Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 03/27/2009
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 lardons—make their appearance.
1725 Second Ave., 212-348-6222, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Will the Upper East Side embrace the Argentine parrilla the way downtown has? Azul and Industria Argentina are staples on the nightlife circuit, and the same owners are banking on Libertador expanding the trend uptown. As an extra temptation, they've installed a meat bar, where it's fun to sit and watch your rib eye or lamb chops sizzle. Meats are all free-range and grass-fed, well-matched by the Argentine wine list. The country was largely settled by Italians, so appropriately enough there's grilled provolone, chicken Milanese and homemade pappardelle Bolognese, served by a sprightly, friendly crew.
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 bright red 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.
300 Spring St., 212-366-4749, SoHo, Manhattan
At the base of a glassy condominium in western SoHo, an area known for the Holland Tunnel and watering holes like the Ear Inn, lies a handsome Roman restaurant meant to evoke its famous 50-year-old original location on the Tiber River. While the New York backdrop is certainly less historic, the recipes are meticulously authentic, overseen by Sora Lella's grandsons, Mauro and Simone Trabalza. Her son Aldo is also currently on the premises, making sure the opening goes well before he jets back to Rome. Portraits of Sora Lella are strong reminders of her influence, as are her refined, home-style dishes like square-shaped tonnarelli pasta with sausage, pancetta, walnuts and a touch of cream; Roman butcher-style oxtail stew; and luxurious osso buco. Naturally, there's homemade gelato for dessert.