NEW YORK DINING: FIVE NEW RESTAURANTS
If there’s one constant about New York’s restaurant landscape, it that it’s always changing.
Here are five newcomers worth a visit.
The Bowery Diner
241 Bowery (Prince St.)
Mathieu Palombino first impressed New York with his Napolitano-style pizzas at Motorino (his Brussels sprouts pie is legendary). The French-Canadian chef’s brand-new restaurant pays homage to both classic American diners and French brasseries. Done-up diner staples like two varieties of Reuben or clam chowder with bacon appear side by side with French fare including oysters on the half shell and steak tartar. And in the turquoise-and-chrome dining room, the noshing and revelry – boozy milkshakes, anyone? – continue into the wee hours.
5 King St. (Sixth Ave.)
There’s an Old World feel to Francis Derby’s black-and-white decked King Street restaurant, whether or not you press the “Champagne Button” (which summons a waiter bearing a half-bottle of Moet). The chef has worked with the likes of David Chang, wd~50’s Wylie Dufresne, which perhaps explains the playfulness of some dishes on his Euro-leaning menu. Smoked octopus turns out to be a riff on salade Lyonnaise: frisee topped with a poached egg, and large hunks of the smoky cephalopod standing in for traditional pork-fat lardons. Deep-fried sweetbreads are reminiscent of popcorn-style bar snacks, and for traditionalists, there’s a solid burger with house-made pickles and duck-fat fries.
186 Franklin St. (Greenwich and Hudson Sts.)
Hundred-year-old Catskills resort Kutsher’s Country Club hosted generations of vacationing families before changing management in 2007. Now a member of the Kutsher family has opened a restaurant that attempts (and succeeds) at culinary territory few have tread before: upscale Jewish comfort food. Staples like chicken liver (here with the addition of ultra-creamy duck liver), potato latkes, matzo ball soup, and roast chicken are given a refined upgrade. The Rafael de Cardenas-designed dining room is elegantly Mod, with curved azure banquettes and blond wood accents — a nod to the 1960s heydey of the restaurant’s namesake.
248 Mulberry (Prince & Spring Sts.)
Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone opened their Torrisi Italian Specialties a few years back as a humble sandwich shop, eventually expanding it to one of the most in-demand (and affordable, at $60) prix fixe dinners in the city. Their next-door new one, Parm, goes back to the simple Italian food the duo loves, including their famous chicken-Parmesan and turkey sandwiches, and new favorites like baked ziti, fresh-caught calamari with peppers, and an unforgettable towering slab of house-made ice-cream cake. The small dining room has vintage wallpaper and tchotchkes everywhere, like somewhere you might have celebrated Uncle Ernest’s birthday back in the day.
Pok Pok Wing
137 Rivington St. (Norfolk and Suffolk Sts.)
Until recently, you had to visit Portland, Oregon, to sink your teeth into James Beard Award winning chef Andy Ricker’s authentic Thai cooking, but no more. Ricker recently opened his first restaurant outside of PDX, a diminutive shop on the Lower East Side serving his famous Asian chicken wings and little else. The wings themselves are irresistible, marinated in fish sauce, garlic, and sugar, then deep-fried. Papaya salad is a lighter option, while khao man som tam (shredded pork over rice) makes a one-dish meal. There’s no alcohol, but Thai-style drinking vinegars prove a refreshing cocktail stand-in.
— Posted by GrandLife Hotels , January 16, 2012