This 72-year-old Greenwich Village hangout hit the skids years ago, most nights sadly empty. Now just try to get a table after 6:30. There is a nostalgic, dipped-in-amber glow to the place, but it's no museum relic. Balthazar chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson have installed a masculine French bistro menu, featuring tartares, steak, bone marrow and burgers at affordable prices. Salads, seafood and roast chicken are on hand for fainter appetites. Classic cocktails, four kinds of absinthe, a jazzy sound system and a warm welcome make it feel timeless—like Tony Bennett just hitting his groove.