Recently Opened Restaurants


by Julie Besonen, 06/30/2010

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The Best Chocolate Cake in the World
55A Spring St., 212-343-2253, NoLIta, Manhattan
Making a bold claim, The Best Chocolate Cake in the World is ready to take on all comers in NoLIta. Choose between two styles: the sweeter, traditional cake with 55% cocoa mass or the 70% bittersweet. With fluffy chocolate mousse, shatteringly crisp meringue and a shiny glaze of ganache, the cake is light, luscious and chewy all at once. The recipe comes via Carlos Lopes, a Portuguese restaurateur who has expanded his empire to Brazil and Spain; this is his first American outpost. The small, white-bricked salon has minimal seating and also offers Portuguese-style toasted sandwiches (baby shrimp and cream cheese on rustic organic paõ), chocolate drinks, Counter Culture coffee and ice cream from Il Laboratorio del Gelato.

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
513 Henry St., 718-522-6260, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Local farms play into Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, currently featuring sweet cherry pie and ripe strawberries in shakes, sundaes and lemonade. And when was the last time you had an authentic, fizzy egg cream made with Brooklyn's own U-Bet chocolate syrup? Looking like an old-time general store, the former pharmacy was reimagined by Petey Freeman, who preserved drug store curios and a vintage scale to display alongside more current locavore foodstuffs he sourced from the Brooklyn Flea. The concept brilliantly bridges the gap between the old and new Brooklyn. The Discovery Channel's reality show Construction Intervention helped bring Freeman's dream to fruition.

Moutarde, Le Bistro de la Rue
239 Fifth Ave., 718-623-3600, Park Slope, Brooklyn
This eye-catching bistro brings a new Parisian trend to Brooklyn—value-driven, home-style French cooking in a hip setting. Windows are filled with baguettes, peasant-style boules and vegetables pickled in mason jars. The ceiling is splashed with an avant-garde rendering of the Eiffel Tower, and there's an inviting, stylish bar where you can linger over a glass of wine. Appetizers include escargots in garlic butter, warm leeks with truffle-oil vinaigrette and lyonnaise onion soup. Pöelées is another category, featuring skillet-cooked leg of lamb with black olive sauce, seared scallops with lemon-butter sauce as well as shrimp with tarragon and truffle oil. Classics such as Niçoise salad, duck leg confit and grilled hanger steak are all under $20. The restaurant has the same owners as Café Moutarde, which occupied the space until early 2010.

Rabbit in the Moon
47 W. 8th St., 212-473-2800, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
Agatha Christie aficianados will relish this throwback pub embellished with faux ivy and hanging flower baskets. Gracing the walls are portraits of William Shakespeare and other literary types, plus a deer head garlanded in strands of pearls. As for the name of the spot, the owners claim that, in folklore, if you see the likeness of a rabbit in a full moon, you must be in love. For privacy, lovers can escape to the upstairs bar and dining room, where, if you tip your head back at a 90-degree angle, you can read the history of pubs printed on the ceiling. While the menu from Brian Bieler (ex–The Mott) has English and French accents (bangers and mash, fish and chips, foie gras torchon, rabbit terrine), most dishes have American underpinnings, such as a salad of smoked Mississippi River sturgeon, smoked Idaho trout, a hen egg and applewood-smoked bacon.

South Houston
331 W. Broadway, 212-431-0131, SoHo, Manhattan
Before it was dubbed SoHo (for "South of Houston"—"Houston" being pronounced "how-stin," of course), the neighborhood was called South Houston. And before it became a retail wonderland, SoHo was a gritty locus of emerging artists and galleries. This restaurant harks back to those days, with one back wall serving as a huge chalkboard to be wiped clean by different artists every two weeks so they can create something fun. The Southern regional menu is fun, too, with house-made hot dogs as well as Jell-O made from pureed fresh fruit and cut out to spell "SoHo" on the plate. There's also bacon-wrapped meatloaf, buttermilk fried chicken and a twist on the Louisville Hot Brown sandwich—an open-face pile of turkey, fried prosciutto, tomato, two fried eggs and Mornay sauce.


related venues/(3)

  1. 1
    Rabbit in the Moon
    47 W 8th St
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
  2. 2
    Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
    513 Henry St
    Brooklyn – Carroll Gardens
    NY 11231
  3. 3
    The Best Chocolate Cake in the World
    55A Spring St
    Manhattan – NoLIta
    NY 10012

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