Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 06/04/2014
Photo: Robin Caiola
Tavern on the Green
Central Park West, between 66th and 67th Streets, 212-877-8684, Central Park, Manhattan
Leave it to a couple of out-of-towners—Philadelphia restaurateurs Jim Caiola and David Salama—to brilliantly reinvent the storied Tavern on the Green. Cradled in Central Park, the 700-seat indoor-outdoor restaurant has a smart, seasonal New American menu from the gifted Katy Sparks. Start off with a savory sandwich of Serrano ham and cave-aged Gruyère, for instance, or Japanese eggplant, wood roasted to a melting sweetness and cooled by sheep's milk yogurt. Large plates are shareable, ranging from tender braised lamb shank with pickled golden raisins to baked farro pasta with braised shiitakes, heirloom beans, blistered sweet peppers and creamy ricotta. The light, glowing Central Park room has a view of the open kitchen on one side and the park on the other. The cloistered South Wing room is available for private events. The dark, swanky bar and lounge accepts walk-ins, an ideal perch for a burger and a classic Manhattan. Tavern was always famous for brunch, a practice that commences again on Mother's Day weekend (May 10–11); lunch service begins the ensuing week.